Camp Turk - The Masonic Youth Camp

Camp Turk image In the beginning, long before the formation of what is known today as the Adirondack Park Preserve, the beautiful land now occupied by Camp Turk near Woodgate, New York, was a dairy and potato farm. The first 472 acres of what was to become the Masonic Home Youth Camp was purchased by the Trustees of the Masonic Home and Asylum Fund on December 28, 1923 from Mary Dellarmi.

From 1924 through the 1930s the Trustees gradually acquired additional adjacent property so that today's site encompasses between 1500 and 1600 acres of magnificent, beautiful forest woodlands including the pristine 50 acre Round Lake and nearby Mud Pond, both completely surrounded by our private preserve.

In the 1930s and 1940s the Masonic Home in Utica cared for nearly 300 boys and girls (many of whom were orphans) and they spent their summers at the Masonic Home Youth Camp along with a number of the Home's senior guests. As social cultures changed over succeeding generations, there were fewer and fewer children residing at the Masonic Home and the summer camp population dwindled to the point were the camp was no longer utilized by children.

The Grand Lodge Youth Committee, organized in 1958, approached the Trustees with the idea of operating on an experimental basis, a two- week summer camp for boys at Round Lake. In 1961, this idea came to fruition with 20 boys from 20 Masonic Districts participating in what proved to be a very exciting program.

In 1976, under the leadership of M..W.. Nathan Turk, after whom the camp is now named, the camp program was expanded to accept children and grandchildren of Masons, plus members of DeMolay, Rainbow, Triangle and Constellation of Junior Stars. The summer season was also expanded to two sessions of two-weeks for boys, followed by two, two-week sessions for girls.

While attendance grew to about 75 youngsters attending each two-week session, by 1990 it was recognized that the facilities at Round Lake were still under-utilized and the camp itself needed a physical overhaul and refurbishing. Under the leadership and guidance of two successive Grand Masters, M..W.. Richard P. Thomas and M..W.. Roswell T. Swits, a "new" Camp Turk was born.

Today, Camp Turk offers 200 boys and 200 girls an unsurpassed three-week summer vacation each year. The camp rivals the finest private camp facilities and programs, with heavy emphasis on water sports, field activities, and typical camping experiences. Each year for the past number of seasons, camp has been filled to capacity with happy, healthy campers and staff. For complete details of our facilities and programs, please visit our website.