History

About Camp | Why We’re Special | Our Philosophy | Dates & Pricing

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

 

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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 schoolteacher 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.

mbk_friends_1924

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 every day, we celebrate her life by continuing to carry on the traditions she held so dearly.

histpres21
 Christine Seving grew up spending her younger childhood summers as the daughter of a camp director and moved on to a full season girl’s equestrian camp in Vermont. Following her camper years, she was a counselor and waterfront director for many summers, and later continued on to a 10 year corporate career before returning full time to her camping roots in 2001. She brought experiential knowledge and a lifelong love of camp to Fernwood.

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 continued leading camp together in their roles as Directors through the 2023 summer season. Now retired from their active roles as Directors, Fritz and Christine have accepted the new roles of Directors Emeriti – cheering from the sidelines and offering their support.

 

ellyn & 3 kids

Ellyn Weinstein Black – Director
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 master’s degree in general and special Education at Bank Street College of Education. Now the mother of 3 children, Ellyn brings a homegrown perspective to her job having grown up in the bunks as a Fernwood girl herself.

 

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