Camp Sidney Cohen

If you were a child or counselor attending Camp Sidney Cohen in 1929, you probably met at the Abraham Lincoln House where the other campers and counselors would be waiting to board the bus that would take you to the interurban station. This train would travel through the countryside, past Lake Nagawicka to the Waterville Station. From there you hiked the mile to camp.

These girls, who attended camp in the 1930s, are dressed in their green bloomers that were provided to them.

During World War II, the camp managed to stay open. Campers willingly took ration stamps that would enable them to enjoy nutritious meals. COA volunteers did everything possible to ensure the camping program ran smoothly.

In the early days, counselors were usually college students and many were related to or were friends of Association members. Can you identify these young men who were counselors in the 1930s?

In 1940, Children’s Outing Association entered a float in the Red Feather parade.

In the 1950s, volunteers were the mainstay of the organization. A year-round director, camp caretaker and a secretary in the Milwaukee office were the only members of the full-time staff. President Irma Schwartz and Byron and Dot Heinemann enjoy a cookout after a day of volunteering.

Staff were hired for the summer camping season. Male counselors worked during the boys’ session and...

...females were hired for the girls’ session.

By 1950, the camp was enlarged when Charles Ashley donated the property adjoining Camp Sidney Cohen. This donation increased the size of the camp to 9-1/2 acres and facilitated the growth of summer and year-round camping programs.

Ashley house was situated on the adjacent property that was donated to camp. It served as the recreation building for several years.

By 1953, an all-purpose recreation building was needed to accommodate the growing number of camping programs. COA volunteers raised funds to build a new recreation hall.

Do you remember going to Winter Camp? It was one of the new programs being provided at Camp Sidney Cohen...

...or maybe you went to summer camp as a camper or counselor.

If you can identify yourself or others, please let us know at We will be glad to add your information to this page.

In 1958 Norman Adelman became the full-time, year-round director of Camp Sidney Cohen. First on his agenda was coeducational camping. By 1965 this was a reality and boys and girls now went to camp together.

Camp Sidney Cohen was the camp for many Jewish children until the late 1960's. In the early 1960's, the Jewish Community Center began to examine the feasibility for having a Jewish community-operated resident camp. Camp Interlaken, an overnight summer camp near Eagle River, Wisconsin, was purchased in 1966 by the Milwaukee Jewish Welfare Fund and operated by the Jewish Community Center. It was followed in 1969 by Camp JCC, a day camp near Fredonia that offered picnic programs, family camping and conference spaces.

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