Memories of Shady Trails

A Shady Trails mailing list was started by an alumnus, Russ Hicks. The list is open to former campers, staff, and others associated with Shady Trails Camp. To learn more about the Shady Trails group, please visit

Shady Trails was a "Speech Improvement Camp of the University of Michigan." Mimeographed material from 1962 stated that

In the summer of 1932, Mr. John M. started Camp Shady Trails for boys with speech problems. The idea of a camp for speech correction came to Mr. Clancy, who had learned to handle his own stuttering problem. Mrs. Clancy was also very interested in the camp. She has been the Camp Mother and the Dietitian since the camp first opened.

The location chosen for the camp was a wooded area on Grand Traverse Bay, just a few miles north of the present camp. All the activities took place in and around a small hotel and a few cottages.

There were only four boys at Shady Trails that first summer. The second year, six boys attended the camp. By the third year, 1934, the number of campers had grown to fifteen. After 15 years, the camp was bursting at the seams, and a move was made.

The present camp opened in 1947. Shady Trails now consists of 19 buildings. The Park Avenue, Roost, Neophytes, Wolverines, Cave, and the University Club are the names of the cabins in which the campers live. The women staff members live in the Hen House; Mr. and Mrs. Clancy have a cabin. There is also an infirmary, a language training room, a remedial reading room, and a cleft palate room. You may know the names of some of the other buildings. And of course you are familiar with the Lodge -- the building we use for meals, mifflers, variety shows, movies and Sunday morning assembly.

In 1949, the Kresge Foundation made it possible for the University of Michigan to take over the camp.

The purpose of Shady Trails Camp has been to present speech training and to provide situations in which boys can use what they are learning.

About 1200 boys between the ages of 8 and 26 have attended Shady Trails. At camp this summer, there are 91 boys from 19 different states and Venezuela and Canada. You will be learning, living and playing with these boys.

Following the 1994 season, the Board of Regents discontinued the camp activities at Shady Trails. Although people testified to try to keep Shady Trails open, the camp was officially closed on March 17, 1995. The University of Michigan Regents approved sale of 'U' property in 1996 (from

Shady Trails Update, 2002 by Judy Kuster

The current Shady Trails Camp website includes an interesting, brief History of the Camp.

  • Links to Eric Hoef's videos of the 2012 Shady Trails Reunion

    John Clancy - 1899-1969

    Pictures, Directories, Correspondence and a film of Shady Trails Campers and Staff

    Below is the beginning of a collection of camp directories and correspondence from Shady Trails

    Below is a collection of the currently available annual camp pictures of campers and staff from Shady Trails from 1932 (when it opened) - 1995 (when it closed). The pictures are in different sizes. You can enlarge them or make them smaller in your browser although the clarity may be compromised.

    In the summer of 2014, Tom and Judy Kuster visited the Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan for two days, going through two boxes labeled "Shady Trails" phographing pictures from the Shady Trails camp in preparation for a powerpoint presentation at the 2014 Shady Trails reunion. I had been given permission to create a PPT slide show of these copyrighted items to show at the Shady Trails 2014 reunion, with the agreement that the PPT or individuals pictures that came from the library were not to be reproduced elsewhere without getting permission in writing for each picture from the Bentley library. The campers at the reunion signed a petition requesting that all the pictures could be shared online, and gratefully, permission was granted and the PPTs have now been added to the Shady Trails website with the permission in writing from the Bentley Library.

    Additional pictures included are from several Shady Trails Campers and Staff who have shared their pictures (Russ Hicks, Bernie Weiner, Chuck Heitsch, Dave Weidman, LeRoy Cyphers, Bruce Raczynski, and others, including several on the Shady Trails mailing list archive of pictures and several at the first Shady Trails reunion in 2012 who brought pictures. A PPT from the first Shady Trails reunion in 2012) are also included.

