The History Project

A history of Camp Onas through the years


The Hicksite Young Friends Movement (HYFM) is first organized

Rushland 1922-1964

The Original Home of Camp Onas in Rushland, PA


Young Friends Movement of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting creates Camp Onas as a vacation place for young people to “enjoy the simple life and to become better acquainted while living cooperatively.”


Permanently established on the banks of the Neshaminy River in Rushland, PA.


Friends Camp Association of Pennsylvania established as a non-profit corporation to run Camp Onas.

The Great Move 1963 - 1966

Transition from Rushland to Ottsville

Over the years Camp Onas has expanded and adapted to suit our growing needs. After four decades at the Neshaminy site in Rushland, our tranquility and water quality was threatened by quarry blasting and contamination in the Neshaminy River.

April 13, 1964

Ottsville site purchased. Barn renovated, tents and latrines built. Earthen dam built to enlarge pond and archery range was cleared. Mabel Briggs retires from board 42 years after serving as the first director at Camp Onas.


July 25th marks the first session at the new camp location. The Rushland site hosts 80 campers per session, and the new Ottsville site has 40  for a total of 300 campers over the whole summer. Pioneer or “Tripping” program starts as a boys only adventure opportunity.

Fall 2012

Holly Mueller Hecht becomes Director of Camp Onas and moves to Camp with her husband Matt. We all get our Onas Chronicles!

Ottsville 1966 - Present

A wonderful description from 1971 summarizes all that is special about Camp Onas- “Onas strives to help each camper feel the joy of sharing in community living”- it is because of values like this that we all care enough to come back and give back year after year. It is also why it is so important to preserve and remember our history, to ensure that Camp Onas continues its legacy.