Gather 'round the (Virtual) Campfire:

Stories from Camp Read's Past

CSR in the Adirondacks: the Fourth Period Games

August 14, 2021

This part of Camp history is comprised of excerpts from Art’s book: From Early in the Morning; The Life and Times of Art Boland; Chapter 3: The True Story of Camp Read. (1) The first limited edition of the book was published in December 2000.

Art in his own words:

“I spent 18 years as the Camp Ranger and loved every minute of it. Alan Pospisil was my collaborating cohort on the maintenance crew. We did everything together, like cleaning the grease traps, taking the garbage to the dump and, when they upgraded it and called it the land fill, we kept right on taking the garbage there. And we walked the pipelines by the light of the moon and found all the bad breaks and fixed them soon.

The Swami and His Entourage

Allan Pospisil, Art Boland, Bob Ormiston, & Mickey Boylan

There came a time, in the 50’s I guess it was, we overheard Joe Cooke, the camp director that year, talking about the Fourth Period, always the smallest (least attended) by far. Now to Allan and me, this was a challenge and we took up the gauntlet and concocted a song about goings on in the Fourth Period. The song described Rama of the jungle and his good friend Jungle Jim. Rama had lost a stash of diamonds and Jungle Jim was helping him recover them, a plot we implied would be played out during the Fourth Period. Our only mistake was neglecting to inform Joe before we sang it in the dining hall.

 

It went over big with the staff and the scouts, who began calling home to ask their parents if they could stay the Fourth Period. Joe took Allan and myself aside and explained the chain of command and then said, “OK, you guys made up a song. Now you have to make up the game to go with it. And it had better be good!”

 

And that’s how the Fourth Period games started and continued for about five years or more until a new Camp Executive didn’t like it and cancelled it. I can’t remember all the games but these are the ones that come to mind:

 

Swami & Entourage

The Great Safari, with Rama and Jungle Jim

The Gold Rush

Foreign Intrigue

Space Men

 

They were all good. And the beauty of it was that the staff loved it as much, or more, than the campers, and their enthusiasm spilled over to make it a success that continued right to the end of the game era.

 

Foreign Intrigue sticks out in my mind. I enlisted the French teacher from the local high school to play the part of a United Nations diplomat. At that time I had a Cadillac, a four door sedan, and Shirley, being an artist, painted two United Nations placards. We pasted them on the doors and drove the “diplomat” to the retreat field to speak to the scouts as they stood at attention. One of the younger staff spoke French and translated the speech into English; even he was fooled and later asked to meet the diplomat to talk about France. And the high school French teacher wanted to know how the game turned out. Those were the days, with never a dull moment. That is why I loved camp.

UN Ambassador (French Teacher) & Art Boland

UN Ambassador (French Teacher) & Art Boland

One of the executives, Vin Macklin, decided I should be on the program staff, so he cut an order that made me Assistant Program Director at Buckskin. This executive loved the Fourth Period games and participated in both their planning and execution.

 

The reservation at this point in time was divided into two camps – Buckskin and Tomahawk. There was a bit of rivalry between them. They both had their own marching song and they were dillies:

 

The Tomahawk boys would sing: (sung to “Glow Worm”) 

 

Glow little Buckskin glimmer, glimmer.

As your hopes grow dimmer, dimmer;

If your scout boots give you blisters,

You can always wear your sister’s;

Don’t be afraid of those nighttime noises,

Or those big tough Tomahawk boys’es;

Next year come to Tomahawk,

And you will be a man!

 

The Buckskin boys would sing: (sung to “Honey Babe”)

 

What’s the best camp in Read … Buckskin, Buckskin,

Which will be the one to lead … Buckskin, Buckskin;

We will beat the Tomahawks ‘cause all they do is talk talk talk,

Buckskin’s the camp for me!

Come along … come along, come join our happy hiking song,

We will fight and when we’re done, we will watch the others run,

Buckskin’s the camp for me!

 

Then because the Tomahawk Boys couldn’t be out done, they made up this song: Sung to the tune of the “Colonel Bogey March” better known as “Bridge over the River Kwai”:

 

We are, the scouts of Tomahawk,

No one can beat old Tomahawk;

There is … no one to match us,

No one can catch us, 

‘cause we are the best!

Da di da da da da

(Whistle the next verse and then repeat).

 

I also remember the game of Space Men, or at least how it was presented to the kids. We told them, at a campfire, that a UFO sighting had taken place the night before, and as the fire was ending, one of the staff said to look at the top of Stevens Mountain. Three other staff had gone to the top of the mountain carrying a large, eight by twelve foot reflective aircraft emergency panel-marker, orange in color, and several large flashlights. They stretched the panel-marker between two trees and at the appointed time, played the flashlights on it. The kids began chanting UFO! UFO! UFO! And then the next day, the Space Men game began. Campers climbed Stevens Mountain and picked up the trail left by Martians; it led to Pharaoh Lake and the battle zone. Great stuff and enjoyed by all.”

 

Thanks Art! For starting the games with Allan and creating great program!

 

I hope that this filled in more of the blanks, and preserves some more of the history of Camp Read.

 

Yours in scouting,

Jim Smith

Former Staff Member and Camp Tomahawk Director 


 

  1. From Early in the Morning; The Life and Times of Art Boland can be purchased from:

The Red Fin Press

P.O. Box Six

Adirondack, New York, 12808

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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