Re: Did you go to a Jewish summer camp? #usa

Alan Reische

I was at camp Winaukee in Moultonboro NH for one year in the late 1940s; the next year, most camps shut down because of the polio epidemic. I then went to Camp Samoset in Gilford New Hampshire for 11 years: as a camper, a waiter, a dishwasher, a CIT and finally a counselor. After a one year interim when I worked on a dude ranch in Colorado, I returned to work a final summer - at Camp Winaukee!

Winaukee was owned by the Sobel and Spahn families. Jesse Sobel was a former Olympic water polo player, very tough minded. His chief operating officer was Joe Marino. Camp Samoset was owned by Manny Winston, a former professional fighter. Many of the Jewish camp directors who grew up in the generation of the 20s and 30s were bulvans and the camp programs reflected that mentality. Samoset in particular was an athletic camp. Boxing was a regular activity, and even tackle football for a season or two.

The athletic Director at Samoset was Chief Torgan. Torgan was the head football coach at James Madison high school in Brooklyn, and every year he would bring up any number of his present and former football players to act as staff. They could be a rough crowd, although I must say I loved my camping experience.

Samoset is now closed, at least in  it’s original iteration, although the name was perpetuated with a camp located in Maine. Camp Winaukee continues to operate in it’s original location, a gorgeous piece of property on Lake Winnipesaukee, with a mainland campus for younger campers and an island campus just offshore for the older boys.

Benny Friedman, the great Univ Michigan football player, operated a summer camp along the same stretch of road going in from Center Harbor. I don’t know what ultimately happened to that camp, but perhaps other members who have a  memory of it can fill in the information.

Alan Reische
Manchester NH

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