(Information from the Scranton Diocese)
With the recent completion of the 2015 Summer Camp season, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Scranton, has announced that Camp St. Andrew has permanently closed.
“Camp St. Andrew has served our area youth well throughout the course of its 75-year history and I know many area residents have fond memories of spending the summer at Camp St. Andrew. Times have changed, however, and the interest in participating in summer camp programs has appreciably declined in recent years,” said Bishop Bambera.
“I am grateful to the many Diocesan priests, seminarians and staff who have served at Camp St. Andrew over the years and especially to Monsignor Joseph Kelly, who has directed the summer camp program at Camp St. Andrew for the past 40 years,” he added.
Camp St. Andrew began operation in 1940 as a boys camp and a boy scout camp staffed by Diocesan seminarians and priests. In 1960, the camp schedule included eight weeks of boys camp, eight weeks of basketball camp and six weeks of boy scout camp serving a total of more than 1,600 campers.
In 1971, Monsignor Joseph Kelly was appointed to serve as director of Camp St. Andrew. Along with continuing the previous camps, Monsignor Kelly established Camp St. Andrew as the site for Project Hope, a summer camp experience for children from low-income families in Lackawanna County that was begun the previous year at St. Pius X Seminary, Dalton, by Monsignor Kelly and Sister Adrian Barrett, I.H.M. Three hundred day campers from Project Hope and 1,500 resident campers attended the eight-week summer program in that year. In the mid 70’s and 80’s, the number of Project Hope campers grew to 500.
The number of campers and programs has declined during the past several years. This past summer, 250 children in the Project Hope program, operated by United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania for the past 30 years, attended a four-week day camp; 300 girls participated in the two-week resident camp and 100 boys attended the one-week basketball camp. In addition, two small groups of campers rented the facility for one-week camps.
“I am proud of the work that so many staff and volunteers have done at Camp St. Andrew to benefit area children. I am blessed to have played a small role in helping to positively impact the lives of hundreds of our young people who have gone on to do great things for their families and their communities,” said Monsignor Kelly.
To allow time for current groups to locate an alternate site, all groups that conducted their camp activities at Camp St. Andrew this past summer have been notified. Camp staff members have also been contacted. Representatives from the Diocese have met with staff at United Neighborhood Centers of Northeastern Pennsylvania to offer assistance in determining an alternative option to continue the Day Camp for Project Hope.
Camp St. Andrew sits on 387 acres in Tunkhannock that includes Lake Oxbow. Future plans for this property will be determined over the next several months by Bishop Bambera in consultation with Diocesan staff.