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The Homepage of Alan Cook

An added benefit of teaching was having my summers off to either travel, work a different job and gain new skills, sit around and do nothing or spend more time with youth working at summer camps!

Chief Logan Reservation, BSA

My first long term camping experience was in the summer of 1978 when my troop spent a week at Chief Logan Reservation located near Ray, Ohio (between Chillicothe and Jackson). I quickly fell in love with the camp and each summer it seemed like I spent more and more time there. In 1979, I returned for a second week of camp as a "provisional" camper and stayed with Troop 5 from Chillicothe in Yuma campsite. In 1980, I spent 4 weeks at camp and this continued until I decided that I was destined to work on the staff at camp and signed up for Counselor-In-Training courses. In 1982, I completed CIT-A and the following summer completed one week of CIT-B. My trainer was Brian Knox and while I learned quite a bit, I also found out that I was a bit shy and introverted and my CIT evaluations showed that I probably would not be staff material.

In 1984, I was old enough to be on the staff but had not applied but came out to camp with my troop the first week. I approached the camp director, Tom Mills, but he didn't have any openings and so I returned to my hometown and spent the rest of the summer hanging out with friends. These friends were slowly becoming more and more involved in alcohol and then drugs, so by the next summer I was ready to come to camp just to escape the friends that were dragging me down with them.

I was fortunate to be hired by the new program director, Bill McKell, as a counselor in the Handicraft area. The director of the area was a district executive or professional scouter and often left camp and me in charge of the Handicraft area. This was the beginning of a tremendous experience that would last many summers and eventually lead me to change my career goal from engineering to education. Most of my closest friends have come from many years of working at Chief Logan Reservation and, along with many staff members, I believe that CLR is the greatest place on Earth. Nowhere else have I found a staff that so unselfishly shares God's love, friendship, and a commitment to service.

1985 Handicraft Counselor/Asst. Director
1986 Emergency Services Director & Webelos coordinator
1987 Emergency Services Director & Webelos coordinator
1988 Emergency Services Director & Training coordinator
1989 Program Director
1990 Program Director
1992 Emergency Services Director (staff week & week 1)
1993 Emergency Services Director & Training coordinator
1994 Asst. Camp Director (and Emergency Services Director)
1995 Asst. Camp Director (off-season)

Chief Logan Staff Alumni Association

The Chief Logan Staff Alumni Association holds a reunion for all alumni every year between Christmas and New Year's Eve. If you are a current or former staff member, please join the Chief Logan Yahoo! Group to stay informed about the CLR Staff Alumni Association events. The Yahoo! Group is a listserv that provides a means to send out email to all staff members and communicate staff alumni news or information about upcoming events.

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Memorial for Dick Harmer

September 29, 2001

Dick Harmer served on the Chief Logan Reservation Camp Staff many years. I became friends with Dick when he volunteered as the provisional scoutmaster and I was the CIT trainer in 1988 and we shared Cherokee campsite. He soon began working with the camp's equipment commisioner, Tom Whitton, and completely restructured how our camp handled tents and cots. He was affectionately known as "Harmer" and soon enough the equipment area became known as "Harmer's Cave" because that's where he could always be found. He will always be remembered as one who gave of his time, energy and personal resources to make camp a wonderful experience for many campers over the many summers. Despite his harsh personality, Dick was beloved by many staff members and campers who looked to him for advice and guidance in all areas of their lives. Dick's wisdom and friendship will truly be missed by all of us.

Friends and family gather between the Trading Post and the Ad Building


Jim Scott and Sharon Harmer (Dick's wife) place the tree


Jim and Sharon begin shoveling dirt and soil


Everyone has an opportunity to help with the planting


Dick's granddaughter with Sharon Harmer


Final touches for the Hickory tree that will stand as a reminder of Dick's dedication and love for camp




Musiker Tours

In January 1997, I found an advertisement for a company that takes teenagers on tours across the country. I was immediately interested, especially since the tours combined camping with traveling. Duing the summer of 1998, I was a counselor on the Eastcoaster #1 tour. In 1999, I was a food manager (know as a "food dude") on the Westcoaster #1 tour.


Scouting Reflections

My life can almost be defined in terms of my outdoor adventures.

Girl Scout Camp!

