Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck – dedicated to the benefit of physically and mentally challenged children of Long Island and beyond – stands today, not from the efforts of one organization, but rather as a culmination of a tremendous wave of effort from many Rotary Clubs throughout District 7260.
1941: Members of the Rotary Club of the Moriches inspire the dream of a camp like Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck with a generous donation made to provide staff for children afflicted with Polio at the County Welfare Department Camp at Yaphank. Club members visit the camp and discover the plight of the children. Moved to help, the Rotarians arrange a picnic at an ocean beach, crossing the bay in boats laden with food and picnic supplies. After a day packed with both fun and heart-warming experiences, the Club pledges never to lose contact with the children. The picnic initiates The Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” journey into summer recreation for the physically handicapped of Suffolk County.
1943: The Club rents Oldfield, a beautiful home in East Moriches, for campers to enjoy during the summer. Almost simultaneously, the Club decides to cooperate with the National Society for Crippled Children in the sponsorship of the sale of Easter Seals. At the same time, the Club establishes the nucleus of a fund for the continuation of the work in the county.
1944: The Club rents another home at Wading River as a camp for the children.
1945: In lieu of a camp approved by the Department of Health, the Club provides transportation for the children to and from a summer school in Huntington.
1946: The Club abandons the program and once again provides a camp in Yaphank with arrangements to purchase part of the land where Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck now stands. At the same time, a Club member donates the balance of the land.
1947 (and the early part of 1948): In a great community effort throughout the district, donations made in the form of materials, equipment and volunteer labor help build the one and only Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck.
July 8, 1948: The Rotary Club of the Moriches welcomes a group of 26 children afflicted with Polio at the first official session at Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. The six-week session is a huge success in every respect – which continues today.
1949: The Club builds the director’s cottage including a first aid and arts and crafts room. 46 campers attend for the summer.
1953: Rotarians suggest and launch the “1200” Club, a fundraising idea for 1200 individuals to donate $10.00 annually to meet the Camp’s operational budget of $12,000.
1957: The Club builds a new cabin with an outdoor shower. At the same time, the Club accepts a merry-go-round as a donation.
Early 1960s: Rotarians extend the Camp Season to 2-4 week sessions, hosting approximately 120 campers each summer. In 1963, a friend of the Club donated a 20 ton L.I.R.R Caboose, moving it to the camp’s grounds. In 1964, the camp constructs another building, now known as the Barn, for storage and additional enclosed bathroom and shower units on each side. In 1965, the Club purchases 18 acres of additional land for $9,000.
1967: One of the Rotarians funds the Camp’s first 8mm film. The Club adds shower units to the T-Building. The Camp has a budget of $32,397.03 including $9,564.63 for capital improvements.
1968: The Camp clears a perimeter road, refurnishes the caboose for campers and installs a donated intercom system throughout the T-Building. The Camp initiates the first Third Session, hosting 30 campers between the ages of 16 and 19. At the same time, past Camp President, Moriches Rotarian August Stout, Jr., serves as Rotary District Governor of Long Island.
1969: The Camp Season reaches 9 weeks — its present length — with 67 campers in a three-week First Session, 72 campers in a four-week Second Session and 30 campers in a two-week Third Session with a budget of $37,000.70. The Camp adds a shower and bathroom to the girl’s cabin and changes the “1200” Club to the “Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck Fund” with annual members donating $2,732.50.
1970: The Camp completes its intercom system to include the cabins. The Camp also begins a garden to provide additional fresh vegetables during the summer. The Rotarians once again volunteer to produce a 16mm Camp Film.
1971: The Camp builds a new T-Dock for the “swimming” and row boating area with maple trees donated along the camp driveway. With a budget of $34,264.36, this year marks the 25th Anniversary of Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. The camp receives its second journal publication, with Suffolk County Legislature proclaiming July 7, 1971 as “Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck Day.”
1972: A total of 206 campers attend the summer season. The Camp receives donations for a permanent barbecue grill and foundational plants for the T-Building. A group of local women organize the Squaws to help raise funds for the Camp. The Camp sponsors the First Third Session Reunion held on the weekend of October 28 and 29.
