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Editorial: Sinoquipe at age 50

June 24, 1998

For 50 years they have come to the wooded mountain camp, rejecting (for a time, anyway) the comforts of home to sleep under the stars, to swim in a spring-fed lake and to accept the discipline that is a necessary part of the Scouting experience. As we mark the 50th anniversary of Sinoquipe Scout Reservation, we'd like to express our appreciation to those who've spent and time over the past five decades to preserve and improve the facility.

Located near Fort Littleton, Pa., Sinoquipe opened in 1948 with four campsites located on 126 acres. It has since grown to more than 400 acres and has served more than 250,000 youths over the years. Those young people have learned a lot about nature and skills like archery and turning scraps of leather or wood into something useful.

But that isn't all. The experience of camping in the woods with a group of Scouts is a great leveler. How well or how poorly you do doesn't depend on how wealthy your family is, or on whether you're the best-looking kid in the bunch. It depends on whether you're smart enough to know that getting through the trip means following directions from more-experienced people and on working together with the rest of your unit.

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The latter skill is at the top of most industries' lists of the qualities they seek in workers, but it's also a trait we need in citizens. That's not to say that people should blindly go along with the crowd. They should, however, be willing to sacrifice some of their comfort for the greater good.

For hundreds of thousands of Scouts, learning how to do that began in a wooded campsite. There young people temporarily traded a comfortable bed and central heat for something more valuable - a shared experience that left them more self-reliant and at the the same time more willing to help others.

But the Sinoquipe experience that has benefitted so many in Pennsylvania and Maryland just didn't happen. Dedicated volunteers raised money to preserve, improve and expand the site. Their efforts should be toasted at every campfire at the mountain retreat that their vision made possible.

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