ULBC Camp Tour

This page will highlight areas of Union League Boys and Girls Club Camp, located in Salem, Wisconsin, by way of its physical facility. Individual stories of the camp can be found on the sidebar in our Category section as to when I was a counselor at Tent City in 1969 and even later tales when my Hoffman Estates Boys Club as permitted to use the camp in both the offseason and summer months by then Camp Director Al Mackin (1978-79). Each section will be dated and new material added over the next couple of weeks and months.


The Administrative Office appears to be a former cottage of the camp that has been transformed into an office building. I wonder if it is used year round and is heated? Is this where the Camp Director stays during the summer and just where might this building be located at camp?

How many people make up the summer administrative staff? What about the off-season staff? Does the Camp Director now have a permanent home t ULBC Camp? When did this cottage begin its function?




In 1969, this was Camp Director Jim’s (Twiggy) place of residence. I can’t recall his last name as we always referred to him as “Twiggy”. Even in 1978-79, while at the Hoffman Estates Boys Club, Al Mackin, the then Camp Director, seemed to operate within this building. I wonder when the switch over was to the new administration office and also what cabin it took the place of?

Also, if there is a new camp administration office now, what has become of Twiggy’s place? What function does it serve presently?


This refitted cottage is now the arts and crafts center. I wonder what regular cottage it once was? I think it is good to have a separate cottage for arts and crafts so that even in foul weather the kids have something to do. How long has this cottage been designated the Arts and Crafts Center?

Is the reason for an administrative cabin and arts and crafts center due to dwindling enrollment at the camp?


The camp chapel was located in a valley and was close in proximity to both the infirmary and the nature cabin. There were some great church services there with much singing. Plus, in my year at camp (1969) there was my puppet shows along with Gary Hubbard’ magic shows. I even had a puppet by the name of Mysto the Mystic who used to desire to make Hubbard’s magic show disappear!


The camp infirmary hosted me for a night following a wind storm that had struck Tent City where I contracted strep throat.  The cots there did not suit my 6’10” frame very well so I was in a rather big hurry to get out of there and back to Tent City.  The nurse, though, was professional and insisted I take my medication to get me back to active duty  Any other thoughts about the camp infirmary?  By the way, it was the farthest building away from Tent City.


This was a typical cottage at ULBC Camp.  When I was there in 1969 the floors of the cottages were cement but now they seem more modern.  The boys stayed in their own section each with their own bed.  The counselors, on the other hand, had the privacy of their own room.  This was in contrast to another camp where I was a counselor where the counselors slept in the same room as the kids.  I prefer the ULBC model.  Even at Tent City, where I was stationed, the counselors had their own tent.


This is the nature cabin and during my summer at ULBC Camp,  I was probably only in there one time since I was a tent counselor.  Perhaps others could describe their experiences at the Nature Cabin?


This is where the youngest campers at ULBC stayed and this is a front and back view of their cottage which overlooked the waterfront and League Lake.  Some seemed like mere infants.  Is this cottage still used at camp for the same purpose?


This was the main lodge where kids would come during summer to spend money at canteen.  While I was with the Hoffman Estates Boys Club in the late 1970’s, we used this facility to sleep in during our off-season trips.  It was a heated building.  In the back there was a deck of sorts that was cement and overlooked both the lake and lagoon.


Remember the great meals at the ULBC Dining Hall?  How about the kitchen boys who assisted the cooks?  This was probably the most important place at camp and the breakfasts there were the best meal of the day!  Any other thoughts about the dining hall?  If so please leave us a comment.


Next to the Dining Room and Tent City, the ULBC Pool was my favorite place to be.  It was great for a refreshing swim unlike League Lake which always made me feel more dirty than when I had went in there.  The pool was only about four feet deep at the deepest but made for great fun for counselors and campers alike.  Thoughts?


This is the ULBC Camp Waterfront and everything is in view with the exception of the swimming pool which you can view in the previous post.  The boathouse is where the boats are stored in the offseason and where the oars and life jackets are found in season.  The shower area is just to the right of the stairs and includes dressing areas as well for either the lake or the pool.

