The CCC began as a handful of informal traditions that took place during the summer in private places around town. On Mondays, the Masons hosted a sing-along; on Wednesdays, the Leventhals showed movies in their basement; and Curly Carroll fiddled and called square dances at the Cornerway. Then, in 1956, through the efforts of the Town Affairs Council, an association of summer and permanent residents, and a gift of land from Roger Baldwin, a building was erected to house all these activities and more.
In its sixty plus years, the Center has grown in activity and membership, but it has not changed significantly in style. It remains a spontaneous and informal place where families gather naturally, and older and younger children interact with ease. It also has an old-fashioned budget. The fees for the summer program are set at a minimum “break even” level, based on estimated operating costs. When necessary, capital improvements are funded through voluntary contributions and appropriations as voted by the residents of the town.
The CCC is a source of particular pride in Chilmark. For new families, it is important to remember that it is not a day camp, not a day care or drop-in center, not an urban outpost. It is quite simply a familiar Island Place, where there is no sense of entitlement, and where the privileges of summer may be enjoyed in full.