Sunday, May 04, 2014

Memories of Camp Maskokie

© Photographs by Vicki Polin
Music by Joni Mitchell - “Both Sides Now”
Music by Coven - One Tin Soldier

I’m like so many others who grew up in Skokie during the 1960s - 70s.  I went to “Camp Maskokie”, which was located at Emily Park, which is now called Emily Oak Nature Center.

Recently, went back to the park and my mind was flooded with so many fond memories of my childhood.  Camp Maskokie was open to Skokie residents who were ages 8 - 11 (3rd to 7th grade students).

Camp Maskokie was divided into three different groups divided by age, with three camp circles for each group.

As campers we would learn about Native American folk lore, archery, how to row a boat, along with so many wonderful child camp songs, along with songs from the time.  I vividly remember a fellow camper bringing her guitar and teaching us the words to “Both Sides Now”, by Joni Mitchell  and “One Tin Soldier” by Coven.

Emily Park has changed dramatically since my days Maskokie.  Back in the 1960s - 70s, the park was 13 acres which was mostly made up of a huge open field with manicured lawn, and the lagoon –– which was filled with leaches and snails.

Back in 1929, the Niles Center Park District purchased 62-acres of land from the Cook County Forest Preserve for $1,000.  The original purchase also included Oakton Park and the land in which Niles Township High school was located (Niles East).  Camp Maskokie originally opened in 1956.

The last time I was walking around the park, one of the park rangers told me that they were looking for any old photographs of Camp Maskokie.  If you have any please contact the park at:  (847) 677-7001.

"Ips spiddily ooten dooten bobo ska deeton dotten ha cha wanna Maskokie!"

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