It is a sad day here in the Realm. Yesterday morning we learned of the passing of John Klein, a former camper, and director of Camp Robin Hood. Andy Friedman, the founder of CRH, began training John to take over the camp in the 1970s. John and his wife Joan lead camp through some of its most formative years. They added girls camp in 1987, expanding our Robin Hood community for decades to come. They truly brought out all the magic in the trees.
We were lucky enough to have John visit The Realm to celebrate our 90th summer in 2017. It was an honor to have the newest generation of Robin Hood campers hear him speak and meet the man who helped shape our current owners and directors.
After hearing the news of John’s passing many alumni and camp families shared messages and stories of how John impacted their lives and the lives of their children.
In the afternoon we took a break from all the activity to celebrate Robin Hood gives back day. Our guest speaker was Randy Pierce from 2020 vision quest. Several of the brass members had the opportunity to hear him speak this past fall at an Appalachian Mountain Club meeting that was held here at camp, and we knew that we had to bring him back to speak to our campers. Randy is a blind hiker and marathon runner. He has hiked all 48 of the 4K footers here in NH during the winter and Mt Kilimanjaro with his seeing-eye dog. He also competes in marathons all over the country and has run the Boston Marathon. Randy also plays on a blind basketball team and has organized a blind baseball game with some blind players who will compete against the NH Fisher Cats. He spoke to Jr. camp first and then to Sr. camp and after each speech, he held demonstrations on how he “sees” the goal when he plays sports. Even some of our campers were able to make baskets just by listening to where the rim was and throwing the ball in the right direction, and they were blindfolded!
I had the pleasure of showing him around camp and I must admit that I questioned how I was going to show a blind man camp but it was the best tour I have ever given. He could tell we were near the stables before I could even tell him, he heard the horses hooves and smelled the hay. It was the same as we approached the waterfront, he could hear the water lapping on the beach and the kids splashing around. When we went to archery he could hear the quiet sound of the strings on the bows being pulled back. It was amazing to witness this as a sighted person.
Be sure to ask your campers about this experience when they get home, I am sure they will have a different perspective about blind people and their abilities.
We had a great time at our annual beach day in Ogunquit. Campers played in the surf and in the sand, ran back and forth to the boardwalk for ice cream and snacks, and just had a blast with their friends. The water temperature was 64F, the warmest water temperatures that we have enjoyed in many years. We hope that you enjoyed all the pictures as much as we enjoyed our day.
It takes a tremendous amount of organization to take the whole camp to the beach. This is nothing new to us here at Robin Hood. In 1967 we took the entire camp to Expo 67 in Montreal. It was quite an expedition and we had a great time. Half the camp went at a time with each group going for 5 days. Then in 1975, at the end of the summer, Andy announced that Robin Hood would be attending the Olympics the following summer in 1976. Andy passed away in January of 1976 and so it became his son Drew’s job to make sure that his father’s promise to his campers was brought to fruition. Drew and future camp owner, John Klein, put together the Olympic adventure. We went in two shifts along with our sister Camp Hiawatha we all spent 5 days and saw many great events including the debut of Sugar Ray Leonard in the boxing ring. It was a major undertaking but well worth it with so many memories made that alumni still talk about it to this day.
Chuck Illig – Head Counselor
I would like to give a brief history of Robin Hood. Our campers are always interested and eager to learn about the history and at campfires throughout the summer I am asked to pass on the history of camp to these eager listeners.
Robin Hood was founded in 1927 by Andrew Friedman, a semi-pro football player whose dream it was to spend his life working with children in a camp that he would build and call Robin Hood. He came from the main lake of Ossipee by canoe through the channel to Broad Bay and landed on the natural sandy shore and declared this the spot. Robin Hood opened for its first season in 1928 with 49 campers and a certificate from the state of New Hampshire to open a boys camp. Pictures of those brave boys and the original permit hang on the wall behind the head table in the dining hall.
We consider ourselves one big family here at Robin Hood and many of our families go back 3 generations. If it is your son or daughters first summer in the Realm you have now joined us in that family. In our yearbook each year we devote several pages with pictures of campers with their parents and siblings.
Chuck Illig – Head Counselor