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Camp Sinoquipe marks 50 years

June 20, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT / Staff Write

by RIC DUGAN / staff photographer

enlargement

Camp Sinoquipe 50th year

FORT LITTLETON, Pa. - Boy Scouts young and old, their families and dignitaries gathered on the shores of a lake made of memories Saturday to rededicate the Sinoquipe Scout Reservation on its 50th anniversary.

The reservation, located just north of this Fulton County, Pa., town, was opened by the Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1948 to serve Scouts in Fulton and Franklin counties, Pa. and Washington County, Md.

Sinoquipe is an Indian word for "builder of men," and the character-building nature of the camp was the focus of the Scout leaders and others who spoke on Saturday.

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"Today we urgently need teenagers who will be tomorrow's adults willing to say, 'The buck stops here. I will take responsibility for my life, my home, my community, my nation,'" said Washington County Circuit Court Judge Fred C. Wright III.

"The Boy Scouts of America provides the program; we who are gathered here today - and those who are here in spirit- provide the volunteer guidance and direction; Camp Sinoquipe, Builder of Men, provides the place...," he said.

Joe Rathvon, 16, of Cascade, Md., is quartermaster and sports instructor for this summer's camping season, which begins today. He attended Saturday's ceremonies.

Rathvon said he's been in the Scouting program since 2nd grade. "I've been coming here for one week a year for about five years," he said. "I've gotten a lot of good experiences and friendships here. I've learned how to respect nature, the outdoors and each other."

Rathvon plans on finishing his Eagle Scout requirements this summer. As for the future, he said he wants to be a forester. The natural beauty of Sinoquipe and his experiences at camp helped him realize the depth of his love for nature, he said.

Becky Rathvon said Scouting has turn her son into "a fine young man," but said the character-building nature of the Scouting program touches more than the boys themselves. "I think the community benefits, from their volunteer work," she said.

State representatives from Pennsylvania and Maryland, along with officials from the three counties served by Sinoquipe were at Saturday's celebration.

Proclamations commemorating the anniversary were given Scout leaders and will be placed in a time capsule at the camp. Artifacts will be put in the capsule throughout the camping year before it is sealed.

Dignitaries also planted two trees along the lake shore to kick off this year's Re-Greening of Camp Sinoquipe program, in which Scouts will replace trees and shrubs lost over the years to storms, disease or age.

Before and after the speeches, members of the Potamac Indian Dancers, Explorer Post 2, performed intertribal dances to a rythmic drumbeat that pulsed through the nearby woods.

After taps were played to end the formal ceremony, staff and visitors toured the camp, while some of the kids went exploring. Boys hunkered down at streamside, looking for frogs. Others climbed nearby trees. One walked the lakeshore alone.

Sinoquipe, which began as four campsites on 126 acres of land, has grown into a 400-acre campsite with enough outbuildings to warrant a map. Since the reservation opened, more than 250,000 Scouts have camped there, officials said.

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