Old York County Boy Scout camp still teaching lessons

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Camp Ganoga hasn’t operated since 1945, but the old Strinestown-area Boy Scout camp continues to evoke memories. Here, a group of Scouts sits on the Camp Ganoga waterfront – Conewago Creek. Background posts: Old Ganoga Bridge: ‘It is a highly unusual sight in York County’ and Once popular Ganoga Bridge now lightly used York County landmark and Big Conewago serves as physical, symbolic divider of York County culture.
Mixed-race gatherings weren’t an everyday sight in York County in the first half of the 20th century.
In collecting photos for my black history book “Almost Forgotten” at the York County Heritage Trust, I was a bit surprised to see photos of white and black campers at old Camp Ganoga on the Conewago Creek.
I asked around about that… .


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This unidentified man is perhaps a camp cook. (Photos courtesy of York County Heritage Trust.)
Yup, Camp Ganoga attracted mixed-race campers.
Girl Scouting was popular among black girls in York as well.
That quest served as a reminder that race in York County is a complex topic.
You learn that some institutions – Crispus Attucks Community Center – formed to provide recreational and social opportunities for black people in 1931. After all, the center would not have formed if there hadn’t been a need.
Then you learn that some such mixed-race opportunities from institutional York County presented themselves.
These photos of Camp Ganoga are evidence of that.
As I’ve written before, York County’s status as a border county in a border state in the mid-Atlantic region where North literally meets South creates a swirling mass of complexities.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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