Onteora 2000 was a tremendous success! But that should come as no surprise. With 107 volunteer staff putting in hundreds of man hours prior to the opening of camp, there should be no doubt that the millennium would start off with a bang, and that was not just at the rifle range! 27 troops, 345 boys and 90 adult leaders combined with staff to create a week of productive scouting. With over 700 merit badges earned (not counting the infamous - and exclusive to Onteora - box-burning merit badge) Scouts filled a week with advancement, teamwork and fun! (OK, and a bit of mud!)
There was a lake to be swum in, trees to identify, bikes to be ridden, tails to be hiked and meals to be cooked! Walls to scale, fish to be caught, boats to be sailed, knots to be mastered, and constellations to be identified. Birdhouses to be built, compasses to be oriented, arrows to be fletched and clay pigeons to be decimated! And that was just first period!!!
And who could forget the spare time - the ice cream social sponsored by the Order of the Arrow, movie night, and polar bear swim! There were trips to the trading post, the Indian village and the blacksmith's shop. Troop swims in the afternoon, troop shoots in the evening, and we even had a water carnival and Indian Pow Wow. The afternoons also included Onteora's first annual volleyball and ultimate frisbee tournaments. In volleyball, Troop 87 came out on top, with Troop 80 taking the honors in ultimate. And speaking of spare time, the scoutmasters and other adult leaders challenged the staff to volleyball, going to extremes by even playing at 6:30 in the morning! Staff may have on the series, but not without some very stiff competition, including losing the first game!
Evenings at Onteora were just as full. Both the staff run and campwide campfires were enjoyed by all. The Order of the Arrow tap out was impressive. Evening services, the individual faiths as well as the interfaith were well attended. And the visits from the blue heron were an awesome addition! (Wonder how Dave Cavill managed that one?)
So, where were you this summer? Were you with us at Onteora? Are you having your annual program planning meeting soon? Why not do your scouts a favor and bring them the information they need to make a knowledgeable decision about next summer? Still not convinced? Talk to any of the following units that did take advantage of all that Onteora has to offer. They'll be happy to tell you all about it. Troops 5 (Kenneth Gay), 10 (Dwight Rosenstein), 20 (Marcel Richardson, Jr.), 40 (Stephen Clark), 43 (Larry Krieb), 80 (Wayne Bauman), 87 (James Krug), 96 (Raymond Pomerico), 121 (Dave Barkstedt), 157 (Gregory Bange), 170 (Todd Iredell), 182 (Chris Mercurio), 195 (John Sadowski), 214 (Roland Varriale), 222 (George Motschmann), 240 (Bill Elliot), 293 (James Erb), 313 (Steven Kirsch), 316 (Richard Brady, Sr ;. 336 (Tony Turner), 341 (James Tewes), 423 (Laura Kent), 485 (Daniel Hagmaier), 577 (Sandy Brenner), 690 (Larry Bamberger), 771 (Bob King), 2830 (Ira Solomon). And if you're still not sure, let your Scouts know that hey have an opportunity of their own to attend in our provisional troop (this past years Scoutmaster was Bill Freyer).
And it will only get better from here.
Next year we're offering two full weeks
of camp. And not surprisingly, we
MY FIRST ONTEORA EXPERIENCE
One morning in May of this year, Onteora decided that it was time for me to have my first experience with her. I called Jim Kent and asked where I could help out. Being a nurse, Jim gave me a position with Frank Messina and Steve Silvernail in the Health Lodge. Jim told me that I'd have the time of my life and that I'd "work my tail off". He was so right!
My family and friends asked why a person who doesn't camp on a regular basis would want to spend nine days out in the woods of upstate New York with 350+ Boy Scouts and leaders. I truly couldn't explain my reasons to them, as it was a feeling in my heart. Onteora was calling me.The day I left for camp, it was raining both on the road and in my heart, as I was leaving my family behind, and wouldn't be with my son on his birthday. Still, I was determined to make the most of the time I had committed to. I hoped for the best.
My arrival on Saturday was not what I had envisioned, as I had never seen so much mud in my life! Good thing I bought those waterproof boots. I would soon learn that I'd live in them. When the Scouts began to arrive on Sunday, I never had a moment to spare. So many things to do! I thought bedtime would never come. and morning came too soon! Why in the world would I want to get up at 6:30 am when I had just gone to bed at 2:30 am? There is definitely something to be said for sleep deprivation. It's not nice!
On Tuesday, after Health Department and National BSA Inspection teams went through the camp, I began to feel a little more at ease. The staff party that is traditionally given by the Health Lodge staff was scheduled for tonight and my family had decided to come and visit me. It was time for fun.
On Wednesday I even got to visit and use the rifle range and do a little touring of the program areas. The day passed with few problems. Some boys needed band aids, some had earaches, but it was not anything that Frank and Steve couldn't handle. Why was I here?
When the sun really came out on Thursday, I really enjoyed the Water Carnival and didn't even mind eating the lake water soaked sandwich at the Peanut Butter Relay Race. That evening, at 10:30 pm, I drove back to the Health Lodge with a CIT and a camper suffering from a stomachache. After some medication and TLC, I drove him back as far as I could to his campsite without getting the van stuck in the mud. Thank goodness for the three OA Scouts and their flashlight as they took my charge under their collective wings and safely returned him to his site. I returned to Long House with Frank's van to wait for him. I was about to find out why I came to Onteora.
Inside Long House were two leaders and three Scouts from the troop of the boy I had just returned. One of the boys came running to me and in frightened voice asked me if I'd seen his friend with a stomachache. I told him that I had just returned him to the site. He breathed a sigh of relief and turned to leave with the others, but then ran back to me, hugged me and told me how glad he was that I was there to help them.
It was at that moment that I realized why l had come to Onteora. It's true what they say about helping just one boy! Having done primarily district work for the last few years. I'd experienced this great feeling in a long time... I can't say enough about the wonderful people who staff Onteora. I knew very few of the staff and none of the CIT's going in, but so many names and faces were very familiar by the time I left on Sunday. I truly felt welcome. Onteora touched my heart. I know I will return, and now I know why.
Lorraine M. Sawicki
RANGER GABBARD HONORED
In a surprise presentation, Onteora Ranger, Glenn Gabbard, was presented with the James E. West award August 20" at Onteora Scout Reservation. The award was made by camp commissioner Dave Barkstedt on behalf of the Onteora staff. The James E. West award recognizes individuals or groups who contribute, or have contributed in their name, $1,000 into the council endowment fund. The Onteora staff wanted to make this gesture to Glenn for his special efforts at maintaining the camp and supporting their efforts to put Onteora back as a full time summer camp.
Some of the items listed in Glenn's biographical sketch as written by Dave Barkstedt are as follows: Glenn began his tour of Onteora as a CIT (counselor-in-training) in 1978. He became an assistant maintenance director there in 1982 and finally appointed as ranger in the Fall of 1983. He also has served as the conservation director utilizing the skills from his undergraduate degree in forestry. In his spare time he has been an assistant Scoutmaster, taught at Sullivan County College, served as Chief of the Livingston Manor Fire Department, and loves to cross country ski. Glenn is a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, WWW. He lives at Onteora with his wife Karen and ever faithful dog Sherman.
As Onteora heads towards the day (soon!) when it will reopen as the finest Boy Scout camp in the Northeast, we know part of the reason for its success will have been due to the personal commitment made to the camp and its ardent supporters by Glenn. Those who know what he has done and will continue to do for the camp take pride that he is now a James E. West Fellow. Bully!