Thursday, February 28, 2008

Camp Russell, Upstate NY

As a boy/young man I spent a week almost every summer from 6th grade until sophomore year at Camp Russell in Woodgate, NY on White Lake.

One of the neat things about the Internet is you can find pretty much anything if you look long enough. I've searched a number of times for information about Camp Russell, but never found much. Then today my friend Glenn sent me a link to the 'Camp Russell Alumni Association' web page. See it here.

At that age going off into the woods was one of the things I enjoyed most and I was working towards my Eagle Scout award so going to camp Russell was something I looked forward to each summer.

The first year I went, my Dad, brother John and I all went. That year our troop sent 4 full patrols worth of scouts and dads to camp. We broke into 4 groups and went hiking through the Adirondacks. None of us were in the same group so for years we argued about who had the harder trip.

For those who have heard the story, this is where I ran into the bear. We were stopped for the night alongside a river and stayed in an open-face lean-to. It was pouring rain that night so we went to bed early. I woke up a few hours later and the fire was going and I could see a bear outside the lean-to looking around. I slowly looked around and found that everyone else was awake as well. I don't know how long we sat there, but eventually the bear walked away.

I'm sure John, my Dad and Glenn can add their own stories from that trip!

Another memory is that we always had the biggest troop there. Some years we'd have 15 or 20 kids while most of the others troops were 4 or 5.

I also remember the songs from around the campfire. Anyone ever figure out what a billabong was?

The scout master, Frank Devito, who ran the camp died a few years ago. I remember him helping me carve the wooden bench that sat in my parent's house for more than a decade with 'CURTIN' carved in the top. Here is a link to the page remembering him.

If you went to Camp Russell, please add your stories!


ryssee said...

Great post, Chris! I never heard about the bear but that must have been intense.
You gonna be a scout leader someday? That would be cool.

Chris Curtin said...

I'm sure I'll be involved with Christopher.

In fact a friend of ours sent me the signup forms the day after he was born!

Chris Curtin said...


They have added a blog to thier main website for people to add their stories.

I'll get a few facts straight then I'll post about the things we did at Camp Russell.

Chris said...


I remember going to Camp Russel also, however I don't remember much about it because I was in the group that did the canoe trip. I remember a little bit of that trip. I also came face to face with a nice bear in broad daylight after we had stopped for the day and were setting up camp. It walked up to my friends backpack that was about 4 feet from me and snagged a bunch of food. That was a bummer.