Boy Scouts’ storied tradition in Capital Region is in jeopardy
As many other natives of Schenectady County, I spent my youth in boy scouting and am still involved as an adult.
Schenectady County’s Boy Scouts of America Council has, over the years, seen changes both good and bad, but it is the good memories others and I remember! Summers at Camp Boy Haven in Rock City Falls and encampments at Camp Rotary on Lake George were filled with the things young men were eager to learn. The skills taught will always be with us, and have been used by many as they entered into life as men. Some of Schenectady’s youth have gone on to be bank presidents, district attorneys, scientists and a host of other professions.
One slogan was, “Scouting rounds a guy out!” No matter what profession a scout went into as an adult, he went with knowledge that he was as good as the next man.
Today, Schenectady County Council no longer exists; it was merged with Albany, Saratoga and a few other councils and called Twin Rivers Council. Sadly, Camp Rotary is no longer a scout camp and camp Boy Haven is in need of help.
Those of us who can remember our first trip to Boy Haven in the 1940s have memories of 340 acres of a wonderland for boys. A huge house where the camp ranger lived was named “The White House” after a board member. This building dated back to the early 1800s and was an inn, a tavern, a doctor’s office and a farmhouse. It is believed the farm was once used as part of the Underground Railroad, helping slaves to escape to Canada. Unfortunately, because of a lack of funds and volunteers to do the work, The White house has fallen into disrepair.
This once-beautiful proud building is in need of being restored; hopefully, rumors of it being torn down are just rumors. Perhaps some local craftsmen will donate their time and a lumberyard the materials to give The White House a new lease on life.
I commend those volunteers who have been working to keep Boy Haven in good repair and wish them well. They are a dedicated group and deserve praise for what they have accomplished, but they need help to keep Boy Haven a place where boys learn to become men.
Gary P. Guido
Sometimes, a little violence prevents a lot
Fox News Insider reported that on March 5, a 16-year-old Florida high school student wrestled away a loaded gun from a 15-year-old fellow student and would-be shooter. The older student was later suspended for being involved in a fight. Why? Because his school has “zero tolerance” for any fights involving a weapon.
If this is a demonstration of what our nation is coming to, I am truly afraid for our future. We are punishing those who protect others. Only a few years ago, this young man would be considered a hero; today he is labeled a delinquent for not only defending himself but also risking his own life to protect his fellow classmates.
Safety is the United States’ No. 1 priority, right? And yet this student’s story is only one of numerous examples recently becoming more apparent that display how corrupted our idea of safety truly is. Safety is no longer protecting lives. Instead, it is staying uninvolved.
If students are being punished for taking a stand, caring about the well being of those around them, and being brave enough to fight their problems, what are we to expect in the years to come as these students become our nation’s leaders?
As today’s youths grow up in a world that shies away from any kind of violence, no matter how necessary, how are we to survive in an increasingly vicious world? By having zero tolerance toward all violence that surrounds us, even when it is used for good? For some reason, I don’t see that plan succeeding.
Modern deer hunting not enough of a challenge
New York’s deer hunting season allows deer hunting by rifle, black powder rifle and bow and arrow. I propose some new weapons. Now hunters will have to get closer to the deer.
A spear season would allow hunters to hurl a spear at the animal. They would have to get a lot closer. They would have to down the animal with the spear, and finish it off with their knife.
Another ancient weapon could also have its own season: the slingshot. Modern slingshots firing steel ball bearings. A shot at a deer’s head, aimed well, can stun the deer and bring it down, to be dispatched with a knife. Again, the hunter would have to be a good stalker and get close to the deer.
Hunting with these older weapons requires greater stalking skills. The American Indians regularly killed deer and buffalo with bows and arrows and spears. There were excellent stalkers and were motivated by hunger — a powerful need.
Someday I would like to see a photo of a proud hunter holding his spear or slingshot over the deer he killed. The existing rifle and black powder seasons would not be affected by this.