Fernwood’s history is in the land, the lake, and the structures around camp but mostly it is found in the people who have lived here. – Macky King
In 1921, Dr. and Mrs. Julius Bluhm founded Camp Fernwood in an effort to create a growth experience for girls in the out of doors, and away from the bustle and stress of everyday life in the outside world. As a school teacher in New York, Dr. Bluhm realized the need, even in the 1920’s, for girls to have a growth and learning experience outside of school.
He was particularly interested in the Ethical Culture movement that focused on the development of good moral character, social responsibility, the acceptance and inclusion of people from differing cultural and religious backgrounds, and core important core values of integrity, honesty, responsibility, and commitment. These early founding principles have remained at the forefront of Camp Fernwood’s philosophy since its founding.
In 1946, following the tenure of Dr. and Mrs. Bluhm as Fernwood’s founders, their only daughter Maxine (Macky) King, who had grown up at camp from the age of 6, continued in their footsteps as director.
The Fernwood of today is a direct reflection of Macky’s leadership as director.
She was quick to say that she just perpetuated her father’s dream, yet as history has proven, her father’s dream was also her lifelong passion. Her impact as Fernwood’s director for 60 years is immeasurable, and the impact she had on those of us who were lucky enough to know her is invaluable.
In her life, Macky lived the Fernwood ideals that she taught to so many girls:
• She lived simply
• She enjoyed her natural surroundings
• She was tolerant and unselfish
• She spent a lifetime developing thousands of loving and lifelong friends
The original intent is still here … no one is afraid to say ‘I love you’ and I think the children here have an affection for each other that is very deep. – Macky King
In 1989, Macky invited Fritz Seving to join Fernwood’s leadership team with her daughter-in-law Claire King. Coming with a lifetime of experience in the resident camping industry and a B.S. in childhood education, he assisted her in guiding camp through the 1990’s. After entrusting the future of camp to the Seving family in 2003, Macky King passed away four years later at the age of 91, and while her presence at camp is missed everyday, we celebrate her life by carrying on the traditions she held so dearly.
Today, with more than 75 collective years of experience running Fernwood, the leadership team is headed by Ellyn Weinstein Black and Fritz and Christine Seving.
Ellyn Weinstein Black
Beginning at Fernwood as a 3rd grader, Ellyn Black has spent almost every summer of her life at Fernwood. After 7 years as a camper, she became a staff member in 1997 and held various positions ranging from activity instructor to Program Director until becoming a Director of camp in 2001. Ellyn was a collegiate athlete at the University of Rochester and later earned a Masters degree in General and Special Education at Bank Street College of Education. Now married and the mother of 3 young children, Ellyn brings a homegrown perspective to her job having grown up in the bunks as a Fernwood girl herself.
In 2018, with the continuity of over 100 years of Fernwood tradition in mind, the next chapter in Fernwood’s rich history began with the sale of Fernwood and transfer of ownership from Fritz and Christine Seving to Ellyn Black. All three are excited to continue leading camp into the future, together in their roles as the Directors.