Josh and Leah Lieberman

How campers remember Josh and Leah depends on when they were at the camp. This page contains three photos taken at different times (the first two were provided by their granddaughter, Ditte Frederiksen McNeil):

Josh and Leah in 1940
Josh and Leah in 1940

Josh immigrated to New York when he was 11, from an impoverished shtetl in Russia. He knew no English when he arrived and his total formal education was two years of elementary school. At least two ex-campers who knew Josh assumed that he had been a graduate student in education who studied with John Dewey.

Josh's book Creative Camping describes his experiences running a youth labor camp in the 1920s. The book makes it clear that Josh had developed and implemented his group-centered approach to running a camp prior to starting Camp Robinson Crusoe.

Josh and Leah's granddaughter Ditte Frederiksen McNeil wrote:

 "Josh and Leah were co-founders of CRC. It was her idea, not Josh's, to start their own camp and she was every bit an equal partner every step of the way. If it had not been for my grandmother they would not have made it through the first year, let alone the next 30 years. She was the business manager and a dietician. She made sure the bills were paid, the campers fed (she ran the kitchens), and that they all had a roof over their heads. Josh could never have done it without her.

Leah was a brilliant, extremely competent and liberated woman who loved nature and was behind Josh 100% in his attempt to save the world. She was one of the only people that I knew, other than my father, who could correctly complete the New York Times crossword puzzle EVERY week. They used to have a standing bet to see who would finish first."

Josh and Leah in 1961
Josh and Leah in their lakeside cottage in 1961

The following photo shows Josh at the camp. It was taken in 1950, or thereabouts, by Melvin ("Mel") Snider, and in addition to Josh (left), it shows Mel's two sons Richard (holding the cat) and Gerry (who now uses the name "Lee").

L-R: Josh Lieberman, Rich Snider, Gerry Snider

(Click here to see additional pictures of Gerry and Rich Snider.)

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This page was last updated June 30, 2012