Generations of Pittsburgh girls spent their summers at Camp Wingfoot in North Madison, Ohio, from the mid-1940s until 1985.
One hundred Wingfoot alumni are expected to return to the shores of Lake Erie May 18 and 19 for the 70th anniversary of the camp. The now mostly middle-aged crowd will tour the 100-acre campsite, renew old friendships and relive camp traditions.
“We will share memories,” says Rosanne Skirble, Pittsburgh native and Voice of America reporter in Washington, D.C., who will emcee the Saturday night awards banquet. Skirble says she will bring memorabilia that has been stashed in her attic for decades, like old yearbooks, sharpshooter medals and letters she wrote from camp.
Former Pittsburger Leslie Ripp Hegira says Camp Wingfoot taught her “to be a stronger and more confident individual.” Since her camping days, Ripp Hegira, a retired Brandenton, Fla., clinical social worker, has trekked in the Himalayas, canoed in the Minnesota Boundary Waters and lived aboard a sailboat for several years with her husband.
Another Pittsburgher, Margie Spirer from Greenbelt, Md., remembers meeting friends at Frick Park for the annual ride to camp. “We’d fill up an entire bus or two and sing our way the few hours to camp, not far from Cleveland,” Spirer says. Spirer, a retired Prince Georges County, Md., school administrator, is making gift baskets for the reunion and looking forward to reuniting with friends she hasn’t since her last summer at Wingfoot in 1965.
Martha Heil Orr, daughter of the camp owners, says Wingfoot dates back to her grandfather W.L. “Dub” Lorimer, who purchased land from the Goodyear Tire Company. “Wingfoot got its name from the winged-feet logo of Goodyear Tire,” she says. The Lorimer family also owned Camp Roosevelt for boys and Camp Wing-a-Roo for younger boys and girls. Today Wingfoot is a private park in Perry, Ohio, down the road from a nuclear power plant, which has been in operation since 1987.
Registration for the Camp Wingfoot 70th Legacy Reunion is on the camp website at wingfoot.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a list of “lost” Pittsburgh the alumni committee is trying to find: Paula Steinberg, Kitty Cahen, Linda Penn, Jane Arnold, Margie Isaacs, Marcy Kardon, Ellen Danovitz, Deanna Lowe, Wendy Landis, Peggy Klineman, Carol Meth, Susie Siegel, Susan Steiner, Lynne Levinson, Rebecca Litman, Sally Apter, Cathy Cohen, Susie Kardon, Sally Rogow and Linda Levitt.
All reunion details are on the camp website: http://www.campwingfoot.org/
Readers can also reach former camper and Pittsburgh native, Rosanne Skirble, email@example.com pictured here in 1963 with her bunkmates, top row, first on the left, holding the horse.