formerly Friends of Kern, Inc.
February 2002 - November 2010

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Friends of Kern, Inc. was established as a non-profit charitable 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to maintaining contact with friends and alumni of YMCA Camp Kern, preserving Camp Ozone & Camp Kern's history, and perpetuating the camp experience and life's work of former Boys' Secretary Carl B. Kern.
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Carl B. Kern
  • Elizabeth Ayers married Carl B. Kern in 1908. A collage of materials shows a letter she wrote to C.B. Kern's mother on August 17, 1904, a dark but legible engagement announcement (C.B. was Boys' Work Secretary at the Poughkeepsie NY YMCA at the time, and an unidentified picture.

  • An article [PDF] announces the arrival of Carl B. Kern to succeed Blake G. Godfrey as Boys' Work Director of the Y.M.C.A. According to the tribute booklet published in 1917, C.B. Kern arrived in Dayton in September, 1909. He was 29 years old.

  • Carl B. Kern was in Brooklyn, NY on May 18, 1917 and sent a postcard to his mother, the front and back of which have been posted online. This was just a few weeks before the accident occurred in which he was killed.

  • Robert C. Neff receives a membership reminder from C.B. Kern dated June 1, 1917, days before C.B. was killed [JPG]

  • After Carl B. Kern's accident, his widow Elizabeth Kern was placed in Castile Sanitorium in New York. A postcard sent from M.D. Crackel to C.B. Kern's mother on June 9, 1917 notes that "This is a beautiful restful place. She will have good care."

  • A Tribute Booklet is written and published by the Boys' Department to honor their friend C.B. Kern [JPG-1] [JPG-2] [JPG-3] [JPG-4] [JPG-5] [JPG-6]

  • When Mrs. Elizabeth A. Kern passed away in early March, 1927, a bequest was made to the Dayton Y.M.C.A., "the income to be held in trust by the Endowment Fund", as described in a 1927 letter. In 1930, a letter to Director Ralph D. Roehm from Dayton YMCA General Secretary H. D. Dickson gives additional details of the endowment, estimated at $5,500 at the time, and includes an excerpt from the will, which states that the income will be "used by the Boys' Department for the benefit of boys, who are working their way through school or college." The last known distribution from this endowment was in the mid 1980's.

The Early Years - 1910 thru 1925

  • Richard T. Schwartz recalls his camper and counselor years beginning in 1914 [HTML]

  • Carl B. Kern submits a report to the Dayton YMCA Board of Trustees on September 20, 1915. In it, he proclaims, "More of permanent value can be accomplished with a week in camp with a boy than months of casual contact." [PDF] (recreated from original)

  • Paul B. Selz reflects in a letter written in 1985 at age 80 upon his years as a camper and leader in the late 1910's and early 1920's, including memories of Mr. Kern, the graveyard, and other activities. [page 1] [page 2] [envelope] More about Paul Selz, who passed away July 14, 1994 is at:

  • Several postcards exist which highlight the view from Fort Ancient's "Prospect Point" - the North Lookout which overlooks the Little Miami River Valley. In this view, the town of Fort Ancient is on the right side of the river, and Camp Kern's property is on the left.
    • Here is the front and back from a postcard from 1921.
    • Another 'painted' postcard view from the same era (perhaps a little earlier) was submitted by Little Miami River, Inc. Executive Director Eric Partee. Note the buildings present in the town of Fort Ancient.

  • The Edwin L. Shuey, Jr. Medal was awarded to campers for a period of time including the 1920's. Here is a front and back view of a medal awarded in 1924 (thanks to Jim Rannes).

  • 1925 Report

Camping and Character - The Roehm Years: 1926 thru 1942

  • 1926 Report

  • 1927 Report

  • The front of a 1927-postmarked postcard shows a bugler at the flag circle in front of the Council House. The back of the postcard demonstrates that campers back then had as much (or as little) to say as campers now(!) Thanks to Jim Rannes for obtaining this postcard from eBay, scanning the images, and sending them along.

  • Here is a 'painted' postcard view of the old campsite, looking west up the road from the river to the hairpin turn, with the camp on the right and the old stone house just visible on the left.

  • Richard Sucher finds a Camp Kern postcard written by his great uncle when he was a camper, dated July 26, 1929 [HTML]

  • Ralph Roehm notes on the Educational Opportunities of the Summer Camp.

  • Ralph Roehm reflects on Camping and Character and the 1929 summer camp season.

  • Ralph Roehm gives a radio talk about Summer Camping on May 28, 1933 over station WSMK.

  • 1933 Report

  • Ralph Roehm jots down notes in 1935 about the first 25 years of Camp Kern.

  • Camp Kern Final Instructions to campers and parents for the 1940 season.

  • 1940 Report
Uncle Bill and the Move to the Top of the Hill - 1943 thru 1953
  • Dick Wendel was a camper in 1945 and shares a group picture in front of the 'Apache' cabin. "The counselor on the left was my cousin, Jimmie Rowe who was just back from the Pacific where he served with the Marines. My cousin Charles Mueller is second from the right bottom row."

  • Dr. Harold L. Boda writes a letter in 1986 which pays tribute to William A. Young and describes the purchase of the land at the top of the hill for the "New Camp Kern".

  • 1949 Report

The New Camp Kern - the 1950's

  • Picture of the Main Lodge, shortly after its construction in 1950.

