Written by: Vince Kauffman| Program Director
Only those who completely immerse themselves in nature can really experience its beauty and begin to understand its intrigue, particularly the four seasons we enjoy here in northern Pennsylvania. Many of us will canoe, hike, bike, take our families camping or find some other form of “roughing it” in order to better experience nature at its finest (and sometimes its worst).
At Bald Eagle Boys Camp our boys face all that the outdoors has to offer from the moment they wake up till the minute their eyes close in sleep. And on occasion, even their peaceful slumber is interrupted by a mouse, flying squirrel, a bear, or a crashing summer storm. Even these events are no cause for concern, but rather become the source of tales if indeed they are found to be unusual at all.
We enjoy to the fullest the uniqueness of each season, but it is fair to say that spring is enjoyed the most. Spring brings with it so much life and energy which in many ways epitomizes the boys we serve. This session boys are studying birds, and each group is keeping close track of every new bird that they discover. There are new birds added almost daily to the list. And while we like to be tough and embrace our winter weather, no one complains when the balmy temperatures of spring begin to warm our tents and bring an explosion of green to our forest.
Each group is busy working on campsite projects as well as planning for trips later this year. The Mountaineers are building a new chuck tent. They are proud to have the first chuck tent with a wooden floor. They also just finished carving a sweet canoe from a cedar log and hope to float it soon. They are not sure yet if it is seaworthy or if it will float with passengers, but they are quite proud of their craft either way. They enjoyed some ice fishing in New York earlier this year.
The Adventurers will be hiking the Quehanna Trail in the beginning of June. They look forward to learning to work together better as a group and enjoying the natural beauty of the PA Wilds. They hope to see some elk on this hike, as they will be passing through elk country. This group had several boys who built and carried slingshots this spring. Due in part to this, we developed a brand-new camp event, The Slingshot Festival. That day we observed slingshots of all sizes in action, from a tiny one 4” tall to a beastly 7’. The event was held in the evening out along the Susquehanna River and was kick-started by a sumptuous trip cook-off.
The Prospectors just completed a new wood tent and are gearing up to spend about three weeks on the Alleghany Reservoir and the Alleghany River. They look forward to some good fishing and enjoying the amazing beauty of this Pennsylvania gem.
The Highlanders are just completing a makeover of their wood corral and are very happy with the results. They have also enjoyed some fine eating out of their new clay oven. They were probably the most affected by Covid-19 as they had planned diligently and worked hard in preparation for a bus trip to the Creation Museum and some other points of interest in Kentucky and Ohio. The cancellation of this trip was a big disappointment after so much had been invested.
We are grateful that Camp has not experienced too many disruptions during these times of uncertainty. We have been healthy, and except for some minor program changes, we continue to function quite well. In many ways, we can be quite unaware of the challenges facing those in the “normal” world. We have worked hard to keep Camp safe and limit potential exposure. I do not think I would want to be quarantined anywhere else.
Thank you for your prayers for our boys and staff.