The American Legion Department of Maryland believes in supporting the development of youth. Toward that end, the Western Maryland District of the Department of Maryland developed a summer camp. Beginning in November, 1959 at a meeting of the Western Maryland District, it was agreed upon to hold a summer camp for boys (ages 9 thru 12 years) on a trial basis. Further, it was established that the boys would be from financially depressed families, broken families or be juvenile delinquents. They would need to be recommended by either their school principal, minister or social agency. Boys would be selected from Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties.
The first encampment was held in the summer of 1960 with forty (40) boys in attendance. The all-volunteer staff held the camp for one week at Camp Summit near Emmitsburg, MD. That first encampment was deemed a success and the Western Maryland District decided to continue with future encampments.
From 1960 thru 1971 various sites were used for encampment; i.e., Camp Echo Lake, Camp Airy, and Camp Summit. In 1972, camp was held for two (2) weeks at the present site on Brown Road, off Route 77 in the Catoctin Mountains. The Western MD District later purchased this land and went on to construct the camp, known today as Camp WestMar. To date, this site consists of six cabins—one of which Post 223 took control of in 2005—an Olympic size swimming pool with bath house, rifle range, archery range, man-made fishing pond, all-purpose court, mess hall, ball field, outdoor chapel, and a pavilion. Camp WestMar remains today as the only all volunteer American Legion camp in the country.
For more information on eligibility requirements and how to send a youth to Camp WestMar, contact Sykesville Memorial Post No. 223 at 410-795-7242.
To download an application for Camp WestMar, click here (requires Adobe PDF Reader).