The Calgary Herald
June 22, 1971
Indian Reclaim Site
Camp Chief Hector Faces Extinction
by Kim Lockhart (Herald Staff Writer)
People still believed in the League of Nations in 1931, the year the YMCA found a boys’ camp on the shores of Lake Beaufort (sic) 50 miles west of Calgary.
The Canadian prime minister at the time, R.B. Bennett has been dead now for 24 years; Pierre Trudeau in 1931 was a 12-year-old youngster playing in the Montreal streets.
The camp was called Camp Chief Hector in honor of the Stoney Indian chief who agree that year to lease indian land to the YMCS in the hope that “the white man’s sons will grow up to be better than their fathers.” Chief Hector died many years ago. Now, after 41 year, the camp which bears his name also faces extinction.
Last week, the YMCA formally agreed to the Stoney tribe’s wishes to reclaim the 40-acre site following the 1972 summer program. The Indians intend to build a tourist recreational centre on the land.
The YMCA is already considering two or three sites for a new camp.
“There’ll be a lot of nostalgic people when they hear the camp is closing.”YMCA director Jimmy Gray said Saturday during a father-son weekend at the camp.
“I don’t know how many thousand of boys have gone to Camp Chief Hector through the years, but there’s quite a fraternity in Calgary and Edmonton.
The Camp caters to youngsters aged 10 tdo 16 with games and instruction in such sports as hiking, camping, canoeing and swimming – activities that the city’s asphalt and building make all but impossible when at home.
It’s on the doorstep of the mountains one mile from the Banff Coach Road.
“I hope they don’t have to move the camp.” said Jeff Scott, 12, who was at Camp Chief Hector for the third time Saturday. “With the overnight hikes and the camping trips you really get to know the land here.”
Other agreed, nut by and large the children were more interested Saturday in the affairs of the moment, such as whether to vote for a hike to a canyon waterfall or a mock flag battle in the open field.
Nostalgia over the camp’s closing is mostly an adult emotion, and in August 1972 the grownup feeling will be served.
The camp’s very last Grand Council will be an open affair and everyone with Camp Chief Hector memories either as young camper or supervisor will be invited to draw a place around the traditional fire.
It’ll be business as usual at the camp this summer thought. Once again the YMCA will be holding three two-week camping sessions for 375 youngsters from the city. Details are available through the YMCA offices.
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