ESCAPE Camp grew from the 30+ year tradition of Smith College’s Adult Sports and Fitness Camp, founded by Jim Johnson and Don Siegel, professors in the Exercise and Sport Studies Department at Smith. Jim and Don had spent years working on programs directed toward fitness in adult women, and in 1981 they decided to combine their experience to create a co-ed camp at Smith for adults of all ages. Their program aimed at educating attendees about exercise and nutritional needs, providing some fun time devoted to physical activity, and helping improve skills in a variety of sports.
2010 marked the 30th year of ASFC, under the management of Scott Johnson, director of Smith’s Outdoor Adventure Program – and son of founder Jim Johnson; 2011 brought the addition of aqua-aerobics specialist Craig Collins as co-director. After the 2012 session, because of program changes at Smith, the camp closed. But ASFC’s devoted attendees decided that their camp was too precious to lose. Led by long-time camper and Smith alumna Sandra Morgan, a group of passionate volunteers forged a connection with Amherst College, giving the camp new life and a new name.
Under Sandy’s spirited volunteer directorship, the fledgling ESCAPE Camp undertook its first season in 2013. Its philosophy remains the same as that taught by Smith ASFC, and many of the activities and staff remain, including Scott and Craig as instructors. ESCAPE Camp has built from its new beginnings, enabling Sandy Morgan to turn over the reins in 2015 to our first non-volunteer director, Chris Boyko, Strength and Conditioning Coach at Amherst College. Campers and staff who have continued this great tradition are enthusiastically looking forward to future summer sessions and our next great ESCAPE!