Also in view is the main dock.  A new dock for canoes and paddle boats is to its left and out of the picture.  That area was not there when I was at camp in 1969.


One of my favorite excursions was down the lagoon just off of League Lake with a rowboat.  Then again, was I safe?  After all this is the legendary home of Swamp Man.  Now how many stories do you have of Swamp Man over the years at ULBC Camp and does this rogue still make an appearance or two yet today?  Let us know by way of a comment.


Tent City was located about a quarter of a mile behind the Dining Room and we had the counselors kids on their days off.  Each cabin group spent two days at Tent City where three counselors gave them a true camping experience within the camp program.  They learned how to use a hatchet, start fires, and cooking skills.  They also learned how to read a compass.  To my knowledge, Tent City is not being used at camp currently.


For 2011, ULBC Camp has added a beach!  Last years picture showed grass where this sand is now located.  In the background you can observe both the pool and the bath house.  Perhaps they even added some sand to the murky Fox Lake in the swimming area??  And, the pool looks empty?  What is going on?


Here we have a counselor “go-cart” that displays the entire parade field with the centerpiece being the Dining Hall at the far end.  Behind me is a hill that leads to the Nature Cabin, infirmary, and Chapel.


It would be remiss of me not to mention the off-season usage of the camp as in all off-season months the camp is used by the Union League Boys Clubs of Chicago.  They stay in the heated main lodge in bunk beds.  When I was Executive Director of the Hoffman Estates Boys Club, our club was also afforded the opportunity to use the camp in the offseason plus the summer months.


I would like to draw your attention to the two speakers  atop the main lodge.  Remember the sounds of reveille followed by patriotic music to wake us up each morning at camp?  I remember hearing it loud and clear at Tent City so I wonder how it sounded to the cottage closest to the main lodge? 


Another ULBC Camp institution was Jim Marino (Lower Left) who was the waterfront director when I was at camp (1970) and hasn’t changed a bit.  Here he is at the 2011 Alumni Day at camp.  Question:  When did Jim retire from active camp participation?

24 thoughts on “ULBC Camp Tour

  1. I can tell you that the Arts & Craft Center used to be calle “The Cabin”. You can see the road behind it. Up the road to the right is where Jim Marino and his family stayed.


  2. i was a camper and staff in the 70,s .i painted the totem pole a few times, helped build the indian ring, enjoyed mr.marinos famous malts in the staff logde. when i was there the arts and crafts cabin was next door to mr. foxes house. i believe it was call
    “x”. oh if any one rembeers the baseball field,it was me who buildt that as well.


  3. I have enjoyed your old pics and stories about ULBGC Camp. I am the Adventure Education director for this year at camp and enjoyed the history lesson about my new “home”


  4. My first Summer was as a camper in 1963. In ’65 I began volunteering in the kitchen washing pots and pans. I considered it a great privilege at the time and the reward was getting to go to the night canteen after the rest of the campers went to bed. In ’66 I was hired as a kitchen boy starting with pots and pans. I worked one more summer as a kitchen boy. Over the years since then I worked my way up into progressive cook positions and eventually worked as a private chef. I always remember my first kitchen assignment at camp! In fact I tell people that I was baptized into food service at camp: That first Summer when I volunteered washing pot n pans I was rocking my self on the edge of the big sink full of water and tilted a little too far to where I lost my balance and went head first into the sink! Almost had a full body baptism!


  5. Hey Lou,

    This is Jim Guerino. I’m pretty sure you will remember the name. I was a camper and worker the same time you were up there. Next weekend is the Campers reuion up there. You can contact the camp to make a reservation. I was up there last year with Beth Markel.


  6. I was a staff member in the late 70’s and 80’s. Great pictures and I have a bunch too I’ll try to post. Besides being a counselor in the Cave and a Unit Director, I had most fun running the waterfront and teaching people to sail and windsurf. I had a great summer with Jim Marino at the waterfront and listening to his wild stories. Charlie Hoff and others were there over the years too. And the Rachmaciej brothers were always fun and got me into lots of trouble I remember. Good times !




