The Origin of the Name “Robin Hood Camp”

I am often asked why my father chose the name Robin Hood when he founded the camp in 1928. It’s a simple question with a fairly complicated answer.

Our original name was actually “Robin Hood School of the Open,” not Robin Hood Camp. My father was an educator who steadfastly believed Robin Hood represented far more than just a sports and nature camp. He considered the value and mission of Robin Hood to be primarily educational, teaching lifetime values in an outdoor setting. My father occasionally became irritated when people called us a camp.

1930 Camp Portrait

1930 Camp Portrait

That the Littlefield family has British origins is the reason my father chose Robin Hood, an English legend. Almost all the Maine camps in 1928 were named after Native American tribes and father wanted to be different and honor our family ancestry. Why he chose Robin Hood instead of other British legends becomes complicated and interesting. As father explained to me:

Robin Hood’s birth name was Robin of Locksley, a child of privilege, wealth and nobility. He could have easily chosen a gentleman’s life of ease and wealth instead of a perilous life on the run living in Sherwood Forest as a hunted outlaw. Robin was a man of strong principle, values, loyalty, bravery, remarkable athleticism and leadership. He was a James Bond of his time.

Robin’s patriotic conscience led him to fight injustice in England rather than stand by idly, despite harsh consequences.   He heroically chose to stand up for a cause that was right and just and to be a person of strong character, integrity, and a gentleman in the process. My father admired the legend of Robin Hood and chose him as the camp role model.

Like my father, I also lead Robin Hood to loftier ambitions than just a sports camp. The Robin Hood of 2014 is a world community of remarkable diversity with campers and staffers from more than 25 countries. We teach children to better understand and appreciate that there is far more to life than the narrow prism of their hometown and native country. It is a broadening and valuable benefit to meet and live closely with other children and staffers from all over the world. We teach and have high expectations for children be good and responsible citizens, like Robin Hood, to stand for what is right, and be people of integrity. We strongly encourage children to be inspired and excited by challenges and not run away from them. We give children freedom of choice as much as we can safely do for them to learn how to make the best use of their time, discover who they truly are and want to become, and be accountable for their decisions.

Any Robin Hooder who has been touched in a profound way during childhood by a magical summer at Robin Hood understands that we are more than just a sports camp and indeed Robin Hood School of the Open as my father considered us to be.

1930s Waterfront Photo

1930s Waterfront Photo


H 35° : L 25°