In 1927, Calvin Coolidge was president, the U.S. Marines were sent to Nicaragua, Babe Ruth hit his first of what would be 60 home runs for the season, and “Ain’t She Sweet?” by Ben Bernie hit No. 1 on the singles chart.
It was also the year Charlie Johnson first attended Camp Yawgoog.
Johnson, who celebrated his 100th birthday on November 4, 2014, at Masonic Care Community in Utica, N.Y., was born in Providence, and lived in the Auburn neighborhood in Cranston and Rumford in East Providence, as well. Johnson was at the camp from 1927 to 1934, and served as a staff member for two years, including time as an Assistant Scoutmaster. He worked with Inky Armstrong, the first full-time, on-site ranger at Camp Yawgoog.
“The summers went by quickly,” he said. Back then, camp lasted for 10 weeks, not eight weeks like today. “I worked on merit badges: swimming, lifesaving, canoeing, pioneering. Yawgoog gives campers a chance to earn just about anything the Scout Handbook has to offer.”
Johnson’s son passed away at age 61, and he has also survived three wives. He has two daughters ages 77 and “a younger one” who’s 59. Both live out of state, but made the trek to attend their father’s celebration at the Masonic Care Community last fall.
As for camp, Johnson has fond memories. “Yawgoog will last forever,” he said. His father and son also attended the camp. “As far as I’m concerned, I can’t think of any better place for 12 to 20-year-olds to be during the summer.”