Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So much more to say

It’s strange how memories work. We all spent thousands of hours at Fort Scott, as campers and counselors and administrators. And of those thousands of hours how vividly some memories come back and play through our minds like they happened just yesterday.
Here are some that come to me:
• Jerry Moore, John Lynch and Mikey (I am pretty sure it was these three) and the first ever Midget Junior Dance. Mayhem in the Playhouse

• As a camper, walking along next to Steve Leonard, while he was carrying a razor sharp, double bladed axe. Steve was taking us to the Indian Village to teach us how to use knives and axes and hatchets for Nature Program

• Craig Simmons announcing the “ meanest leanest roughest toughest most powerful club …In CAMP” Varsity

• Some of the arguments in voting for Camper of the Period

• Scott Brauch playing the Chicken Record…over and over and over

• Pat Fairbanks playing Copa Cabana …over and over and over

• The abduction of Barrington rabbit

• Sitting on a bench in the playhouse, as a first time camper, and hearing Carol Leonard telling everyone to “squishy wishy” together

• Laying on my back on the scalding hot tennis courts waiting for Chris Slaughter to call “Warball”

• Trying not to cry when George Clayton told me that I had been cut from Varsity Club tryouts

• Watching Terry Fazenbaker’s dog Cinnamon chase a skunk through the playhouse at night

The more I write the more I remember….

Happy New Year all

Friday, April 24, 2009

War Night

One of the pivotal events in a Senior Boy's life at Fort Scott was participation in War Night. A reader wrote to me and asked for a recap of the rules of the game. Since it took nearly a week to explain all of the various rules to the new players, I have condensed them down to a few paragraphs to give you the flavor of the game. I would love to hear from counselors, especially from before my time to share their versions of War Night

War Night Rules

The Senior Boys will be divided into two teams, Alpha and Bravo. Each member of the individual teams will be assigned a rank and point value. Ranks will start at Private, and graduate to General, with various military ranks such as Corporal and Captain used in between. Point values will range from 1 pt for a Private and 25 points for a General.

The object of the game is to score as many points as possible for your team by capturing members of the other team, or objects of value held by the other team. Objects of value would include three flashlights and three buckets used to hold water balloons.

Game Play
Teams Alpha and Bravo are each assigned a campsite. Historically the campsites are Indian Village and Grubers. There have been times in the past when the number of Senior Boys is so large that additionally campsites have been used. Gilligan’s Island, Trading Post, and Enright’s are among the additional campsites used.

Both teams are required to maintain a campfire at their campsites. The game is over if either campfire is allowed to burn out.

Both teams are also required to provide a campfire and a clear site for the counselors that are stationed at the Main campfire circle.

Once the main campfire is lit, teams are dispersed to their respective campsites to light their fires. Once their sites are inspected by the counselors, a signal is given, and the game begins.

The means to capture an opponent are as follows:
• Breaking a water balloon on an opponent
• Grabbing an opponent and saying the capture phrase. The capture phrase will be explained below. The attacker must maintain contact with his target for the entire time he is speaking the phrase

Once an opponent is captured the capturing player must lead the captive to the Main campfire circle. The capturing player must say “Detriot Mo” every five steps while walking to the Main Campfire Circle. The “Detriot Mo” phrase removes both the capturing player, and the captive from the game and makes them ineligible to capture others, to be captured. If the capturing player fails to say “Detroit Mo” every five steps, the captive player may either break free and attempt to escape, or may try to capture his captor.

When the Capturing player arrives at the Main Campfire circle, they will remain standing at the First Line, which all players will have been shown during the week prior to War Night. Both players will wait there until called forward to the Second Line.

When the players arrive at the second line a Counselor will ask “which team captures which team?” The capturing player would respond “Alpha captures Bravo, Sir”, or vice versa as appropriate. The Counselor then would ask the name and rank of the capturing player, and then of the captured player. Once the names and ranks were recorded, the captured player is instructed to sit in a cool down area, the capturing player is released to return to his campsite. The captured player will be released to return to his campsite after a period determined by the counselors.

Both players must repeat Alaskan Mo every five steps as they return to their campsites. Neither player is allowed to return to the game until they have passed between two trees designated by the Counselors. This leaves returning players particularly vulnerable to capture if the opposing team controls their campsite.

Items of Value
Both teams are issued a number of flashlights and buckets, usually not more than three of each. These items are assigned a point value equal to a mid level player. If these items are captured by the opposing team, their values are added to the that teams total points.

In the case of a disputed capture, any involved player can call a Freeze Mo. All players involved will then travel to the main campfire circle under Freeze Mo and have their dispute resolved. All counselors present at the main campfire circle will listen to the account of the dispute and a decision will be rendered by a vote among the counselors. The player that initiates the capture frequently receives the favorable result.

End Game
The Game will continue as long as there is activity or until winning is clearly out of reach for the losing team. Counselors will be sent to each campsite to announce that the game is over, and each team will be instructed to assemble in the main campfire circle. Roll call is made in the main campfire circle, and when all players are accounted for, they are dismissed back to their cabins.

The score is read the next morning at breakfast.

