By JEAN HOARTH A Herald Staff Writer
June 22, 1940
Hundreds of boys have passed through Camp Chief Hector in the last ten years. Little boys and big boys.
They have felt the bite of the strong mountain air. They have hiked, canoed and gone swimming. They have tasted the perfect joys of camp life, in one of the finest camps – both for situation and direction – in Canada.
This year Camp Chief Hector will have it tenth birthday. The boys who celebrate it will not be the same ones who celebrated its first birthday, but they will have the same spirit. There will be little ones and big ones, just as there have been through the years. They will be real boys, who think that their Camp Chief Hector is one of the finest place on earth.
It was the Y.M.C.A. that organized the camp back in its early days. They leased the land on Bowfort lake from the Stoney Indians through Chief Hector Crawler. In gratitude for his services they named the camp after him.
Private individual and service clubs have helped the “Y” to build the camp into what it is today. Some of them donated tepees, others lodges. The tepees were made by the Indians, in true Indian fashion.
The Indians have always kept an eye on the camp. Every summer they trek up from Morley and the squaws set up the tepees. The tepees are all named, most of them for their donor. They are painted with Indian signs.
It is wonderful to sleep in a teepee the boys say, a tent can’t touch it. There is a fire in the middle, and you lie in bed and watch the embers glowing in the darkness, and the smoke curling slowly up to the vent at the top. You are warm and snug. If it rains you hear the patter of the drops on the canvas; if it doesn’t rain, you can watch the stars through the tepee flaps.
There are seven or eight boys in a tepee, and there are 19 tepees. Each tepee is under the charge of a leader.
These leaders are older boys, graduates, most of them, of several years at camp. For two or three months in the spring, before camp opens, they attend special classes at the “Y”, so that they will be proficient in every sort of camp activity.
The new boy does not take long to become acquainted. On his arrival he is greeted by the camp director, and assigned to his tepee. The chief of the tepee take him off to meet his companions.
That night he is initiated into the tribe. There are solemn ceremonies for which the boys are dressed in the long Indian headdresses. The ceremonies close with a torch lighting. Each boy has a friendship wand – on which his pals have written their names – and the tip of each want is lighted. The charred sticks come home with the boys at the end of camping days, to be varnished and tucked away as mementoes of Camp Hector.
Most boys arrive in camp at Saturday night. Sunday is a day of relaxation, with a vesper service, either in the morning or the evening. Boating, swimming and hiking take place the rest of the day,
On Monday the real business of camp begins. The day starts out with a short outdoor chapel service. The boys brush up, clean their teeth, have the morning scrub. Breakfast is at eight.
After breakfast comes tepee cleanup, with bed-making and general tidying, In former years some of the boys would spend this time washing the breakfast dishes: but this year it has been arranged that this will be done by adults.
By and by the nurse – there is a registered nurse in constant attendance at the camp – and the officer of the day do an inspection tour of the tepees.
At 10 o’clock the boys repair to the marquee for hobbies. This part of the day’s program is under the close direction of the leaders. The boys make baskets, rope belts, lino cuts and model airplanes. They carve figures out of soap. They practice first aid and wood lore. Weaving is very popular, with the boys making scarves for themselves; so is bead-work Indian fashion.
Before lunch comes a short swim.
And after lunch comes siesta. The boys must go to their tepees for an hour and lie down on their bunks. Even though they do not sleep, they must not talk and disturb the others.
The rest of the afternoon is given over to hiking – up the beautiful Bowfort Canyon, over to Lone Buffalo Lake or the Horseshoe Dam – to boating and canoeing. Each party is accompanied by a leader.
There is another swim before supper. Four trained lifeguards are in constant attendance, their red and blue caps distinguishing them from the other boys.
Sometimes an aquatic or athletic meet takes the attention of the entire camp for the afternoon, with the boys competing against each other for the honor of their tepees.
Supper over, and baseball, volleyball, quoits and football games are organized. The day end with a campfire, stories, songs, perhaps a stunt by one of the tepees, or an outdoor movie, and taps. The juniors are off to bed at nine, the intermediates at nine-thirty, and the seniors at ten.
A bugler summons the boys to rise in the morning, sends them to bed at night. That is another thing that they remember about camp life.
There are other joys at Camp Chief Hector. Mountain climbing for instance, and overnight hikes. Each boy tastes these pleasures. Or there is riding on Indian ponies, over the well worn trails of the Stoneys, following the Kananaskis to the Forest Reserve or winding through wooded trails to Lake Chiniki.
It is a good life – everything a boy could desire – the most beautiful of surrounding, long hours of sleep in the clear mountain air.
They will be lucky boys indeed who will celebrate the tenth birthday of Camp Chief Hector this summer
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Calgary Herald Story from June 22, 1940 – Google Newspaper Archive – Note: you will leave this site.