Eager Beaver Weekend 2023
Report from Camp ~ Wm Langham, Scribe
The Camp Read Association & Friends gathered in June to set up camp, install new fishing docks at Waubeeka and Buckskin, prepare for the new Troop Cooking areas at Waubeeka and renew acquaintances interrupted by the pandemic. Ably managed by Camp Ranger Kris O’Connor, crews were created on Saturday after breakfast, prepared by former Read camper and Tomahawk staffer Executive Chef Tim Mehne, teams dispersed to their assignments.
We had a window-washing team, a waterfront deck & dock team, the ‘erector set’ team, the doublewide team, the new fishing docks team, and a ranger team that undertook a variety of tasks.
Considered the “Main Event” of the weekend was the installation of two custom-made fishing docks - one at Waubeeka and the other in Rogers Lake at Buckskin. The docks are dedicated to Michael McCabe, an avid and enthusiastic camp Unit Scoutmaster for many years. The McCabe Family led by Mike McCabe Jr. organized funding, permitting, and locating a dock and ramp builder from Utica. A large CRA contingent of volunteers led by Mike and inspired by Tom Liberati, Greater Hudson Valley Council’s Fishing Committee Chair, eagerly awaited the 10AM scheduled arrival of the two docks. The plan was to start at Waubeeka in the morning and proceed to Buckskin in the afternoon. The assembled dock would be floated across Rogers Lake and anchored near the site of the original Hermitage summer children’s playhouse, the Porcupine Lodge, of which only the chimney remains.
Disappointment, a major understatement, spread when the builder arrived with only a single dock! The new dock was unloaded, railings attached and launched & anchored near the eastern shore of Waubeeka Lake and put into immediate use by Tom Liberati and his fishing buddy Lou Alagno, former council Advancement Committee Chair. The Buckskin dock is now in place at the Porcupine Lodge on the far shore of Rogers Lake.
Bears had a major impact on camp last summer, causing a complete rethink of Waubeeka’s famous Patrol Cooking Program. Troop Cooking areas have been cleared and leveled at Lower Cascade and Hurricane. Assemblage of The ‘Erector Sets,” permanent metal framed, corrugated metal roofed structures large enough to accommodate field kitchens for the assigned Waubeeka unit sites is off to a solid start. Greg Pitonza, Maker Extraordinaire, read the Instructions which, if not followed explicitly, would void the warranty, and led the crews in putting up two cooking pavilions at Lower Cascades for units to cook troop style.
Mike Tripodi’s Waterfront Team spent Saturday morning making Buckskin’s Aquatic Center sparkle and floated the swim rafts into position, ready for the first campers of the season to try the Read Swim Test. Following lunch in the Newton Dining Hall, this gang headed down the road to Waubeeka Waterfront to install their docks too.
A renovated Cook’s Cabin, the double-wide trailer near Boland Lodge, was in the process of having a kitchen and a winterized heating and plumbing system installed, plus getting a fresh coat of paint on its reconfigured rooms. It will make very nice quarters for the Chef and assistant this summer. In conversation with Rich Stockton, Council Executive, a tremendous effort is ongoing into a making Camp Read a desirable place for summer employment with competitive salaries and outstanding housing - 5 staff cabins have been installed at STEM Ranch, two in Waubeeka Stapf City, and others in Buckskin. Cabins are comfortable, roomy and electrified. The cabins have been funded by a donations from a wide spectrum of individual contributors and fundraising events.
After Saturday’s efforts, Eager Beavers were rewarded with New York Strip Sirloins, mashed potatoes and a nicely spicy vegetable melange prepared by Chef Tim and crew (Rich Buzzard and Matt Brauner), with Peach Dump Cake and vanilla ice cream for dessert! Following dessert, Tom & Lou returned to Waubeeka for more Fishing Dock testing, resulting in Tom’s catching not only the first fish caught at Waubeeka, but also the second: a 17- inch Smallmouth bass, a challenging record to be broken this summer by scouts.
Thank you to the pre-staff Stapf for helping on many projects where some strong muscle power was required. These included Shane, Sam, Albin, Alex (2022 STEM Ranch Staff Award recipient) and Jim, among others. Eager Beaver 2023 combined the efforts of over 35 Camp Read Association members, camp rangers and camp & council staff. Camp will be ready when the first campers arrive in July. If you have not visited Curtis S. Read Reservation recently, you will be in for a pleasant surprise - everything from the new Read sign on Palisades Road, to the recently landscaped Waubeeka & Buckskin Retreat Fields, the new Fishing Docks, Staff/Storage Cabins, bear-proofing, Camp will offer an electrifying experience for this summer and for many summers to come!
As VP of Membership (and Eager Beaver Scribe), I'd be remiss if I didn't invite those non-members reading this to join our free, fun, productive and supportive association for the friends of Camp Read. Click for Details.
[More pictures and video on Facebook: (https://www.facebook.com/CampReadAssociation)]
Eager Beaver Scribe
June 18, 2023
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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