Originally known as Springfield College Day Camp, the first summer session of what is today called Camp Massasoit was held in 1934. At that point, camp ran for two one-week sessions, cost $3.50 per week, and initially included 190 boys, ranging in age from 9 to 14 years old, and eight staff members. W.M. Grimshaw was the camp’s first director. Located where East Campus of Springfield College is today, the camp buildings included Pukwana Lodge—built in 1931 and destroyed by fire in 1964—and the Pueblo of the Seven Fires—built in 1932 and still erect today.
Since that first season, the camp has been in operation each summer, with the exception of 1944. In that year, the Sunday Republican reported that “the area was taken over by the Navy for recreational purposes.”
The camp proved to be so popular that the 1935 season was extended to six weeks, and the 1936 season ran for seven weeks. In 1966, the program was extended to eight weeks, with four two-week periods of camping.
Springfield College Day Camp added a program for girls in 1937 that began after the boys’ session ended. The success of the girls’ program led to the establishment of a coed camping program the following year, with boys and girls in separate units. The director of the boys’ unit was Mr. B. Sargeant; his wife was the girls’ program director. The Sargeants directed the camp until 1942, when Springfield College Professor L.K. Hall took over as director for two years.
In 1944, Howard MacMullen became the camp director, a position he held until 1966. In 1948, MacMullen invited campers and their parents to a reunion on March 6 that featured singing, movies, a volleyball game in West Gym, and a trip to the newly constructed Memorial Field House on the Springfield College campus. The cost of the reunion party was fifty cents.
In 1949, Springfield College President Paul Limbert appointed Professor Charles F. Weckwerth as chairman of the camp’s board, noting that the camp would “serve as a laboratory” for Springfield College students who were majoring in recreation and camping.
The camp celebrated its 50th anniversary season in 1984. Then-director Paul Katz remarked at the time that the season would be “like one big birthday party” and would feature a number of events, including camp mascot C.M. Ant blowing out the candles on a birthday cake, the burial of a time capsule on the campgrounds, and the launch of a Real World Science camping experience program.