Posted 10 November 2004 - 11:15 AM
One of my former Scouts told me about these posts on Chin-Be-Gota.
I attended Chin-Be-Gota as a Scout in 1968, 1970, and 1971. I worked there as a staff member (Field Sports Director) in 1976 and 1977.
I took Scouts there as a Scoutmaster in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, and 1986. The camp closed after the 1986 camp season along with it's sister camp, Chief Shabbona Wilderness Camp near Lakewood, Wisconsin.
A group of former staff members recently got together at a funeral for a CBG staffer, John Bland. It was nice to talk of old days. John had served on staff in the late 60's, early 70's and again in the 80's. He was 55 when he died. He taught classes at Northern Illinois University and Kishwaukee College, and was among the most popular of teachers.
Someone talked about creating a website for Chin-Be-Gota, but as far as I know nothing has happened.
The main lodge area at CBG was initially purchased by former staff member, Mike Colwell. He allowed old Scouters to camp there and visit. He has since sold out and moved to Florida.
I haven't been there since that final season back in 1986. Someday I hope to stop by and see the place.
The campfire bowl along Baker Lake was one of my favorite places. The indians paddling across the lake with torches for the Order of the Arrow callout was a classic Scouting memory for so many thousands of boys over the years.
I was on the Council Camping Committee when the announcement was made that CBG had been sold. We were informed after the fact and the announcement was made just weeks before camp season. I was ready to create a new leaders guide and slide promo for the camp, and I was quietly told not to bother.
Reasons for its sale, as told to me, was the long distance to drive, camp only in use 3 months/year, capital expenses were looming (all the roofs needed replacement), etc. It was a business decision.
It was a decision that angered many people, myself included. CBG had a beautiful growth of trees, every variety of plant you could think of, and I had never found any poison ivy anywhere on the property.
I do miss that place. It holds a special place in my memory.
Scoutmaster Troop 33