Camp Sankaty Head was organized in July 1930. Its rustic and somewhat primitive facilities were located between the eleventh and thirteenth fairways of Sankaty Head Golf Course, where the Camp is still located. Donald M. Smith, physical director at the Worcester (Mass.) YMCA, was the first Camp Director, a position he held until 1960. During Smith’s tenure, the contributions of a few club members provided basic necessities for the camp.
In 1961, Charles M. Goetz led the establishment of the Sankaty Head Foundation to support and develop policy for the operation of Camp Sankaty Head. That year, the foundation raised five thousand dollars to keep the camp operating. Also that year, a certificate of incorporation was issued, and in 1964, the foundation received tax-exempt status as an organization operated for charitable and educational purposes.
In 1962, Norman L. Claxton became Camp Director. He held that responsibility until 1985, when he became senior advisor to Douglas Ellsworth, the new Camp Director. Ellsworth served as Director through 2007. Peter Montesano, a former camper, served as Director from 2008-2012.
Camp Sankaty Head is a camp for boys aged fourteen to seventeen. Exceptions are made for a few “earlybloomers” and for campers aged eighteen to twenty-one, who serve as junior and senior staff members. Current enrollment numbers about 55-60 Campers, plus staff. Campers come from near and far: Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, California, Canada and Florida. Recently, young men from France and Ireland have come to Camp. A unique resident camp experience, Camp Sankaty combines varied competitive sports and recreation activities with healthful work. The camp is located on the historic island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, about thirty miles off Cape Cod. A well-known resort area, Nantucket’s many public and private recreational resources enrich the Camp program.
At Camp Sankaty Head, each camper is responsible for part of the cost of his room and board; the Sankaty Head Foundation, a private foundation set up to support and establish policy for the Camp, subsidizes further operational costs. In turn, Campers earn money by caddying on the golf course. Caddying gives each Camper the opportunity to return to his family with earned and saved income. Campers may also be considered for awards, including college and precollege scholarships awarded by the Foundation.
Outstanding among the aims of Camp Sankaty Head is the development of wholesome character traits among campers. This is achieved through the expectation, encouragement, and recognition of high standards of conduct, honesty, and integrity. A vigorous competitive group and individual sports program emphasizes physical fitness and involves and motivates the boys. In addition the program trains selected team captains in leadership. Recreational activities are also available for Campers’ enjoyment and relaxation.
Caddying, a healthful occupation, further enhances campers’ physical well being. In rendering the service of caddying for the Sankaty Head Golf Club membership, campers experience self-reliance while earning their room and board. Both devotion to camp units and the responsibility of service to club members encourage group and individual loyalties.
In general, Camp Sankaty Head is designed to develop high mental, spiritual, moral, and social standards in boys.
Six major facets comprise the camp program:
Camp Sankaty Head contributes to the following outcomes in campers: