Although there were no campfires or smores, the Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission (TTHC) and friends had a lot of fun in summer CAMP.

TTHC attended CAMP virtually on two Saturday mornings in July of 2021. Now, in this instance, CAMP is the Commission Assistance and Mentoring Program offered by the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). This program teaches local Commissions and other non-profit groups the ins and outs of historic preservation. Topics included an introduction to historic preservation, legal basics, identifying and designating resources and how to gain public support.

Tredyffrin Township, founded in the late 17th century, is the most populous municipality in Chester County. The Township boasts a rich history and has many historic sites, including portions of Valley Forge National Park. Originally a place founded by William Penn for the Welsh to settle, Tredyffrin comes from the Welsh words “tre(f)” meaning “town” and “dyffryn” meaning “wide, cultivated valley”.

Stone and wood house in a forest.
The Wharton Esherick Studio in Malvern is one of two National Historic Landmarks in Tredyffrin Township. Image from

Tredyffrin became a Certified Local Government (CLG) in 2002. Being a CLG has its perks, as the Township was able to secure funding through the CLG grant program to provide the training for their own commission, as well as for surrounding municipalities and non-profit groups. Each participant was given a year long membership to NAPC, which gives them access to a large network of commissions members around the country and other valuable resources.

 “I was very excited to include our eight neighboring township commissions and HARBs across Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.  Already we are learning from one another new approaches for historic commemorations, ordinance improvements and municipal engagement.   The new camaraderie and friendships will propel us to envision regional initiatives that will help our common preservation mission,” said Rob Williams, Chair of the Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission.

Grid of faces on computer screen.
Although we were unable to be together in person, everyone had a great time at CAMP!

Having encountered issues with creating an inclusive historic ordinance to protect the Township’s widespread resources, it became clear that the Commission needed a new approach but did not know where to start to begin to look for help.

Receiving a CLG grant gave us the opportunity to learn real life examples of preservation successes, not only in other parts of the state, but the entire country. Now our Commission has the building blocks to create an ordinance that works for our community.

As part of the training package, Tredyffrin Township commission members, elected officials and staff were given the opportunity to meet with NAPC trainers after the trainings to do a SWOT Analysis, which identifies the community’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for historic preservation. This portion was especially valuable to the Historical Commission, as it gave the chance to use knowledge learned from CAMP and put it to good use.

Laptop computer with map in a room.
A Saturday morning well spent learning the ins and outs of historic preservation.

In his final thoughts about the training, Mr. Williams added, “The NAPC CAMP training is valuable because our Historical Commission learned a uniform set of concepts, vocabulary and best practices. This is particularly important for our newer commission members.  It was also vital that our Township supervisors and senior staff, and representatives from the library, school district and other boards attend the workshops.  With their appreciation of the Historical Commission’s work, we can now accelerate plans with these partners to improve community education and historic resources protection.”

Today’s Guest Contributor is Amanda Lafty. Amanda has been the staff liaison for the CLG program and the Tredyffrin Township Historical Commission since beginning her position of Community Development Technician in May 2018. She also holds a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from Temple University.