1983 - David Allen
Greetings from Shanghai , China . In mid-November, autumn has finally come here and I can pull out my TSR Alumni jacket. While I’m far away from Tomahawk today, many things I learned as a camper and staff member help me in my successful career today.
I was part of the Beach Staff from 1983-1988 and served all but my last summer on the Sioux staff. Small world that it is, I have the dubious honor of having shared a lake view platform tent with the illustrious Scott Schuette for most of those summers. In the eighties, as other folks have highlighted, there was only Sioux and Chippewa. There was a friendly rivalry between the camps, with Sioux claiming to have a more rustic experience since we got food delivered by the Muck Truck instead of dining with campers in the dining hall in Chip.
Thinking about Tomahawk brings back countless memories. I can vividly remember administering Friday lifesaving tests with then Beach Director Al “Elan-Du” Haffa – “Reach – throw – row- go with support as a last resort. We are thinking men not heroes,” as well as working on swimming with all skill level of boys. I can still see the sun on Long Lake as I supported glorious canoeing trips around the lakes up to Wilderness. While serving the Scouts was our primary mission, the staff was a pretty close-knit bunch. I can remember filling my Suburban (later donated to TSR then retired) with other staff to go up for movie night once per week. Some nights I would get a ride there and later walk back down the dark side road between the Admin Building and Sioux.
Serving on the waterfront taught me responsibility and reinforced my naturally discipline disposition. After my final summer at Tomahawk, I spent two summers working at 3M before joining the US Army after graduating from college. The experiences I had as a Scout and Scouting leader helped me to get an Army scholarship and were a great foundation to my military leadership skills.
After several years in the Army, I left military service for life as a civilian. I’m now a marketing executive for an American manufacturing company and have spent the last three years growing our business in China . While business is different over here and can be complicated, the simple foundation of the Scout Oath and Law provide a touchstone for doing the right thing even when others don’t. While Scouting helped make this second nature to me, I have not had to look far to see this as much less obvious to other Westerners working in a foreign culture as I would wish it was.
I won’t preach (any more than I have already) to the current and future staff, but would echo Scott’s advice. Enjoy every moment you have in such an idyllic environment. Learn from the other staff and from the boys, and share your skills with them and your peers.
Q. What year(s) were you on Tomahawk staff?
Q. What was your position(s)?
A. Sioux Beach Staff, Ass't Beach Dir
Q. What was happening at Tomahawk during your tenure? What was new?
A. New Sioux admin/ trading post building (with some A/C)! Built and burned down Sioux beach sauna.
Q. What was your most memorable experience?
A. Watching thunderstorms coming across Long Lake at Sioux Beach; voyageur canoe trips
Q. How did your experience at Tomahawk affect your life?
A. Gave me firsthand experience about what a motivated group of people could get done. Reinforced my love of the water and the wilderness. Created a touchstone for Scouting as an adult
Q. What was your favorite place in camp?
A. tent platform uphill from Sioux beach.
Q. Do you have any advice for the current staff?
A. Soak it in. Work hard and make memories.
Q. When was your last visit to Tomahawk? What was different?
A. I haven't been back since I left for my sophomore year of college.
Q. What is your current occupation / affiliation with Scouting, etc?
A. I'm an executive in a manufacturing company. I'm also a Troop Committee member in our local Troop. I help plan our big trips outside of CT.
Q. Which former staff members do you keep in touch with?
A. I'm not in regular contact with the great friends I made there.