1906 : Free Press Starts Drive To Send Crippled Girls and Boys To Camp; Establishes Free Air Camp

June 24, 2024 all-day

Fresh Air Camp: On June 24, 1906, the Free Press runs a box asking readers to “wrap up a nickel in a piece of paper and send it to the Free Press to be used to send a poor crippled girl and a poor crippled boy to the country for a month’s vacation.” Nickels arrive en masse and eight children go to camp.

Cute idea, but nickels keep coming! Soon the Free Press finds itself buying land on Sylvan Lake near Pontiac to establish a Free Air Camp. For years, the Free Press sends children to camp based on the contributions of readers. In the 1940s, the paper takes over funding the camp and in the 1950s deeds it to the city of Sylvan Lake.

Source : Peter Gavrilovich, “178 fun facts for the Detroit Free Press’ 178th birthday”, Detroit Free Press, September 22, 2013.

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