A CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL FINCH – ALUMNUS FROM LAKE PLACID, FL
Recently, I (Judy) had a great conversation (albeit mostly one-sided) with Mike Finch. One-sided conversations result from asking the question, “So, tell me about your involvement in Scouting and your time at Camp Yawgoog”. Here’s what Mike answered:
“I started in Scouting when I lived in Warwick, Rhode Island, with Troop 1 Gaspee. Bruce Ingham was the Scoutmaster and I learned from him and worked with him. Attended Yawgoog for the first time when I was 11 and eventually joined the CIT Corp. Four days into basic training in the CIT Corp, an opening at the Medicine Bow Kitchen became available and I jumped at it. That summer I earned $50 working! I soon climbed the staff ladder and served as CIT Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, moved on to Baden Powell, was Camp Commissioner in Sandy Beach, Assistant Program Director at Medicine Bow and then Camp Director at Three Point. Going from kitchen boy to Camp Director was pretty great. I met so many outstanding young men and Scouters and Troop Leaders during my time at Yawgoog.
Camp Yawgoog is such a great learning facility and life experience training facility. Scouts learn things at Yawgoog that money can’t buy. As a Scout I didn’t think of what I was learning when I was working at camp but after I graduated college in 1974 and entered the corporate world and worked for about 20 years, I realized that the corporate world did not give me leadership training……that leadership training is what I learned at Yawgoog. For example, we conducted Patrol Leader Training at Yawgoog for the troops coming to camp – those types of learning experiences are worth their weight in gold.
Once I began working full time in the corporate world, I never had the opportunity to return to Yawgoog….that is until this past summer when I attended the August 4th Alumni Reunion. I followed the goings-on at Yawgoog somewhat on Facebook but was thrilled to be back at camp in August. So much has not changed, the camp still feels the same and kids are still having a good time. ‘On and Off’ is still in effect and some programs are the same and the things that did change, the upgrades and new buildings, the new shower facility and electricity for the Scout leaders are all wonderful improvements.
Camping at Yawgoog was such a great experience for me and I met a lot of great people. People like Phil Tracy, Al Mink, Gus Anthony. Gus was such an iconic figure at Yawgoog and I had such a great respect for him. I remember one day we had a lost camper and here comes Gus in his Model T riding right through TUOCS and FRONTIER and when he sees me he says, “Who is in charge here?’ I said I am and he said get in and let’s find our camper. People like Joe Herbold and Bruce Ingham who were mainstays back in the day and they made the experience of camping at Yawgoog so much better. They had the concerns of the kids at heart. Yawgoog has the greatest reputation and lots of good people contributed to that great reputation.”