Bob McGuire, den master of Cub Scout Pack 241, Lehman, was never more surprised the day he received a phone call completely out of the blue from a former den master, whom he had never met.
Tom Hillman, of Dallas, told McGuire he had been looking at the newspaper and saw a picture of a Scout troop. The image fondly reminded Hillman of his three years as the Scoutmaster of Pack 241 and of the summer camping trips he and his son Bill (now a senior at Lake-Lehman High School) enjoyed together at Camp Acahela in Blakeslee.
Hillman came from a Scouting family - his father and grandfather were both Eagle Scouts. He thinks that everything about the Scouting process prepares and leads the boys to camping. While many of the programs and activities can be done indoors, getting the Scouts outside and sleeping in a tent should be the end result. Just to go away and work together as a group are other good things about camping, Hillman says.
McGuire told Hillman that, sadly, only 11 Scouts from Pack 241 had participated in summer camp the previous year.
McGuire and Hillman felt that the $250 camp fee might make the cost of summer camp an expensive option for an average family. Because Hillman does not want any Scout to not be able to go to camp for lack of funds, he was willing to pay 50 percent of the cost of summer camp for the Scouts, reserving the other 50 percent for the family to pay as a commitment on the part of their Scout to attend the camp.
The project became complicated when Hillman realized there were at least four levels of participation at Camp Acahela, a Boy Scout camp in Blakeslee, including a Parent and Pal weekend and a day camp for mothers attending the camp. Hillman was completely invested in the idea by that time and was still willing to assist entire families to enjoy the camping experience.
Last April, Hillman stood before the Scouts and parents of Pack 241 and said, You don't know me. As a parent, I still look back happily at Scouting and I want to make sure you and your kids go to summer camp.
This year, Cub Scout Pack 241 sent about 40 of its Scouts and their parents to summer camp at Acehela.
Blaise Napierkowski, his brother, Damian, and their mother, Christine, from Jackson Twp., enjoyed the experience.
Swimming in the cool pool, campfires and the water rockets, Blaise said, recalling highlights of a 3-day trip to the camp with his Mom and brother. Next year would be the year for an all-week trip to the camp for him, he said.
The pack awarded Hillman an appreciation plaque for his generosity.
Hillman came from a Scouting family - his father and grandfather were both Eagle Scouts. He thinks that everything about the Scouting process prepares and leads the boys to camping. While many of the programs and activities can be done indoors, getting the Scouts outside and sleeping in a tent should be the end result.