HISTORY OF THE TEN MILE RIVER SCOUT CAMPS (CONTINUED)

THE WAR YEARS


During the war years of 1942-1945, there was great difficulty in getting staff to man the camps since most every healthy, able-bodied young man was involved in the war effort. During this time some decreases in population occurred due to the hardships of the nation. The bus service to Ten Mile River, which had been established in the middle 1930s, simply became unavailable due to the difficulty in procuring gasoline and rubber. Therefore, train service to camp was reestablished, and for the first time in several years the Scouts made their way to camp on the "Erie." But many of the Scouts had to attend the summer camp operation at Kanes Open at Tallman, N.Y. instead of traveling to T.M.R. since Kanes Open was able to maintain a more complete staff during the war years.


GROWTH CONTINUES


Ten Mile River continued to expand and build. In 1946, the dining hall at Camp Kunatah was completed and in 1945 Camp Rondack was constructed. Rondack was the first experiment in the modern style of "Troop Camping." The camp was specifically built with 32-boy Troop-sized sites rather than 100 boysized sites as was typical of the provisional style of camping, which had been the rule until that time. The experiment was successful and Troop camping was encouraged more and more.


Ten Mile River continued to expand and build. In 1946, the dining hall at Camp Kunatah was completed and in 1945 Camp Rondack was constructed. Rondack was the first experiment in the modern style of "Troop Camping." The camp was specifically built with 32-boy Troop-sized sites rather than 100 boysized sites as was typical of the provisional style of camping, which had been the rule until that time. The experiment was successful and Troop camping was encouraged more and more.


In June of 1940, the largest structure at Ten Mile River met a fiery fate. Talequah Lodge, which had served as the Brooklyn Camps headquarters building since 1928, was reduced to a heap of ashes in a matter of hours. In August of 1950, the original Division "E" Dining Hall at Camp Ranachqua burned down and was replaced the following year with a new and much larger dining hall. This is the same structure used as today's Camp Ranachqua dining hall.


Starting in the early 1950s, Districts were encouraged to reserve blocks of campsites for T.M.R. District Camps. It was felt that N.Y.C. Troops would prefer to camp together where practicable. Districts provided their own staff of Commissioners and program specialists, who attended free as members of the camp staff. District Camps encouraged home Troops to attend camp and boy attendance at T.M.R. soared.


In August of 1952, the Silver Jubilee of Ten Mile River was held on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the camp's founding. By that time Ten Mile River had more than 250,000 alumni, having served an average of roughly 10,000 boys in each of the proceeding 25 summers. In June of 1952, former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt gave Manhattan Scout Mark Sobell of Troop 702 a 25th anniversary neckerchief as the 250,000th Scout to register for Ten Mile River. By this time her late husband's fond dream of a camp that could accommodate 3,500 Scouts at one time had been fully realized.


In 1952, the Greater New York Councils began operating for Explorer Units a self-reliant Wilderness Explorer Camp on Davis Lake, which had previously been operated as a Troop camp called "Waramaug" by Troop 123 of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. In 1958, under Camp Director Denver Wallace, the new camp, called “Camp Davis Lake” was opened as a truly primitive camp. Troops were required to prepare their own meals and for the most part provide their own program though staff was now available to supplement the program. During the last week of that summer at Davis Lake, the first Explorer Camp was run successfully.

Talequa Lodge, Camp Brooklyn

© 2019 Ten Mile River Scout Museum.

Ten Mile River Scout Museum

1481 County Road 26

Narrowsburg, NY  12764

845-252-2063