Camp Henry Horner
Camp Henry Horner Alumni

For over a century, Camp Henry Horner has provided a beautiful outdoor backdrop to summer camp memories and friendships.

Get back in touch with us!  Send us your information so that we can formally invite you to alumni reunions and keep updated with new events and activities that are happening at Camp!

Our History

Camp Henry Horner traces its history back over a century ago, when the Young Men’s Jewish Council met in 1912 to discuss the possibility of a boy’s summer camp.  Set into fruition in 1914, Camp was originally located on 30 acres next to Long Lake and named Camp Wilson after then President Woodrow Wilson.  It was then renamed Camp Harding after President Warren Harding took office.  When camp subsequently relocated to 40 acres on Wooster Lake, Camp received its third generation name:  Camp Wooster.

The first summers at Camp Wooster allowed for only 30 – 35 boys to attend summer camp in four two-week sessions.  Overnight tents eventually gave way to permanent cabins and by the 1930s over 500 new campers made their own summer camp memories on our grounds.  In 1941, an  additional 40 acres doubled the space and Camp was renamed– this time permanently – to Camp Henry Horner, in honor of Illinois Governor and former Young Men’s Jewish Council President, Henry Horner.

In 1954, another 69 acres were added to the property and Camp programs expanded to include photography, drama, arts and crafts, and nature and wildlife education.  In 1960, Camp Henry Horner opened its doors to youth and adults with disabilities, creating facilities and programs that allowed all campers to experience the great outdoors.  Now known as Camp Red Leaf, JCYS continues to provide adaptable recreational programming to increase self-esteem, promote interaction, improve social skills and encourage children and adults with special needs to seek independence and in a natural environment.

The 1970s brought with it co-ed summer camp, including the new day camp experience for children in the Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove neighborhoods.  Expansion in the 1980s led to the final purchase of more land, bringing Camp Henry Horner’s total to 180 acres.  And the 1990s brought us the Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center with a high ropes course and zip line that continues to challenge all campers and focus on teamwork. To continue the camp’s unique programming, site improvements remained constant.  In 2006 the Glickman Waterworks was added, creating an aquatic playground on Wooster Lake.

There have been relocations, name changes, additions and growth, all of which has given us the outdoor adventure that is summer camp at Camp Henry Horner.  What is constant is our commitment to bringing new and memorable experiences to all Camp Henry Horner campers.