This page will be a reporting on some of my experiences a camper.
Ralph Izzard was a student at the University of West Virginia invited to be the song leader for the Delaware Camp. He was known to the campers as just "Izzy." I well remember one night in Council Circle, when he introduced a new song for the first time. It took a little while to introduce this song because he had to demonstrate all of the moves that the campers were to do during the song and also teach them the chorus. He had everyone practice as he was showing them how to do the moves and when to do them along with having the campers singing the chorus. When ready, he began singing a song that would become a favorite for camp. "Now, the Lord he thought he'd make a man. So, he took a little water and he took a little sand." Chorus with campers: "I knowed it, knowed it, indeed I knowed it, brother, I knowed it. Whee! Dem Bones are going to rise again." Along with his verse, he used hand motions that helped to visualize the words. The song was a huge hit.
I do not know for sure if the picture is of Izzy singing Dem Bones, but I would guess that it is. It appears that the picture was taken during the "Whee" in the chorus. (no idea of the year)
Some observations in the picture. I think that it must have been High Council as it appears everyone was wearing headbands, which was customary. Another clue is that in the center of picture especially, you can see that they are sitting on blankets. Everyone entered the circle wearing an Army blanket (from our bunks). Afterward, we just sat on them. You are seeing mostly the Big Feet area with the white headbands. Notice the Big Feet sign. It was bandaged with the big toe sticking out. This was taken in the "old" Council Circle. It is difficult to tell, but I think Sam Gwinn may be seated to the right (in the pic) of Izzy and I think that Jim Baker was looking to his left in the back row on the right.
For the first few years that I attended camp, we ate in the "Mess Hall" as shown in these pictures. Later, the "New" dining hall was built in same location to replace the old one.
I have three very first memories of camp:
1. My mother was a 4-H Club leader and our club was the Slaughter Neck Champions 4-H Club. At the time, Sam Gwinn was the state director, but had been our county agent. I remember the conversation between my mother and Sam about getting permission for me to attend camp as a nine year old instead of meeting the requirement of being 10 years old to attend. Permission granted. (As a note, my mother was a club leader for more than 25 years.)
2. I remember the first trip to camp. It was like going to the "end of the world" since it took so long to get there and it seemed like there was no civilization anywhere close. An odd thing that I remembered was the chicken house on the right just before we turned on Camp Barnes Road. That became the landmark indicating that we were getting close to camp.
3. When I got to camp, I was directed to one of the check-in tables. There was a bowl with a lot of little pieces of folded paper. I was asked to reach in and pick one of the pieces of paper. I pulled out one and gave it to the person. The next thing I heard was, "Congratulations, you are a Seneca." I had no idea was a "Seneca" was.
This may have been a meeting with the Big Feet and the tribal chiefs. The reason that I have included these pictures is because in the background you can see the original cabins where I stayed for the first few years of my camping. I later learned that they had been bunk houses that were moved from the Lepsic, Delaware CCC camp (Civilian Conservation Corps) to Camp Barnes. There was a central bath house for us to use. These pics also show the house that was on the camp. While I was at camp, Corporal Mears was stationed there. His wife was an RN and she served as our nurse on duty.
One of the activities we had was a "Good Grooming" contest. It was held during assembly and I think it was on Thursdays. The idea was to see who was best dressed after several days of camp. I will never forget that I was involved with a tied score one year. There had to be a "tie-breaker" method to be used to determine a winner. The tie-breaker was that the judges asked us to show a handkerchief and a comb. I never carried a handkerchief and a comb, so I lost. The funny part about this is that for years following this episode, I always carried a handkerchief and comb. Later a comb wasn't necessary LOL.
I believe this picture to be the winners of one of the "Good Grooming" contests. Walt Hopkins is the guy. (need help for the girl's name)
This is a posed picture of four tribal chiefs. For High Council, the chiefs of each tribe made their entrance after arriving in a separate canoe. Notice the "Army" blankets that were used for High Council.
At High Council, a first year camper boy was selected to be the Pipe Bearer. Here a proud brave of the Delaware tribe was selected to bring the pipe into the circle.
In this picture, Jim Baker holds the pipe as the Feather Girl attaches the feather representing the camp week and year. The Feather Girl is also a first year camper. Notice the Big Foot sign. Also, you can see the original drum in this picture.
One of the classes that I had was Marksmanship. There was a firing range at the camp and the class was using .22 rifles for target practice. I believe the range was also used by the state police for practice. The range was in the general area of where the volleyball court is today. There was also the archery class, but that was before the current archery range was constructed. Another class that I had was leather tooling where the class would make an item in leather of their choice. I also took canoeing several times.
It is important to note that the council Circle was located in the general area of where the A-frame is located today.
At first there was no pool. It came later and I think during my first few years of camps. I remember it as being new. There may have been an expansion at some point as well. While I never experienced the trips to the beach, Sam Gwinn told me that they used to bus the campers to Bethany Beach to go swimming.
Another activity that I remember was the equivalent of a "fright night.' Each tribe had a long rope and the chief started by holding the end. Other tribe members then held the rope as the group traveled through the "course" like a centipede. the number one rule was that you had to hold on the rope. Each tribe went through the course separately. The counselors were positioned along the route to provide "scary things." I seem to remember that this was done on Thursday night, but as you might imagine was discontinued.
The history of Peace Pipe for camp is preserved in a display case that is currently mounted in the dining hall. I took this quick picture on July 3rd, 2019. I will replace this picture when I might find a better picture from my files taken with the door opened to prevent the glare. I was present and observed something like maybe 19 of the feathers being attached during High Council. One of them that I observed is quite visible at the top where you can see the white feather marked 1962.
The old bunkhouses needed to be replaced and plans were made to build new "cabins." The 4-H organization began a fund raising activity to help with the costs. If I remember correctly, I think that each county raised enough to have a cabin constructed. There were cabins that had a dedication plaque to each county. The cabins were constructed as we see them pictured here. While using the bunkhouses, there was a central bath facility. In the new cabins, each cabin would have its own separate rest area with shower. I remember changing over from the old bunkhouse to the new cabins.
In addition, a new dining Hall was constructed to replace the old one.
An undated picture of archery class.
The house and buildings of the early camp.
This is a picture of Jim Baker playing his favorite game - BUZZ. He did this at High Council and gave the chiefs a chance to knock off the sailor hat. When the bee "stung" you, you could take a swipe at the hat. Jim had an uncanny way of ducking before the swipe. In the picture, the person on the left has just been stung and starting his swing with the left arm. Jim is already going down. To my knowledge, this is the only picture that I have seen of Jim playing BUZZ.