Way back in 1963, I
joined the rest of Troop 182 from Baldwin, New York, and headed off on my
first trip to summer camp. Our destination? Onteora Scout
Reservation, located in the Catskill Mountains near the town of Livingston
Manor. Click here for maps of the area,
showing the general locations of both Livingston Manor and Onteora.
Onteora is one of two camps owned by the
Theodore Roosevelt Council, formerly Nassau County Council, of Long
Island, New York (see below for details on the name change). The
other camp is Camp Wauwepex, located in Wading
River, New York (They renamed that property to Schiff Scout Reservation a
few years ago, but evidently the old name is also still in use.)
I was a summer camper
at Onteora in 1963 and 1965, and a counselor in 1968 and 1969. At
that time Onteora was quite a massive operation, for it was the
third-largest Boy Scout camp in the country. I also made many trips up there for Order of the Arrow events, the winter
campouts called Operation Igloo, and some weekends of fun with other
alumni over the years. I met a lot of good friends there and have some
great memories of the place.
Main Gate to Onteora Scout Reservation
"The Land in the Sky"
After my years on the camp staff I
moved to California, but I made sure to visit Onteora during some of my
trips back East. Unfortunately, I learned in 1997 that the
Council had closed Onteora a few years earlier, the victim of declining
Scout enrollment and a tendency for more upscale camping. This was a
real loss, for it was a great experience for me and I'm sure thousands of
others. Happily, the Council re-opened the camp in 1998 and has been
rejuvenating the property, with summer camp once again providing a great
outdoors experience to Scouts from Long Island. Many Boy Scout camps have
been lost over the years, but Onteora has the distinction of being the
only one to ever be re-opened. Now, thanks to an incredible
amount of hard work by volunteers and a dedicated camp staff, the future again looks bright
I've had fun putting these pages together
to salute the glory years of Onteora, and to showcase the vibrant camp it
is again today. I would appreciate hearing from any other OSR campers or counselors that
would like to contribute. If you have any pictures, maps or knowledge to
share, please let me know. Likewise, if you would like to be part of a
mailing list of other Onteora fans, please let me hear from you.
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Still reading? Ok, here's
the information on the council name change. Teddy Roosevelt, well
known for his charge up San Juan Hill and later as President of the
United States, was the first Commissioner of Nassau County Council.
When a different Theodore Roosevelt Council in Arizona closed and gave up
the name, Nassau County Council decided to rename itself to honor his contributions to local scouting.
Click on the patch to go to the Council's official web site (but
please come back!)
The page was last updated:
September 07, 2013. This website copyrighted
All rights reserved.