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CHIN-BE-GOTA revisited 20 years later

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I thought I should report on the death of a former Chin-Be-Gota staff member from a few years back. He's been gone three years already.


Gerry Streit passed away on February 20, 2002. He died of a stroke at the age of 55.


I thought former CBG staffers might want to know of Gerry's passing.


Gerry probably worked at CBG longer than any other staffer. He spent 10 summers on staff with his last year in 1976 as Commissary Director.


He was active with Troop 29 and Troop 57 in Aurora.


Gerry also served as Order of the Arrow Lodge Advisor for Glikhikan Lodge 106 and was chairman of the Two River Council Camping Committee for several years as well.


He received Vigil Honor, Founders Award, District Award of Merit, Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and probably other awards I don't know about.


Gerry loved Chin-Be-Gota and Scouting and worked on behalf of the program his entire lifetime.


You can read a Senate Resolution created in Gerry's honor at...





Cliff Golden

CBG Staff 1976, 1977

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I'd like to start by saying that I was a member of troop 45 from 1980 till 1987. I attended CBG from 1981 to 1983 and was a staff member for the summer in 1984. CBG opened in 1959 and closed after the

I am the daughter of Lloyd Nelson, Scout Leader from Aurora Il for over 50 years. I fondly remember going to Chin Begota family camp in the 60's. My oldest brother, also named Lloyd, was a counselor t

Cliff,   Do you know what years John attended during the 80's and what position or positions he filled? I some what remember his name but I can not put a face with it. I would like to see a web si

I just happened along this site and sure glad i did. I too was a staffer at CBG for a few years. most people would know me by the name cooter,hick,or crip. was r.m with marty, archery instructor with the big Murkster, and just a alaround fun loving guy. lol I remember all the good times at camp and Richs post brought some more back. I could go on for hours talking of them ,but all i got to say is that it was truly a great time. i still keep in touch (kinda) with a couple of old staffer freinds, and i think i remember a few of you posters.


I gotta say tho I felt saddened to hear of big Johns passing. He ment alot to me, was a good role model. Besides the passing of the great Grizz,Johns passing is truly one of the hardest to hear of.He surley will be missed.


well ill post again when i have time,hope all is well with yall and my the lords blessings be with you all



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Just dropped by to see if i could gather photos to explain to my daughter what heaven on earth looks like. I had to cry a little to hear that Gerry Streit,

John Bland, cbg, and cswc are just parts of my memory now. I went with Gerry to NOAC in Rutgers, NJ and remember John Bland from various scouting events. Oddly enough, i also remember seeing his name on faculty at NIU and thought that it was such a coincidence that there should be another John Bland out in Dekalb. Had no idea it was the one and same, wish I would have dropped in then.

My most interesting week at Chief Shabbona Wilderness Camp happened one year when our Scoutmaster, Bob Ford burned out the clutch in his little Plymouth Sapporo pulling a trailer load of gear up from Wayne, Illinois.

The extra week I spent up there taught me much more about being a man and solving problems than I learned in any other YEAR of my life.

CBG was my first week long away from home experience, my first experience in self reliance, my first experience in being responsible for the well being of others. Baker lake allowed me to prove that I could swim a mile, sail a boat and catch fish to feed myself. I learned CPR at CBG and just recently recounted this story to some of my friends at work.

Anybody know where I might find John Stockman or Dick Devine? I have moved to rural South Carolina and lost track of but not forgotten folks who have had a positive influence on me. thanks, db

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Rich, your stories of what has become of Chin-Be-Gota Scout Reservation has stuck in my heart for many months now, and after reading of John Blands death I knew I would have to respond to this forum. A few years ago I found Johns E-Mail address on Classmates.com and I sent him a long e-mail thanking he and all the other older Scouters for helping a sullen, angry kid like me through some of the roughest patches of his life. His response was in true John Bland fashion, he asked what he could have done to warrant such praise? I unfortunately was always too busy to put down onto paper the words that would be able to convey just what men like John Bland, Griz Adams, Jeff Merkling, my former Scoutmaster Tom Hawksworth, & all the others too numerous to mention did to help me through my bitterness. I can only hope that John was pleased by my e-mail even if I never found the time to respond with the words for the praise.


