Celebrating 100 Years of The Wanocksett Experience

The Pioneers - Where it all began

In 1924, a group of Scouters from the Wachusett Council, led by Ted Boutilier, Scoutmaster of Troop 1 in Leominster, drove to the old Simeon Bullard Farm in Dublin, NH with a vision – to create a place where the Scouts of north-central Massachusetts could practice their Scoutcraft and learn “loyalty, obedience, courage, and many other virtures necessary to wholesome community living.” 215 boys participated that first summer. Since then, thousands of young people have experienced the Scouting program at Camp Wanocksett. Now, 100 years later, you’re invited to celebrate and look back on the impact that Camp Wanocksett has had on generations of Scouts.

Reflect on the Past, Live the Present, Look to the Future!

It’s a party a century in the making – one singular event couldn’t possibly allow us to celebrate the past 100 years of the Wanocksett Experience. The Camp Alumni Association is hosting a year-long celebration to mark this occasion. Join us as we explore our history, build for our future, and celebrate our camp stories throughout the year.

Documenting the Past

100th Anniversary Museum

The Alumni Association has been hard at work the last few years gathering and cataloging artifacts related to camp. We have collected everything from patches and photos, slides and brochures, camp maps and documents. The team is curating these assets, purchased and collected entirely by volunteers, into our 100th Anniversary Museum. This museum will have its grand opening at the Summer Family Day in June, and live at camp for the entire summer so campers, leaders, and alumni can enjoy. After the camp season, it will be on showcase at the Celebration Gala in November. The goal is to also share the museum in an online format as well.

Contribute Your Verse

The Alumni Association History team is in search of patches, photos, slides, videos, brochures, camp maps, documents, t-shirts – your name it; we’re looking for it! The history team will be digitizing items at the 100th Anniversary Kick Off Event in January. You can sign up for a time to drop stuff off and meet with the team. We’ll also be recording oral histories which you can sign up to record in our portable studio. 

Can’t attend the January event or don’t live in the area any more? Contact us to work with us to digitize your materials at home and submit them to us, or pick a time to record your oral history via video conference. 

Merchandise & Patches

No celebration is complete without exclusive merchandise and patches. Tickets for each of our four events this year include a patch in our set. Complete sets will be available for purchase and include additional patches commemorating the 100th anniversary year. 

Other patches that are being commissioned for this celebration include

  • A throwback “felt” patch similar to the first patch campers would have received
  • A commemorative lodge flap issued by Catamount Lodge, Order of the Arrow
  • Standard issue camper patches to complete a set of 4 patches issued for the 2022-2024 seasons

Additional merchandise is for sale through the Alumni Association, including:

  • Mugs
  • Pint glasses
  • Neckerchiefs
  • Belt Buckles
  • Commemorative prints suitable for framing
Many items are print-on-demand and will ship to you within 10 days. Other items will be pre-order only. The camp trading post and 100th Anniversary events will also have some items available for purchase.

The Latest News

Timeline of Camp Wanocksett

1749
November 3
Colony Issues Land Grant
North Monadnock Settlement Claim
North Monadnock Settlement Claim

On November 3, 1749, a group consisting of Matthew Thornton and 39 other men are granted 35 square miles in the south-west of the Colony of New Hampshire. "Monadnock No. 3" (or North Monadnock) would eventually become incorporated in 1771 as Dublin, NH. The land is divided into 71 equal shares, each with 3 lots within. Matthew Thornton claims three lots, including two which would eventually become Camp Wanocksett. There is no record that Matthew Thornton ever visited the land or town. He did serve in the Second Continental Congress as a representative from New Hampshire, and signed the Declaration of Independence.

1770
About
Simeon Bullard Moves to Dublin
Bullard Farm Established

Simeon Bullard, born Aug 19, 1745 was a native of New Ipswich, NH before moving to Dublin, NH in 1770. He establishes a residence on the shores of Thorndike Pond as the first settler of the land. He served as a sergeant in Capt. Joseph Parker's company during the Revolutionary War, traveling to Fort Ticonderoga in NY in the summer of 1776 to help reinforce the northern army.

Bullard dies in Dublin on January 28, 1828 at 82 years old. A giant elm tree next to the farm house is named for him - The Bullard Elm. 

1924
Early June
Land Purchased by Scouts
Purchased by Wachusett Council

In June of 1924, the Wachusett Area Council purchases 12 acres of the old Bullard Farm to create a new Scout camp, Camp Wanocksett. The land that is purchased is a tract south of Page Rd. and East of Upper Jaffrey Rd. (present-day main field, OA field, waterfront, etc.) and a neighboring tract north of Page Rd. (present-day archery and rifle ranges and the Crow, Arrowhead, Kiowa, and Provisional campsites)

1924
July 12 - August 9
Scouts Establish Summer Camp
Camp Wanocksett Opens!

Camp Wanocksett served the troops of the Wachusett Council for four weeks from July 12th to August 9th. During that period 215 boys or 52% of the registered Scouts in the council attended camp from one to four weeks, making 446 Scout weeks or an average of 110 boys per week. During the four weeks at Camp, 220 tests were passed in Nature study fire making, cooking, wood-craft, stars, compass, signaling, first aid, and a fourteen mile hike.

