about herbert h. twining

In 1992, Rozella Twining, Herb Twining’s widow, wrote this letter to the director of Camp Al-Gon-Quian. Here is an excerpt that paints a picture of our first director:

"Herb had the advantage of being able to do anything in that camp. His father was a lumberman and he started cruising with him as far as Lake Superior when he was only five years old. He slept with his father in the woods out in lumber camp. He bought Al-Gon-Quian in the middle of the winter and knew every tree by its bark. He loved the water and sailed for many years in marina races. He earned his first horse when he was about 13, eyeing a big ugly black as it was being unloaded at Twining. His dad said, ‘If you can ride him, he’s yours.’ The men saddle him. He had never felt a saddle. Herb jumped on. He was off more than he was on but he got him home. He played in all sports and earned 16 letters in high school. No one could bat a ball farther than he could. As he became older, it was so wonderful to see the boys throw him an easy one and he would bat it into the woods.

So you see this is what he brought to Al-Gon-Quian. All this natural know-how plus a youth spent in Y camps and programs with leaders who liked their boys and appreciated excelling.

Herb never took a mass approach. Everything was the individual. He could be talking to a campfire meeting of 200 people and everyone felt he was talking only to him. I think that is what made the boys feel a part of the group. He always dwelt on what each one needed to fulfill himself. He had a bench under the elms where he would sit and study the boys or listen to them while they talked on and on. This is where he always was after supper. So you see, this became their home. It was his and he made it theirs. I still feel this will always be the answer of a good camp. The excellent relationship between a director and those with whom he lives. If he chooses good counselors and treats them fairly, he will have happy campers. I don’t think it makes any difference if the cabins are pea green-yellow and the less fussing about it the better."

Mr. Twining was also on the forefront of the camping industry and was very active and well-known among camp professionals across the nation.  When the Camp Directors Association of America was reorganized in February 1935 to become the American Camping Association, he was the group's first president.