Eugene Baer, teacher of art at the Tisbury School, would never have come to Martha’s Vineyard had it not been for the St. Pierre summer school. He was introduced to the school as a student in college, when he was looking for work as a counselor. “I had never heard of Martha’s Vineyard,” he says.

According to Barbara St. Pierre-Peipon, Mr. Baer’s story is not unique: many people first heard of the school before learning of the Vineyard. As the school goes through its 46th year, its reputation continues to spread.

“We’ve had children attending the school from Moscow, London, Paris, Japan, South America and Taiwan,” Mrs. Peipon says.

The school, across the street from Maciel Marine on the Lagoon Pond Road, is the former Marine Hospital. Since 1977, the school has operated as a day camp, but before then children used to live at the camp.

In past weeks the camp has had a revival of spirit. Former participants, counselors and teachers have taken a moment out of their life to drop by the school and say hello to friends. Last month there was a reunion of older campers. Each social event held at the camp has held special meaning for its alumni, for last spring its co-founder, Dorothy St. Pierre, 70, died after a short illness.

Mrs. Peipon, daughter of Mrs. St. Pierre, knows her mother touched the lives of a lot of people. “She was like a surrogate mother. I was very lucky to have her as my mother. And the legend lives on.”

Her father, J. Raoul (Bud) St. Pierre, a lawyer and teacher, died in 1977. He and his wife, she an instructor at the Katherine Gibbs School, wintered in Jamaica Plain and devoted their summers to the camp.

Robert W. Holt of West Tisbury, director for his fifth year at the camp, says: “The strongest point of the camp is the family feeling. It is not regimented. There are no uniforms. We don’t require that students make a macrame belt before they leave. What we offer is family-oriented fun.”

Mr. Baer says: “There is a bond. For eight weeks they are thrown together in a group in a relaxed rather than a structured setting. By the end of the summer, I think children look at each other as special. And there are memories at the end of the summer of sun, fresh air and the seaside.” The campers grow up remembering each other and keep in close touch, both with friends and with the camp.

Mr. Baer had been a director of the camp a few years back. “The St. Pierre school is the longest-going camp on the Island. Many have come and gone. The camp used to be a boarding camp. A lot of people were introduced to the Island through the camp. And the tradition gets passed from one generation to another.”

“Our youngest counselor is Bob Sullivan of Oak Bluffs. His parents were former campers,” says Mr. Holt.

The emphases at the school is on a variety of sports, including swimming, and softball and all field sports. This year, the numbers of students range from 30 to 35, Mrs. Peipon says. And their ages range from six to 12.

“Campers learn archery, tennis, soccer and volleyball,” she says. “Tuesdays and Thursdays are trip days. The whole camp goes out for the whole day.” Squibnocket and Long Point are a few of the spots they visit.

“And every Wednesday is a cookout with the traditional beans and hot dogs,” she says.

The only tradition broken this summer is the offering of a sailing program. “We didn’t feel confident enough to offer sailing this year,” Mrs. Peipon says. The usual instructor, Mrs. Peipon’s daughter Grace, was away this summer competing in the nationals in Western Massachusetts. She has been head of the program for the past three years.

Mrs. Peipon’s other daughter Emily, 18, who attends the University of Massachusetts for the first time next fall, teaches tennis.

“I was ten months old when I first went to camp,” says Mrs. Peipon. “It’s been my life. Once I remember as a child, complaining to my mother that all the other campers got care packages from their parents. All except for me.

“So my mother went to Vineyard Dry Goods. She bought two blouses, and had them packaged, wrapped and mailed. A day later a package came to the camp for Barbara. That is just one of a million examples that are told at the camp.”

Mrs. Peipon says there is a loyalty to the St. Pierre school among parents. “Children will come one year to the next. Some children want very much to work their way up and become senior counselors. We already have our summer of 1996 picked for counselors from our eight-year-olds.

“A feeling lives on with the kids. It is like getting extra brothers and sisters of any age you desire,” Mrs. Peipon says.

Looking back over the years, Mrs. Peipon knows of at least one instance where two head counselors in later years got married, reared children, and sent them to the camp.

Mr. Holt has often seen an older camper drop by to visit just to see how the camp is going. “The place had a real grip on them.

“Dorothy could bring things out of you that you didn’t know you had,” he says. He hopes that that camping spirit will continue.

Mr. Hold says: “The summer of 1986 is dedicated to Dorothy.”