YAA Chairman’s Letter
My name is Patrick McDonald and I am the new chairman of the Yawgoog Alumni Association. My first summer at camp began in June 1997 when I stepped off a yellow school bus on Tim O’Neil Field, fresh off the Motor Vessel Cape Henlopen, run by the Cross Sound Ferry Company. I had never been to Rhode Island, except, perhaps, on a stopover on the way to Fall River to spend a night as a Cub Scout aboard the Battleship Massachusetts. My troop, 689 Seaford, NY, had been coming to Yawgoog for a number of years, having only recently taken up residence in Campsite Musketeer in Three Point Lowers.
Every year for the next five years, I spent the Fourth of July in Musketeer, dreading the pancake-laden swim test (I support the recent Monday morning menu change to eggs), earning my merit badges (I NEVER got a partial) and waiting in line at the Rifle Range (as was the custom of the times). These were weeks I looked forward to for the entire year.
In 2003, I did something marvelously altruistic: I volunteered as Camp Three Point’s Bugler for the week, as they did not have one. Evan Cardullo had apparently decided that he did not want to play the daily calls on his trombone that summer. During one flag raising that week, New Frontier Director Dustin Gagliano turned back to me and asked me if I’d considered working for the summer. His sales pitch was effective. I had, but the sacrifice of the whole summer seemed a bridge too far. This time, I decided to take the plunge. I spoke to Matty Smith, camp director and rabid Red Sox fan, and I would start as a clerk at the newly named 407 Outfitters.
That was that. I worked that summer and many more with many other wonderful people. It is a time I reflect back upon with great affection. It was that affection that influenced my decision to attend law school in Boston and to make a life for myself in Rhode Island. Though Troop 689 no longer resides in Campsite Musketeer, the memories I made and the staffs with whom I had the pleasure to work reside in me and have made me the person I am today.
As the incoming chairman, I am dearly gratified to be in a position to effectuate the mission statement of the Yawgoog Alumni Association: The Association exists to be a benefactor to Yawgoog Scout Reservation, to preserve and promote the spirit and heritage of Yawgoog, and to promote the brotherhood of scouting among the alumni of Yawgoog. It is a simple charge that presents the executive committee with a wide latitude of ways to accomplish it. I intend to work with the rest of the Executive Committee and you, the dues paying members of the Association, to make that mission statement a reality.
In closing, I hope this letter finds you well, and that we have an opportunity at one of the YAA’s upcoming events to chat about camp and swap a few stories about the people we came to know and the place we came to love.