These are stories submitted by our campers, staff members, leaders and parents. Many people have felt the power of Shin-Go-Beek in their lives, these are just a few of their stories.
Scrubby White Pine
By Anthony Rizzi
How mad would you be if I told you heaven is not what you dreamed of or that utopia palace hidden in the clouds guarded by cloud people, but actually a giant sandpit with thousands of white pine trees with hundreds of little kids running about? Yea, I would be pretty mad too. This sandpit isn't heaven, but it's not hell and better yet, it's not Chicago. This magical place has a perfect balance of heaven and hell with me in the middle to keep them apart. Ever since my first sinking step here in the recording breaking hot summer of 2004, I have returned each year and the more I think about...I would with out a doubt choose Camp Shin-Go-Beek over heaven any day.
Freedom rings on the Fourth of July. Over the years, the reason why we BBQ everything that has four legs, crack open 64 beers by the beach, and blow off spectacular fire works has obscured. America started throwing down its nation-wide birthday party every Fourth of July in 1947 when Thatcher Woods Council opened the area up to all Boy Scouts. The 504 acres of land is divided down the middle by an operating Wisconsin road, 24th lane. On the west end, camp is featured with Little Twin Lake and Big Twin Lake, which are separated by 87.54 foot wide isthmus. By name, Big Twin is home to the waterfront where kids learn to sail, rescue lives, and not to drown. The best thing to do is tip over sailboats or dress up like pirates and raid other sailboats. But that fun only lasts for a day, two if your careful, before you are outlawed from the area for the entire rest of summer. The largest building is also located on this side, the one and only Dining Hall. The only place where kids cry on their birthdays and flying squirrels are welcomed to dine in. The Dining Hall is a most mysterious place decorated with flags from past events and giant ungodly paintings only to be topped with a 50foot long two man saw. And even more mysterious around two in the morning when the world's greatest mini corndogs can be found. With a side of stolen chocolate milk, there's no need for sleep.
But I find my place more so on the west of camp. The land of the pines. Not only is this where the Barn is located, but also my favourite spot of all. The best way to describe the barn? A civil war castle that holds everything and anything you could ever want and not want, except the things you need. I am going to leave it at that. But if you take a stroll down the long sandy straightaway, lined with hickory and maple, eventually you will come across an elevated path. The sign that titles this path was destroyed and lost in the year that does not have a number, but a colour: Magerple. This path takes you up closer to the sky and leads to what was once Signal Hill. When radios were first being used at camp, this was the place for the best signal. But it wasn't used for a radio headquarters, it was a chapel. Somewhere in the 80's a teepee-like structure was built out of telephone poles and pine tree bark, which covered a 5 x 7 pure granite alter. In the year Magerple, the tip of the Teepee caved in and made the place unsafe. But it is here that nature talks. It is here where six kinds of finches build their nest and at the right time of day it is here that the most beautiful music is created yet never heard.
Right now, this place, Camp Shin-Go-Beek is undergoing politics and has a chance of being sold off. A small war is going on to free camp from this. The men in business suits do not realize how many lives are changed here year after year, my life including. I've witness boys become men, I've heard divine music created here, I've laughed harder than ever imagined, and I've come closer to a God than any other house of worship. Camp is not heaven, by far it is not heaven...it is better than heaven. It's home.
Field Sports/Archery 1969, 1970, 1973
My first year on staff was 1969. Scott Nixon and I were in town on our day off. We were walking down Main St. when Uncle Mike saw us. He looked at me and asked if I had my driver's license. I said yes. He gave me the keys to the green stake-bed truck and said I should drive it to the lakeside parking lot. I said I didn't know how to drive stick shift. Mike said, "Don't worry. Just put in gear and go." Scott and I climbed into the cab and I noticed that the shift knob with the pattern was rotated upside down. I somehow got in first gear and we started driving when I said "I"m going to shift this sucker!" I got it into second and popped the clutch, and the truck started skipping down the street. I finally got things smoothed out and made it to the lake, where in about five minutes of driving around the lot I had figured it out. That was the only lesson I ever had in manual transmission driving, and after driving several cars with stick shift, I have never had to replace a clutch. I've also taught several people how to drive stick shift, including my sister and my son.
