As the sun peeks over the roofs of the Sherman Division cabins, the youngest girl campers begin to stir and awaken. Similarly, the Point Judith Lodge is seeing the same thing with the youngest boys in Camp. The cabins will soon be an organized chaos of getting dressed, making their beds, going to the Palace to freshen up and soon one camper from each cabin will head to the Mess Hall to set up their respective breakfast tables.
Since the early days of Camp Fuller, having a dedicated leadership team has been crucial to the success of the camp. The Camp Director has always been at the helm to provide a vision for the future and chart a course for moving forward. From capital improvements to training and the implementation of a safe and exciting program for the campers and staff, the director has always worn a variety of hats from CEO to song leader and most often the first hand shaken as you come through the gate. Our directors have always lead by example and taken camp through some difficult times with a commitment to the Fuller Spirit.
Camp Fuller has grown and prospered over the years due to the tireless dedication of many people. Some have been volunteers, some paid employees and some have donated money to Fuller. Most have done so quietly without seeking recognition for their contributions.
You can’t get to the camp gates without first traveling down the Camp Road. The rustic two-lane (sometimes one) dirt path that winds and turns its way through the woods, past the farm and old stone walls is part of the Camp Fuller experience. Although only approximately 1.2 miles long, when you are running it, it seems like 26.2.
Although the Camp Fuller Council Ring may be unique to our camp landscape and culture, the design and use of council rings can be traced to ancient Viking and Native American villages where they were used for public gatherings. The circular design which has a small opening at one end, invites people to come together and sit as equals. Everyone can see each other and look into the eyes of their neighbor. This seating arrangement allowed for group participation with nobody actually seated at the head of the table.
When people think of their Camp Fuller memories and iconic places, the Dining Hall immediately comes to mind. In the early days, campers and staff helped with the meal preparation and often cooked outside on an open fire. Meals were served in a tent, rain or shine.
Since Camp Fuller’s founding in 1887, family traditions have been at the heart of Camp’s culture. Over the past 134 years, countless families and their members have attended Fuller to enjoy its unique salt water camping experience and to grow mind, body and spirit. First-born children would venture to Fuller, adjust to living away from their families, and quickly become passionate about their new “Fuller family” and all it had to offer. Their younger siblings would often follow in their footsteps. In many cases, campers evolved into the next generation of Fuller counselors and leaders, passionately influencing the lives of their campers as they had been influenced before them. Fuller has been a “family affair” for many.
The original Flag Hill was situated atop a small hill between the current Ad Building and the Infirmary. There were six flag poles, cemented into the ground (five for the foreign flags and a slightly taller pole out front to fly the American flag). According to an old program, what we knew as “Flag Hill” was constructed in 1945 through funds donated by the Cranston Rotary Club. A ceremony which was referred to as “The Dedication of the Flags of The United Nations” was held on August 1, 1945.
For many of us, the name Fuller is part of the camp landscape. Few of us have ever wondered how this place actually got its name. Perhaps this short story will shed some light on that unanswered question….
The Archive Project receives emails from people who visit the website. This one, sent to us by Sherry Edmonson Snow really caught our attention not only from a generational perspective, but because it spoke about finding a family member who attended Camp Fuller in the 1930’s.
I was at camp for 8 summers from the mid-60s to the mid-70s (1967 - 1974) and played a lot of guitar, and sang, too. When I first arrived in Junior Division in 1967, I already knew how to play a bunch of songs that were on the radio by The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Buffalo Springfield, The Doors, Young Rascals and many more. Campers and counselors were OK with me practicing and playing these tunes in our tent.
Lester H. Clee was Camp Fuller’s first director serving from 1912-1915. We are guessing that he was probably the first person to welcome the brand-new group of boys who ventured down the camp road shortly after Camp Lawton was re-named and Fuller had a new home on Point Judith Pond.
Mooning the Southland should have been a program you signed up for. For years, this “circus boat” traveled up and down the waters of Salt Pond filled with curious on-lookers out for a day on the water. Promoted as one of the most popular attractions in Rhode Island, we all know how this salt water river boat earned that reputation.
According to an article in the Providence Journal from August, 1962 a group of six youths from Camp Fuller left Worden’s Pond at 10:30 in the morning and started their 33 mile canoe trip down the Pawcatuck River. According to Ted Ressler, Camp Director at the time “This was a pioneer party.”
There is something about the sound of the Fuller Bell that evokes memories in all of us. Whether it was a call to Morning Line Up, any of the three meals, or a special camp event, the commanding clang got everyone to where they were supposed to be in a timely manner. The bell was somewhat of a revered instrument at camp….something you walked by, but did not touch unless summoned to do so.
My summer experiences at Camp Fuller has had a profound effect on the person I became and the choices I made in life. Being in my senior stage in life, it is easier for me to now reflect on those experiences that shaped my life, my values, and the person I became. Camp Fuller was a major player in this for me.
Hi! My name is Sophia Elliott, I am a proud Camp Fuller alumnus, attending from 2004-2017 as both a camper and staff member. In 2017, I finally retired my gorgeous staff polo to join the “real world” as a freshly minted law student with a fading lifejacket tan. I have since graduated from NYU School of Law and will be joining the Women’s Law Project in Philadelphia as a Fellow.
There are few people from Camp Fuller who can check as many boxes as Steve Palmer. Starting at age seven as a camper and spending twelve years at camp working as a counselor and Sailing Master, Steve’s years at camp began a trajectory in the YMCA that took him around the world. Asked about his rise to the very top of the YMCA of the USA, Steve will immediately reflect on his time at Fuller as a young boy and those who were instrumental in his journey.