History of Camp

WW Seymour In the summer of 1903 WW Seymour graciously allowed a group of youth from the Tacoma YMCA to camp on his farm property on Balch's Cove (now known as Glen Cove).

The relationship between the Tacoma YMCA and W.W. Seymour grew, and two summers later, in 1905, YMCA camping for local Tacoma boys officially began with one tent on the same part of Seymour's property where Camp Seymour now stands. The following summer, 16 boys enjoyed a two-week camping experience, learning outdoor skills, cooking, swimming and sleeping under the stars. The first crude cookhouse/dining pavilion was constructed in 1908 with over 60 boys in ten tents attending camp that summer. In our first 100 years YMCA Camp Seymour has grown significantly in facilities and service. During 2003 over 12,500 youth, teens and families through outdoor and environmental education, summer camping, family camps, and contracted user groups were served.

In 1918, Claude E. "Pops" Drake joined the Tacoma YMCA. In his new position as Boys Work Secretary, part of his responsibility was the continuation of the boys camping program. With Pops' leadership from 1918 until 1938 YMCA Camp Seymour firmly established itself with improved facilities and program. Pops convinced W.W. Seymour to deed 125 acres to the Tacoma YMCA for the sole purpose of boys summer camping, and the following year, an additional 25 acres was added to the deed. Improvements during Pops tenure included a freshwater well, program that grew away from militaristic methods toward freedoms and choices for boys, and the number of buildings grew to total 18.

The Tacoma YMCA officially named the property "Camp Seymour" in 1926, to recognize W.W. Seymour for his generous gift. In 1929 WW Seymour passed on, "but not before his part in the dream had become a reality; the camp was emerging as one of the finest on the West Coast." (from Tacoma Review, 7/25/73)

In 2005, YMCA Camp Seymour celebrated its 100th anniversary with events for the community, friends, family and alumni. YMCA Camp Seymour is one of only five YMCA camps in the nation to celebrate 100 years of camping on its original property.