Scrubby White Pine
By Matthew McLinn
Being a long time scouter I am often asked why? It seems now more than ever so here it is. I write often but usually toss the stories away on this occasion it was seen by a friend who insisted that I share. I cannot recall when I began to take the road least travelled. My mother claimed I was born in a Cshaped bag so she always said I came into this world butt first, as we all know this is not suppose to happen and that' s probably where my road began. She always said I was like the Little Engine that could. Lets do it this way lets take a journey, I want you to please come with, picture a train station in the Valley, there are two trains available. The first train a large silver polished beautiful thing.It has a great grand electric horn, the second train a small old-fashioned steam engine it is dirty,worn out and has stains on its stack from the smoke and steam.
98% of us will choose too take the Silver Streak with her powerful horn as it heads towards the tunnel cut through the mountain for easy access to the other side, her mighty horn blows and the journey begins. Our story, our journey is about the second train, thee train that only 2% of us will choose. As our train picks up a load of coal and gets some fire in its furnace we start our journey the Little engine releases some steam through her whistle "tooooot" and starts too chug along the track, it is a beautiful sunny day and soon we begin too reach the mountain and begin a short climb, we are now climbing harder and the wind begins to blow it is blowing in our face and the Little Train is struggling but somehow he likes it. So up the mountain he travels a little higher and higher and soon it begins too rain. Travel becomes even more difficult but somehow he likes it.
The Little Train climbs through the clouds and it begins too snow, his wheels begin too spin,the snow is blowing, the wind and snow are beating on his face. But somehow he likes it. He makes his way through the clouds to the top of the mountain; it is time for a rest. As we strap on our Eagles wings and take flight,it is a glories sunny day we are soaring, we are close too the sun we look down the side of the mountain just travelled and wonder how we ever made it, what a glorious site we are close too God, we are close too the sun can you feel the warmth the heat of the Almighty? As the Little Train begins the journey down the other side of the mountain it is a beautiful day he goes slowly, he stops to see the pine trees and in the pines there are little pellets of rain.
Raindrops gleaming like fine polished silver hanging from the pine needles another glorious site, there is the smell, Devine smell of pine needles, and this must be what Heaven smells like. We know come further down the mountain we hear the fine crack of a 22 riffle, the thunder the roar of a shotgun destroying a clay pigeon.Across the road is a young scout bow in his hand and an arrow pulled tightly against his cheek, bow string stretched like a guitar string he releases the arrow it takes flight with a " whoosh"it hits the target with authority, the young mans chest filled with air, bow tightly held in his right hand throws his arms for the sky looks up and howls Like a wolf. As we trek along riffle range road we come too a sacred spot, a spot where an Indian is buried, he is my friend, I know of him, I have met him in my dreams, I once visited the mound,I introduced myself and he approves of my being here.
The Chief is the guardian of our property, the one stories are told of around the camp fires, he is the one who allows us too be here in this sacred place, I must pause for a moment say hello and thank him. Just down the road is the chapel in the pines, This is our sacred land where we come to celebrate, where we come too worship to be with our brothers and sisters of all faiths, this is a sacred place. As we continue too hike west we pass many other adventures, the sounds of adventure, the sounds of laughter,the sounds of children learning, the sounds of hiking, of boating,fishing, swimming the sounds of accomplishment, this is the sound of joy, This must be what Heaven sounds like. Traveling further west we begin too pass camp sites, our climbing tower and the old barn.As we approach the lake we can see many scouts gathering in first class uniforms preparing to retire the colors of this great nation, this beautiful country that we live in, there is the blast of a cannon and the colors come slowly down the flagpole, properly folded and handed to tomorrows troop of the day. Afinal look over our beautiful lake has the Sun bidding us a final farewell, glimmering on the lake like so many twinkling lights, this must be Heaven.
It is Friday night and darkness begins to fall there is the sound of excitement, the smell of a campfire the rustling of leaves and tall grass as we cut our way to the campfire bowl. Oh the smell of the campfire, this really must be Heaven. It is a time ofskits and songs and excitement with the sharing ofstories. As the evening goes on we begin the gathering of the alumni' s of the Order of the Arrow, I listen carefully for my name and I hear 1969 Brotherhood, I take my place besides my brothers and sisters as we begin to sing, voices usually unheard singing like a fine choir as the camp fire fades away and we send Scouters young and old back to their campsites for their last evening under the stars "I have seen the arrow, and it is only right" There goes our train on its way to a place we call home. We pause for a moment in a place called Bellwood there is a young scout there about 7 years old he is holding a fishing line with a tiny Blue gill on the end of it his chest full of air and a big smile on his face as he shouts I got one. The little train nods with approval and asks hey kid would you like to go on a journey, do I have an adventure for you, I believe it leads to Heaven...