Camp Fuller History
125 Years And Counting
For more than 125 years, YMCA Camp Fuller has been serving teens and children with fun and enriching summer camp experiences. Created in 1887 as Camp Lawton, Fuller initially served male teenagers from the YMCA of Greater Providence. After housing its boys’ camp in temporary locations for more than two decades, The YMCA of Greater Providence acquired the beautiful piece of waterfront property that its camp still occupies today.
Frederic Fuller, who owned a metal foundry and who served more than 20 years as the Association’s president, was chiefly responsible for the purchase of the land. The Association named the camp in his honor 1914.
Located on Point Judith Pond, a salt-water pond in South County, Camp Fuller has a long tradition of excelling in water-based activities, particularly sailing. As one of the few camps on the East Coast with access to the ocean, it now attracts as many campers from out of state and out of the country as it does from Rhode Island.
The camp purchased its first sailboat, the “Oswald” in 1928. That boat joined the existing fleet of six rowboats, a war canoe, and a motorboat known as the “Bobbie C”. Until the purchase of a truck in 1920, the Bobbie C had been the sole form of transportation at the camp.
The original tents were located on “Senior Hill”, a site where tents still stand today. A Junior Camp consisting of three tents was built on Peckham’s Meadow in 1930. In the late 1940s, the Sherman cabins, named after their donor, were constructed. The dining hall built in the 1920s remained largely unchanged until a 1999 addition expanded its seating capacity and added bathrooms. The newest lodge on camp is Point Judith Lodge, which was dedicated in April 2000.
Today the camp accommodates 300 campers at any given time during the summer. But while the facility has seen growth and many improvements over the years, maintaining the rusticity of the camp has always been a primary goal.
Fuller became co-ed in 1978. The number of females surpassed the number of males in 1995, and there has been more females than males ever since.
Fuller has a strong tradition of developing exceptional staff through its leadership development programs. Last year over 100 summer staff joined our team of six year round staff to deliver the programs noted above. Fuller is especially proud of its commitment to developing strong leaders through its Leadership Development program for 15-16 year olds, and it’s Counselor in Training program for 16-17 year olds.
Fuller has a proud heritage of serving children. Many families have sent their children for three generations. The lay and staff leadership look forward to continuing these traditions, while continuing to develop the best camp programs possible.