The cabent is a unique Camp Fitch solution to address both the maintenance problems associated with tent camping and the compromise that is cabin camping. The cabent is an 8 person sleeping quarters that began to phase out the surplus military tents in the 1980s. They are a half cabin and half tent hybrid. Built on approximately 16x16ft rectangular concrete platforms, they resemble small pavilions. They have a wooden gable roof, covered with shingles and supported by 8 corner and center posts constructed of 8x8s. The newer cabents feature only 6 supports; they are built without the front and rear center post. The sides feature canvas walls that can be rolled up and tied to the roof in good weather. The first 28 were completed 1987 at a cost of $700/each. They were built by volunteers from the Columbiana County Vocational School, Kiwanis Club, Navy Seabees stationed in Youngstown, and Y staff. Today, all tents have been replaced by Cabents.
The First Cabent
In the early 1980s, Bill Lyder saw a design similar to our present cabents and wanted to build a similar structure for use at Camp Fitch. The YMCA Board of Trustees were divided and unconvinced about the cabent concept. Dan Mirto, however, was impressed with the idea. Dan told Bill to disregard the board and gave Bill the money to build two prototypes. One was built is Girls Camp and one in Boys Camp. The very first Cabent built at Camp Fitch was Danny's Den in Sioux Line. Campers and staff loved the prototype and alumni soon donated the money to quickly build more. Some of the Activity Flat cabents were completed by the 1984 season.
Christman Lodge replaced the Kings in 1996 and Danny's Den proved to be too near to the larger lodge. Danny's Den was moved off its concrete slab. Camp lore says that the entire cabent was moved from its original foundation to a new home just inside of Shawnee Cove. This relocated cabent was used again as the site for a Camp Fitch housing experiment when it became the first cabent to have the experimental built-in bunks installed. Today the concrete slab just north of Christman Lodge serves as a reminder to Bill and Dan's great idea.
- As the more cabents were added, they continued to get larger. By the time the last ones were built in Apache Point,they were large enough to park a small sedan inside to keep it out of view.