YMCA Camp Lincoln Traditions and History

KEEPING TRADITIONS AND MAKING MEMORIES SINCE 1926

A lot can change in almost 90 years. YMCA Camp Lincoln started as an all-boy camp that offered one-week overnight sessions throughout the summer. Today, camp is offered to both boys and girls who enjoy spending their summer days outside in the water and on the shores of Kingston Lake. 

YMCA Camp Lincoln, as we know it, began in 1926 when Warren Tucker sold the Rockingham County YMCA 65 acres of land on the shores of Kingston Lake in Kingston, NH. With the construction of a dining hall and eight cabins, the Y developed a permanent summer camp for boys and young men. The site was dedicated to the boyhood of President Abraham Lincoln and, as such, founded Camp Lincoln.

During the 1930s and 1950s, Camp Lincoln offered one-week overnight camping sessions to boys age eight to 15. Each session offered space for 60-80 boys. In the 1960s, camp facilities were expanded to include a beach, ball field, craft center, administration building and 10 new cabins. With the facility expansion, a unique partnership with the state allowed campers with speech and hearing needs to attend camp and participate in specialized activities as well as camp traditions.

In 1974, the Rockingham County YMCA Board of Directors transferred ownership of Camp Lincoln to the New Hampshire YMCA in hopes that a single strong organization would stabilize the camp for the long term. Under this new leadership, camp expanded availability to spring and fall for families and groups. And, environmental education programming began.

Finally, in 1981, Camp Lincoln welcomed girls and began to offer year-round opportunities.

The New Hampshire YMCA dissolved in 1997 and Camp Lincoln became Southern District YMCA/Camp Lincoln, Inc. In 1999, Camp Lincoln built the ropes course and expanded programming again to offer specialty camps, travel camps and overnight adventure camps.

Programming has expanded to meet camper needs over the years, but camp as you know it looks a lot like it did in the early years – cabins situated in beautiful, natural settings; children engaged in creative and physical activities; and campers making friends. YMCA Camp Lincoln strives keep modernity and rustic ambience in balance working tirelessly every year to maintain facilities and add amenities as needed.