A Great Time at S-F

I feel like the title of this post is a little repetitive.  Yet, it felt worth stating.  I spent last Saturday afternoon/night at S-F Scout Ranch for the Shawnee Lodge’s Fall Reunion.  I am a big fan of the Order of the Arrow and really missed the Fall Reunion these past five years.  I went down with three of my good friends and I don’t think I could have had a better time at camp.

We were able to see many camp staff friends and I reconnected with a number of adults who I know.  I caught up on some of the goings on that I have missed by not being in St. Louis.  We had our chapter meeting during which time elections were held.  I used to be the New Horizons Chapter Chief – and wow our chapter has come a long way!  I knew some of the people running (many of whom won 🙂 ) and met several others.

We got invited to join a troop for dinner – one of the benefits of having been around and getting know great people.  We walked from the end of the camporee field to the Camp Gamble aquatics area (for those who know, as decent distance) to see a cabin that was built by hand over the summer.  I was pretty impressed.

In the evening I attended a Brotherhood ceremony and got to walk through Camp Famous Eagle to a ceremony site on Nims Lake, one of my favorite places for ceremonies.  The ceremonial team did an amazing job!  I’ve seen a number of Brotherhood Ceremonies since I got the Brotherhood Honor, but this was far and away the best!  After the ceremony, we hung out at S-F for a while and then went to Steak-N-Shake in Farmington with a pretty big group of camp staff/OA guys, before heading back to St. Louis.

To pretty much everyone reading this post all of this probably seems like mundane details.  But it makes me smile.  I really do love S-F.  While things there and in St. Louis Scouting have changed a lot over the past few years, it still feels like home.  In fact, I realized that I had the phone number for S-F in my phone as “work,” appropriate while I worked there.  Now I think I will re-label that as home.

Advertisements

Another Great Weekend

I had a great weekend at camp.  I really do love that place.  I think I might be interested in working again if I had a job lined up early enough with a set start date that would be after the end of camp.  There are quite a few things I still am interested in doing at camp and several traditions (some would say necessary parts of the staff experience) that I would like to bring back.

There was another Dad ‘N’ Lad this weekend and once again, I helped in the aquatics area.  It was a bit different this time though as Camps Famous Eagle and Gamble combined forces for one Dad ‘N’ Lad.  I have not worked at Camp Gamble since 2004 and I now remember how much that beach needs to be improved.  Nevertheless, it was a good time and  loved watching the faces of Scouts who were so happy to be spending time in the water with their dads.  There was one Scout in particular who would get out of the water, walk around the dock, jump in, splash his dad, and repeat – over and over.  He constantly had a smile on his face and would laugh to me the whole time.  I gave him a few ideas and he kept coming over.  He was on top of the world.

Of course, there are always those who do not figure out the system.  My good friend Eric Gill is someone who is not afraid to share what is on his mind.  Every once in a while, we says something pretty amusing.  When Scouts complained about waiting at the buddy board to check in to the aquatics area, he said “This is not McDonald’s Playplace.  We have rules here!”  It was pretty amusing.

I had a great time reminiscing about old camp experiences, stories, songs, etc. with Tim Weaver, Brian Hackworth, and Ray Kreienkamp who were also down at camp with me.  Tim and Brian and I have worked together, beginning in 2004.  Someone said something this weekend that reminded me of one of my favorite stories from my first year:

We were always warned not to speed in camp.  Pat Martchink, Director of Camping and Ranch Director knows the Farmington Police and the Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers in the area pretty well.  We were told (by older staff members, it was our first year on staff) that Pat had a radar gun (which he got for free from his police friends, of course) and would hide in the bushes and trees at the entrance of S-F to catch speeders.  Clearly this was not true – but we believed it, at least for a while.  We were also told that if you got a ticket while under contract, that you had better call Pat and let him know asap once it happened – or he would find out first.  That one actually happened a few times.  Ah, the good ole days…

I did not want to leave S-F yesterday evening.  Now that I have spent a few weekends down there, I am getting to know the staff and starting to feel a part of it, even if it is in a minor way.  I think a number of them were actually upset that I was leaving.  I do hope to be able to spend one more weekend down there.  It’s never enough, but at least I am starting to value and treasure the small things that I have previously taken for granted.

A Bit of S-F History & The Camp Sakima Song

S-F Scout Ranch has three Boy Scout camps.  Camp Famous Eagle was the first (1966), followed by Camp Sakima (1966), and then a few years later Camp Gamble opened (1970).  I’ve worked at Camp Gamble (2004) and Camp Famous Eagle (2006-2009).  The camps have traditionally been on a rotation (4 years open, 2 years closed) that leaves two camps fully open for summer camp and one camp closed for summer camp to “regrow” and “rejuvenate” that is also used for NYLT.

Last summer, Camp Famous Eagle was supposed to close at the end of the summer and Camp Sakima was supposed to open this summer.  For a variety of reasons, this did not happen and Camp Sakima is closed (as of now) until capital projects have been completed.  As such, the Camp Famous Eagle staff did not move over to Camp Sakima – which would have also affected me if I would have gone back to camp staff.  I would have liked to have worked at all three Boy Scout camps, but oh well.

I have posted the Camp Gamble and Camp Famous Eagle songs and they are receiving a fair number of hits.  I figured that I may as well post the third camp song as well.

This song has a name, beyond Camp Sakima Song.  Here is “The Spirit of Sakima”:

From a bridge upon the water
You can see the moon on high
As it travels slowly westward
‘Cross the wide Missouri sky
As the oak and hick’ry campfire
Casts its scent upon the air
You will dream of Camp Sakima
And you’ll wish that you were there

When you see a crimson sunset
Crystal waters, skies of blue
When the wind blows through the forest
Camp Sakima’s calling you

Makes no difference where you travel
Where on earth you choose to roam
You will sometimes feel a presence
When you know that you’re alone
You may search in vain to find it
Though you’ll never see it once
But sometimes between the setting
And the rising of the sun
You will hear a ghostly echo
Of a voice so clear and true
It’s the spirit of Sakima
And it’s calling me and you

The Camp Gamble Song

I went down to visit S-F again this weekend.  I was there for Dad ‘N’ Lad, a program the Greater St. Louis Area Council runs for Cub Scouts to experience the outdoors and camping (research shows that this increases retention and rank progression).  I wanted to spend time with friends at camp, visit The Ranch, and help out.  I enjoy  being there and contributing.

I plan on posting a few more thoughts and reflections about the weekend later in the week.  While I was at camp and on the way home, I spent quite some time reflecting on past camp staff experiences.  I started working at S-F Scout Ranch in 2004 as a Nature/Troop Counselor at Camp Gamble (full name – Camp Theodore R. Gamble), did not work in 2005 ( I went with my youth group to Poland and Israel), and moved over to Camp Famous Eagle from 2006-2009 as Business Manager.

I think I will always have an affinity for Camp Gamble as my first “home” at The Ranch.  As such, here is the Camp Gamble song:

Gamble’s the place you want to be
Gamble’s the place you want to be
Gamble will never die and here’s the reasons why
Gamble’s the place you want to be

Swimming and boating at the lake
Swimming and boating at the lake
Gamble will never die and here’s the reasons why
Gamble’s the place you want to be

Hiking and camping are such fun
Hiking and camping are such fun
Gamble will never die and here’s the reasons why
Gamble’s the place you want to be

Scouting is here and over there
Scouting is here and over there
Scouting is everywhere
Gamble will never die and here’s the reasons why
Gamble’s the place you want to be