Local Couple creates camp opportunities for Lakes Region kids


LACONIA — John and Ursula Allen, brother and sister-in-law of the late Gary Allen of Gilford, have partnered with Prescott Farm Environmental Education Center to create the Gary Allen Memorial Campership, a camp scholarship fund designed to reduce the cost of a week of WildQuest Camp at Prescott Farm for children whose families can't afford to give them a camp experience.

Gary Allen was a respected Lakes Region community member whose commitment to young people was legendary. He was a much loved math teacher. He founded the Gilford Outing Club; and coached alpine skiing in the Laconia and Gilford schools. He served as the Assistant Chief of Competition for the 1980 Olympic Ski Jump at Lake Placid, N.Y., and the 1982 FIS World Championship Ski Jumping competition in Finland. In 1992 he was inducted into the US National Ski Hall of Fame.

John and Ursula Allen, both longtime volunteers at Prescott Farm, have applied their gardening skills and energy alongside a team of garden volunteers for 17 years, transforming the Prescott Farm property into a showplace with flower, vegetable, and herb gardens in bloom from late winter through fall. Through their garden work, the Allens have seen scores of area children attending WildQuest Camps at Prescott Farm discover where food comes from, sample the fruits and vegetables grown on the property, and create "eco-artwork," borrowing from the magnificent array of colors and textures that spill out of the gardens throughout the summer season. They love it when a camper says, "What is that?"

"We wanted to create the same opportunities to learn, grow, and experience nature at Prescott Farm for Lakes Region children whose parents can't afford to send them to camp," said John Allen, "The Gary Allen Memorial Campership is our way of remembering Gary, and continuing his legacy of love for young people and the outdoors."

Registration for WildQuest Camps at Prescott Farm are currently open. Scholarship applications are available, and the early-bird registration deadline for summer camp is April 30.

Community members who wish to donate additional scholarship funds that will help create opportunities for Lakes Region children at Prescott Farm are encouraged to contact Jude Hamel, executive director, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling 366-5695.