As of June 1, Andrew Cuhna officially becomes a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Jacksonville, Florida.
For former camper and staffer Andrew, Yawgoog not only provided a place to follow in the footsteps of his father, Jim, and older brother, Brendan Cunha. It also provided this boy in a regularly relocating military family with a sense of “home” and permanence.
To track his Scout involvement, you may need a map. “I only went as a camper once,” said Cunha, one summer when his family was visiting relatives in Rhode Island, when he was 12 or 13. A Boy Scout, his family was living in San Diego, CA, during this time. (The result of another move, his Eagle Scout badge was earned while he was living in Virginia.)
Cunha said that for a shy kid, Yawgoog did a world of good. “It’s a whole new environment that forces you to come out of your shell,” said Cunha. “I wasn’t the most outgoing kid; camp was all about learning to take what’s coming at you and taking it for what it is.”
He would later serve as a staffer at the Sandy Beach waterfront, as a lifeguard and swim instructor, then as a program commissioner supporting the troops, from the ages of 19 to 21 or so.
The leadership skills that Cunha learned at Yawgoog were indispensable in his career in the Navy, he says, showing him how to collaborate and how to lead when factors of a task change, as they can in an instant. But whenever he is back in Rhode Island, where his family still resides, he makes a stop at camp. “Yawgoog is always a place to go, always a staple of a visit,” said Cunha.
Interviewed and written by: Susan Shalhoub