Camp Kennebec The History - movie poster

(LOS ANGELES, Calif.) — NEWS: The Marina del Rey Film Festival will hold a public screening of the new Broad Street Studios documentary short film, “Camp Kennebec: The History” on Tuesday, October 22 at 12 p.m. at the Cinemark 18 Howard Hughes Center, Los Angeles. Tickets are available through the Festival’s website.

Directed by Broad Street Studios Glenn Goldenberg, and produced by Bob Merz, “Camp Kennebec: The History” (24 minutes) delivers an in-depth look at one of America’s oldest Maine summer camps for boys, chronicling activities ranging from white-water canoe trips to inter-camp color war. The film explores the roots and activities of the camp through archival footage, extensive interviews, and narrative history, with a focus on the values of camaraderie, influence, and respect.

“A compelling and interesting story about a time and place that changed the lives of many, and remains in their hearts and minds to this day,” said Linda Waxman Finkle, former Albany JCC Marketing Director & Programming Coordinator.

Camp Kennebec, an overnight summer camp for boys ages 9-16, was established in 1906 in North Belgrade, Maine, by three Philadelphians, Louis Fleisher, Charles Edwin Fox, and Milton Katzenberg. In July 1907, the first campers arrived at Camp Kennebec, located on Salmon Lake. Campers hailed from east coast and mid-west cities, including Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Cleveland, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Chicago.

Although Camp Kennebec wasn’t presented as a Jewish religious camp, the majority of the campers, staff, and founders were Jewish. Members of the camp faculty, referred to as “Uncles,” were university-educated men. Campers slept in army tents and engaged in a variety of competitive athletics including swimming, sailing, canoeing, baseball, basketball, riflery, archery, tennis, track, and inter-camp Maroon & Grey color war. Alongside sports, dramatic and humor theatrical productions by the oldest “First Section” campers were a mainstay.

Senior camp faculty-led, lengthy wilderness trips were at the camp’s foundation, exploring the wilds of Tumbledown Mountain, Mount Kathadin, Moose River, and the Allagash River in Maine. In 1925, Camp Kennesuncook lodge was established in Chesuncook to complement the Allagash river trip.

As early as 1924, alumni and faculty of the Kennebec camps organized reunions and established an alumni association to foster relationships among former campers and provide scholarships. The camp ceased operations in 1991 when it was turned into the Maine Golf Academy. To this day, camp alumni continue to organize periodic alumni reunions. The most recent 110th anniversary was held in 2017 in Philadelphia. Notable Los Angeles based Kennebec alumni include entertainment executives Ken Ehrlich, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Matt Ember.

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