Focus on History: With the girls at Camp Agaming

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Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie

In August 1929, the Amsterdam Recorder published an account of activities at the YMCA/YWCA Camp Agaming for girls in the Adirondacks.

The girls’ camp and a YMCA boys’ camp also called Agaming were on Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County.

The Gloversville YMCA/YWCA owned the property and started the camps in cooperation with the Amsterdam YMCA beginning in the 1920s.

Said to be a Native American word for “along the shore,” Agaming (pronounced agh-uh-ming) was on the north shore of Lake Pleasant near the inlet stream from Sacandaga Lake and the village of Lake Pleasant.

The newspaper piece may have been written by a member of the Agaming staff, “The sun has shown beautifully all week and inspired by the warmth, a swimming meet was planned to entertain the parents who visit the camp on Sunday.

The weather changed, however, and thoughts of an ice carnival to replace the swimming meet were seriously considered.”

A group of 16 campers hiked four miles to the summer home of Amsterdam’s Charles Hardies family on Oxbow Lake under the direction of counselors Lillian Perkins and Eleanor Marshall.

The girls moved from an outdoor encampment into the Hardies’ garage just before a severe late night thunderstorm.

Camper Mary Barton was found to be “a very able song leader” and since then has played a “prominent” role in campfire singing.

Agaming offered nature classes, athletic competitions, plays, vocal competitions and, of course, swimming.

There was a baseball game between campers and “decrepit” counselors.

The counselors won the game “despite their age and infirmities.”

The newspaper clipping and an account of a week at Agaming in 1929 were found in a diary kept by Charlotte Joslin Lindsay who lived on Guy Park Avenue in Amsterdam.

Charlotte would graduate from Wilbur H. Lynch high school in 1932.

The teenager hurt her arm in a basketball game and word spread back to Amsterdam.

Her parents, Herbert and Lucy Lindsay, drove to Agaming to take Charlotte home a few days early.

She appeared to make a speedy recovery at home according to her diary.

Charlotte’s father was assistant treasurer of Inman Manufacturing which made paper boxes and machinery for the box-making industry.

A former company building on Guy Park Avenue has been converted into Amsterdam’s Inman Senior Center.

According to the 1929 newspaper article, counselors were concerned with frequent parental visits, “The camp committee is asking for the cooperation of the parents in not bringing any candy or fruit to their children as they feel all their needs are amply provided for.

“And it is also requested that the parents do not visit their children except on Saturday or Sunday, because such interruptions disturb the camp program.”

Despite the setback of her sprained arm, Charlotte Lindsay was able to pass a lifesaving course taught by Louise Probrock of the Gloversville YWCA.

Charlotte’s diary described a full day slate of activities during her time at camp.

She and her friends put on a play about St. Peter and the angels.

The girls in another tent performed a radio drama.

The Recorder reported, “Miss Eleanor Marshall’s class has turned out some very interesting novelties in soap carving and we expect to call on her shortly for an exhibition of the only absolutely immaculate circus in the world.”

“Agaming, Agaming, we get up when the birdies sing,” began the camp song, “Where the green grass grows and it never snows at Agaming.”

In recent years the Fulton County YMCA on Harrison Street in Johnstown called its summer day program Camp Agaming in tribute to the residential summer camp of days gone by.

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