Camp Long Lake

My family has been involved in scouting since probably the late 1940s. My grandfather was a neighborhood commissioner, the equivalent to today’s unit commissioner. My father was a scout, I was a scout, and my son was a scout. I have a lot to say about the scouting program and my family’s involvement and experience in the program, as well as opinions on some controversial activity that has and will hopefully occur. But not all at once. I want to start with some fond memories, beginning way back.

Uncle Bud Smith on

Old Uncle Bud on

One place that has always been dear to my family is the Potawatomi Area Council scout camp, called Camp Long Lake. My grandfather was good friends with long-time ranger, the late Bud Smith, known to most of us as Uncle Bud. Smith did a lot of work on that camp, building cabins and other structures by hand when materials were donated and there was no money for construction. According to my aunt, the first person Uncle Bud called when he needed help was my grandfather. The two were good friends even before Smith was named ranger.

The photo on the left is Uncle Bud long before I met him. The picture on the right is closer to how he looked when I knew him. Uncle Bud was a wonderful man, and everyone in scouting loved him. I regret I never had the chance to hear the stories about my grandfather he promised to tell me. I was quite young then, possibly even still in Webelos, though I think it was probably my first or second year at summer camp.

There used to be a wooden ship on the mantle of the fireplace in the Pabst Lodge. It was carved by my grandfather and pointed out to me by my father when I was a Webelo my first time I stayed at the camp for Webelos Weekend. I only saw the ship that one year, which would have been around 1975. It vanished before my first full summer at the camp the following year. I suppose somebody decided my grandfather gave the ship to the wrong person and took it home.

My father was on staff in the late 1950s. He ran the trading post, a little store selling bead kits, pocket knives, and candy bars. The pad for that building is still there, but the building itself has now been replaced by a much larger facility. I was on staff in the early 1980s, and fitting with my family’s connection with the camp, I was the first second-generation staffer at the camp. My son, who stayed at the camp this past August, wants to be on staff next year and become the first third-generation staffer. that would be something, wouldn’t it?

…to be continued.

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