  8. Hey Lou,
    This is Jim Guerino and it’s nice to see your name. I’m sure you remember me and my cousins Marc and Nick Guerino. I was a kicthen boys for summers 75 and 76. The camp re-union is July 15, 2012. Please pass the work around. I’ve been having talks with Jenifer Boza who works at the Union League and Dave Diaz who you probably know from the neighbor hood. Keep in touch.


  9. My name is Richie Dudlo. I was a camper and held several other staff positions from 1970 through 1990. I remember quite a lot and seen lots of changes through those years. My older brothers attended camp as well (Stan, John, Tommy and cousins Joe, Lester and Luke). i started at camp when Jim “Twiggy” Robins was there. I remember Al Mackin well and was very fortunate to have him as a counselor my last year as a camper. It was a group of returning campers that focused on challenging actiities in the Wood craft Ranger way. I earned my Red tip feather that final session. i returned the next year as a kitchen Boy. Jim Moreno passed away the last day of camp in 1982. It was hard for everyone. After Al Mackin, Frank Matkovich took over and than Nature Norman Weeks. Norman weeks was brilliant in programing and a true friend. I got lots more to add if you’d like to hear? My Bachelors and Masters degree were both in Camp Administration and Outdoor recreation based on all the influences of camp. Reply to me if you’d like to know more. And the Lagoon we usually referred to it as the Channel and Tent City was later fixed up and renamed to Pioneer Village.


  10. Thanks for haring. You can catch the category ULBC Camp on sidebar or the Union League BCA. There are more posts to ome about camp including a tribute to the kitchen boys.


  11. sure do remember u jim. let me know when the next open house is up a ulbc I’m sure me and my brother will be there


  12. I was a camper from ’60 to ’69. In ’70 I was a kitchen boy and the building I stayed in was cabin X. All the waiters and the kitchen counselor stayed there. It was right next to the Fox home.

    Vito Fashoda


  13. What a wonderful set of memories of campers,activities and the most fun filled place a city boy could ever find and keep memories for a life time. I remember well many of the names. My brother and I attended thru the mid50’s until 1965 as campers,kitchen boys and finally as a counselor. Having attended club#2 almost daily through my 7th thru18 yr, the camp experience was like frosting on a whip cream cake… we remember many of you who posted, and it would be a thrill to hear from any and all of you. I hope to be more active in the ULBC alumni association as my career winds down. we owe it to future boys and girls who my not have shared the priviledges we were so fortnate to experience thanks to the Union League Club . Dom Costabile honor boy 1964 an award that should have gone to Jim Peterson a wonderful friend who passed on all to soon.


  14. I remember you, but I’m sure you don’t remember me. I attended camp from 60 to 69 as a camper, and worked in the kitchen in 70. I was picked for the order of the flaming arrow in 69. I remember Jim Peterson very well, always smoked a pipe. Jim Marino was a good friend of the family and always looked out for me.


  15. Vito, nice to hear from you .I remember your name but I am struggling to put an image with your name. My last year at camp was 1965 I was a counselor for the ” CABIN”. Jim Marino was a terrific guy loved by all he encountered. Jim Peterson was a life long friend . We grew up on the same block and shared boys club and camp years together he is and was the most caring and talented friend a mortal could experience. I hope to see you at the camp alumni day. be well Dom Costabile


  16. chef Jem, what is your Name? I know I will remember you if you toiled in the kitchen. I spent many an hour at sink you fell in. I remember the burnt cocco that was welded to the bottom of the big pot every time they made cocco for breakfast, It was a Bitc… to clean. Dom Costabile


  17. richie, are you going to the camp reunion in july? i am here is wisconsin right now, but have to leave on the 6th. I wish i had known sooner. if norm happens to be there, or if you know how to reach him, please let him know i am looking for him.:) I LOVED my ULBC days and just found the video the other day that was made maybe in 1986 or 7. I only am in contact with Merri and John barlow, but wonder about where people have gone:)


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