Swim Race at Lake Sebago

Swimmers starting a race at Lake Sebago

Beginning in 1919 and continuing for 46 years, the School of Education sent its students to camp for the summer. In 1919, the Department of Physical Education first offered summer school sessions at various campsites around New York State, including Chodike Lake and Chatauqua. The purpose was to give education students a chance to begin their teaching experience with youngsters in the great outdoors. In 1928, the new chairman of the department, Jay B. Nash, founded a graduate summer camp as a permanent part of the program. He chose Lake Sebago, a property leased from the State Park Commission and located near Sloatsburg, about 40 miles from the city.

The success and popularity of the Lake Sebago “experiment,” designed to stimulate interest in the ”natural education that takes places in the out of doors,” grew over the years. In 1961, the Board of Trustees approved improvements in the facilities and the purchase (by gift and matching funds) of an additional 120 acres of wilderness in Dutchess County called “Camp Sanita Hills.”

When the summer camp program was discontinued in 1966, over 10,000 students had attended in the four decades, and a total of about 800 bachelor’s degrees, 600 master’s degrees and 100 doctoral degrees in recreation or camping education had been awarded.

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