Camp Man

Pierre Thyvaert


    
     Camp Man in the summer of 1930, was the last of the New York City Scout Camps to move to Ten Mile River.  The Camp Construction was not completed by opening day – sites not cleared, water lines not filled in, and amphitheater not complete and such.

     The Camp Staff arrived for Staff Training a week before camp opened, coming from Queens by bus, arriving late evening at dusk to be guided, with some difficulty, to their camp quarters in the woods with no trails and with no campsite clearings.  To add (unintentionally) to the confusion, we had used the Lenni-Lenape dictionary in naming the Unit Camps.  All of this could have been most discouraging, but with the great camp staff, it wasn't.  They accepted the challenge and in fine scouting spirit, they started a fine camp.

     Queens Council acquired the former Wel-Met Girls' camp as their location on Crystal Lake as part of the Greater New York Foundation gift.  The camp was named for Judge Man who helped with the Foundation as a representative for Queens Council.  The then property consisted of waterfront, five wooden buildings on the hill, a dining hall and two wooden buildings on the lakeshore.  Stag Hall was the administration center.  The Scouts divided the property into Divisions "A" with 7 campsites.  The feature being the Landship Amochol for scouts interested in the aquatic field.  The "C" Division had four camp sites plus Adirontrek - for Scouts interested in hiking, outdoor trails and cooking.  In each of the special sites members were easily identifiable.  The Amochol scouts sported a blue kerchief hooked onto the right pant belt loop.  The Trek scouts wore an identifying red kerchief affixed to the right pant belt loop.

     Camp periods were of two-week duration.  Following arrival usually by bus to the main parade grounds, staff directed the scouts to Stag Hall for check-in, medical recheck and then to the lake for the swim classification.  Then scouts returned to the parade grounds picked up their equipment and proceeded to their assigned campsite.  At this time all sites were provisional with a Scoutmaster, Senior Patrol Leader who was usually a craft leader, and a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster for nature study.  After being shown his bunk, the scout met with the Scoutmaster to review his advancement record and discuss opportunities for the next rank and other pertinent information.

     Each campsite composed in the "A" Division with a Leader's Cabin with sleeping quarters in the rear and the front was used as a gathering place for teaching crafts and or nature.  Scouts' quarters were cabins of 8 boy capacity usually two on each side of the campfire circle.  Adjacent to the leaders' lodge was the fire pail rack composed usually of 8 water filled #10 cans painted red.

     The camp provided an interfaith chapel for the three different services.  In 1938 the second campsite in "A" was changed to a staff camp with three chaplains cabins.

     Kernochan Division was named for Judge Kernochan whose generosity and that of his friends made the camp possible.  A dining hall, administrative building, staff row for program specialists, 6 tented campsites, latrines, and waterfront were included.

     The same year "A" Division was named Lakeside and "C" Division was called Central.  The parade grounds were the separation physically between the camps.

     In 1953 at Lakeside, Ten Mile River experimented with a dish washing facility operated under the supervision by scouts.  Each table of eight was assigned a space which contained soapy water and a clean hot water rinse basin.  Each table appointed a waiter whose job it was to set the table following the information board and getting plates, cups and utensils from the dishwasher.   At the conclusion of the meal, the dishwasher would scrape and collect all the plates, cups, bowls, pitchers and utensils and return to the dishwasher to clean up.  Two staff supervisors checked the scout out on completion of his washing and placing the items cleaned in the correct space.  Then he returned to the dining hall to clean his table and again was checked out.  The system met with mostly enthusiasm but where a dishwasher failed to perform, the table was covered with paper and at the next meal that table usually settled their problem outside.  They missed a meal.

     Daytime activities on campsite were instruction for completing second or first class requirements.  Merit Badge instruction was available for scouts seeking that advancement.

     Afternoon activities were opportunities to pursue Merit Badges, unit scheduled swim periods, archery and pioneering projects.  Craft and nature lodges were open for scouts that were interested.

     Evening programs featured after supper volleyball and softball games by units, canoeing and boating on the lake. Dark evening programs were either at the unit campfire ring or in the amphitheater for special all camp shows, skits, songfest, and recognition's.  Courts of Honor and Boards of Review were held at the end of each period.

     Usually a camp wide program stressing Scout Skills was held the first week and the second week was a fun event-college day, Indian day, Camp Elections, War, and Olympics.  All of these programs were Camp Lakeside programs.

     Sunday afternoon programs for parents included a waterfront fleet show, each unit selecting a theme and displaying it.  In front of the dining hall was a picnic grove with a water fountain donated by the Queens Council Mothers' Club.  This group also raised funds for the Camp Kernochan stove replacement.

     Suanhacky Lodge of the Order of the Arrow WWW 49 constructed a Lodge house opposite the Tower of Friendship.  The Tower of Friendship contained stones from all over the United States and several foreign countries.  The Tower was constructed in front of Stag Hall, which burned down in 1937. 

     The purpose of the Tower of Friendship was the desire of the officials of Camp Man to serve as a symbol and reminder of the fond friendships and treasured memories made during the scouts camping experience at Camp Man.

     Scout Executive Charles M. Heistand, Camp Director Joseph H. Brinton and Assistant Camp Director Russell A. Turner conceived the idea of the Tower of Friendship.

     A time capsule was placed in front of the memorial in Camp Kernochan.  There is a buried container with pertinent information on the camp and other 1938 scout news.

     In the late 1940's both a Catholic Chapel and Jewish Temple site were constructed to serve all three camps.  The former interdenominational chapel was used for Protestant services.

     Camp Central was closed in 1957 as two campsites were attached to Camp Lakeside.  Also in 1954 Hilltop campsite on Stag Hall site was opened.

     Camp Lakeside was eventually closed.  Unfortunately the dining hall had full-wall murals depicting humorous scout activities.  Greater New York Councils decided that they would follow a full self-reliance program including cooking meals under troop leadership.

     Camp Man, Queens Council Boy Scout Camps Ten Mile River, Sullivan County, New York operated the following campsites: Schajawonge, Eleimeken, Achewen, Cuwe, Tachanigeu, Pachgeeken, Pachesgink, Waugapoak, Adirontrek, Wipochk, Tauwatawique, Takachsin, Kiwiken and the Landship Amochol.



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Last Updated: March 2, 2007
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