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Gather 'round the (Virtual) Campfire:

Stories from Camp Read's Past

Jim Smith

February, 2023

Camp Read History: Art Boland

Reminiscences by Jim on summers at Camp Read as Tomahawk’s Blackfoot ‘Provo’ scoutmaster and his fond memories of Art Boland.


When Fred Smith was checking the new property up at Brant Lake, he was looking for a local to be Camp Ranger, and Art Boland heard he was looking for help. Art was working on the Heller farm next door at the time. Fred and Art got along well and Art was hired, which was good for Camp and good for the locals. Art was a member of the Horicon Fire Department and was active in the school at Horicon, later serving as the Head of the Board of Education. 


The Bolands moved into the "Old Farm House'' until Art and others built what is now the Ranger’s House and the Workshop and Garage. After that, the Old Farmhouse was used by the Pre-Staff crew, who had meals at the Boland’s, thanks to Shirley’s fine cooking. [See other Jim Smith stories on Art Boland: Part 1, Part 2 in Camp Read Stories.]


Art was not only the Ranger: he was an amazing part of the camp program. He, Al Pospisil, and Mickey Boylan had developed the 4th Period Game, which was created to bolster attendance for the fourth period. It was promoted during the earlier camp periods and became the high point at the 4th period Fun Fire. Every year a new theme was used: Headhunters, The Great Safari, Foreign Intrigue, etc.

At the time, Camp Read assigned Scoutmasters to “provisional” Troops for each two-week period. To give the camp cooks time off in the middle of each period, Joe Cooke developed the three-day hike. Scouts left camp on Saturday morning and returned on Monday. Springhill Pond and Appachedotte among others were popular destinations. 


It was not till later that Home Troops with their own leadership began to attend camp, with Silver Lake taking the lead. As this trend continued and began to grow, all six troop sites in Tomahawk (the original camp) were occupied and new sites had to be added. This was the start of Buckskin (1957), and Waubeeka followed in 1972.


Jim now enjoys retirement in Florida. He reports that he was a scout in Troop 11 in North Tarrytown. He started as a ‘Provisional’ Scoutmaster in 1956 at Blackfoot, then became Tomahawk’s campmaster for several years before heading off to college at Missouri Valley College in the humanities program. “Joe Cooke talked me into going into Scouting as a professional. I started as a district executive for the Lake Forest / Lake Bluff District in Illinois.. I then went to work for the North Shore Area Council (Chicago) and ran their summer camp for 5 years and then came back to the Washington Irving Council in White Plains”.

Jim Smith at the Heaving Bar.png

Jim Smith at the Heaving Bar

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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