Lodge Ledger: Wapashuwi Lodge hosts summer camp midway

By Philip Zeng

On the weekend of October 24th-26th, 2014, Wapashuwi Lodge held its fall fellowship weekend at Camp Stigwandish in Madison, Ohio. The lodge decided to get creative and offer its Arrowmen information about different ways to attend summer camp. Wapashuwi Lodge Chief Andrew Pleso said his lodge hosted a summer camp midway as a way to help campers in the Greater Western Reserve Council.

“What’s unique about [our] council is that we don’t have a summer camp to offer to our Scouts,” Pleso said. Andrew was elected to be the lodge chief at this year’s fall fellowship and came up with the idea to host a summer camp midway. With help from fellow Arrowmen Corey Smith, vice chief of camping and service and overseer of the event, and Josh Johnston, lodge secretary and tech whiz, Pleso was able to pitch and shape this idea with his lodge leadership team and Scout Executive Jason Wolf. The idea was to hold a midway, or small fair, of summer area camp representatives to display and present their summer camp facilities and activities to Scouts and Scouters from around the council.

After a year of planning, the logistics were set for over 20 summer camp booths and displays, with summer camps spanning from Michigan to South Carolina! Examples included Camp Kootaga of Allohak Council and Camp Berry of Black Swamp Area Council to Camp Bob Hardin of Palmetto Council and even the BSA’s own Summit Bechtel Reserve. Overall, there were 22 councils represented at the summer camp midway. Wapashuwi Lodge Secretary Johnston made sure each camp had its own unique QR code pamphlet so that when visitors of the midway checked out each booth they could scan the unique codes on their phones in order to access their websites. Wapashuwi Lodge Vice Chief Smith handled both aspects of the fellowship and the integration of how the midway was set up in the dining hall. Chief Pleso made sure each summer camp representative felt welcome and that all their needs were met. He made sure goodie bags were made to be given afterwards as a way to say thank you.

Each summer camp representative was excited to introduce their facilities and summer programs to the visitors that came. Scouts and Scouters from all over the council arrived at Camp Stigwandish to learn more about the various summer camps in the region. From one representative bringing over 100 hats to promote his camp to one camp ambassador who was extremely optimistic to make new connections and relationships, this demonstrates how successful this summer camp midway was. Along with the promotion of the fall fellowship, Arrowmen were encouraged to inform their units back home about this great opportunity to find a summer camp program to participate in next summer. Additionally, the midway gave a chance for those skeptical Scouters to see what the Order of the Arrow really is with the fall fellowship occurring beside the event.

Pleso, Smith and Johnston all agreed the summer camp midway was a success and hope to do it again in the near future, perhaps even for the next fellowship. They attribute the success of the event to their Scout Executive Jason Wolf for helping them with the connections to other councils’ camps, and Wapashuwi Lodge Adviser Bret Gensburg for his continuous support of the youth in the lodge.

“I love this job, and it’s a great opportunity for me,” said Smith. Pleso agreeing, “I can see the difference I am making and it makes me do even more and just motivates me. Watching Scouts grow in leadership and service really makes me happy.”

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