Gather 'round the (Virtual) Campfire:
Stories from Camp Read's Past
August 27, 1935 - November 05, 2023
Richard (Dick) Ford (1935 -2023) is about the last Camp Read Association (CRA) member
who had attended both the original Camp Curtis S. Read at Lake Mahopac, NY in the 1940s,
and the Camp Read at Brant Lake, NY. I met him in 1951 during my first summer at Camp
Read at Brant Lake. I was 13 and he was on Staff as the Camp Bugler at age 16. He later
served at camp as the Trading Post Manager and as a Provisional Scoutmaster.
His Camp Read connection continued in the following way: Art Boland, the legendary First
Ranger at Camp Read, began writing his life story. Some of his friends encouraged Art in
this endeavor, and aided him by obtaining an early computer for the task. His raconteur style
was readily apparent in his writings about his career as a chorister in the Metropolitan Opera,
his courtship of Shirley, who became his wife for life, and his stint as a Medic in North Africa
and Italy during World War II. He also covered his role as the first Ranger and serving as
Program Director at Camp and "inventing" the 4th Period Game to bolster attendance at the end of the camp season. He was a marketing genius. But, frankly Art's written output was very rough: some pages were ALL CAPS, there were few paragraphs, spell check did not
Luckily, we enlisted the skill set of one Dick Ford, who magically converted Arthur's wonderful
meanderings into a masterful and fascinating tale....all without losing Art's "voice" in the
process. Thus, in early 2000 was created the first published work of the Camp Read
Association, titled: "From Early in the Morning". That name came from the title of a Camp
Read song, "The Ranger's Lament," words by Art, Alan Pospisil, who was Art’s assistant, and
others, set to the tune of "Mockingbird Hill". In the acknowledgement page, Art writes “To
Allan Pospisil and Dick Ford – good friends and tremendous editors. I owe it all to them.”
This was followed in 2009 by the Association's second tome: "For Joys We'll Ne'er Forget".
(Another Camp Read song.) For this latter work, Dick stepped up again to give editorial
assistance to John Farley, the major mover and shaker on this book.
Dick was one of the pioneers of the Curtis S. Read Scout Reservation in Brant Lake along
with John Farley, Robert Johnson, Ken Taft and others. His contributions to the books and
editing expertise contributed to preserving the history of the Camp.
Thank you Dick for being a fellow Camp Read Staff Man, for helping capture the many stories
and adventures of scouts who hiked the Camp trails, and for preserving the “voice” of our first
Ranger. Your contribution to Camp Read and our Association will live on with us forever.
Peter Scott Oberdorf, Writer; Thomas A. Dietz, Editor,
Past-Presidents, Camp Read Association
February 5, 2024
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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