Our Story – YMCA Camp Foss

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Our Story

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111 days 'til Camp

Leaders Right This Way

Our Mission

YMCA Camp Foss creates a community where all are welcome. Camp builds a healthy spirit, mind, and body in all campers while striving to bring out the potential in each child.

The History of Camp Foss

Camp Foss had its inception in late May 1919. The president of the University of New Hampshire, Ralph D. Hetzel invited several interested men in Strafford County to meet with him and the State YMCA Secretary to consider the organization of a County YMCA.

In the spring of 1923, the Camp Committee visited several ponds and lakes in Strafford County to locate a site. Following a conversation with James H. Foss of Center Strafford, it was decided to look at the shore of “Big” Willey Pond, which had long been the picnic ground of the Strafford people of the Blue Hills. The water from this pond had furnished the power for a saw and shingle mill owned by Paul and Warren Perkins, father and uncle of Mrs. James H. Foss. The previous years, the lands around the pond had undergone lumber operation and the site where Camp Foss is now had been cluttered with a lumber camp, horse barns and a sawdust pit.

After the site had been viewed and approved by the state YMCA, the founders started out to raise the necessary $3,000 to build the camp buildings for the first session. This goal was reached and a dining hall and seven cabins were built, with the dedication being held on June 24, 1923. Two years later, enough money was raised to build the “Lodge” which was dedicated on August 23, 1925.

Camp Foss operated as a camp for boys and girls from 1923 to 1964. Since 1965, it has been a resident camp for girls from not only Strafford County but also other cities and towns in the state, as well as other states and countries.

In 2020, we started a capital campaign that has allowed us to add additional infrastructure and programming around camp including a welcome center, ninja course, and new Lakeview bathhouse, in addition to other projects around camp which will help improve the quality of our campers’ experiences. This has also allowed the Granite YMCA and camp staff to continue to have goals to work towards each year to continue to build on the 100-year-long tradition of Camp Foss.

Goals & Outcomes

It is the goal of Camp Foss that each camper will be given the opportunity to develop self-confidence and independence. As a result, campers will feel good about themselves and have a better outlook on life and their self-worth within their local communities. This includes having them try something new and building upon new skills.

Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the mannerisms and general behavior of each individual camper as they progress through their time at camp. Additionally, this is measured through a question in our parent surveys, where they agree or disagree with the following statement: My camper stated that they were more confident after attending Camp Foss. Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the mannerisms and general behavior of each individual camper as they progress through their time at camp.

It is the goal of Camp Foss that each camper will have the opportunity to appreciate that the health of spirit, mind, and body is a sacred gift. They will realize that physical fitness and mental well-being are conditions to be achieved and maintained. As a result, campers will be aware that being of sound mind and body will make them feel better and have a more enjoyable time at camp.

Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the behaviors and actions of the campers including their personal desire to improve and maintain these conditions by the choices they make while they attend camp.

It is the goal of Camp Foss that each camper will have the opportunity to recognize the worth of all persons and work for interracial and inter-group understanding. As a result, campers will have an appreciation for all people regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin.

Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the mannerisms and general behavior of each individual camper as they progress through their time at camp.

It is the goal of Camp Foss that each camper will have the opportunity to develop their own leadership capacity and use it responsibly in their own groups and community life. As a result, campers will show marked improvement in their own self-worth, and they will be a better person in their community.

Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the mannerisms and general behavior of each individual camper as they progress through their time at camp.,

It is the goal of Camp Foss that each camper will have an opportunity to develop an interest in and knowledge of caring, respect, honesty, and responsibility. As a result, campers will realize that being caring, respectful, honest, and responsible is the right thing to do.

Completion of this goal is ongoing and can be observed in the mannerisms and general behavior of each individual camper as they progress through their time at camp.