Catoctin Quaker Camp:

Catoctin needs no introduction for those who have spent summer days there.. For those who have not made camp’s acquaintance, it is an overnight Quaker summer camp in Northern Maryland offered by the Baltimore Yearly Meeting Camping Program. It serves Quaker and non-Quaker children ages 9-15 for two-to-four weeks. With simple facilities and an abundance of natural beauty, the place inspires spontaneous and creative fun. Yet more than a place, Catoctin is a community, a way of interacting that elevates unconditional love and support for every person. Whether in camp, or on three-day backpacking/canoeing trips, campers and counselors welcome challenging experiences, that foster spiritual growth and self-esteem.

There are a million ways to describe camp, not one of which would be adequate. It seems that the best way to learn about Catoctin is through the stories it has engendered for the people who have been changed by their camp experiences. You can find a sampling of these stories on this website and more information about the camp can also be found at www.bymcamps.org.


Oral History:

Although history has been transferred orally for millennia, contemporary oral history was born with the invention of the audio recorder. To preserve the exact words of the historical actors, oral historians gather their material through interviews, sometimes collecting life stories, and sometimes focusing on a particular event, community, or period of time. Oral history interviews enrich the historical record, narrating what the facts and figures of history meant to the individual lives. It operates under the belief that any individual experience has historical significance, and often seeks to record the history of those without a historical voice. These recollections have traditionally been preserved in text; however advances in technology have made digital storage inexpensive and accessible, resulting in more and more projects available for listening, or even viewing. As a vague term, oral history is used to describe academic and uncritical collection of stories alike. To learn more, visit the Oral History Association website: www.oralhistory.org and the International Oral History Association website: www.iohanet.org   


This Website:

cqcoralhistory.org is an effort to present oral history material in a digestible amount in the most accessible way possible. Its content derives from interviews conducted during the summer of 2009 with members of the Catoctin community. Part oral history, part digital storytelling, the site features brief audio stories isolated and edited from the lengthier oral history interviews. It’s my hope that these stories will help those who have been enriched by camp relive and reconnect with their experiences. Hopefully it will bring past, present, and future campers to know the origins of traditions, learn about the ones do not exist anymore, and hear about ones that have developed after their time. For those who haven’t been to Catoctin, perhaps the value of these narratives is simply in the universal appeal of story – to understand the American camping experience and the world we live in.
As a final note, while this project was truly a labor of love, it was also done in partial fulfillment of a General Studies degree from the New College of Florida. While I consider this website my thesis, there is also a short document that accompanies it. The document can be found in the Notes section of the website.

- David B. Anderson, website creator


How to use this website: The stories are organized by narrator. Click on the Stories page to find the narrators, click on their picture to find their stories, and click on the story titles to hear them. The Histories section of this site features a map of camp. Zoom and pan around the map to find hotspots containing historical descriptions or general comments related to a particular site on the map.