Monday, April 23, 2007

Camping group celebrates 50th

TEMPLETON— Inside a dirt-stained time capsule, camping memorabilia from 20 years ago was sealed and stored underground.

Members of the North America Family Camping Association unearthed the box as part of their 50th anniversary celebration at Otter River State Forest in Baldwinville.

“I forgot we put it in there,” said Lorraine M. LeBlanc of Waltham, referring to the 1977 membership card she and her husband, Paul E. LeBlanc, 75, had placed in the chest.

Mrs. LeBlanc said she hated camping at first.

“I told my husband, ‘You better find someone else to come up here with you,’ ” Mrs. LeBlanc said. But after buying a camper and joining NAFCA, she was sold.

“Now (other campers) are like family,” she said.

The group of camping enthusiasts has chapters in every New England state, as well as chapters in Canada and Florida. But Baldwinville was the site of the very first group, which formed in 1957 to help organize activities.

“It was very different back then,” said Edith M. Fagley, 85, from Lanesboro. She was the eldest of about 100 campers who came to the weekend celebration.
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