Camp Hochelaga celebrating a milestone

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SOUTH HERO, Vt. (WCAX) - Starting in 1919, over 40,000 kids have called Camp Hochelaga home for a part of their summer.

“It's a place where you are going to feel like you belong and there are people here who care about you and are there for you when you need them,” said camp director Hannah Bogard.

The all-girls camp is celebrating their 100th year and whether you are there for one week or one month, the inclusive camp focuses on empowering and growing women.

“We are going to welcome you in and you are going to be a part of our community forever,” said Bogard.

Saturday was an open house for prospective campers,and those returning like Robin Goodwin from South Burlington.

“I love being outside and I always come with my friends,” she said.

Counselors like Alex Hannigan also returned.

“There is such a sense of family and community here,” she said.

The open house also brought back campers of the past.

“I start to weep as soon as I step on the campground,” said Harriet Turner. “I choke up,” said Dinny Wolff.

Turner now lives in Nebraska and Wolff lives in France. The sisters, now in their 80’s, went to the camp on Lake Champlain over 70 years ago.

“It’s an encounter with a past self and so many great memories,” said Turner.

“We came for two months and cried when we went home,” said Wolff.

The sisters spent the day walking around their old stomping grounds with their daughters, who also attended the camp. Turner and Wolff said that when they were growing up life at home was hard, but camp was easy.

“It shaped me in ways that I can still feel now,” said Turner. “It was a soul saving experience,” Turner added.

The sisters, along with thousands of other woman thank Camp Hochelaga for helping them grow while giving them an opportunity to feel empowered together.

“And we came out taller and stronger as we sing out songs and I remember that to this day,” Turner said.

Memories made, but not forgotten in South Hero as they gear up for their 100th year.