We had 190 Staff Alumni and friends of camp at Bear Paw Scout Camp on August 6-8. Some of these faces had not seen our Home Away from Home for 30 years or more. Buildings have come and gone in the time some past staffers have been away from camp. Crossing through the camp gate was their New Beginning — getting reacquainted with everything that camp has been, is, and will be in the years to come. There were many friendships rekindled and even more new friendships made crossing many generations.
We cooked over an open fire (ok, charcoal), shot arrows at bullseyes (rifle, shotgun and cowboy action, too) and took hikes and wagon rides through the woods for the view. While many of those views have changed, some slightly, some more drastically (I’m looking at you Staff Lodge, S.T.E.M. Center, and Program Center) everyone thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with the place we all know and love. It was great hearing all the stories throughout the weekend along with the shared experiences which were separated by decades.
We wrapped up the event Saturday night with a fun, exciting and very soggy campfire. An indoor campfire just was not going to cut it for passionate past camp staffers. That is just not how we work. The Loon chimed in as if on cue and by the end I don’t think there was a dry person on the property! Sending everyone forth from the campfire bowl with the traditional singing of Scout Vespers was the signal for much heavier rain to fall and our cracker barrel to start. The cracker barrels both Friday and Saturday nights went well into the wee hours with snacks, games and great conversation.
Thank you to all the volunteers and council staff that helped make this event possible. Remember, you are always welcome to come back to camp. Let’s not wait another 5, 10, or 25 years to get together again.