James M. Williams

James M. Williams

James “Jimmy” Williams first attended camp starting in 1920 and was present every summer through 1939.[1] He first became a director in 1930.[2] The other assistant directors in 1930 were George Tod, James P Yen and Al Roverts.[3] He was hired as Boy's Secretary at the Youngstown YMCA under Paul Davies [4] following the untimely death of "Curly" Johnson in 1935. Before this he worked as the Physical Education Director at the Lincoln School. [5]. He served as Camp Director for the summers of 1936 to 1939. The villages were much different than they are today. In 1935, Jimmy's last year as Assistant Director, there were 4 Villages: Windy City for boy's from 10 to 11 years old; Chickagami Village for boys 12 to 14; Tsungani Village for boys 15 and over; and Ot Yo Kwa for boys staying 4 weeks or longer.[5]. In 1936, his first year as Camp Director, Wi-Yush-Kin was also established. His staff had grown to 12 Assistant Directors and 19 leaders by that year.[6] By 1939, the specific village for people staying 4 weeks or more had been dissolved. Tsungani Village was renamed Ot-Yo-Kwa Village.

The scope of programs at Camp Fitch expanded greatly under James Williams. In addition to Orchestra Camp, he oversaw the inaugural year of Family Camp in 1938. [7] Also in 1938 Camp invited a Methodist and a Swedish Covenant church group to run week long co-ed camping programs towards the end of the summer. The experiment was so successful, enrollment nearly doubled in 1939.[1] 1938 was also the first year Dike Beede brought the Youngstown College Football Team to Camp Fitch for preseason training.[8] Jimmy left the position of Camp Director in 1939 and was succeed by "Jack" McPhee for the 1940 Season.


Jimmy was present at Camp Fitch under the tenure of Paul B. Davies and Raymond L. "Curly" Johnson. He was aided his first year as Camp Director by Randall Leyshon, Charles N. Starr, Allan Donaldson and many others. His last year as Camp Director was 1939. He was assisted that year by: Richard Thomas, Don Grisby, Lloyd Seely, James Heber, Rev. S.C. McCammon, and Robert Jolly. [1]


Camp Fitch maintained a steady path of expansion through the 1930s. By the end of the decade, Kane Lodge and McCleary Lodge were already ten years old and an eight acre athletic field (in the center of what later would become Girl's Camp) allowed for baseball, golf, volleyball, basketball, tennis, and football. 28 tents on cement floors surrounded the flat. No cottages had been constructed on Lake Erie yet, so camp's 1/4 mile of beach was surrounded by nothing but wilderness. Also, The tradition of Vespers is already firmly established by this point in time.[1]


1. a, b, c, d Camp Fitch, 1939. Silver Jubilee. Youngstown YMCA, pp.1-13.
2. a Ward, Frank B, May 27, 1939. Along the Sports Radio. Vindicator Printing Company.
3. a The Vindicator, May 17, 1930. Regular Fellers ready for Camp Fitch to Open. Youngstown Vindicator, pp.4.
4. a Youngstown Vindicator, May 31, 1940. 2 Youngstown Boys Named on Staff at Camp Fitch. Vindicator Printing Company.
5. a, b Youngstown Vindicator, June 4, 1935. Plan Opening of Camp Fitch. Vindicator Printing Company.
6. a Youngstown Vindicator, August 9, 1936. Attendance at Camp Fitch Sets New Record. Vindicator Printing Company.
7. a Youngstown Vindicator, May 28, 1939. Camp Fitch to Open 17th Seaason. Vindicator Printing Company.
8. a Ward, Frank B., September 2, 1938. Youngstown College Gridders Take Over Camp Fitch Sunday. Vindicator Printing Company.