While Camp Buckskin has been helping campers – and staff – to learn and grow since 1959, the history begins well before that date. Most of the rolling hills, lakes and rivers that make our area so beautiful were formed by the glaciers about 10,000 years ago. The moose, deer, bald eagles, and other wildlife have become an integral part of the area and still greatly outnumber the human residents.
Fast forwarding to the early 1900′s, the site was part of the St. Croix Logging camp. The large White Pine trees, the native species in the area, were logged and sent down-river to the sawmills in the Ely area.Fortunately they left a fair number of these huge trees to beautify the area and for our campers to enjoy.
After twenty plus years of relative quiet, the site sprang back into life as a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp in the early 1930s. During the Great Depression, the CCC program put young people to work, so they would have a chance to learn, and gain necessary skills that they would not have otherwise been able to.
Our Formative Years
Founded by RS “Duffy” and Nancy Bauer, Camp Buckskin began well before its first summer of operation. Duffy, a CTRS who also worked in hospital administration, and Nancy, an RN, gained experience from a number of settings working with children, adolescents, and adults. While working with these various age groups, they decided to develop an early intervention program, as the younger clients were ‘more shapeable’ or more amenable to making changes.
Fortunately, the concept of a preventive program is better understood and accepted today, as back then people were more skeptical about whether such a program would work.Utilizing their own years of experience and taking counsel from the psychiatrists, psychologists and other peer professionals, plans for the program took shape. That first summer in 1959, camp had one camper, the son of a psychiatrist colleague.
Our Program has Grown
From that modest beginning, the program has grown and developed over the past nearly half century. Camp Buckskin has continued to refine efforts concurrent with advances in the fields of medicine, psychology, and education. Based on the research about Learning Disabilities we started our reading program in 1968. Our Personal Growth and Social Skills Program began in 1973, in response to the increase in understanding of the struggles associated with what today is termed AD/HD.
To provide more kinesthetic learning opportunities and to make better use of our natural environment, Camp Buckskin started an environmental education activity in 1976. While we have provided the same ‘core activities’ for a number of years, we continue to refine and improve both the content and delivery of this information to better help our campers grow.
Serving a Second Generation of Campers
Camp Buckskin believes we are indeed fortunate to be serving second generation campers. As adults the former campers are better able to articulate what the experience meant to them then – and now. Life hasn’t gotten any easier for today’s young people, as society seems more complex and faster paced than ever. So, we truly appreciate their encouragement and continued support, as we are better able to help our current campers.