Monday, July 30, 2012

A Tale of Toilet Paper, Elves and Bovine

Well from Friday evening until early Sunday afternoon I was at an undisclosed location, held hostage with no cell phone service, limited internet and about sixty off the wall people.  OK, so it's not undisclosed, it was Chesterfield Scout Reservation and I still didn't have cell phone service.  This is the reason I didn't post much and I am scrambling to read the MANY new posts I missed (it rains for the first time all summer and everyone goes nuts with writing new posts).  I attended helped run, the first Chesterfield Scout Reservation Galactic Empire Alumni Staff Reunion.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down Kev, what do you mean Scout?

I've eluded it to many times in past postings that I am active in the Boy Scouts of America, have been active since 1986 and worked at a Scout camp for close to a decade but I never did delve into the complete history of my Scouting career.  Well I will save you the "complete" aspect of it and just hit some of the highlights leading up to the previous weekend.

I started down the Scouting trail in 1986 and I attended Chesterfield Scout Reservation as a camper from 1987 to 1993.  C.S.R. is a fantastic camp "...nestled in the Berkshires" (straight from the brochure).  C.S.R. is a great camp and it holds many, many memories for me.  As a camper, I looked up to the Staff members who worked there for eight plus weeks a year, I was too young then to know why I looked up to them or that I was in fact looking up to them, I just new they were cool and fun.  Some of these Staff members I remembered as a yout came to the Reunion this weekend and memories came flying back to me.  Memories of swimming in a pond where you couldn't see your feet knees three inches below the surface and taking an aquatics merit badge with an Waterfront Director named Sludge.

There were memories of taking the $10 that my Mom gave me for spending money and walking up the steps to the Trading Post, just to order a grape Slushie from the cute Trading Post Manager Chrissy.  Memories flooding my mind of a giant campfire ablaze, set in front of Scout Pond and along with hundreds of campers watching as thirty plus Staff members did funny skits, sang silly songs and acted goofy.  Those were my memories of summer from 1987 to 1993...and then something happened that fateful summer of 1993....

I went back to camp after my week was up and picked up an application to be on Staff.  I filled out the application right then and there and gave it to the bald, skinny man who looked like he was wearing a pair of disguise glasses, with the mustache and big nose attached.  He introduced himself as the Camp Director and gladly accepted my application.  A few months later I received a phone call and was set up with an interview for Camp Staff.  There was an opening in Ecology, it seems the Camp Director's wife decided to work in Administration for camp.  I interviewed and I must have done a good job because I was told to report on June 28, 1994 for Staff Week.

Little did I know that 1994 was going to be a turning point in my life.  I met many people that summer, most of who I am still in touch with and many who changed my life.  There were four people in particular that had the biggest impact on me, that bald skinny guy wearing the disguise glasses turned out to be Tom Slavicek, his wife, Karen, who's love of Animaniacs only rivaled mine, Jame Manuel, the Chief Elf of the World (I'll get into that in a second) and the one, the only Dave Fabie, the Program Director.  Dave also write s a blog called Funny Odd Thing, Life... go and check it out.

I worked for/with Dave only one summer but the things I learned from him and the ideals I "borrowed" from him have stayed with me to this day.  Aside from the Trophy, I have never met someone who has has such an impact on me in such a short period of time.  We still keep in touch to this day and I can honestly say that I owe 90.36% of who I am today to him.  Now, fast forward one year and my induction into the Order...

The Order of the Elf, who's idle is the Great Bovine is a secret society for Staff Members who go above and beyond their normal duties and for those who are not afraid to make fools out of themselves.  It's a huge honor to have been inducted into this Order and that's no Bull (inside joke).

Again, fast forward, this time to 1998.  I am jumping the years in between not because they were not memorable but because I don't want to bore you to death.  So, 1998 the second turning point in my life due to Chesterfield Scout Reservation.  Why you ask?  Simple, the first is I finally got my dream position as Program Director and I could finally reflect what I learned from Dave and THE most important reason, I met the Trophy at C.S.R.  I know you are saying "Wait, wait, wait, you met your WIFE at a Boy Scout camp?"  You're damn right I did, she was the Cook in the kitchen, I figured if she could handle cooking for 400 Scouts and Scouters each week, she can cook for me.

So, back to the present, well slight past.  We had a reunion for Staff members at C.S.R. over the weekend and it was great, we had three generations of Staff present and despite the rain, we all had a great time.  The long term goal of the C.S.R. Alumni Association is to keep the camp going strong and to build it better to provide a quality program for the youth of Scouting and we plan on obtaining our goal.  If you are reading this and you happen to be someone who attended Chesterfield Scout Reservation as a camper, worked on camp Staff or someone who has a soft spot for Boy Scout camps and their experiences, I encourage you to help out.

OK, enough of my sentimental crap and sales pitch, we will be back to your regularly scheduled blog tomorrow.


  1. That's cool Kevin. I was in Girl Scouts and I have so many wonderful memories of camping and learning to do so many things to earn my badges, like horseback riding and skating. Scouting is such a great experience to have in life. And the cookies weren't bad either. ;).

    1. I look at all three groups, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts as one big group called Scouting. There are so many memoris for everyone who was involved with any of the groups!

  2. Kevin,

    Glad to know that we were able to have a positive impact in what we did. We had a great time working on staff (Staph?) at CSR as well and spent this past weekend reflecting on all of those folks that we worked with, the campers we knew and those Scouts and Scouters who have gone on to the Great Spirit before us. I'm pleased to be able to say that I knew and worked with Chief Warner, Brownie and many others. The impact that they had on my life is truly immeasurable - and I know that I am not alone in that.

    While we wish that we could remember every camper and every moment at camp, realizing that we served anywhere between 120 and 240 boys a week and upwards of 100 Cub Scouts every weekend for nearly eight weeks, this wasn't a option - sad though that is.

    What people who have never worked on a camp staff would never know is that through adversity, hard work, and a great sense of camaraderie a great team of friends is formed. Amazingly enough - the teams that I worked with for 6 summers and volunteered for weekends on several others have found themselves to still be as close today after over 25 years as they were back then. It is truly the measure of good friends that they can stay together through thick and thin and still pick up with one another like they saw each other yesterday.

    1. Yes! You along with a lot of other Staph (I didn't want to offend who am I kidding...) made an impact on many, many youth, myself included. I know what you mean having hundreds of Scouts coming through the gates eah week you simply cannot remember each and every one, but know that in some way you hopefully made a positive impact on them.

      I'm in the same boat, the people I worked with and became friends with back on Staph are still friends and we are still in contact today. Over the weekend I saw people I haven't seen in 10 years and we picked up right were we left off.

  3. The BSA is an amazing organization. I'm proud to be a part of it too.

    1. Awesome! That is awesome you are involved!

  4. I can totally see you and a large group of boys entertaining each other with your differing fart sounds and smells as you work toward whatever badges or accomplishments you are striving for. I bet they have a ball with you.