1973: The Camp installs new tile floors in the two dorm areas. The Camp receives two donations: one for a pony shed for the Camp’s two ponies, and the other for a 30 ft. boat for the playground. The Club plans its first one-day Christmas trip to New York City for the Third Session in December.
1974: A new fire truck donated by the local Fire Department and adapted by the Port Jefferson Rotarians enables the Camp to continue its famous fire truck rides. With a budget of $47,604.64, the Camp clears a small piece of land for hopeful expansion of the playground.
1975: With a budget of $59,595.14, the Camp welcomes 210 campers. The Suffolk County American Legion donates the building of a new cabin at Camp while the Squaws donate swings and a slide. Other individuals make adaptive sandboxes for the playground area and the local Game Farm donates a baby lamb for the petting zoo.
1976: The Camp celebrates its 30th Anniversary during the Bicentennial Summer while a printed journal highlights the Camp’s history. The Camp welcomes 210 campers with a budget of over $62,000.00.
1977: The Camp receives a donation for a new bathroom and shower room extension of the girl’s cabin. The Camp installs an automatic fire alarm system throughout the grounds. The Camp plants a donated 30 ft. copper beach tree in the driveway circle and raspberries among other donated shrubs and bushes. The year closes with an operational budget of over $58,000 and total budget of $71,511.35.
1978: Local family and friends donate the “Newhouse Memorial Shelter” in memory of a Moriches Rotarian who always had a special place in his heart for Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck. The Camp mourns the passing of its President, August Stout, Jr., who served as dedicated president for eight years. With an operational budget of $63,896.67, the Westhampton Beach Rotary Club begins building a “barn” for the camp animals.
1979: The Camp receives a donation of a 20’ x 30’ structure. Volunteers work throughout the Spring to prepare the First Aid Building. On July 1, the Rotary International President visits the Camp along with the Rotary District Governor of Suffolk County, also a member of the Moriches Rotary Club. Dr. Foster, one of the Camp’s founders, sponsors a special fund drive for the August Stout, Jr. Memorial Interpretive Activities Building. Construction begins in the Fall with a completion date of Summer 1981. The year closes with an operational budget of over $70,000.
Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, The Moriches Rotary Health Camp, Inc., maintains a more than 50-year track record for making the dreams of children with disabilities a reality. Each year, we invite thousands of youngsters to enjoy a session of summer fun at our 37-acre site on the shores of Kaler’s Pond in Center Moriches.
At Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, physically and developmentally disabled children experience the joys of boating, arts and crafts, music, adaptive sports and games, swimming campfires and more. In a supportive environment, our counselors encourage campers to reach outside their comfort zones and join with their fellow campers in activities designed to enhance their lives.
Looking back on our history, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck extends the deepest gratitude to the volunteers, Rotarians, community organizations and the Pa-Qua-Tuck Squaws who made our special camp possible. We would not exist today without your help.
Today, Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck is proud to be a volunteer organization, operating successfully without government funds from our first session.
Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck’s American Camp Association (ACA) accreditation means our operations, staff qualifications, training and emergency management all measure up to the ACA’s 300 standards. Click here to learn more about what the ACA accreditation means for your child.
About Our Staff
We select staff that demonstrate maturity, sensitivity and caring required to relate well with young people and enhance our camping program. Many of our Counselors are college graduates employed in the field of education. Our Counselors-in-Training are college students majoring in education or a child-related study. Our Junior Counselors-in-Training are high school students who are familiar with the Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck program. Each staff member assumes many responsibilities including:
Bed time, overnight and morning duties
Camper health and safety
Planning and implementing activities to address the individual needs of the child
We designed the Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck program to help children see themselves in a more positive light. Together, counselors and campers canoe, hike, sleep out under the stars, and most importantly, take healthy risks and accomplish goals once thought by the camper to be impossible.
Fostering a positive experience for every child is the Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck way of life. We accomplish this goal by assigning three staff members to each group of seven campers. Our dedicated staff, professionally trained in pro-active behavior management techniques, makes the positive experience we promise to every camper possible.