Edwin Glickman said it was two weeks of heaven.
Glickman grew up in the Chicago Home for Jewish Orphans and received a two-week scholarship that allowed him to attend overnight camp at Camp Henry Horner. Even though his camp days started in 1935, he remembers that time well.
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Every summer, the boys would join the twilight baseball and softball league.
"We knew who would pitch and who would play every position," said Glickman, who now lives in Colorado. "We won the event without question."
He recalls moving into cabins instead of staying in tents. The cabin was so neat and beds so well made a dime could bounce off the sheets.
Many campers like Glickman spent their summers at Camp Henry Horner, swimming, playing group games and building friendships. On Sunday, July 20, camp alumni are invited to return to Ingleside to celebrate 100 summers of memories.
The camp's anniversary celebration, featuring a cookout and campfire on the shores of Lake Wooster, will take place at 5:30 p.m. A free family day will precede the alumni celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. to allow families to explore the camp.
Tickets cost $35 per adult and $15 per child and can be purchased at www.jcys.org/CHHAlumni. Alumni also can send an email to CHHAlumni@jcys.org or call (847) 740-5010 for information about the day, or how they can participate even if they are unable to attend the event.
Jewish Council for Youth Services, then called the Young Men's Jewish Council, established an overnight camp for boys in 1914. Those first summers at camp allowed for only 30 to 35 boys to attend in four, two-week sessions.
Jack Weisberg, who went to camp from 1962 to 1968, recalls attending for all eight weeks.
"My parents would visit after four weeks and would bring care packages," said Weisberg, who lives in Northbrook. "That was the one day you felt a little homesick, but you couldn't wait to get back to swimming and playing baseball."
While the camp evolved to open to girls in the 1970s, camp director Isaac Brubaker said, Camp Henry Horner also has expanded to provide camp to those with special needs. In 1960, Camp Red Leaf was established to serve individuals ages 9 and older with developmental disabilities, emotional and behavioral needs.
Erin Newport, the director of Camp Red Leaf, said the program gives campers a chance to enjoy the natural environment, build friendships and perhaps try new activities -- whether it be riding boats on the lake or joining the talent show.
"To have Red Leaf shows that integration is a huge concept here," Newport said. "Henry Horner shows that people with disabilities are welcomed here."
Camp Henry Horner began on 40 acres on Nippersink Road in Ingleside. Today, the campground features 180 acres, including a pool, archery, tennis courts and even a treehouse accessible to those with disabilities. Campers don't sleep in platform tents but cabins, which inside feature scrawlings from campers who wrote their names on the walls and ceiling.
While the grounds have changed over the years, the mission is the same.
"We've stayed up to date with what kids want to do, like adding a pool and a ropes course," Brubaker said. "But one of the best parts of camp are those outdoor activities. We're not putting them in a cabin and making them watch a movie. It's social interaction. They are learning problem solving and creativity. That hasn't changed over the last 100 years."
Weisberg said the camp offered simple joys such as sports, crafts and swimming, adding he learned to swim at camp. What was special about being there was the people.
"The relationships you developed at an early age lasted a long time," said Weisberg, who added he's kept in touch with counselors he met 45 years ago.
When Camp Henry Horner offered only an overnight camp, there were 30 children per session. Now offering overnight and day camp, the site may be filled with up to 500 children per session, Brubaker said. And since coming to camp, many campers have returned to give back.
Glickman has continued to stay involved, serving on the board of directors and as one of the camp's benefactors. In addition to underwriting the ropes course, he has helped renovate the boat house.
"Many of the facilities are worn down. There is work that needs to be done," he said. "My next project will be to rebuild the dock facility at the lake."
Brubaker also prides himself as a camp alum, who attended in 1994, and remembers games such as over the fence, lollipop Wednesdays and bug juice. He encourages alumni to come back to Camp Henry Horner for the anniversary celebration and remember.
"I want them to come out and experience camp again. I want to hear their stories. I want to see their pictures," he said. "I want people to get those feelings back."