  • Picture of the Infirmary, constructed in the 1952, which later served as the Camp Office and now is the Program Office.

Growth and Expansion - The Singerman Years: 1961 thru 1973

  • Paul Bunyan was one of the classic evening programs developed in the 1960's. Dan Willson provided a description from his Program Director days in the early 1990's.

  • Annual Reports were produced which documented camper enrollment, program development, camp staff and positions, plans for the future, and more. A 1965 Annual Report is an example (thanks to Marty Erbaugh).

  • The trampolines, the Torpedo Brothers, Staff Banquets - just a few of the activities captured by Ted Hopple in slides taken from 1963 and 1965.

  • Bill Bagwell shares a picture of his fellow kitchen staffers in 1965: Inez Gaylor, Matt Storie, Bill Jameson, Jim Wayman, Barbara Henry, Tim Smith, and Mike Oscar

  • Tim Hart shares pics from his years at Kern (1969 thru 1971):
    * Pic 1 - Kent Barnheiser and Jeff 'Turk' Singerman among those at the dock
    * Pic 2 - Mark Schaefer checking out the sailing and canoeing action at ELK Lake
    * Pic 3 - John Finch at the trampolines.

  • The summer Camp Kern News Letter was a hot item for both campers and staff. Here is The Kernel [PDF] from the 2nd Period, 1969 (thanks to Marty Erbaugh).

  • Movie history was altered forever with the production of a Day in the Life (thanks to Eric Moll).

Continuing the Tradition of Excellence - Barnheiser / Maxwell: 1974 thru 1993

  • Karen Marvin Romari shares a picture of Mike Sherman and Kent Barnheiser taken in the Kern kitchen in 1975, labelled "Kent & Mike - hamming it up".

  • Linda ('Annie Oakley') Scott Bartlett shares 47 pictures! from the summer of 1977.

  • David Stone shares a group picture from the the late 1970's (78 or 79?).

  • In 1978, just after summer camp ended, lightning struck the craftshop and it was destroyed by fire. The 'JDJ' portion closest to the Nature Cabin burned down to the ground (view from the Nature Cabin), while not much more than the frame was left to the middle entrance to the crafts area (former crafts director standing in doorway)

  • Laura Drake shares some Ranch Camp pictures from her camper years, including 1979 and 1980.

  • "The Ghost of Isabella Worley" was but one of the infamous camp movies shot at Camp Kern. Mike Dailey provides a clip from the 1979 classic featuring Loaf and Debbie Bushhouse in the good ol' canteen. And from the "Killer Waffles" movie is a clip featuring Gerry Greene interviewing Mark Schaefer's son Josh, with a little help from Debbie Bushhouse.

  • Greg Aldredge shares a picture of Doug Greenfield and Kim Richey singing together in the Lodge in August, 1979 and another of himself, Steve Bull, and Pete Cade at a staff snack ... er, meeting in the Dining Hall in 1980, with a couple of the graces clearly visible in the background.

  • Beth Bethel shares some pics from the summer of 1980, including Steve Bull at one of his better moments with Rob Stahl [pic1], the Staff Banquet with Master of Ceremonies Steve Bull and the sheriff of Oregonia, sort of [pic2], and an unidentified partier at the pool wearing a hula skirt later that night [pic3].

  • John and Patty Fiely submitted a 1980 Summer Staff picture, complete with everyone's names.

  • The 8-page Spring 1985 TOWER includes a 4-page 75th Anniversary insert with a historical timeline covering camp's 75-year history: pg 1 - pg 2 - pg 3 - pg 4 - pg 5 - pg 6 - pg 7 - pg 8

  • A picture from the summer of 1985 with Karen Scranton, Kenny Moore, Margot Heffner, and Mike Lair, thanks to Margot.

  • And what about that mock wedding between Shalini Singh and Joey Ruehrwein??? Thanks to Kenny Moore, we have the evidence, from 1985? 86?: wedding1 - wedding1 with names - wedding2 - wedding2 with names - wedding3 - wedding3 with names - wedding4 - wedding4 with names -

  • Some survivors from the 1989-90 New Year's Eve/Day Zangout II, including [standing, L to R] Joey Ruehrwein, Mike Engel, Jen Neufarth, Carol Allenson, Amy Rider, [sitting, L to R] Sandy Hempel, Tony 'Zang' Zangaro, Barb Jones, and Tom Sydnor.

  • Dave Thompson shares his YMCA Camp Kern Songbook from 1990, available in several formats: [TIF]; [MAX - PaperPort]; [PDF];

Outdoor Education

  • Dave Knaebel shares pictures of the christening of the Log Cabin? from the spring of 1980?

  • A picture of the Spring 1986 OE Staff, thanks to Margot Heffner. Back row, L to R: Andy McGarvey, John Mancuso, Rob Heffner, Keith Bengtson, Bill ????, Gary Saxton. Front row, L to R: Carol Carr, Carol Chatfield, Tammy Eaton, Margie ????, Felicia Gregoroff. Missing: Mike Dailey.

  • Information on the 2002 "101 Conference"

  • Information on the 2005 "101 Conference"

  • Information on the 2007 "101 Conference"

  • Information on the 2015 "101 Conference"

Specialty Programs

  • Thanks to Doug 'Tank' Beattie, a digitalized copy of the 1990 Archaeology Camp video has been posted on-line [50 Megs]

The Tradition Continues - 1993 to present

Strong Kids / Annual Campaigns (Goals)