From a very early age, I can remember playing in the forest behind my house and "hunting" for crayfish and salamanders in the streams. I even tagged along with my mother while she worked as a leader and nurse at Camp Molly Lauman, a local Girl Scout camp, during the summers. I can remember being placed into a "boys" group and we'd spend the summer doing "boy" things and *occasionally* teasing the girls! I have a few memories of spending time in the creek, sleeping in a cabin (which unfortunately later burned down) and making s'mores and taking Polaroid pictures of several friends that I met there. I have been a "photographer" from a very early age!

Cub Scouts

Even though I was a cub scout and earned my Bobcat badge, our pack folded and I ended up continuing my scouting activities in a non-scout group of boys that met at a friend's house. I later joined a Webelos group and that lead to being introduced to the local scout troop that met in the basement of Waverly's First Presbyterian church. As Webelos, we visited the troop and listened to tales of their most recent backpacking trip into the Smoky Mountains. Finally, we were going to be real "boy scouts" and go on some real adventures!

Waverly's Troop 76

My best friend, Dave Strickland, and I joined Troop 76. The troop was divided into two patrols...those who lived in town and those who lived at the "lake". Dave quickly got side-tracked by sports and dropped out while I continued to advance within the troop.

Scout Meetings

The scout troop met on Monday nights at 7pm and we'd line up by patrol to say the pledge of allegiance and scout oath. The meetings were divided into skill lessons and patrol time. We'd often learn a new skill as an entire group and then divide into the two patrols to practice the skill or prepare for an upcoming campout. The meetings would often end with us playing some sort of game...our favorites were "Steal the bacon" and "Cranes and crows".


The troop would go on four major campouts during the year.

1978 Spring Camporee @ Chief Logan Reservation

The spring camporee was always at the local camp, Chief Logan Reservation, and troops would fill the "activity" field with tents and go on adventure trails during the day. This was my first camping experience with the troop after joining in the spring of 1978. We set up camp on Friday evening in an area of the camp that I would later know as the "activity" field. We set up canvas "Baker" tents that did not have floors so we spread out plastic "ground cloths" that would protect our sleeping bags from moisture. That night we went to the camp's dining hall for a "cracker barrel". The warm glow of the lights inside the building made it a welcome site but I was more amazed by all the flags hanging from the rafters inside the large room. There were no crackers, but they did feed us those carmel apple wraps (without the apples!) and "bug juice" or camp's version of Kool-Aide. We all went to sleep early Friday night although I do remember rolling out from under the tent and waking up outside the next morning!

IMy scout troop went on the weekend's activities and I remember walking from area to area in camp as a group where we were challenged on scouting skills. My troop was not very knowledgible and we did not score many "points" but I don't think that we were really concerned with winning any competitions. The troop was mostly full of misfits and hooligans! I was often placed in a position that challenged my own morals and ideals throughout my early scouting career.

The adult leaders were often the first to go to sleep and I can remember sitting around the campfire that night listening to the most explicit jokes that I had ever heard before in my life! A few of the older boys ventured into the brush and came back with "reeds" from the nearby Beaver Pond. They proceeded to light the ends and pretend to "smoke" them. The funniest moment was went an older boy, Chris Cooper, lit his long reed and inhaled only to be surprised by a mouthful of ants! We all laughed about that one for years afterwards! A few of the older boys pulled out their sleeping bags and slept around the fire. The next morning, Erin Hoskins, discovered that he had rolled into the coals and burned a hole in his sleeping bag. This was not the first or last time that he would do this! These were my role models...I think that I rebelled against their inadequacy and turned out okay...ha, ha.

Some memories of this campout include hearing stories of the troops adventures in the Smoky Mountains backpacking trip and got to sample "Bolton" bisquits...which appeared to be crackers but evidently swelled up in your stomach after you ate them. One of the adult leaders, Graham Seymour, who was an elderly English gentleman that lived in Bristol Village had planned the menus for the trip. He did not go backpacking himself, but I guess these bisquits and sardines were all the scouts had for lunch (this was before dehydrated or freeze-dried meals were common among backpackers) and they all hated them with a passion. Needless to say, the troop had lots of them left over and it was a rite of passage for new scouts to have a taste! Yuck!

Although the food was terrible and the weather miserable, this weekend would become an memorable beginning of my scouting career.

