50 Years of Summer Fun at The Long Ridge Camp of The Long Ridge School

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The Long Ridge Camp is celebrating its 50th season of summer fun under the leadership of its founders Herman and Myrna Alswanger.

Herman Alswanger

Herman Alswanger teaches basketball in the early days of The Long Ridge Camp

The camp and the school agreed to a mutually beneficial partnership and in 1962, the Alswangers opened their first camping season...

This summer, Long Ridge Camp celebrates fifty years of summer outdoor fun for children. The camp began a half -century ago when Herman and Myrna Alswanger, a recently married couple teaching in the local public schools, began to dream of starting a summer camp. Both teachers shared a deep commitment to children and to encouraging children to enjoy camping, sports, and the natural world. The late Ron Parente, a former professional baseball player on the New York Giants and a fellow teacher at Stamford High School soon joined their venture.

Herman and Myrna approached Harriet Rowland, founder of The Long Ridge School which had less then ten years earlier purchased ten and one-half acres of land on Erskine Road and put up two very small buildings. The camp and the school agreed to a mutually beneficial partnership and in 1962, the Alswangers opened their first camping season on the grounds of The Long Ridge School for children ages 3 through 13. At first, the physical plant and staffing were very basic. In the morning, campers walked to the Phelps’ pool across the street, and in the afternoon, they were driven to the Hemingway’s pool on Old Long Ridge Road where Myrna taught swimming and dance. Herm instructed basketball, and Ron coached softball and baseball.

Each year saw improved facilities to be shared by both the camp and the school. Over time, playing fields for ball games, several swimming pools, challenging playgrounds, rope courses, miniature golf, areas for archery, nature studies, art, drama, and music developed. The opening of the air conditioned Arts and Athletics Center with a new gymnasium, theater, classrooms and office space a few years ago made a spell of summer rain no longer difficult.

Herm and Myrna’s son Geoff joined his parents as a camp director and they continue to provide an outstanding program. The camp, which has a population of about 350 children and a carefully chosen staff of 136, is one of the most successful camps in the area. Year after year, its fine program attracts families from throughout Fairfield and Westchester whose children enjoy summers to remember.

The Long Ridge School is an independent day school for children two years old through grade five and is celebrating its 74th year of providing a joyful and engaging education for early childhood and elementary students. Waiting list and limited openings for this summer and fall 2011 are still available. Visit the school or camp website for more information.

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Caroline Lesando
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