At a Board meeting on October 22, 1928, a motion was made by Mrs. Sidney Cohen that the Children's Outing Society purchase the Michael Cudahy property on Lake Nemahabin for a new camp. On November 11, 1928, the Society secretary read a communication from Mrs. Cohen saying the six-acre property would be a gift from her in memory of her husband, with the proviso that the camp would be named "Camp Sidney Cohen."
It was a busy spring in 1929. Volunteer members of COA were busy making curtains for the camp and purchasing uniforms and bathing suits. Visiting days were established on alternating Mondays. That first summer 149 girls and 136 boys were served. The camp was also open on weekends during September and October for the young Jewish people of Milwaukee.
By 1931 the camp consisted of cabins and a main lodge that housed the dining facilities, an infirmary and a garage. Campers and staff from every cabin worked in the kitchen doing the dishes and clean up. In the morning all campers lined up at the pump to drink a cup of iron water before they were allowed to eat breakfast.
In the early years, counselors were usually college students, and many were related to, or friends of, Association members. Male counselors were required to wear uniforms of white pants and sleeveless undershirts. The women wore shorts and blouses.