The Pine Forest and Mingo Campsite

Saturday morning on the spring camporee I was sent to get water with an older scout. I knew Steve because he and I went to the same church, Grace United Methodist in Waverly, Ohio. We were both acolytes and I sort of looked up to Steve although it became quite obvious that all the other scouts picked on him mercifully. I think that Steve either loved the attention or tolerated their abuse in order to have friends within the troop. I don't think that I was happy to be sent to get water that morning with Steve, but I was about to step into the most amazing part of camp. Along one edge of the activity field there were pine trees. In the middle of these pines, there was an opening where a bright red "frost-free" spigot sat on top of a water pipe extending about 3 feet straight up out of the ground. After we filled the water jugs, Steve took me into the "pine forest". It was through these branches that formed an archway that I entered into another world. As a ten year old, I stood in amazement of the row after row of pine trees that extended as far back as the eye could see. Each tree within the forest had its lower branches trimmed away to create what appeared to be a large room with columns holding up a canopy of branches that formed a ceiling overhead. Sunlight sifted though the tops of the trees to create a mixture of light and shadows upon the carpet of brown needles that became the carpet under our feet. I breathed in the smell of pines and listened to the wind whisper as it passed through the tall branches. It was as if I'd entered into heaven.

I have many good memories of that wonderful pine smell while camping there during the summer. Another memory is when I was taking my ordeal for the Order of the Arrow, a program for honored campers. The entire group of candidates were placed apart from each other within the pine forest to "contemplate" our weekend experience. The OA advisor, Jeff Wyckoff, went from scout to scout and quietly talked with us individually about why we were chosen and what we needed to think about why we awaited what would come next. We sat for what seemed like hours in the pine forest and it became very cold...I can remember curling up on the pine needles and trying to stay warm until it became dark and we were greeted by indians bearing torches...but that's another story! This pine forest not only became my campsite for many years, but also a place of solitude...years later I would walk through the same forest at night listening to the sounds of campers laughing around a campfire or playing a game of capture the flag.

Fall Camporees

The council's fall camporee was held in various locations around the council's four county area. I can remember Fall camporees at Sugar Loaf mountain (where Tecumseh is peformed) and Buckeye Furnace. I was recruited early as a staff member for these camporees by Father Mike, a scoutmaster in Wellston, Ohio.

Winter Campouts

In the winter, the troop made the trip to Camp Oyo which was an old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp that bordered Shawnee State Park near Portsmouth, Ohio. Our troop would always stay in the "Blockhouse" and while it was a structure it was very, very cold upstairs during the winter. The troop was a "hiking" troop so we would spend our Saturday afternoon hiking the trails of Shawnee forest. In the evening we would venture up to the state park's lodge and go swimming in their indoor heated pool.

Summer camp

Over the summer, we went to Chief Logan Reservation and always during their first week of camp. A Troop 76 tradition was staying in Mingo campsite

Other campouts

The only other campout that we would go on was a leadership retreat on our scoutmaster's tree farm. This weekend was supposed to help us develop better leadership skills, but what I remember was cooking steaks over the fire, making drop bisquits and cooking an egg inside a paper bag.


Our troop was always preparing for the ultimate backpacking trip...Philmont. We never went as a troop, but we were always seeking to become skilled enough to make the trip. One summer, we went on a 50 mile backpacking trip from Portsmouth, Ohio to the Carter Caves Kentucky State Park. This was my first real backpacking adventure and confirmed my hatred for carrying large amounts of weight on my back while hiking 10 miles a day! We stayed in shelters that were spaced approximately 10 miles apart along the Jenny Wiley trail. I can remember cooking over propane stoves and eating dehydrated beef stroganoff. Since water sources were often off the trail, I can also remember climbing over fences and hiking around farms that were tucked away in the hills with water bottles and jugs. We hiked through small towns and along roads...but mostly through scenic Kentucky forests until we reached Carter Caves. Our parents met us there and the first thing we did was go out to eat in the state park lodge! I think that we also went through the Bat Cave...but I was just happy to be off the trail!

1981 National Scout Jamboree

Only two of us from Troop 76 were selected to go on the council's trip to the National Scout Jamboree in Fort A. P. Hill in Virginia. Mark Boyd and I were placed in a patrol of 8 scouts in a troop lead by Charlie Bowman, a scoutmaster of Troop 48 in Jackson, Ohio. I looked forward to the trip because I had read in Boys' Life magazine that scouts would get to visit Washington DC and go to Busch Garden's amusement park. Much to my disappointment, we went straight to the jamboree and then straight home. We loaded up on the Troop 48 bus (an old school bus) and headed for the jamboree. We only broke down once on the way there, but I had plenty of film so I took lots of pictures of the bus along side the highway. The first night we arrived at the jamboree and all slept under the bus on the ground since it was late at night.