    Shady Trails - 1930's-1990's
    a trip down memory lane index

    (added February 21, 2015)
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1930's
  • Shady Trails Campers and Staff - 1940's
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1940's
  • Shady Trails Campers and Staff - 1950's
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1951
  • Shady Trails Campers and Staff - 1960
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1954-1956, 1957-1960, undated 1960's
  • Shady Trails Memories - undated
  • Shady Trails Campers and Staff - 1970
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1970's
  • Shady Trails Memories - 1980's
  • Shady Trails Campers and Staff - 1990's
  • The First Shady Trails Reunion 2012
  • The Second Shady Trails Reunion 2014
  • A few additional pictures from Shady Trails sent from former campers
  • 74 Photos of Shady Trails "The 74 were taken in 1939. Garner Merrick '39 and '41", photographed by Al Barnes who worked from 1930-1980, are located in the History Center of Traverse City Photo Archives and Museum. When you open the URL to the photographs, you can click on anyone to enlarge it. You will notice a "History Center of Traverse City" mark on each picture. If you are interested in purchasing any of the photographs (for $10 each for individuals) without the mark, contact the History Center of Traverse City through their website.

    Shady Trails 1952
    A ten and a half minute film narrated by Charles Sims, former camper and added here with permission of Lee Doyle, Director, Communications Policy and Administration Director, University of Michigan Film Office Chief Freedom of Information Officer.

    Shady Trails Camp Directors

    According to the History of Shady Trails the camp began in 1932. The following were camp directors

  • Remembering Those Who Have Passed Away

    Some Memories of Former Campers and Staff

    Memories of Shady Trails are provided below by those who were there, either as campers or staff members. Those individuals who have provided an email link, would love to hear from other campers. If you were at Shady Trails and wish to add your memories, please email Judy Kuster

    Tim Carter - Shady Trails Trivia Game developed for the 2012 Shady Trails Camp Reunion.

    Shady Trails Songs copied at Kinko's from an original. The songs were from the Clancy era.

    The Stories of Bloomer Snipe - The Doctors of Brainless Surgery and The Drama (staff of Shady Trails) made up these stories. They are reproduced here from a faded paper booklet.

    Steve Hood posted to stutt-l 12/29/98

    Bernie Weiner posted to Stutt-L - 12/29/98 and 1/2/99 Berniewin@AOL.COM

    Russ Hicks - posted to Stutt-L - 1/1/99

  • Russ and Bernie co-authored a paper about Shady Trails for the ISAD2001 Online Stuttering Conference. It is available online: Shady Trailers Hats off to thee.... by Russ Hicks from Texas, USA - summers of 1950, 1951, 1954, and 1957, and Bernie Weiner from Michigan, USA- summer of 1965.

    Michael the Levite Connecticut River Valley, MA - posted to stutt-l 1/3/1999

    added April 20, 1999

    Rod Abbott - posted to stutt-l 6/10/1999 rkabbott@PURDUE.EDU

    added July 15, 1999

    PC from Luxembourg (Summer of 1977 and 1978)

    added November 15, 1999

    Steve Rosen personal email

    added January 28, 2000

    Brad B personal email

    added July 4, 2000

    Howard K. Hodges personal email

    added March 19, 2001

    Darrell "Hud" Gregory, '71 personal email

    added February 5, 2002 and March 6, 2002

    Doug Henning, 67, 68 personal email 5318 Golf Course Dr Jacksonville, FL 32277

    added May 27, 2002

    Tom Blake, 1950, '51, and '53 personal email 847-256-3684
    736 Tenth St.
    Wilmette, Illinois 60091

    added July 3, 2003

    Garner Merrick ('39 and '41) - personal email

    added March 30, 2015

    Jeanne (Loomis) Frey, Camp secretary, 1951-1954

    added January 2, 2008

    James Emery, Camper, late 50's and early 60's

    David Field

    added November 15, 2009
    last updated August 12, 2015