1931
January 19
Camp Expands to 20 Acres
The First Expansion

On January 19, the Wachusett Council purchases 8 additional acres to expand Camp Wanocksett. The land purchased is east of Upper Jaffrey Rd. and north of Page Rd. and includes present-day Scoutcraft and the locations of the Dining Hall and Cook's Cabin.

1947
January 21
Over 100 Acres for Scouts to Explore
A Growing Program Demands More Space

With the membership of The Boy Scouts of America beginning to show rapid growth after the end of WWII, the Wachusett Council decides to expand the camp only two decades after first purchasing the camp. The purchase of 86 acres expands the camp to over 100 acres of wilderness for Scouts to explore. The land encompasses everything east of Upper Jaffrey Rd. north to our present-day boundary.

1963
January 18
Camp Expands to 231 Acres
Doubling the Size of Camp Wanocksett

Wachusett Council decides to expand west across Upper Jaffrey Rd. purchasing 125 acres of land as membership in the BSA continues to rise at a rapid pace since the last land acquisition in 1947. Over 125 acres of land is purchased by Wachusett Council for $7,500 ($76,000 in 2023). The council supplies $2,500 as a down-payment and takes out a two year mortgage at 4% to pay the remainder. 

1964
1963-1965
Multi-Year Building Campaign
Major Capital Expansion Takes Place

The Wachusett Council merges with the neighboring Fitchburg Area Council to establish Nashua Valley Council. The board of directors embarks on a major capital campaign to establish permanent structures to support a changing camping program. Buildings built during this period include Central Lodge (current dining hall), the administration building, Nature Den, Staff cabins around the OA field, Health Lodge, and Ranger's House. 

1986
Summer
The Beginning of our Second Chapter
The Year of the Revival

In the early 1980s, camp enrollment numbers dwindled, and the survival of the camp was in question. In 1985 the staff had less than twenty members, including CITs. During this season the staff worked very hard to keep the camp alive. As a result of their efforts, the 1986 season exploded in enrollment compared to previous years. 1986 has henceforth been known as “The Year of Revival”, a season where an amazing staff came together to lay the groundwork for the subsequent growth of Wanocksett as a premier Scout Camp.

1993
June
Nashua Valley Council Expands
A New Scouting Home

Nashua Valley Council merges with Gardner-based Monadnock Council. In June, facing low attendance projections, the council leadership makes the controversial financial decision to close The David R. Collier Scout Reservation in Gardner. Over the next few years most troops that had previously attended Camp Collier will adopt Camp Wanocksett as their new Scouting home. 

2000
Summer
Second Wave of Capital Expansion
New Programs and Buildings Added

Beginning with the year 2000, Camp Wanocksett reached another plateau of camping excellence as its facilities and program soared towards a new level of professionalism, customer service, and attention to detail. New buildings were erected in subsequent years including a dedicated Adventure Team building, the prop shed, multiple Clivus systems, and a new Waterfront tower. Older buildings were renovated including the Dining Hall, Cook’s cabin, Administration Building porch, and Rangers’ basement. New projects were undertaken, most notably the Kennedy Memorial Amphitheater, new Brownsea area, new Scoutcraft area, a newly renovated campsite for handicapped Scouts (Merrimac) as well as the Monadnock, Nipmuc and Maskwa campsites. In 2007, the new shower house was opened for use and other new programs were instituted including the Climbing Tower (2006), Sunset summit (1999) and the Wanocksett Pioneers for older Scouts. 

2018
May 30-31
Heart of New England Council is Born
A New Council. A Bright Future

Discussions of a merger with Worcester-based Mohegan Council began in 2014 and continued, off and on, for the next four years. In May 2018 the members of both council approved the plan of merger that created Heart of New England Council. 

Camp Wanocksett, alongside Treasure Valley Scout Reservation in Rutland, MA, became one of two outstanding camping facilities operated by the new council.

2019
February 1
Scouts, BSA Expanded Membership
Camp Wanocksett Welcomes Girls to Scouts BSA

With the expansion of Scouts, BSA to welcome girls to the program, Camp Wanocksett opens the doors to reservations for girl troops. In the first season, 8 troops and 40 girls attend camp. 

2020
June
Camp Cancelled
Global Pandemic Cancels Camp

The Global COVID-19 Pandemic forces Heart of New England Council to review options throughout the Spring of 2020. With a plan in place announced to run shortened weeks of camp with social distancing and other pandemic safety measures, campers are excited to get back to some normalcy after months of lockdowns. At the last minute, updated requirements are released by the State of NH which put operating summer camp out of reach for the season - for the first time in the camp's history, summer camp is cancelled. For the sake of continuity and tradition, a few staff members conduct a single ceremonial flag raising and lowering on the main field in July. 

2024
All Year
100th Anniversary
Camp Wanocksett Celebrates 100 Years!

Throughout the year, 100 years of Scouting at Camp Wanocksett is celebrated. Alumni gather to share history and memories, provide service to the camp, relive their best day at camp, and celebrate.