I spent the better part of the weekend at Camp Pioneer. This weekend, among other things, the camp celebrated its 75th Anniversary. I received an invitation along with other Scoutmasters and folks throughout the Council, so I RSVP’d and attended. It was extra special as my oldest son is on Staff at Camp Pioneer this year, so it was an opportunity to see him. My Troop is heading up to Pioneer in a week, so it was also a real good chance to pick up some Blue cards, look at the program areas and just hang out in my favorite camp our Council has.
Friday night was the celebration for the Anniversary. They had a special dinner and then a program in the Dinning Hall. A slide show of the history of the camp and some “Then and Now” pictures. The 1974 Aquatics staff was there.. all of them. It was neat to hear their stories and meet them. They have all gone on to do good things with their lives and to hear them speak about the camp with such fondness really hit me.
Their collective love for this camp brought them back, not only as youth, (many had staffed at the camp for up to 7 years), but now to be a part of the 75th Anniversary. What really touched me was the strong tradition that they embodied. This was particularly special to see and as I watched today’s staff interact with them I saw light bulbs flash on. I saw the passing of the torch.
I brought our son home for the night and as we drove the 128 miles we talked about this tradition at Camp Pioneer. He said that up until he talked and heard the 1974 staff share their stories he did not understand where some of the stuff they did came from. Songs that are sung, ways that programs are introduced, skits, and camp traditions. It made the camp come alive for all us that love Camp Pioneer.
I have always loved Camp Pioneer and this weekend really increased that love. Yesterday before I left camp I sat and looked over the spectacular view. The lake and the over looking Mt. Jefferson called me. As I sat in the Chapel bowl I could hear the staff wrapping up the end of the week’s session with the Camp Song.
Camp Pioneer we’re loyal to your code, Together we will hike the eagle road, We love your lofty pines and lake so blue, Camp Pioneer our memories always turn to you, In love and friendship we will work and play, A helping hand to each upon his way, And may our faces shine, And spirits intertwine, Camp Pioneer, that’s why we’re here, Camp Pioneer.
Hip Hip Hooray, Hip Hip Hooray, Hooray, Hip Hip!!
It brought a smile to my face remembering the 1974 staff singing the song on Friday night along side the current staff.
Then as we walked out to the parking lot after dropping John off to head home the sound of Pioneer Vespers rang in my head. I could not help but feel that Scouting traditions are alive and well and summer camp is that place that really brings it out in all of us.
When this land was untamed and free, A few brave men built a great country, Fighting for freedom, Despite their fears, We know these men as Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you.
Here in the Cascades, the spirit lives on, A brotherhood of love, our voices in song, Learning to be leaders, For Future years, We shall be known as the new Pioneers,
High in the mountains where the green meets blue, Camp Pioneer’s calling you. Camp Pioneer is calling you.”
Have a Great Scouting Day!