About York County’s former YMCA camp: ‘They treasure memories of their Minqua experience’
‘The Waterfront,’ along the Susquehanna River, at York County’s (Pa.) Camp Minqua in 1940. Dan Meckley published this scene in his 2008 memoir. “The waterfront was the major attraction of the camp,” he wrote. “Each year the walkway sections were stored at the end of the camp to save them from ice. The next spring the staff cut trees for pilings with crosscut saws, and drive them in place with 10# sledgehammers.” The YMCA camp operated in southeastern York County from the 1920s through the 1960s. Meckley’s memoir and a recently printed sequel are available for reference use in the York County Heritage Trust archives. Also of interest: About York’s Farquhar pool’s water: ‘He would demonstrate the safeness by drinking a cup’ and Rambo run: One small stream … so much stress and What is the probability of another flood in York?.
Mention Camp Minqua around former campers at the YMCA summer retreat, and you’ll get a portfolio of rapid-fire memories.
And no one has fonder memories than Dan Meckley, who grew up to be a community leader in York.
He devoted a large, photograph-filled section of his 2008 memoir to the long-closed southeastern York County camp.
And in his recently printed sequel, “Our Pictorial Journey,” the camp again is profiled.
Here is Dan’s description of the camp, as found in the first volume of his memoir:
None of Dan Meckley’s mentors receive higher praise from Dan than Raymond H. Oberdick, seen here in 1925, the Y’s boys work director and Dan’s future father in law: ” ‘Mr. Oberdick’ ” was the heart and soul of camp Minqua. …He had a tremendous influence on the volunteer staff where his fair, even-handed, and disciplined leadership molded their lives. He had the ability to see their strengths and weaknesses, and bring out their best.” “Mr. Oberdick” served as camp director through the 1953 season.
“For more than forty years generations of York boys attended Camp Minqua. They treasure memories of their Minqua experience. This pictorial history is designed to perpetuate these memories, and to bring back other Minqua experiences. The camp was situated on the west bank of the Susquehanna River on Lake Aldred, the eight-mile lake created by Holtwood dam. The north end of the lake was Safe Harbor Dam. Camp Minqua was half way between the two dams where the river was about five eighths of a mile wide. While the camp was located on the approximately 27 acres owned by York YMCA, the entire Lake Aldred watershed was wooded with very limited access at the north and south ends. This created a pristine setting for the camp, and provided an extended territory for camp activities.”
The most recent photograph included in Dan’s memoir came in 1966. It showed the mess hall in that year, the final year for the camp. Dan wrote about what he termed the regrettable decision by the YMCA’s board to sell the property. York Barbell’s Bob Hoffman had given 1,000 acres north of York with the provision that it bear his name. “A number of factors made it inappropriate, and after a number of years it was abandoned,” Meckley wrote.
A business now operates on the old Camp Minqua site.
Dan Meckley wrote about the YMCA Camp Caravan, 1920: “Ernie Polack, a prominent York businessman and Y Director, was a major financial supporter of the Y. His main interest was camping. He owned a property on the Chesapeake Bay, and sponsored a horse drawn expedition from York to his bay property. He provided the car and all the equipment. Raymond Oberdick was the caravan leader.”