Game Phrases
Capture Phrase:
• Italian Mo Ravish Spaghetti Tree Detroit Mo

Travel to Main Campfire Phrase
• Detroit Mo. This phrase must me spoken every five steps

Return to Base Camp Phrase
• Alaskan Mo

Travel to Main Campfire to resolve a dispute
• Freeze Mo

Alert Counselors of an injury
• Red Cross Mo

Counselor Travel Phrase
• Counselor Mo

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rewinding 31 years

April, 1978

31 years ago was the first time I set foot on the Fort Scott property. At that time, the Archdiocese would run ads in the Sunday bulletins at church for the coming summer at Fort Scott. My parents asked me if I wanted to go check it out, and so we packed ourselves into the car and drove out to the open house.

I wish I could remember who gave us the tour of the camp. It might have been Ed Shannon, or maybe Mark Maxwell. I just don’t remember. What I do remember is how big camp seemed. It was open, and green and quiet. We walked through the Boys Camp, and peered into the windows of the cabins. We looked into the 8-1/2 and the playhouse. The tour pretty much ended on the porch of one of the girls cabins that had been opened for the day.

We walked in, and I smelled that cabin smell of forest, and slightly damp lumber. I looked around and saw the bunks and wondered how so many people could live in such a small place. I am sure that I looked at all of the names written on the walls and wondered about the people that had put their names there. At 11 years old, I am sure that I had 11 year old concerns like how would we wake up in the morning, how would we know when to be where, what about this and what if that….

I remember being excited, and apprehensive. I had never been to any kind of camp, although we had a summer cottage in Indiana. I had no idea that by taking that tour on that cool pre spring Sunday, how my life would be changed.

What I find most interesting in this memory is that I underestimated Fort Scott in just about every way possible.

I think that I need to get busy writing again, because it seems that the memories are fading a bit faster than I thought.

Happy Easter to all


Monday, June 9, 2008

Horses I have known

I was telling a friend of mine, who loves horses, about some of the horses that I got to know while I was at camp. The years all kind of run together now, but there are some that stand out in my memory like old friends, and others that were just aquaintences.

See if you remember some of these….

Cadence- became a permanent fixture at camp when he lost an eye in a fight. Really sweet tempered camper horse.

Stripe- A gray horse, not very tall, but very very fast. Mike Strong swore that this horse had “overdrive”.

King- Probably the tallest horse I can remember having at camp. He had a very smooth gait, but the campers never got to ride him because he was so hard to mount.

Mandu- Dark brown with a roached mane. Very spirited horse. I liked him a lot.

Lady- the perfect stable horse. She was a palomino with a very long mane and tail. The youngest girls would spend hours brushing and combing her and braiding her mane. She was probably the best groomed horse ever at Camp

Blackie- the only Tennessee Walker that I ever rode. He had such a smooth gait at a trot, he was like riding an overstuffed chair.

Riding was probably the must demanding department at camp, but I loved almost every minute of it.

Thanks for hanging in there with me everyone.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Ultimate Salesman

Most of you who were campers or counselors during the mid 80's will remember Jerry Moore. How could you forget his easy smile or gentle nature? He spent most of his time in Sports and Recreation, and as even an AD. I think his second greatest accomplishment was the creation of Midget World- putting 32 six through nine year old boys in Senior 2 and living there for two weeks probably qualifies him for sainthood. But I bet that most of you have forgetten his greatest accomplishment was that of a salesman.

Jerry came up with an idea for an early evening program called Ecco Ball. He would start at the Sunday Evening campfire promoting the greatest game in Fort Scott history. Campers that knew Jerry knew that this had to be something relating to a game with a ball, hence the name. Every evening at dinner, and every time he saw the kids at program, Jerry would talk about Ecco Ball. The kids even started chanting Ecco ball because they just could not wait until Thursday evening to play this wonderful game they knew nothing about.

Finally the big day came and the kids acted like it was Christmas morning. They lined up at the flagpole after dinner, nearly delerious with excitement.

The look on their faces was absolutely priceless when Jerry explained that the Ecco Ball was a plastic bag that they would fill with litter from around the camp. The bag that was filled the most would be the official winner and the winning team would get their choice of fruit......

It only worked once, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted. I think Jerry went into missionary work for a while, but he would have made a great salesman.

Ecco Ball Forever!!!!!!

He's Baaaaaaaccccckkkkkkkk

So I finally have my life back for a while. I hope some of you are still out there to share these random memories of mine. I have a lot of new stories that I can't wait to give to you. So here goes.....

Thursday, February 28, 2008

10 things about Canoe Trips

Ten things I remember about canoe trips

1. No matter how many times I went down the Whitewater river, I always noticed something new

2. I thought the songs the girls sang on the bus were annoying. I would give a lot to hear them again now

3. Bologna and cheese on slightly stale damp bread never tasted so good

4. I always liked taking the lead canoe ( rank has its privileges ). I appreciated the peace of the river, and the company and conversations were wonderful

5. I never did get invited to a moonlight float…

6. I never could get the hang of putting a canoe on my shoulders to carry them up the hill

7. I will never forget the day that Keith Kinzler and I took Kayaks instead of canoes. We could make it all the way from the head of the pack to the rear of the pack in no time at all. Racing was fun, and so was teasing the kids

8. There was a counselor canoe trip the year that Jessica Vesper was a CIT. She hurt her hand somehow and had to have stitches. Kind of put a damper on things. I think it was that same year that she got a bug in her ear ( I am not kidding) and I had to take her to the hospital in the middle of the night to get it out. Not a good year for Jess

9. Somehow senior girls who were afraid of spiders and would spend hours in the shower dressing for a senior dance had no problems throwing mud

10. Years afterward when we took the same canoe trip with a group of friends, it just was not the same. It didn’t even seem like the same river.