January 9, 2009
New Book Chronicles Early History of Camp Hollis
County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann (center) reviews a copy of “Camp Hollis: The Origins of Oswego County's Children's Camp,” with Jim Farfaglia, co-author, and Vicki Mather, president of Friends of Camp Hollis.
OSWEGO - More than 50,000 Oswego County children have passed through the gates of Camp Hollis since its founding in 1946. The story of this unique and colorful piece of Oswego County's history is detailed in the new book, “Camp Hollis: The Origins of Oswego County's Children's Camp.”
Published by The History Press and written by three local authors, the book tells the story of the founding of Camp Hollis, the Oswego County children's camp located in the town of Oswego off Lake Ontario. The project was sponsored by the Friends of Camp Hollis.
“Oswego County is proud to have offered Camp Hollis for local children for more than 60 years,” said County Legislature Chairman Barry Leemann, who attended Camp Hollis as a young boy. “This book captures the unique story of its early history. It is a testimonial to the vision and hard work of Judge Eugene F. Sullivan, Camp Hollis's founder, and the community members, local government officials, and staff that helped the program succeed in its early years.”
The 128-page book focuses on the first 15 years of the camp, 1946 to 1960, and contains more than 170 photos and numerous testimonials from camp staff and campers. It was written by Jim Farfaglia, senior youth services specialist for the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and camp director; Jane Ann Sullivan Spellman, daughter of the late Judge Eugene F. Sullivan; and Alysa Koloms, a SUNY Oswego history student.The authors gathered research materials and photographs, and relied on interviews with former staff and campers, local historians and newspaper articles from The
Palladium-Times to develop a nostalgic picture of Camp Hollis in its early years.
“This book tells the story of how Judge Sullivan, through his caring and generous personality, shaped the lives of thousands of children through their experiences at Camp Hollis,” said Farfaglia. “We included a number of interesting details, such as the photographs of the original main building which was relocated in 1955. The building was perched on the edge of the bluff overlooking Lake Ontario and due to erosion of the shoreline, became unstable and in danger of falling into the lake.”
One former camper, who attended Camp Hollis in 1953 and 1954, wrote that his experiences at Camp Hollis motivated him to graduate from high school. “Throughout the various positive experiences in my life, the one that sticks out the most is Camp Hollis,” wrote Keith Greeney, now a retired educator. “I say that very sincerely. I think that if I had to give up any experiences, I would not give up Camp Hollis.”
Proceeds from the sale of “Camp Hollis: The Origins of Oswego County's Children's Camp” will be used by Friends of Camp Hollis to sponsor scholarships for campers and other programs.
“The story of Camp Hollis is still being written,” added Vicki Mather, president of Friends of Camp Hollis. “The work and fun of a Camp Hollis summer is just as important today to the health of our children as it ever was. Become a part of that story, enroll your child or sponsor a scholarship and of course, buy the book!”
Copies are $20 and are available by contacting the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau at 315-349-3451, by visiting the Friends of Camp Hollis Web site at http://www.friendsofcamphollis.com/ or by contacting Farfaglia via .
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