Letters to the Editor

Help Save Sabattis Adventure Camp for Our Boy Scouts

cea912a94a6bfe6bb91e_IMG_1434.JPG
Troop 77 at the gate of Blackfoot campsite, Sabattis Adventure Camp, 2017 Credits: Gary Schwartz
2d2787c22fc30e8ac063_IMG_1475.JPG
At the summit of Charley's Mountain following a 2.5 mile hike to the top for an overnight camp out. Sabattis 2017 Credits: Gary Schwartz
0f0858e0a59bf55440e8_IMG_1708.JPG
Scouts from all Troops and Sabattis staff enjoying completion of their Merit Badges. Sabattis 2017 Credits: Gary Schwartz
54e944c6d08a91d61876_IMG_1781.JPG
Final flag ceremony for Troop 77 on the last night of summer camp. Sabattis 2017 Credits: Gary Schwartz
cea912a94a6bfe6bb91e_IMG_1434.JPG

Dear Editor:

All of the other troops think that Blackfoot is the worst campsite at Sabattis Adventure Camp. That’s because it’s the furthest walk to the center of camp. Troop 77 knows that Blackfoot is the best campsite at Sabattis. We’ve been camping at that campsite every summer for years, far longer than our current scouts or their older brothers can remember. Blackfoot is a very large campsite. It’s large enough that our scouts can set up their tents far away from the adult leaders, fostering their independence.

I am committee chairman of Boy Scout Troop 77 in Westfield, NJ. When I camp at Sabattis with the troop, I set up my tent very near the Blackfoot campsite entrance. My patrol table seems about three football fields away. My son, now a Life Scout, one step away from Eagle, and his tentmate set up their tent beyond my patrol table.

Sign Up for E-News

Nature calls at 6:00 a.m., before the rest of the troop is awake, and I open my tent to the insanely beautiful view of the lake, which is about 50 feet in front of me. I walk through the campsite, expecting to be alone, and I see my son standing out in the lake.

He’s perched on his favorite spot at the campsite, a rock that’s about the width of a sneaker and just more than a stride away from the shore. I join him, staying on the shore myself, and he barely acknowledges my presence. We don’t talk. We just sit there together, contemplating life and looking out at the early morning mist that’s rising from the lake.

That moment with just me and my son on this beautiful lake in the northern Adirondacks is seared into my memory forever. My boy is growing up right before my eyes. Unlike at any other Patriots Path Council camp, at Sabattis Adventure Camp our boys become men.

I awoke yesterday to rumors that the Patriots Path Council Executive Committee is voting in a week to close Sabattis Adventure Camp, which has been a source of learning and fun for Boy Scouts for 60 years, and sell the 1,250-acre property to developers in the Adirondacks.

It’s not clear why they are considering this move. Although many are aware this is happening, there is no official word from the council. There have been no public discussions, no consultations with those most closely affected by the council’s decisions: the troops, the packs, the Scouts and their families.

It’s odd that a Boy Scout Executive Committee should behave this way. It runs counter to everything we teach our scouts at every meeting. It runs counter to the Scout Law and the Scout Oath that our boys repeat at the start of every troop meeting, every troop activity and every sunrise at Sabattis.

I’ve emailed all members of the Patriots Path Council staff, urging them against the closure of Sabattis Adventure Camp, and I’ve received the exact same canned reply from all but one who’ve responded, even with the same typo:

The council president has called a special executive board meeting to discuss the future of Sabattis Adventure Camp. Until the board meets there is no change with the Sabattis Adventure Camp program. If they are any changes it will be announced on the council website during the week of September 18th.

There is no mention of a Council President on the Patriots Path Council website. It certainly seems the result is already determined.

I encourage all those with a stake in the future of the Boy Scout Program – whether your sons are currently Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts or past Scouts, whether they have attended Sabattis, currently attend or currently volunteer at Sabattis – to attend a protest scheduled to begin just before the Executive Committee meeting. The protest begins at 6 p.m. at the Patriots Path Council Office at 1 Saddle Road, Cedar Knolls, NJ, on Monday, Sept. 18.

Show the Executive Committee the breadth and depth of support that our community has for this jewel of a property that offers experiences and opportunities for learning that do not exist in other council properties. Not at Allamuchy, not at Winnebago. For example, at Sabattis, scouts cook for themselves and eat in their patrols, unlike the other summer camps where scouts eat food prepared for them, in a communal dining hall.

You can also sign the petition at Change.org to save SabattisPhone Patriots Path Council at 973-765-9322 to tell them that you want to save Sabattis Adventure Camp, and share this as widely as you can. Let’s mobilize our community to ensure that this amazing place is available to today’s Boy Scouts, and to our future Boy Scouts.

Signed,

Gary Schwartz, Committee Chairman, Troop 77, Watchung Mountain District, Patriots Path Council
Don Pizzi, Scoutmaster, Troop 77
Dan O’Connor, Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 77
Andrew Gibbs, Treasurer, Troop 77
Dr. Kenneth and Jeannie Arida
Jeffrey and Sonya Moore
Emma Schwartz
Frank and Jenn Silva
Evan Gibbs, Eagle Scout, Troop 77
Jonathan Silva, Senior Patrol Leader and Life Scout, Troop 77
William Arida, Life Scout, Troop 77
Logan Gibbs, Life Scout, Troop 77
Declan O’Connor, Life Scout, Troop 77
Gianni Pizzi, Life Scout, Troop 77
Joshua Schwartz, Life Scout, Troop 77
Michael Moore, Star Scout, Troop 77
Mason Gibbs, Tenderfoot Scout, Troop 77

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Three School Buses Involved in Crash at Clark's ALJ High School

June 21, 2018

CLARK, NJ — Three buses collided in the Arthur L. Johnson High School parking lot around noon on Thursday in a chain-reaction crash. 

Students were on board at the time, according to Police Chief Pedro Matos. One driver and two students had minor injuries, Matos said.   

According to a Honeywell alert issued by the Clark Public School District, ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...

What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...

Greatness

In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

We Must Address The Unrealistic Affordable Housing Process Now

June 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank all the residents who attended and watched last Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting on over-development and legislative solutions with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and I. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to watch the meeting on SPTV or the Township’s Facebook page at ().

The meeting was a real eye-opener for many of our residents. It ...

Vine Ripe Markets Now Serving Italian Ices

June 21, 2018

Vine Ripe Markets is excited to serve Italian Ices this summer. 

In addition to already offering gelato in our bakery section, Vine Ripe Markets located at 430 North Ave E. Westfield, NJ now will be serving Uncle Louie G Ices. Stop in today and take advantage of our spacious outdoor area with our newly added tables, chairs and umbrellas. Pick from the following flavors and ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

LifeWay’s 2018 Vacation Bible School at Terrill ...

Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_2e8d9f350d4d75f38fc3_beads

Mon, July 9, 10:00 AM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Join the Summer Jewelry Making Club at the Scotch ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness Home & Garden