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Charles Henry Classen, Jr.

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Dr. Charles Henry Classen, Jr.
"Charlie"

Camper, UL and councilor from 1952 through 1959

Charlie Classen

[While Charlie has not yet checked back into camp due to work, adventure and family, his daughter, Adrienne, has offered the following, follwed by some of Charlie's own memories]

    [Charles Classen, Jr.] went to college at Trinity College, then to medical school at University of Maryland and then did his orthopedics residency at Johns Hopkins.

    He is still working in Kinston, North Carolina as an orthopedic surgeon and is an orthopedic preceptor for the Family Practice residents at East Carolina University. 

    He has won teacher of the year several times.  He has also been president of Eastern Orthopedics and on the board of the American Board of Orthopedics.  He was awarded the annual Honored Surgeon Award in 2009 as,  "a North Carolina orthopaedic surgeon who has been notably influential in the promotion of the highest standards of orthopaedic care and has distinguished himself/herself among his/her peers for dedication to quality patient care and to the medical profession."

    He is married to Marion Classen and has 3 daughters: Adrienne Charles Classen (born 1967) who is a pediatrician practicing in North Carolina and who is married to Dale Hinman, a mechanical engineer; Aimee Taylor Classen (born 1972) who is a professor of ecology at University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is married to fellow ecology professor, Nathan Sanders, and they have two children, Harry and Finn; Alexandra Classen Lonergan (born 1976) is an executive in Atlanta who is married to Bob Lonergan, a consultant at Bain, and they have two children, Taylor and Ransom.Dr. CharlesClassen

From Charlie himself:

      I attended Hyde Bay Camp for 8 years from age 12 through 19. Two years as a camper, two as UL unskilled labor + camper and four as a counselor. I was fishing counselor for 4 years. My last year at 19 I was trip counselor and took out canoe trips with 20 counselors and kids.

     Our most frequent trips were a 3 day trip on the Susquehanna River, 1 day overnight lake trips and the Trenton Falls trip on West Canada Creek where we jumped off a bridge, went under a waterfall, pushed off, went straight down then popped up on the other side all without a life jacket. 

     We also jumped off a 35 foot bridge into the river, hiked into the famous Trenton Falls Gorge and canoed down West Canada Creek.

     My father was head counselor and built the camp tennis court out of local clay.

     He also won the 8 inch Regatta where 8 inch handmade boats were raced from a point in the lake to the shore. I won it 25 years later by making an 8 inch square board with a giant sail and a large weight on the bottom-not pretty but very functional.

     Our camp was nonstructural; you could do what you wanted when you wanted. This was great for people with imagination. You could arrange snipe hunts gun battles in the surrounding hills or any activity you could think up.

     One day when I was a counselor, I decided to create a round the lake trip. I rounded up a number of campers and we set out and walked around 9 mile long Lake Otsego. It took us two long days and we had a great adventure.

     We also could go exploring over the nearby covered wooden bridge or up the creeks catching snapping turtles, gigging frogs and all sorts of fun things. Can you imagine that in today's litigious society?

     It was the most fun when Walter Lord, author of "A Night to Remember" visited once a year. We would take an old sunken sailboat, The African Queen, raise it up, patch it up and go out in the lake with the Commodore (Walter Lord). Of course, pirates would arrive and sink the Queen. We would then all sing "It was sad when that great ship went down---- to the bottom of the sea."

     Walter would go out and take 10 pictures around the camp with his Polaroid camera. He would put the pictures in a hidden can in 10 locations. We would break up into teams to try and find the first location from a picture and then the next until the winning team had visited all 10 locations and picked up 10 strips identifying each location. 

     Routine activities were horseback riding, water skiing, tennis, row boating, motor boating, swimming, sailing (including sail racing) and miniature golf. Mr. Pickett, the director, was painted on the board of the last hole with his mouth open and the cup in his mouth.

     There was a lodge with a shuffle board table and many other games. We all slept in canvas army tents pitched over a wooden floor. The tents would leak on occasion, but this only led to a larger feeling of adventure.

     Our toilets at first were outhouses, but later advanced to flush toilets.

     I was lucky enough to play third base for the camp team at the Cooperstown Hall of Fame field.

     I was also fortunate enough to visit the sites written about by James Fenimore Cooper in “The Last of the Mohicans” including Natty Bumppo’s caves.

     My experience at Hyde Bay led me to go camping around the world and to be one of the first people to take inflatable kayaks on rivers in the U.S. and many other countries. We were the first to go down the Grand Canyon in inflatable kayaks.

    The year after we left Hyde Bay, my friend Walter McManus and I went on a 12,500 mile camping trip out West.

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