The Falcon's Tale
Falcon Camp for Boys began on the shores of Leesville Lake in 1959 with 18 campers and one building. Falcon was started by Bill and Marjorie Lorimer, who also owned Camp Roosevelt for Boys on Lake Erie and had started Camp Firebird for Girls on Leesville Lake in 1954. Bill's sharp eye saw the potential of the two natural inlets side by side as he traveled the lake and he turned that potential into a beautiful boat harbor and swim area with the rest of the camp leading up into the surrounding woods.
Falcon's first directors were Jack Hardman and Ed Basch. Jack's wife Jeannine ran the office and Ed's wife Lois ran the kitchen. The only real building in camp was the current dining hall. Back then it was divided into a space to eat, 3 cabins for the boys, the office, infirmary and living space for the Hardmans and Baschs. There was a bathroom (the original HOL-it's a camp thing) up where the cabin unit is now that houses the Robin and Cardinal groups of girls. It may be hard to believe in this day, but there was no phone in camp! Messages were sent by motor boat down the lake to Firebird and a CB radio was in the office for emergency. In the first several summers, campers helped staff cut trees and clear the area for a ball field, stables corral and other areas of camp. By the mid-60's, Jack and Ed purchased Falcon from the Lorimers.
Falcon grew throughout the 60's as cabin units were added around camp along with an infirmary, pavilion, craft shop, rifle range, tennis courts, tack room and more, giving Falcon more of a real summer camp atmosphere. One footnote of interest: 1964 was current director/owner Dave Devey's first year as a young nine year old camper at Falcon. Falcon's numbers swelled as the camp grew to hold over 100 campers. Falcon Camp was a success and it's reputation began to grow as a fine place for young boys to grow into young men.
As Falcon moved into the 70's, development in camp itself slowed and attention went to the new 110 acre farm property Falcon purchased on the entrance road into camp. Soon, waterfront directors were learning how to drive tractors, campers were learning how to stack hay bales on a moving wagon, capture the flag games took all day as the entire farm was used for battle, horses had fields to roam, etc. In camp, activities still kept everyone moving and learning. In the early 70's the Basch Family dropped out of the ownership team and the Hardmans became the sole owners of Falcon. Toward the end of the 70's, a growing number of families with both boys and girls began to inquire about Falcon accepting girls. Not only would it be convenient to take all your children to the same place, but more families wanted their daughters to have the same opportunity as their sons to have a Falcon experience.
To be continued....