Delmarva Treasure: Camp Barnes – Tuesday, July 28, 2015
These kids probably have no idea that they are carrying on a 70 year old tradition. Herbet Barnes Sr. pitched the idea in 1947 and it didn’t take long for them to undertake a project in the first state. 13 acres of state owned land was set aside for the camp. The state of Delaware created a 99 year lease at a dollar a year. It was perfect for giving kids an outdoor experience like no other.
Preparing the land was a community effort. Cabins for the campers were made from old WPA barracks. The farmers helped clear the land for the camp.
Barnes says about a thousand kids go through this camp each summer. Camp Barnes is run by the Delaware State Police and is open to the public at no cost to the camper or family. All children are eligible for the camp no matter what the families income is.
Cpl. Shawn Hatfield, Camp Barnes Director, says the campers come from all over the state. During the week, campers participate in several activities such as kayaking, swimming, archery, crafts, talent shows, basketball, and more. Camp Barnes is runs solely on donations and state grants, so for now it’s limited to 60 kids a week for 6 weeks each summer.
Hatfield says, “It’s memories that these kids will have for a lifetime and hopefully will pass on to their kids.”
Applications for Summer 2016 will be available in March 2016.