Approaching the Centennial – Kabeyun Nears 100

by Ken Robbins /
Approaching the Centennial – Kabeyun Nears 100

In only a few short years, Kabeyun will reach a momentous milestone – one hundred years of continuous operation. When John Porter established a summer camp for boys on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in 1924, we had yet to walk on the moon, movies were still silent, and a soft drink cost a nickel. Much has changed in a century, throughout the world and, yes, even at Kabeyun. While we now enjoy hot showers instead of bathing in the lake, we remain the rustic, tradition-filled summer camp that is ever-familiar to those who have shared in the Kabeyun experience.

I often talk about the efforts we make to maintain those aspects of Kabeyun that are precious and familiar. When fathers and grandfathers return after decades away and feel as if they’ve stepped back in time, I know we’re doing something right. Camp not only looks and feels the same, it remains a predictable and stable place where boys freely choose their own path with caring, professional guidance as they navigate their journey towards becoming young men of character and principle.

This summer, when we gathered for the annual all-camp photo, Bill French suggested we take a picture of all those campers and staff whose fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other family members from previous generations had been at Kabeyun. To my astonishment, that included more than 80 people! What an extraordinary testament to the lasting impact of a Kabeyun summer, that so many have passed their connection to their sons, nephews, and grandsons.

More than 200 campers and staff populate Kabeyun every summer, and nearly all of them hold some relationship to camp’s storied past. Of those who are not a continuation of a Kabeyun bloodline, most cite a neighbor, a close family friend, or another trusted friendship as their path to camp. Each summer’s community is built on the foundation of our ever-expanding family that shares a bond forged from decades of summer memories.

As 2024 nears, when we will celebrate Kabeyun’s first century and look ahead toward its next, we’re faced with a new and daunting challenge – to rekindle the embers from past campfires and coax many generations of our camp family back to honor the legacy of John Porter and those who followed in his path. Our call to action now is clear: to re-connect, find those cabin-mates from summers past, and strengthen Kabeyun’s most essential aspect – its people.

Please share new information, address changes, or updates to phone and email by emailing!

In the meantime, enjoy some photos from our 90th anniversary, which brought more than 250 people back to camp for a celebratory weekend.

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