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Gus’s Gossip

Hello to all my wonderful Yawgoog Alumni Members! I received some great notes and letters from all of you and thought I would share some of them:

Wendy Harris

Wendy Harris

My good friend “Wendy” Harris writes: “In 1947, when I was “WD” at Three Point, we had swim lesson sessions both morning and afternoon – at least 20 or so at a time. Learning to swim for any youngster 10 years old or older is not a very difficult task. We would start with the kick board to build leg strength and develop confidence. Then, we’d move on to correct arm strokes and breathing. Our goal was to be able to swim the entire length of swimming area… somewhere close to 75 feet. As I recall, most Scouts who “stuck with it” learned the basics of swimming. I did, of course, have two very able assistants: George Gebney and Ted Gibson. “Swim Time” – aside from “Chow Time” – was the most popular activity at Yawgoog. I witnessed every day – twice a day – just how much the kids loved to plunge into the water and get their young bodies “in the swim groove”. Motivation certainly was not a problem.” Thanks Wendy, always love listening to your stories…. Love, Judy.

I received this note from one of our newest Lifetime Members in July – Dennis Lavoie. Dennis writes: “I spent one night at my old campsite this year. It was 50 years ago I slept there for one week as an SPL. Then as a Scoutmaster I brought my Troop there and last time I slept there was 30 years ago. I was so impressed with the Rifle Range this year. I spent time there getting my NRA Expert when I was Scoutmaster with guns nowhere near what they are now. I wanted to try them for a couple of years but didn’t want to take away from the boys time but I spent a lot of time watching the boys shoot every year I go back to visit. Also, the new Robotics program! I was amazed. I joined this year as a Lifetime Member because of Yawgoog’s great work. Hats off to the Yawgoog Alumni Association’s great work and for keeping Scouting going in the right direction. I’ve been an adult leader for 37-38 years and it’s only because I still believe in the program and the great job we’re still doing in shaping these boys lives. Thanks again and see you on August 1st!”  Thanks Dennis for your wonderful note full of compliments and accolades for our program at Camp Yawgoog! It was great meeting you on August 1st. Best regards, Judy.

My buddy Irving “Chub” Clement was deeply saddened when his good friend Eric Ritzen passed away. Chub sent me the following write-up and photo: “Eric W. Ritzen, 84, of Wirtz, VA, passed away on June 9, 2015. He was the husband of Dorothy Ritzen. Eric spent many years at Camp Yawgoog before becoming an Eagle Scout. Later, he received the Wood Badge and the highest adult recognition, the Silver Beaver. He grew up in the Conimicut section of Warwick and later, South Providence. In the Korean War era, he served in the Army as a paratrooper and lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division. Until word of his passing, Eric was expected to make his annual visit to the Yawgoog Reunion with friends Irving Clement of East Greenwich and Harold Nelson of Warwick.” Chub, our thoughts and prayers go out to you in this time of sorrow as I know that Eric was like a ‘brother’ to you and you are pained at his passing. Take comfort in knowing that Eric is now in God’s hands. With deepest sympathy from all your Alumni friends, Judy.

Harold ‘Swede’ Nelson, Eric Ritzen, and Irving ‘Chub’ Clement

Harold ‘Swede’ Nelson, Eric Ritzen, and Irving ‘Chub’ Clement

STORIES FROM ALFRED ‘AL’ SCHENCK – North Smithfield, RI: Long-time YAA member and Scouter of the Narragansett Council wrote me recently and included 10 pages of stories from his time as a Boy Scout (from 1941 to 1944) in the Narragansett Council. Al said that his father told him to keep records of what he did so that he could look back later in life and tell his family. I’m going to share his stories with you a little at a time. Here’s the first one! Judy

BOY SCOUTS – Al writes: I joined the Boy Scout Troop #1 Georgiaville in January of 1941 along with two other boys. The troop met every Tuesday evening in the basement of the Irving S. Cook School. Mr. Henry Shepard was the Scoutmaster and his son Henry Jr. was the Assistant. There were four patrols in the troop, each with a patrol leader. I was assigned to the Beaver patrol and the patrol leader’s name was Joe Pimental. He was a tall and an easygoing guy. I knew him long before I joined the Scouts. He taught me all the requirements that I needed to know in order to become a Tenderfoot Scout, which was the first rank in Scouting. There were five others that you could advance to, with the last and highest being an Eagle Scout. There were merit badges you had to earn for the different ranks and were all associated with Scouting. The Scout Motto and the Scout Oath were the two most important things we had to learn. We were even taught how to stand at attention, do the about face, right face and left face movements. I think we were a little clumsy at first, but before the meeting ended we were doing okay.

One of the requirements we had to know was how to tie certain kinds of knots. I was given a short piece of rope and was shown how to tie various knots. My patrol leader had me take the rope home with me to practice tying the knots. At the next meeting I would have to tie the knots for the Scoutmaster and earn my rank of Tenderfoot. My father, who had been in the Navy, knew all about ropes and knots and was able to help me tie those knots pretty quick. At the next meeting I had no trouble and passed the requirements and dubbed a Tenderfoot Scout on February 14, 1941.

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Hopkinton, RI 02873