It is hard to describe what was so special about CBG, but yet even though it has been closed for 20 years now, it is obviously still in our hearts. I have my 1985 staff picture hanging on a wall in my house, along with the map of Chin-Be-Gota given out to all campers their first day of camp. It took me awhile to find it, but right in front of me is a little black container that film comes in, it contains ashes from the final campfire typed on a label is Chin-Be-Gota The Final Campfire August 8, 1986


I live outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico but get back home from time to time, Dan (Cooter) if youre still in Plano Id love to meet up with you on one of my excursions home. If anyone knows about a possible reunion of staffers I would definitely make it home for that.


Robert Bob Bales

Rio Rancho, NM


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I was checking out this web site and when I saw this topic, I felt compelled to post a message. Rich, I remember you from serving on camp staff at CBG in 1984. It's hard to believe it's been 21 years ago. Dan, you are not someone I'll ever forget. Those summers of 84, 85, and 86 are filled with memories that I'll always treasure. Cliff, I remember your name, but can't remember who you are. Mabie you can refresh my memory. Bob, I'm sorry I lost touch with you, but would love to hear from you. CBG will always have a special place in my heart. I'm deeply saddened to hear about John Bland, and Jerry Streit. John was like a father to me that summer of 84, and was an inspiration in many ways. I'll always miss him. I would love to hear from all of you guys! I know we would have a lot of stories to tell. God bless you all, Rich "Grumpy" Waite CBG 84, 85, 86.

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Rich or "Grumpy",


I attended Chin-Be-Gota as a Scout in 1968, 1970, and 1971. (As a Scout I was at Camp Rotary MacQueen in 1965 and 1966, and Chief Shabbona in 1967 and 1969).


I worked on Chin-Be-Gota staff as Field Sports Director in 1976 and 1977.


I brought my troop up to Chin-Be-Gota as a Scoutmaster in 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1984, and 1986. I think I helped paint indians for the Wed night OA ceremony several of those years.


I hate to be one always ringing of death, but in case some of you did't know, Griz Adams passed away in 1991. Someone mentioned Bob Ford in an earlier post. Bob died in 1994 after a tragic car accident in 1992 rendered him a quadrapalegic.


Just to balance things out with someone living, Jeff Merkling is alive and well and back in Scouting as an adult leader with his 12-year-old son down in Missouri.


Good to hear from you guys.



Cliff Golden

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Cliff, I think for the most part the last time any of us newer staffers saw each other was at the Great Grizs funeral, at least that was the last time for me.

I remember Cooter and I (Grumpy were you with us??) were riding to the cemetery in Jim Furmans truck, and Coot mentioned that the police were stopping traffic for the funeral procession, I looked out the window and sure enough there was a police officer blocking traffic and saluting Griz. Jim mentioned the officers name and said that he was an Eagle Scout from Grizs early years as a Scouter. To this day, that moment still chokes me up.



Bob Bales

CBG 83,85, & 86


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Thank you staff member for deleting my earlier post. Rich Waite, I responded to your last post. After posting and reading it I realized that it didn't make sense. I forgot your name was Rich also. Sorry for the confusion. I agree with you. I have many great memories from CBG as a camper and a staff member.I was quite emotional being there 20 years later. I wish I had more time and a better camera.


Does anyone know what has become of the CBG website? Earlier this week I was going through some things at my parents house and found two more items from CBG. First one is a Year-Round Outdoor Program Guide from 1984. It contains information about the Scout Ranch, Big Timber, Kedeka, CBG and Chief Shabbona. It is quite informative. Some info about CBG: How large the camp is, weeks in operation, camp fees, facilities(trading post, commissary, central shower, quartermaster, health lodge, chapel), camp fees, campers guide, transportation, arrival and check in, equipment issue, health and safety. It talks about the camp program including scoutcraft, field sports, aquatics and trips hikes N things.


The second is the staff manual for 1984. It contains info on purpose of summer camp, purpose of the camp staff, preparing for camp. It also has all the names, addresses and positions held of the staff members for that year.


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I served as R & M junior staffer in 1974 and as field sports director in 1981 and 1982. I still say Camp Napowan and Freeman-Leslie can't compare to CBG! As a junior staffer, we got paid $100 for 10 weeks. I grew up in the famous Troop 31 Oswego with the great Del LaGow as its leader. In 1981, we had the best campfires, especially when we hoisted a scout on the backboard with an American flag behind line of staffers as we sang America and This Land is Your Land then humming it as someone in background recited the Scout Oath. Loved the time, the cows threatened to trample the OA inductees at the pre-ordeal bowl. I still wish a group of us would have bought the whole place, maybe as a retirement camping place for old scouters. I have my third grade class at Lisle, Il sing Waddly-Atcha and Topnotcher once in a while.

