Camp Martin Johnson Dining Hall by Dan Schultz


This is an old picture of the Camp Martin Johnson Dining Hall. I wonder what type of other activities that were held there. Did they ever have movie nights? Or were special rainy day activities held there? How big was the dining hall? How many kids ate there and did the whole camp dine at one time?

What were the favorite meals there? What was the best breakfast they served? Who were the cooks and did the boys assist in cleaning up the dishes? How about the desserts? Did anyone have a favorite?

And what kinds of foods did the campers eat on cookouts? Perhaps the counselors or kids could best answer those questions.

Dan Schultz
When I was at camp between 1962 and 1973, the camp was coed. A short time before each meal, a KP bell was rung that was heard around camp. Each cabin would have assigned two campers for the day to run down to the dining hall and set up their cabin table. The same two kids would be responsible for clearing the table and cleaning up after the meal. When I was a camper in 1962 and 1963, the Counselors in Training would bring fresh plates of food to the cabin tables when an empty serving dish was held up. Meals were always served family style. When I was on staff from 1969 through 1973, the KP for the table would go get fresh food.

The whole camp fit into the dining hall. If you were in camp, as opposed to being on a camp out or canoe trip, you ate there.

There were favorite meals like burgers. I hated fish sticks and would go hungry those days. Spam was not well received.

The dining hall was raucous at meal time. Cabins would yell 1 2 3 Shhh and start a cheer. The joint would rock at each meal with a litany of camp songs and cheers.

The program staff members were assigned as rotating Officers of the Day and handled announcements.

Many programs were held. Talent shows were held in the mess hall. Awards ceremonies were held.

During the winter during ski camp, we had a fire in the fire place.

The lower level of the dining hall held the staff retreat complete with piano, pool table, and ping pong table. Many summer camp romances were started in the retreat.

We took trail packs on campouts along with eggs and other assorted meals. Trail packs were dehydrated meals.

We also would have all camp activities. One I coordinated in 1972 when I was CIT director involved a massive chicken and corn barbeque.

On visitors day in later years, the KFC franchise catered the event on the tennis courts.

As campers, we would torture each other talking about favorite foods we missed like pizza.

3 thoughts on “Camp Martin Johnson Dining Hall by Dan Schultz

  1. One of my fondest memories surrounding the dining hall was the fact that my birthday (June 30th) was always celebrated at camp. That meant that my table received a birthday cake and every one else got to watch. Hey Dan do you remember “Happy Birthday (grunt) , Happy Birthday (grunt), Misery is in the air. People dying everywhere. Happy Birthday (grunt)). All within the confines of the mess hall.

    And while we are on the subject, Who could forget that wonderful “Bug Juice?” My preference was grape!!

    Also, as CIT or Counselor of which I was both those wonderful ping pong tounaments in the lower level. What I wouldn’t give!!

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  2. What you called “Bug Juice” was called Bellywash at Camp Mishawaka where I served as a counselor.

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  3. My dad worked as the maintenance man starting in 61′ and we lived at the camp. I remember the dining hall during camp, after everyone left, washing dishes in the basement to pay for my month at camp and then when ski camp began. I remember one day in the winter when it was 40 below and we sat around that big fireplace.

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