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More than 340 relive good times at camp reunion

September 02, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Basketball hoops hung from the ceiling, old pictures lined the walls and in the center sat more than 100 women of all ages who came from all over the country for one reason.

Camp.

The first on-site reunion for those who attended Camp Wohelo for girls and Camp Comet and Camp Trails for boys began Saturday and ends Monday.

Wohelo opened in 1929, followed by Comet in 1962 and Trails a few years later. In 1986 the owners sold the camps, which feature geodesic domes and a space theme at Comet built when boys turned their heads skyward when pondering the future.

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More than 340 people attended the reunion.

"It's kind of unusual to see everybody again," said Lauren Rosenberg, who attended Wohelo from 1979 to 1983. "Some of the people look just the same," she said, but she needed to look at name tags - which featured a photo of the person that was taken during his or her time at the camp - to recognize others.

Rosenberg came from Philadelphia for the reunion. She was looking forward to one thing in particular: "Hanging out by the campfire, singing songs and making S'mores," she said.

Morgan Levy, who expanded the camp his mother, Bertha Berkowich Levy, started, smiled as he looked over the crowd of women gathered in the main hall.

"They're reliving the memories of a lifetime," he said. "Repeated over and over and over again is that these were the best years of their life."

Levy, 78 still referred to the campers as girls, though some were nearly as old as him.

"They're all just campers to me. They'll never grow up," he said.

Down the hill at Camp Comet, some men may have extended their hands, but hugs were just as prevalent.

Men at Comet and Trails - accessible by a road that was once asphalt but has since corroded into dirt and gravel - unpacked their bags in what may be the camp's most unique feature: domed geodesic cabins.

Built by Levy just after Sputnik took off, the camp added an extra twist to camp staples like sports. At Comet, boys learned rocketry, ham radio, photography and other scientifically minded endeavors.

Even the theme was universal. The office was the sun and outlying cabins were named in relationship to the sun - the closest being Mercury and the farthest being Pluto. The pool was the Big Dipper.

Linda Epstein spent about eight months planning the gathering along with others on a reunion committee. Although former campers have gotten together in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia and Miami, this was the first, and probably the last, reunion at the camp itself, she said.

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