In 1925, educator Donald MacJannet opened an American-style summer camp for French and American students on the shores of Lake Annecy in southeastern France, near the Swiss border. His aim was to foster friendships between American and other foreign students and their French counterparts. Europeans had never seen anything like the MacJannet camp, and it became a great success. The camp had it all — water sports on the lake, swimming and dancing lessons, archery, athletics, hiking and overnight trips into the wilderness. The camp was especially popular with American expatriate families who wanted to give their kids a taste of normal American life. The camp closed down at the onset of World War II and was converted to a refugee camp in 1939. It opened its doors again in 1946 and continued to run until the 1960s.
One French parent wrote to the camp about her daughter’s experience: “Thank you for everything regarding Linda. It was indeed something we shall all remember. Linda had a wonderful summer and certainly is well informed because of her travels and you. We are sometimes not easily pleased but the MacJannet camp has everything together with is a most distinguished camp, something we find out each day! Linda is sweet and intelligent since she arrived home – we are proud of her!”
All images via Tufts Digital Library