Camp Mason was originally established near Washington’s Crossing in 1900, it was then called Camp Washington. In 1903 the camp was relocated to the 200-acre Marshall’s Island in the Delaware River south of Frenchtown. Camp Washington operated on this leased property until James J. Wilson, a member of the Trenton YMCA board, purchased Marshall’s, and donated it to the Y in 1919. We were then renamed in honor of Wilson and flourished as YMCA Camp Wilson until August 19, 1955, when Hurricane Diane flooded the Delaware and destroyed the camp. Some of our current board members were campers that day, and describe their dramatic rescue by helicopter from the raging waters.
After the flood, the Trenton YMCA granted a Camp Committee independent status and charged it with seeking other YMCA partners to participate in building a new camp. Under the leadership of Ralph S. Mason, a former camper and leader at Camp Wilson, the Central New Jersey YMCA Camps (aka “Central”) was organized by its five representative YMCAs – Mercer County, Trenton, Metuchen, New Brunswick, and Rahway. The first Board of Trustees, led by Ralph S. Mason, recommended the current Hardwick location. The property was purchased in 1957, and Central New Jersey YMCA Camp opened as planned on June 29, 1958. In 1972, the Board of Trustees honored their leader by renaming the camp YMCA Camp Ralph S. Mason.
Based on our founding in 1900, YMCA Camp Mason is one of the oldest continuously operating camps in the world. Over the years we earned recognition as one of the first camps to become totally integrated and one of the first in the YMCA organization to become co-ed. Since its inception, YMCA Camp Mason has served more than half a million people through its variety of programs.
Camp Mason Today
Today, YMCA Camp Ralph S. Mason continues to create positive camp experiences for children and adults. We’ve come a long way since our Camp Washington roots, but we’ve maintained many of our traditions along the way.
Camp Mason provides positive outdoor experiences, life-learning, and skill-building for people from a diverse population. We provide significant financial assistance ($200,000+ annually) to our population. We believe by giving all people the tools to grow and thrive that they will achieve long-lasting success. There is a place for everyone here at Camp Mason!
We look forward to welcoming you to our YMCA Camp Mason family!