May 20 – Eisenhower Park, East Meadow, NY –
LITU agreed to have a booth at the Theodore Roosevelt Council of the BSA Jamboree. The idea was to have a presence, let the scouts know we exist, perhaps get them interested in working on the fly fishing merit badge. Maybe even recruit some new members.
We stood in the middle of the quadrangle of exhibitors casting lines, attracting parents and kids alike, and then handing the rod over. Pied piper strategy.
Who wouldn’t want to try a fly rod? We may not have filled out any membership forms but I guarantee you we made an imprint on those who came over and gave it a try.
I was trying to calculate when it was that I camped at what was then known as Salisbury Park (Ike was still President), with my Boy Scout troop. I know the trees were a lot smaller and the Park, which was built on what was known as the Hempstead Plains, not nearly as developed as it is now. The program was simpler as well consisting pretty much of setting up the tent, cooking and sleeping out with a few skill based contests. This Jamboree was much more sophisticated with more activities than a carnival.
I suppose I was 11 or 12 years old which would place the event in 1958 or ‘59. As I recall, the anniversary of the scouts was celebrated in 1959 and they held a Jamboree that year in Colorado Springs, a nationwide event. The Salisbury camp-out was the local celebration.
I remember using an old metal ammunition box for a cooler which quickly melted the ice and spoiled the meat. We cooked breakfast of burned eggs, that ended up scrambled, made in the aluminum mess kits we each carried. We had bacon too and ate it just about raw – except for my friend Bobby who couldn’t eat bacon and brought salami to cook instead. Or was it baloney?
We had a good time and did well in knot tying competitions and other events. I remember it to this day as I am sure these kids who were casting today will.
Soon to follow was the moving up to high school and sports and girls. The pressure of high school was too much and I eventually set the scouts aside. I remember being torn by the decision to leave.
Back to the present. I wanted to be a part of this event for so many reasons but in the end it was for the kids. To give them exposure to this great sport and all that goes with it.
I am glad to see that boys still benefit from scouting which had a lot to do with the man I became.
Take a kid fishing (or casting)!
(Thanks to all the folks that put this together including TU’ers Chris, Mike, Rich, Joe, Bob, Jay…)
Please use the icons below to share and thanks for the support!