1980's Staff & Scouts

A Camp Fawcett alumni that also served on Staff during the 1980's Tony Chambless sent several photos and comments related to his time at Camp Fawcett.

This is a picture of one end of the staff living area.  The big platforms may still be there or at least their remnants.  The staff tents were about 12 ft deep by 8 ft wide.  They were about 8 ft high at the ridgepole.  A lot of the side flaps are down in this picture so these are probably first year staff members' tents.  Once a person had been on staff for a while, they learned to keep the doors and side flaps rolled up unless it was raining.  Canvass tents get really hot with the flaps down.  I think you can see at least one of the GI surplus dressers in this picture.  All of our beds were also surplus racks.  Some had soggy springs and some had plywood, but they all had mattresses and they were uniformly difficult to sleep on.  They kept us off of the ground and that is about all I can say for them.  The dressers were not popular.  They were a pain to move from storage to the staff area.  They were dirty from sitting in storage since the previous summer.  Most of us used foot lockers.  They were easier to move and easier to keep clean.

My first year on staff we lived right across the road from the quartermaster building in the earlier picture.  The next year it was moved up the same road closer to the campfire arena.  In the new area we had a street light, but no electricity to our tents.  the light had to be turned off at 10 pm and quiet had to be observed in the staff area.  Staff members under 16 had to be in the staff area by 11 pm.  All other staff could stay up as late as they wished, as long as they were on time for breakfast the next morning.  And woe unto him who was late to breakfast...seriously!  Frank was a stickler for punctuality and professional appearance; and we were a better staff for it.

This picture shows what the Quartermaster Building and camp office was then.  Each year we had 4 weeks of camp, 2 at Fawcett and 2 at Sol Mayer.  The week before camp opened we had staff training week, which gave us plenty of time to get camp set up.  However, on the weekend after the 2nd week we closed whichever camp we were at by 10:00 am on Saturday, moved to the other camp and opened at 1:00 pm on Sunday with no breaks.  Yes, we were manly men!  Not really.  We just didn't have any other choice.  We always pulled it off, though.  Then whichever camp we closed the last week was the one where camp started the next year.  So we went back and forth like that for years.

In this picture the staff member on the left side of the picture with his arms crossed is my son David.  The shirtless staff member is Clayton McLucas, T 36, San Angelo.  Just to his right in the picture is his brother Chris McLucas.  The staff member in the yellow shirt is Shannon Stinson, also of t 36 in San Angelo.  David and Shannon were also in the Venture Crew that I advised for 23 years.

In the middle ground, slightly to the right is a weather station built by Ray Kedziora of San Angelo.  We taught weather merit badge all the years I was on staff.  I just happened to notice it and thought I would mention it.

The entire time I was at Fawcett as a Camper and as a Staff member the Canoeing Area was located just south of Frontier campsite on the bluff over the river.  I don't know if the campsite is still named Frontier, but on the website it looks like that is where you all set up for your reunions each summer.

  We would have to carry the canoes down the gully to the rock banks and canoe from there.  Then we had to carry them up again after class.  We carried them down with a lot more enthusiasm than when we carried them back.

In 1985 we had some archeologists from the State come out and do some sample digs at camp.  Campers could sign up and work on their archeology merit badge.  This dig was in the road that runs in front of Frontier campsite between the campsite and the well house.  The adult on the right is Ray Smith.  He was one of the archeologists, a former Camp Fawcett camper, and the man who built the rock entrance to the camp in honor of his father, Homer Smith.

They found some flint points and a couple of handmade beads in the digs along with a lot of bird bones.  Apparently the Indians in that area ate a lot of birds in the old days.

According to the 1985 archeologists, Camp Fawcett and the surrounding area was occupied for at least 6,000 years. 

Inside the dining hall.  Most of the time, as I recall, the interior of the dining hall was white.  It looks gray in this picture to me, but I do not remember it being that color.  At the time this was taken, the staff sat at the square tables in the center, so they could all help lead songs, etc. after meals.  We kept coffee on all day for scoutmasters, who were welcome to sit and visit with us and with each other.  Troops were assigned tables and all meals were served family style according to the number of people at each table.  That is why both camps had an abundance of platters, serving bowls, etc.  The last time I visited they were serving cafeteria style, pre-made food.  That sucks.  One of the things Scoutmasters and campers gave us high marks for was the quality of our food...and the friendliness/helpfulness of the staff.  We also had a salad bar.

I am sending this picture because the building behind the Scoutmasters is an old chemical latrine that was built for the camp (I think by the Kiwanis) sometime in the 1970's.  I haven't been to Camp Fawcett in about 12 years so I don't know if it is still there.  It is/was located down the hill from the main parking lot.  This picture was taken in 1989 at the Scoutmaster Invitational Golf tournament.  Scoutmasters had to build their own clubs and find a rock that would be a suitable ball.  It was 6 holes, par 107.  No one came in under par, but we all laughed harder than we ever had before.  It was a big hit.

{That sounds like a fun event! Thanks Tony for sharing your memories}