The jamboree had 35,000 scouts so we were spread out in different "sub-camps". Our sub-camp was about a 30 minute walk from any of the activity areas. To make things worse, we had to cook all of our meals over charcoal. We would spend lots of time preparing and cleaning up after meals. By the time we actually walked to an activity, it would be time to head back to prepare for the next meal! Memorable moments from the jamboree included a major storm that flooded many of the campsites in low lying areas. We fortunately were camped on a hill! Seth Woods was a member of my patrol and I remember him mud wrestling with other scouts after the flood (I also took pictures of this!) and "borrowing" Doug Lemly's camera so he could "moon" the camera. One of the major activities at a jamboree is trading patches. As a young scout, I really did not have any patches that were worth trading so it was a pointless venture. Scouts would sit along the road between the sub-camp and the main parts of camp with blankets spread out covered with colorful patches. It would take almost twice as long to hike to the nearest trading post/activity area because it was so interesting even just watching other scouts trade these patches.

Northern Wisconsin National High Adventure Base

Our local fire department was a sponsor of Explorer Post 76 and a few friends of mine who were destined to become fire fighters and EMTs encouraged me to get involved. The post president, Jon Pence, was a boy scout from Piketon and a friend from camp so I quickly fit in with the group. I was probably most excited because the post was co-ed and a few of the girls were cute! Soon after I joined, I was elected the vice-president and we began planning a canoeing trip to Wisconsin.

The post advisor, Jack Harbert, drove Jon and myself up to Wisconsin a few days ahead of the rest of the group so that we could participate in their "voyager" program. Jon and I spent a few days with a "trainer" who taught us how to canoe, camp, portage, cook and follow all the procedures that we would need to know on the post's journey. Our trainer became sick while we were on our voyager training so he was never in a good mood and suffered through the experience... When the rest of the post arrived it was a much more enjoyable experience since the entire group was so friendly and fun. We picked an easy route that followed a river downstream for about 85 miles. Wisconsin was different from most backpacking experiences because we often were near civilization. Once we portaged across a road that was through a small town and we all headed into the arcade and local restaurant! In another location where we were camped, a group of the older explorers and adults walked to a local grocery and brought back lots of goodies for that evenings pop (sodas) and candy.

Philmont...climbing Baldy Mountain

Even before the first light of day, our crew climbed out of our warm sleeping bags to huddle around the noisy camp stoves. No one talked as we mixed hot chocolate and instant oatmeal in our sierra cups and tried to shake the consciousness back into our cold bodies. Somewhat unwilling and almost in a daze, we began the trek which would continue up along the side of the mountain where we had camped. The sky lightened and then exploded into an array of brilliant colors...a canvas that stretched from darkness into shades of blue, purple and golden shades of orange and yellow. We pulled cameras from our packs and tried to capture this wondrous creation of God. As we reached the tree line, the trail slowly became less and less distinguished, changing from a trodden path to picking our way among the rocks that were scattered along the mountainside. The group began to stretch further and further apart. The thinning air made breathing more difficult and I can remember stopping every few feet to take a breath. The view from the top was breath could see in every direction for miles. We marveled at the distance we had traveled as we picked out points where we had been in previous days of backpacking. As the wind became stronger and more brisk, we began to huddle inbetween the larger rocks that rested on the top of Baldy Mountain.

Troop Advancement and Leadership

I had achieved the rank of Life Scout by age 14. But with high school activities and several close friends that were not in scouts, I lost most of my ambition for working on my Eagle Scout award. It wasn't until I began working on the staff at Chief Logan Reservation in 1985 did I make up my mind to finish the award. I can remember Tom Whitton encouraging me in the parking lot while waiting for troops to arrive on a Sunday afternoon. He talked to me about how much the award meant in terms of colleges and looking for jobs. It was then that I decided that I needed to push myself and finish it before I turned 18 in the fall. When I finished camp, I began working on the remaining 2 merit badges and my Eagle project. I had my board of review on my 18th birthday and received my Eagle award in December.

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 This page was last updated Tue, Apr 12, 2011
©1999 Alan W. Cook (contents)
©1999 John Ringloff (design/layout, used with permission)