Camp Herrlich has a rich history!
In 1922, a young boy named Wilbur Herrlich, part of the Herrlich family, passed away from appendicitis. Before he died, he wished that his family would donate their farm so that children from New York City could come to the country in the summer to experience nature. The Herrlich family donated their farm to the Lutheran Inner Mission Society, later Lutheran Social Services, and Camp Herrlich was born. Throughout the early years of Camp Herrlich, many Lutheran churches from the 5 boroughs of New York City sent their youth to our location in Putnam County, NY to experience all that the property had to offer.
Mount Tremper Outdoor Ministries, Inc. was incorporated in 1971 by our founder, Harold Haar, for the purpose of running a children's camp for the benefit of disadvantaged children and an outdoor environmental education center at Mount Tremper Camp in upstate New York. This facility encompassed some three hundred acres in the Catskill Mountains, complete with forest, streams, cabins and a four story flagstone lodge, originally constructed in the 1920's as a Catholic monastery. For more than ten years, the Mount Tremper family of staff and friends gave of their time, talent and treasure to foster and grow this outdoor ministry. In 1977, based on our successes at Mount Tremper, Lutheran Social Services invited us to manage and run Camp Wilbur Herrlich. This beautifully maintained 156 acre site in Putnam County was the answer to our collective prayers. Camp Herrlich provided the opportunity to serve more children at a site closer to our New York Metropolitan constituency. In 1981, we chose to sell Mount Tremper Camp, as we decided to concentrate our efforts on one camp, Camp Herrlich.
Today, we are still operating Camp Herrlich and very happy to have accomplished so much. In particular, the past ten years have brought significant changes to the camp. Summer camper enrollment increases annually. The number of children experiencing our outdoor education programs has more than tripled. Our operating budget has more than doubled. Our scholarship funds given to disadvantaged, at-risk children have increased from $15,000 annually to more than $60,000 annually. We now serve more than 6000 people of all ages every year in a fully functioning year round atmosphere. More than the numbers though, our reputation for quality programs for children has increased exponentially. In 1998, we were nominated for the prestigious National Presidential Points of Light Award. We were selected as a Citationist which means that we were judged to be among the top 50 organizations and individuals that make a lasting contribution to the American community. A discerning person knows that there are many camp facilities from which to choose. They all provide ample opportunity for fun and frolic, as well as physical, social and educational growth. Why do so many choose Mount Tremper at Camp Herrlich then? It has become increasingly obvious that our success stems from the "certain extra something" one encounters when they join us at Camp Herrlich. We believe that additional factor that we possess, almost unknowingly, is defined as "spirit". It is our guiding philosophy, handed down through three generations, our guiding strength. It is a family atmosphere that is created at camp, a connection between staff, campers and families and the ability to maximize opportunities for each individual with our basic natural resources. We are unique in the fact that people of varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from all over the world, choose Camp Herrlich as their recreational, educational and spiritual retreat. The Mount Tremper Outdoor Ministries staff and Board of Directors feel honored to be affiliated with this worthwhile mission.