Gather Around the Campfire

Like getting in touch with nature? Then there’s nothing like hiking and camping in the wilderness.

I’ve been a scout since I was 6 years old — same for my wife and children. Many of my closest friends I met during my association with Plast, the Ukrainian National Scouting Organization, but almost entirely through the U.S. division. And they’ve been my friends for thirty years or more. I remain active via fraternal groups and as a counselor to a troop of younger boys in Passaic, N.J., the equivalent of cub scouts in BSA.

Before we were blessed with children, we’d hike the northern Catskills together. I missed those days. Well, not any more. When I heard they needed a leader at the camp in North Collins, N.Y., I thought about it and decided to volunteer my services. So for the first three weeks in July, I’ll be leading a team of seven counselors and a group of 39 scouts, aged 12-17. And sleeping in a tent.

We’ll do some hiking, too. And raft down the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park. Plenty of bonfires — what I like to call “the fire channel.” No TV for entertainment — except for the World Cup final on the 11th.

Hopefully, we’ll create the kind of lasting memories the kids will hold on to for years to come.

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