“If I EVER get out of this alive, let’s start a school or a camp.”
Max Caldwell wrote those words to his wife Marion while serving on an ammunition ship in the Pacific during World War II.

These simple words that became the seeds from which grew Kennolyn Camps, a 300-acre paradise consisting of a residential camp, day camp, and conference center in the redwood mountains of Santa Cruz, California. Max and Marion had both been teachers before the war and loved working with children. Welcoming the first Kennolyn campers in 1946 was a life long dream come true.

They named their camp after their children Ken and Carolyn and began in 1946 with a 60-acre site and 26 campers. That first year, 11 of the campers were nieces and nephews who called them Aunt Marion and Uncle Max. Fifty-five years later, the names still stick. The staff, the campers, the parents — everyone calls them Aunt Marion and Uncle Max.

Now Kennolyn affects over 2,000 campers and 200 staff each year. What an achievement! They have touched over 75,000 children’s lives at Kennolyn and have influenced the Camp industry that touches many more.


Marion Caldwell

Aunt Marion started as a Drama and Speech teacher for high school students. She was one of the founding members of WAIC (Western Association of Independent Camps) that has shaped the camp industry. She held many positions on the WAIC board, including President as well as board positions on ACA (American Camp Association), the regulatory body that sets professional standards for the Camp industry.

Max Caldwell

Uncle Max started as an elementary school teacher and later a principal. He was also one of the founding members of WAIC and held many positions on the board including President. He was also President of the ACA’s Northern California chapter.