Jim Lanzi got a late start in coming to Yawgoog. He was 11 when he joined Scouts, following the lead of other boys in his neighborhood. But what he missed in his younger years he has more than made up for as a longtime member of the Yawgoog Alumni Association.
“He’s the most active and hard working of the executive committee,” said Jim Cunha, Association Chairman.
Lanzi joined the committee in 1988, serving in many roles — including reunion chair — a seat he still holds. “He is at every meeting,” Cunha said of Lanzi. Lanzi tells of walking into camp for one of those meetings years ago with Ed Moran.
“I looked around the camp and said, ‘Eddie, things haven’t changed that much,’” said Lanzi. “At that point, a kid came out of a building with a cell phone. I said, ‘Well, I guess some things have changed.’”
Lanzi was a camper beginning in 1962, when camp cost about 50 cents a week. He was a staff member from 1970 to 1973.
As a counselor, Lanzi tells of an 11-year-old homesick camper he met. “I asked him what he liked to do. He said he really liked to fish. I said, ‘It’s raining out right now.’ He said, ‘That’s the best time to fish.’ I got on my raincoat and we fished at Yawgoog Dam and he was fine the rest of the week.”
Manager of the supply store at Rhode Island School of Design for 32 years, Lanzi said Gus Anthony approached him for projects that needed wood, especially mahogany. Lanzi would plane the boards and get the materials ready for the building of things like chairs and sailing racks. Two years later, he joined the association.
Lanzi and his wife Linda have two sons (both were Scouts) and a daughter.
He credits alumni and staff for keeping Yawgoog strong. “Without [them], the committee would be nowhere,” he said.