Scout Spirit, USA (long)
Charlie Perry (perrce@IQUEST.NET)
Mon, 2 Feb 1998 15:21:20 -0500
I guess to start off, I should tell you a little about myself. My name is
Charlie Perry aka Moose. I've been involved in Scouting since I was a
youth. After four years of college where my only involvement in Scouting
was working at Summer Camp (Camp Buffalo, Sagamore Council, IN) every year
(I've been everything from Commissioner to Aquatics Dir, but I'm always the
"song and dance man."), I've come back to my home troop and was qickly
drafted to become Scoutmaster. The previous SM was looking to get out
after 5 years (He doesn't even have a boy involved! Way to go Jamie!) I'm
still think I'm too young (23) to be a Scoutmaster, but so far it seems to
be working out.
Anyway, back to the story. I wanted to share with you all the wonderful
experience that I had over the summer (after Summer Camp, and before the
new job). A camp buddy (Jon) and I, after working together for years
decided that we were finally going to take that trip we had always been
talking about. Since we had only the money that we had earned over the
summer (not much :-), we loaded up the car with camping gear and started
our cross country adventure.
The plan was to spend the night at Boy Scout camps when there was one on
the way, trading a service project for a night of camping. When we
couldn't find one, we planned to stay at State Forests, or Parks, or where
ever else we could find that was cheap.
Frankly, I wasn't sure this would work. I knew that it would work
sometimes, but there's always that stereotypical, gruff Camp Ranger to deal
with. "No permit, no camping." Boy was I surprised.
First stop: Fort Steuben Scout Reservation of the Ohio River Valley Council
(OH, WV, & Penn.). This was the first time on the trip that we had tried
the Scout thing so Fort Steuben was the guinnea pig. We pulled into camp
and were immediately dismayed. There were a bunch of cars in the lot, so
we figured there was a Camporee or something going on. Not a good sign.
When we put on our uniforms and asked around for the Ranger, we were
directed to the Dining Hall and advised to ask for "Fuzzy." We found Fuzzy
(the Asst. Ranger) and we were immediately made welcome. We were given a
spot close to running water, and all we had to do was clean up some of the
Staff site that was left a mess. As it turns out, Fuzzy had just gotten
married that day! His ceremony was in the camp Chapel, and the big shindig
at the Dining Hall was his reception. Fuzzy told us how to get into the
Dining Hall after hours and invited us to raid the fridge that night for
leftovers so we could have a snack and take some food for the road. Wow!
The next morning, we met Duane and Dan (one of them was a Camp Director, I
think). They hooked us up with four pages of information about Scout Camps
in Penn., two patches each, and a book about hikes in Ohio! Those two were
great. They went *way* out of their way to help us.
A couple of days later, we stumbled on Resica Falls Scout Reservation in
the Pocono Mtns. on Penn. (It's owned by the Philadelphia Council). In
exchange for moving three rowboats, Scott, the Asst. Ranger pointed us to a
campsite called "Bear Hollow" in Camp Firestone (part of the reservation).
It was wonderful! It had adirondaks, a picnic shelter with a
fireplace/stove and latrines! After being on the road for a week, it was
heaven. We didn't even have to set up tents or a fly. :-)
Later the next week, after staying with a friend who was attending the
University of Connecticut, we got a late start (1:00 pm) because we were
doing laundry and actually taking a shower(!). Because of the delay we
headed straight for Providence, RI where we figured there had to be a
Council Service Center. We were hoping for an OA "Where to go guide", but
they didn't have one. After we explained who we were and what we were
doing (Yes, we were wearing our uniforms. :-), they were really helpful
with getting us info on their council camps. As it turned out, the Ranger
for one of their camps was in the office right then. He was happy to let
us stay at his camp. And so we were off to Camp Champlin of Narragansett
Council (RI). The Ranger (Clem Gormky) was a wonderful guy. He put us up
in style. He gave us some patches and a cabin with bunks and gas stove and
oven! Needless to say, since we had a stove we ate in style that night.
That cabin it turns out was used as the handicrafts area for the Cub Day
camp that is run there. Rent: helping to put the cover on the swimming
pool. (Now we know what a "Grind-ah" [hoagie/sub sandwich] and
"Coffee-milk" [like chocolate milk, only w/ coffee flavoring instead of
chocolate] is! )
Then there was Syracuse, NY. We found the Council Sevice center (Hiawatha
Council) just after it had closed (5:00ish). In desperate need for a place
to sleep that night we walked in the employee entrance since the trading
post door was locked. We found two people talking together. Later we
decided that they were the Council Exec and a District Exec. Again in
uniform, we explained what was going on and they pointed us in the
direction of Woodland Scout Reservation to the north. As we thanked them
and left we heard the Council Exec mumble somthing about having to make
sure that door stayed locked from now on. :-)
Dennis Robinson, the Ranger of Camp Woodland, met us at the parking lot as
we pulled into camp. After we told our story, he told us a story. It
turns out he had done the exact same thing we were doing - touring the
country staying at Scout camps - when he got out of the Army in the 60's!
We stayed in what was the Camp Office during the summer. It had bunks,
showers, stoves and a TV!
Throughout a month of traveling from Indiana, to Cape Cod, out to Wyoming,
and back to Indiana, we met only the most wonderful people. At Scout camp
after Scout Camp we were welcomed in as brothers and shown nothing but
hospitality. Never once were we turned away or given the cold shoulder.
None of them had any reason to trust us other than our uniform and our
word. It makes me proud to be a member of an organization that welcomes
strangers, and trusts them based only on the sight of a uniform that
signifies a common set of beliefs and a promise to do our best.
If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. If you are one of
the people that helped us along the way, thank you. You'll never know what
a help you were in making memories that will last a life time. If any of
you know any of the people that I mentioned above, please thank them for
me. Or better yet, print this out and give it to them the next time you
Yours in Scouting,
Charlie "MOOSE" Perry Scoutmaster Troop 508
firstname.lastname@example.org Sagamore Council (Kokomo, IN)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City