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Gather 'round the (Virtual) Campfire:

Stories from Camp Read's Past

Albert Koehl

June 29, 2020 (South Salem, NY)

A Lesson in Site Selection

In the early 1950’s (I think '53 & '54) I went to Camp Read, two weeks the first year and four weeks the second year. In the second year I signed up for the Camping, Cooking and Pioneering merit badges which involved a three-day hike. The plan as explained by our leaders (we had a map) was to head north on the old logging road out of camp, intersect another logging road on the left, find a place to camp for the night, then continue on the next day to Pharaoh lake and camp there for the second night. On the first day after hiking over 10 miles, we came to a paved road and
concluded after consulting the map, that we had missed the connection to the other logging road.


Since it was getting late in the day we needed to find a place to camp for the night. Our leader scouted the area and found a field where we could set up our camp, I assume with the permission of the owner. We set up our camp, had dinner, did the usual scout things and went to bed in our pup tents tired from hiking all day. Very early the next morning I woke up to the clanging of a bell. I opened the flap of the tent (pup tents have no windows) and peered out at a forest of cows’ legs. We had camped in the cows’ pasture and were now in the middle of the herd. The rest of the hike was uneventful and I added three more merit badges to my collection.

Hatchet Work

On another occasion I had some down time in the afternoon so I went to my two-man tent. Sitting on the platform at the front of the tent I decided that the rotten stump in front of me was a trip hazard and needed to be removed. I got my Boy Scout hatchet and proceeded to eliminate the stump by chopping it into a million chips which covered the ground for three to four feet around the front of the tent. Having eliminated any part of the stump above ground level I put the hatchet away and went about my scheduled activities for the rest of the day and did not return to
the tent until after dark. When I returned I was amazed to see the ground in front of the tent was glowing, every chip of wood from the rotten stump was fluorescent.

About the Scout:

At home I was in the Armonk troop, whatever that was. I went to camp by myself, not with a troop. There was just one camp divided up into camp sites numbered 1 thru 6, I think. I do not remember any of the names. All the camp sites were up the hill behind the canteen. The canteen was where you got your mail, bought candy and other scout items if you had any money. Everything was at the north end of the road.

Scouting and especially Camp Read was a great experience for me and I am sure set me on a course of enjoying a lifetime of camping and the outdoors.

For generations, summer after summer, scouts have been making memories at Camp Read. In 2020, the pandemic may have forced regular activities to pause, but campers from years gone by are sharing their stories here in an effort to fill in the gap. Read on to get your fix of Camp Read hijinks until we can safely fill a parade ground once more!


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