Greystone History: Similarities and Changes Since 1920

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As we are spending this year looking back on 100 years at Greystone, it is so much fun to see how much has changed in the past century. From building updates to classes offered, from food served to sessions available, many aspects of camp have been updated to accommodate the campers of today. However, much has also stayed the same. Campers enjoy many of the same traditions, events, classes, and buildings that girls in the 1920s enjoyed. Check out five ways that camp has changed and five ways that it has stayed the same since those first years of camp.

Five things that have changed since the 1920s:

  1. Uniforms: In many early pictures, you see girls wearing a white collared shirt, dark skirt, and a neck tie. These days, we don’t wear a specific uniform like that anymore. The only uniform tradition we have kept alive is to wear Whites (a white shirt and shorts) on Sundays, at Vespers, and at Banquet.
  2. Green and Gold: Back in the 1920s, the Green and Gold awards booklet also served as camp’s literary magazine. When you page through these earliest editions of the Green and Gold, you can find some really interesting and funny articles about life at camp (like this one from 1923 which defines funny camp terms). Today, we have a separate literary magazine called the Greystone Gazette.
  3. Packing List: In the 1920s, girls were instructed to bring things such as knickers, black socks, a heavy sweater, and a hot water bottle. You surely won’t find those things on the packing list today!
  4. Tutoring: Back in the early days of camp, girls could receive tutoring while at camp. College-aged counselors were paired with campers, and parents had the option to pay for this additional service. Nowadays, who has time for tutoring with all the fun we have packed into each day?!
  5. Apple Orchard: When camp first started, many apple trees surrounded the property. Girls would often climb the trees and pick the apples, enjoying time with friends. Girls also ate the fresh apples at meals in the Dining Hall. We still celebrate apples with our daily Apple Cart delivery, but these apples are sourced from a local orchard instead of from the camp property.

Five things that have stayed the same since the 1920s:

  1. Devotions: In the 1928 brochure, you find mention of campers attending Morning Assembly, Church, and Vespers services, much like girls do today. As the brochure says, “All things about us seem to speak to Him,” just as we will try to do in 2019!
  2. Activities: In the 1920s, campers loved tennis, riding, Bible, and swimming. When you look at our most popular classes from last summer in 2018, you’ll see much the same: tennis, advanced riding, Sandi’s Bible class, and synchronized swimming.
  3. Physical growth: Girls in the 1920s grew physically just like campers still do now. Often, campers were reminded how wonderful it was to breath “ozone” (which we now refer to as fresh air) and enjoy the wholesome food that allowed for muscles to gain strength…much like camp in the 2010s!
  4. Banquet: We have a few recorded accounts, mostly written in letters and journals, in which campers of the 1920s shared their thoughts about the end-of-camp Banquet. The excitement and glee are so similar to what girls still experience at camp. Check out this 1922 perspective recorded in the Sparks: “We held our breath while ‘Miss Janie’ slowly read the list of honor girls. For a second after she had finished we couldn’t say a word. But only for a second. In another minute the roof began to ring with our cheers. Sixty of us had earned our ’22’s! We sang ‘Follow the Gleam’ and ‘Taps’ very happily that night, for we had passed a great milestone in our camp life. Then we raced merrily off to our Tentalows, too full of joy and banquet for utterance.”
  5. Electric lighting: Unlike many camps during the 1920s, Greystone had electric lighting. In the 1920s, this was much safer and far more convenient than using smoky lanterns found in many camps nearby. No surprise, we still use electric lighting today.
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