Lazy W Ranch Day Camp
Ed and Ednamay Wales moved to Lake Alfred in 1955. The wide-open spaces drew them to the area after having lived in Clearwater and Winter Haven. While Ed worked in sales in the citrus industry, Ednamay raised their sons Tom and Dick.
When the boys went off to college, Ednamay was recalling her experiences at summer camp in the Ozarks as a young girl to her friends. They pointed out that there was no local opportunity for such an experience, and that the community could benefit from it.
Ed was very supportive of the idea and they set out to create an experience on their land that encouraged children to be outside, to learn skills such as horseback riding and swimming, and provide wholesome fun for boys and girls. No movies, no field trips, everything that was needed would be on site.
The Lazy W Ranch Day Camp opened in 1960 as a six week day camp session for 45 kids. When Ednamay opened The Barn Antiques in 1969 her son Tom and his wife Jan continued to operate the camp in the summer. Over the years the popularity of Lazy W grew and a formal ‘lodge’ was built for group activities. At its peak, the camp operated 3 three-week sessions per summer, with 150 kids attending each session. Over almost 30 years, it is estimated that over 7,500 campers were able to enjoy adventurous Florida summers at the Lazy W, and some local families are able to say that 3 generations attended.
The Wales family's legacy of providing children with life-long memories had an immeasurable impact on the Lake Alfred community. While sadly, the Lazy W lives on only in our memories, we would like to know if were you a camper. We would love to hear from you! Please join The Official Lazy W Facebook page and tell us about your favorite camp songs, Miss Henrietta’s meals, and what you remember!