A Brief History of Kill Kare Kamp
In 1917, my grandparents found a spot on Walker Pond where they built Kill Kare Kamp – so named because you come here to “kill your cares”. My grandfather rowed out to the middle of the lake, identified two large rocks and asked to have the house built directly on them. He wanted to feel as though he was on shipboard when he sat on the wrap-around porch he envisioned. Kill Kare was built with several bedrooms attesting to the number of friends the family had. When you have a home on the coast of Maine, there is never a shortage of visitors. My mother, Grace (whom her father referred to as the “Host to the Coast”) and her brother, Will, had a large group of friends “from away” who gathered every summer to Down East Maine to swim, sail, canoe, have island picnics, churn homemade ice cream, sing around a campfire, hike, go on scavenger hunts, enjoy incredible sunsets and Northern Lights, star gaze at constellations so bright they seemed to be almost within reach, watch loons, eagles, deer, moose and myriad other wildlife and, of course, fish.
Having had such idyllic childhood summers in Maine, it seemed only natural for my mother to start a girls' summer camp - Four Winds - on the adjacent old farm that her parents purchased in 1922. A Lodge was built in 1946, which had a huge field-stone double fireplace that faced both the recreation area and the dining room. A warm fire was very welcome on chilly Maine mornings. And, many a campfire song was sung and s’more was roasted in the fireplace. The sleeping cabins - all named for winds: Puff, Zephyr, Breeze, Sirocco, Squall, Twister and Whiffet, were all nestled in the woods.
In June of 1946, Grace welcomed 13 campers. The next summer all 13 returned and 13 new campers joined them. Over the years our camp family would grow to host about 100 campers annually, 12 counselors-in-training, and 25-30 staff. 1946 was the beginning of over a half century of camping and of sharing with girls - from throughout the fifty States and the all over the world - the joys of Grace’s youthful summers: the natural beauty of the Maine coast, the camaraderie of friends sharing a summer experience, learning to paddle a canoe, set a spinnaker, select a campsite, climb a mountain, shoot a bow and arrow, ride a horse and all the while acquiring the skills, the poise and the self-confidence that so benefit young women when they go out to make their mark in the world.
Sadly and with much heartache we closed Four Winds in 2002 after 57 years of operation. However, there remains a vast network of alumnae numbering in the thousands from all over the world who are in touch with each other and with us who keep the Four Winds spirit alive. Kill Kare has been part of the Walker Pond landscape for almost a century and was a beloved part of the Four Winds experience. We have delighted in our friendships and in each other within the walls of this home for over 90 years.