Council Fire Teepees: A Camp Tradition

For years the teepees have stood tall either side of the fire ring beside Crystal Lake on the opposite shore from the Lodge. The teepees were unbowed in all weathers and a distant landmark guiding canoes and lake swimmers alike, catching the shadows and bathed in firelight in the evenings and rising above the morning mist on the lake, in the first light of dawn.

Every spring eager volunteers raise the special poles to form the framework and then stretch the canvas tight over them. In the fall when the trees either bare or red and gold, many of the same volunteers with numbed fingers take them down and store them away for the winter.

This spring one teepee was successfully assembled, but when it came time to raise the second, the canvas ripped along the seams. Rescue was impossible, as years of sun, rain and storms had taken their toll on the canvas like sails on a ship. A new tepee cover was ordered from West Virginia to arrive in time for camp and for the last month the single teepee took on the work of two.

This Friday night a tremendous thunderstorm ripped through camp. In dawn’s early light, it became clear that the remaining teepee had succumbed to the elements. One cannot go down to the local camping outfitters and order a replacement, as each is custom made. We expect the first of Crystal Lakes’ new teepees will ready for opening day, and the second one will be in place by the second Council Fire.

Anyone who would like to help us continue this camp tradition by contributing to our 2010 Teepee Fund, we would love to hear from you. Contributors will be recognized with a plaque placed at each teepee entrance. Two new teepees were not a budgeted item for 2010!

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