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For the past 100 years, Camp Yawgoog has developed a reputation as one of the best Boy Scout camps in the nation. Every summer thousands of scouts from all over the country arrive at the 1,800-acre grounds on the Connecticut border for fun and learning. This month Jim Hummel shows us what is it that keeps many of them coming back every year.
Click here for more information about Camp Yawgoog.
At first glance it looks like many other summer camps - with lots of waterfront activities and places for kids to just enjoy nature.
Camp Yawgoog has all of that, but anyone who has passed through the gates of this 1,800-acre Boy Scout Camp quickly realizes there is a common thread - and theme - to everything that goes on here:
Friel: ``Tradition is a big, big word here and that’s what really gives us the heart of our camp and the love and devotion to our camp.’’
Dan Friel began coming to Yawgoog as a 10-year-old scout: 17 years later he is now the assistant reservation director of a camp that this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary, making it the second-oldest scout camp in the country.
And the tradition is everywhere - from the bugler who summons scouts to meals.
To the staff of more 200 singing songs in the dining halls - 85 percent of those working here this summer first came to Yawgoog as scouts.
To the Sunday parade - an exclamation point to each of the summer’s eight weeks, where nearly a 1,000 scouts gather to celebrate the end of camp with family and friends looking on.
This year a total of 6,300 scouts from 12 states came to Yawgoog, for eight one-week sessions. The camp is located in the southwest corner of Rhode Island adjacent to the Connecticut border. In fact 65 percent of those who attended in 2015 came from out of state, in large part because of Yawgoog’s regional and national reputation.
Friel: ``We stretch down to New Jersey, we stretch up to Maine, Vermont, we have many people come to visit us. ‘’
Hummel: ``What do you think the draw is?’’
Friel: ``The draw is our program, it’s our facilities here, it’s our beautiful, beautiful geography of Yawgoog. And I’ve travelled to different camps all over the East Coast, and they’re beautiful camps, but Yawgoog is one in a million , you just can get anywhere like Yawgoog.’’
So much so that many troops book the same campsite in the same section of camp for the same date every year.
The staff at Yawgoog has it down to a science, with more than three dozen merit badges offered on any given week. And while the waterfront - with its 160 acre-pond - plays a central role to many activities it goes way beyond that.
There is an archery range.
A rifle range.