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What a great trip back in time!

I've often wanted to go back to CBG and see what's there.

I was a scout there '63-'66, junior scoutcraft staff '67-69, eco/con director '72,'72.

I could picture every step in the verbal tour.

At my age I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I can vividly remember things from first summer at site 1, my OA Ordeal, my Brotherhood tap out, leading silent nite nature hikes (with my staff guys playing tapes of owl calls off in the woods), the "walk-in sit-in", etc. etc.

I've got tons of old pics and slides, even a set of arial photos I took in '68?

As eco/con director, I started the nature area. One of my junior staff, Jeff Rugg, had a red-tailed hawk that he would fly and kept in the staff area, and one of the other guys (can't remember his name now) had 2 baby racoons that he released at CBG. We also raised a few mallards from chicks. We also had a Great Blue Heron that one of my junior staff observed falling about 100 feet out of it's nest at the wilderness camp. We nursed it back to health and it hung out in the little pond in the nature area. One day we made an inflatable dome out of ground cloth plastic with the pieces heat sealed with an iron, inflated with a box fan on the lodge lawn. Anybody remember that?

Of course, any of you former staffers will fondly remember Friday nites in town (Scottie's?), but one weekend off, my staff and I did a field trip to one of the state wildlife preserves north of Antigo. I can still picture 6 or so guys riding on the hood and top of my '67 Newport creeping miles down paths into the widerness.

Sorry to hear about John Bland (known back then as the Cheeto Blandito) and Gerry Streit; both outstanding men.

Now I need to check out the CBG website.

Anybody, please feel free to contact me. I live in Southern Illinois, but usually spend may-july working the Fox Valley.

Dan Starck


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Just got back from a fishing trip to Rhinelander and had to stop in Birnamwood. Chet and Emil's still has the best broasted chicken in the world. I took some pic/s and will post them as soon as I get them developed. We went to the camp and no one was around but it's up for sale. Dan sent me the sales address http://carleysales.com/

it has alot more pic than I took.

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I was one CGB staff '66 and '67 with the likes of Dan (Rabbit Ass) Stark, Roy Schermerhorn, Rick McKindoo, Jeff Burnham, Butch Goins, Jim Rumcheck, Tim Ohelker, Wayne Ashe, Rick Johnson, Cecil Piggot, Peter Kleinpaste and so many others that I can't remember.

I am the Scoutmaster now of troop 794 in the Denver, CO area. My son just spent his first session at camp in the mountains, is three merit badges and a project away from Eagle. He was asking me about my camp experiences and much to my surprise, I found this spot on Scouter.com. The "CBG 20 years later" write-up was so wonderful. The best summers of my boyhood were spent up at CBG as a scout and on staff. The person describing the OA ceremony was espcially warming as I was on the tap-out team both summers and got to glide up to the bowl in those canoes dressed out in those spiffy buckskins and headresses. I remember catching bass and painted turtles in the lake, sunset yoga at the boat dock with the Jesuit Priest drop out who was running the aquatics program in '66, teaching astronomy merit badge out in the rowboat in the middle of the lake in the middle of the night,lots of nature walks and classes with the scouts, water balloon raids on campsites with particularly obnoxious scouts, lifting weights in the shower room , pink bellies for staff initiation (when that was allowed), skinny dipping on staff point in the evening, bad food and good friendship, my first girlfriend, trips into Aniwa and Birnamwood to do laundry and have some decent food(one time we saw that new musical Sound of Music), Scouts coming in on Sunday and grilling chicken for them on Saturday, Staff competitions with the scouts every Saturday on the lake or in campcraft skills., canoeing down the Wolf River two summers with Roy Schermerhorn , Tim Ohelker , Jim Rumcheck and one of the other directors, a frustrating start in '67 to the nature center that Rabbit Ass straightened out in following years, throwing down mattresses in the lodge before the camp had been set up and having staff wrestling matches, wild and crazy Rich Johnson leading wonderful campfires, Tim Ohelker catching a moth in his ear at the campfire and having to go to the ER to have it removed. I am not sure how it was that we were lucky enough to attend such a camp but my life has been greatly blessed by the memories that I get to ruminate upon from that beautiful place in Wisconsin. Now, as I am again in Scouting, I am crerating new Scouting memories with my son. These are sweet memories; but equally sweet to me are those wonderful summers spent on Baker Lake catching turtles and learning about life.

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