water, a pool, the Lehigh River, and a pond where Bear Cub Jacob Price did his favorite activity. “My favorite part was fishing and boating,” he said. “It was so much fun and I caught 15 fish this week.”
“It’s better than a lot of places,” Dylan continued of Camp Acahela, as Jacob nodded in agreement. When an adult leaned in and asked if it was even better than Disney World, the boys immediately replied, “Oh yeah!”
“The boys learn a lot of skills here,” Camp Director Bryan Fisk explained. “They learn self-confidence, leadership, teamwork. In the scouting program itself, there’s a lot of character building.”
Camp Acahela has been in place since 1919, making it one of the oldest scout camps in the country. As a boy, Fisk attended the camp, as did his two grown sons who went through the ranks to earn the honor of Eagle Scout. With a lifelong dedication to the scouting program, Fisk also serves as Vice President of Strategic Planning and Operations for the scouts’ Northeastern Pennsylvania Council.
“Our philosophy here is, if they can achieve advancement requirements great, but camp is about learning skills and having fun,” Fisk stated.
At the rank of Webelos II, Dylan and a group of other soon-to-be fifth graders will serve as Cub Scouts just one more year before becoming Boy Scouts next spring. That means this summer is their last at Camp Acahela.
John Barr, also in Webelos II, related that his favorite part of camp was the special field campout on his last night, reserved just for boys in his rank. There, he said, some Boy Scouts gave the group a pep talk about continuing with scouting and crossing over to their organization.
“Around the campfire, I liked the talk they gave about Boy Scouting and how awesome it is,” John said. “I like that you could be anything you want to be as a Boy Scout.”
A large group of Boy Scouts and Venturers work as the staff at Camp Acahela, which runs for five weeks in the summer, providing an unforgettable experience to over 300 Cub Scouts. An exuberant group, the staff members are often seen singing or telling corny jokes, or high-fiving and encouraging the young scouts.
At the closing ceremony that ended the Mountain Top pack’s week at camp, the staff performed skits, as did Pack 106 and the other seven packs that camped there, each pack from somewhere in Northeastern Pa. Two towering campfires set the stage for the presentations.
Our local pack first performed a song where, during the chorus, the scouts and leaders broke into a silly dance. The other scouts and parents in attendance –about 200 people in total –couldn’t help but react with smiles and laughter.
The Mountain Top pack returned to the spotlight and entertained again, this time with a skit that coincided with the camp’s space theme. Cubmaster Christal Basham emerged dressed as a robot and, with a perfect robotic voice and movements, she made all the children laugh as the scouts asked her space-themed jokes and she reacted comically.
At the end of the ceremony, Fisk presented each scout pack with awards and many of the boys received accolades for their achievements. Pack 106 was one of the few to earn the special title of “Honor Pack.”
This award goes to the pack that meets a list of requirements at camp, such as receiving high scores for daily camp inspections, participating in raising and lowering the American flag, and for completing a community-service project. Pack 106 scouts cleared a fallen tree and debris from a pathway as their project.
Tony Rodgers, a den leader for Pack 106, expressed his pride for the boys earning the special award. “It’s cool,” he said. “This is the first year that it’s been offered and the kids were jumping at the chance to participate.”
He also noted that parent participation was part of what made the week at Camp Acahela such a success as Pack 106 had more parent volunteers than any other pack.
For the parents who didn’t stay the week, but rather picked their scouts up on closing day, the boys didn’t seem all that enthusiastic to prepare to go home. As Webelo II scout John walked to the parking lot with his parents and sister, he shook his head and said, “I’m going to miss this place so bad.”