Camp Workcoeman: a 97-year-old scouting tradition in New Hartford

Camp Workcoeman staff members Wilbert Boles and Jeff Seiser at West Hill Pond. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Camp Workcoeman staff members Wilbert Boles and Jeff Seiser at West Hill Pond. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

NEW HARTFORD — Since 1924, Camp Workcoeman has been an important part of the scouting experience for the thousands of children who have taken part in its programs during its 97-year history.
According to camp staff member Jeff Seiser, well over 1,000 scouts have come through the camp each year.
This year, due to the pandemic, the camp is only limited to day programs.
“When the scouts come up to camp, I think the highlight for them is the waterfront at West Hill Pond,” Seiser said. “West Hill Pond is the cleanest lake in Connecticut. We hold various programs there, along with many other programs on our 427 acres of Camp Workcoeman.”
The camp is fully owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America, and Seiser went through the scouting program as a child, eventually becoming an Eagle Scout, which is the highest rank a scout can obtain.
“Scouts come here and they all learn how to prepare themselves for life,” he said. “They all learn about leadership and this camp shows them the promise of scouting.”
As for those who question the relevance of scouting in today’s 21st-century society, with cell phones and computers practically everywhere, Seiser said that the scouting program is still very important to the growth of children.
“Scouts can learn more in a week of camp than in a month of learning in a classroom,” Seiser said. “They are all learning resilience, responsibility, teamwork, along with different tasks. When some people think about scouting, they sometimes think it’s just about tying knots and building campfires. Scouting is so much more than that. It’s about working together with others as a team to accomplish goals, learning about resilience, perseverance, and challenging yourself. When you grow up, you can look back at those scouting skills that you learned and it can help you out.”
Seiser admits that “traditionally when people think of scouting they think about those old Norman Rockwell paintings. But there is so much more to scouting than that.”
For more about Camp Workcoman go to its website at or email Seiser at

Photos by Jeff Seiser

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