#12 The 1940’s as told by Skip Cepuch with historical edits

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The Scout executive, “Parky” Parkinson was the first camp director, mailman, chaplain, ranger, etc. His able assistants were Sponsler Limbaugh (whose main duties were at the waterfront)  and Arthur Hartwig, (Director of Health and Sanitation).

Our meals were prepared by Roy Canfield. They were at the same times they are today and of the same high quality we do so enjoy. However if you were to be a waiter for either the noon meal or the evening one you reported to the kitchen steps after the morning or noon meal to peel potatoes for your “waiter” meal. The steps I refer to are those on the extreme south end on the front of the Lodge. Upon entering the building at this point you might make out the old “in” and “out” doors for the kitchen and where the cooler and sink sat.

Camp ran from Sunday to Sunday with church services on your departing Sunday. The final meal was Chicken and Dumplings. You came to camp as individuals and camped with people from other communities and were recognized as a site not as a unit.

When you first arrived you went through a medical recheck provided by J.(?) Bove of Seneca Falls. Then you got a mattress cover from the maintenance building which you took out in back of the building. Here were bales of straw. You filled your cover with as much as you desired and carried it back to your site and tent. Now came the fun of trying to form a mattress upon which you placed your sleeping bag or blankets. Even so in turning over you had the pleasure of sharp straw ends poking you during the night.

Then came the swimming classifications. These were held at the lake, more fun with cold water, seaweed, stones, etc.

On Monday at lunch you found a post card under your plate which when it bore a message to someone became your “pass” to the evening meal.

Prior to each meal you formed on the parade field in the shape of a hollow square. In the mornings and evenings there were ceremonies for the flag which were aided by a real cannon miniature in size and fired by pulling the attached lanyard. If you think today’s cannoneer send a shivers up your spine with his report you can imagine what the original cannoneer did with his and why this tradition has been continued. After the ceremonies we filed into the dining lodge to our tables with our mouths shut and our hats off. We folded our arms on chests and repeated the proper grace. Once the meal had begun it was pretty much the same as today with waiters getting things, people giving words, leading songs, and putting on stunts. The highlight of the noon meal was mail call. Parky preformed this and every letter that looked like it had been sent by someone of the feminine gender was smelled of to see if perfume could be detected and jests were made to see if it should be “censored”.

On Tuesday, Ken Sutterby of Seneca Falls came out and took pictures of the entire group of campers and staff. You could buy a copy of this picture for $2.00.

On Wednesday you turned in your belt which you got back on Friday with stencils on it for your various accomplishments. In each site someone had been designated as “reporter” and this person turned in stories which were published in the camp newspaper which came out on Friday. There was another person in each site who was the quartermaster. This person was responsible to keep kerosene in the lantern by the latrine and its chimney clean.

Parky made inspections daily much as the commissioners do today but each bunk had to be the same for head and foot, the mattress turned back toward the head and the rest of the gear arranged neatly on the springs. Canvas to be rolled all the way around and clothes lines strung between trees only were encouraged for wet articles and air begging.

Camp fires were held in a site near the waterfall. You might still make out the original rows of seats on the north bank. (Bigfoot’s fingerprints)

I have mentioned two things I believe deserve further information; they are the Chaplain’s Quarters (Memorial Lodge 2012) and the parade field. First the Chaplin’s Quarters. This building was our first trading post and handicraft lodge. The shelves on the porch area were used by campers to work on handicraft items they had purchased though a Dutch door located on the left hand side of the porch. Going straight ahead brought you into the trading post.

One of the most popular items sold was a neckerchief slide. The handicraft director had lengths of colored plastic pipe. You told him what color you desired and with a hacksaw he cut off a piece about 1 ¼” long and gave it to you along with a small piece of Emery cloth with which you removed the saw marks from the ends and flattened one side. When you had done this you turned in your Emery cloth and got a drop of glue on your flattened side to which you affixed a decal you had selected.

The parade ground used to be about 4 feet lower than it is today, at least towards the flag pole and down to the Weart memorial. The original septic system ran under the field and had to be reworked and this accounts for the rise in the ground. This rise covers most of the original concrete base the flag pole site on.

So far I have dwelt largely with the start of camp, what it was like to be a camper and the people involved in getting it all started. Now I shall attempt to list how camp expanded as time went along.

In 1940 the Penn Yan Building arrived. This building is unique as it was built in Penn Yan and then brought to camp. Originally it served as our first aid lodge, then it became a winter sleeping quarters and even later it became our camp office.

In 1941 Seneca site was built as a site for older boys and thus became our first Lean-to site. It was reached by the trail which runs along the ravines bank on the North side of Onondaga site, only when you came to where the stairs sit today it was the entrance to a high bridge supported by guy wires. If you stand in this spot and look to the North you may pick out some trees bearing circular scars left by these wires.

It was at this time that the legend of Bigfoot was created as a device to help campers learn their way around camp. This was also the year that all the Scouts of the council planted trees in what is now our Nature area (1987) (NAC Area 2012).

In 1948 Hovey lodge was built and used as a movie theatre, Church, and general recreation building. You still might make out the faint outlines of the shuffleboard court on the floor. It was at this time the Ranger’s House was built and our first full time Ranger, Vernon Brown was hired. This year also brought the Order of the Arrow to Hovey and J. Walter Keating and Gordon MacLaren were its first inductees.

Tuscarora site same in 1949 and is was our second lean-to site.

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