Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Editor: Allen McConnell


19th Annual Fort Scott St. Pat's Party another success

On Saturday, March 11, 2017 the Former Staff of Fort Scott Camps held its 19th Annual Fort Scott Alumni St. Patrick's Day Gathering at Christ the King Parish Center, 3223 Linwood Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226. This is the same location as the past several years, which is located in the Mt. Lookout neighborhood of Cincinnati. The event took place from 6-10 p.m., with being coordinated by Biz McClure, who maintains the Fort Scott alumni database (thus if you need to add or update your information, please contact Biz).

A number of photos from the event were posted by various members of the Fort Scott family on the Fort Scott Camp Facebook page.

The St. Patrick's Day Gathering allows Former Fort Scott Staff Members, Families, and Friends from across many generations to gather, catch up with each other, and relive fond Fort Scott memories. There is always a wide-range of Fort Scott generations in attendance, and what better way is there to re-live fond Fort Scott memories than to celebrate with a holiday sporting the central themes of "green" and "beer"?

Each year, approximately 100 Fort Scotters attend, with many staffers of the Girls' Camp singing old camp songs next to the piano while others look at old photos and memorabilia from the camps' glory days (see photo, above). Those in attendance enjoy a buffet and a selection of drinks (e.g., wine, beer, soft drinks). As always, thanks to Biz McClure (mcclurea@uc.edu) and her family for coordinating the event (thanks Biz and her family, including her husband Jim, for your remarkable work year after year!). We look forward to seeing everyone next March in Mt. Lookout!

Updated 22 March 2017


Approximately 150 attend Fort Scott Historical Marker Dedication

Nearly 150 Fort Scotters attended the dedication of the Fort Scott Historical Marker on Sunday, October 23, 2016. Under deep blue skies and warm late-summer breezes, these attendees took part in a service the installed the marker (see right) along Blue Rock Road, north of River Road and just south of Fort Scott Blvd (along the east side of Blue Rock Road). Father Pat Fairbanks, SJ, presided over the ceremonies that included the dedication of the marker (click here for his dedication text, which provides a nice history of camp) and a Mass of Thanksiving. There were also opportunities for Fort Scotters from across several decades to enjoy each others' fellowship over dinner and drinks.

Thanks to the generosity of the Fort Scott Camp community and the excellent planning of a Fort Scott Alumni Committee, the Historical Marker recognizing Fort Scott Camps was erected near the site of the former Wagner Lodge. This effort was the result of hard work from several Fort Scott alumni (i.e., Tom Beiting, Ted Leonard, Stevie Leonard, Mark and JoAnn Maxwell, Biz McClure, Mary Anne Ryan, and Anne Schrimpf) who participated in a special alumni committee chaired by Sister Mary Morley (smmorley@cinci.rr.com). The committee obtained permission from the current land owners to erect a permanent marker to recognize Fort Scott as "America's Vacationland for Youth." Letters were sent out to alumni with known addresses at the beginning of June 2016 to solicit donations (view a copy of that letter). Although the funding was sufficient to pay for the marker, people interested in making additional contributions should read the letter and consider sending checks to the Fort Scott Alumni Fund c/o Sister Mary (see letter for details, including the text for the marker).

It was truly amazing to see Fort Scotters spanning several decades attend the dedication. This very large turnout, coupled with the broader support of the Fort Scott Community (and the tireless efforts of the Alumni Committee) reveal something known to all Fort Scotters -- that despite the camp being closed for three decades, there is a bond that transcends generations of Fort Scotters. Once again, special thanks to the Fort Scott Alumni Committee for making this marker a reality, and thanks to everyone whose generous contributions made it possible!

Updated 22 March 2017


May Babies 2016 well attended

May Babies 2013 a success despite some raindrops

As per tradition, Stevie and Ted Leonard (and family) hosted friends and Fort Scotters at their annual May Babies celebration, held on May 18th, 2013. 

Many Fort Scotters from across the generations had a chance to catch up, drink, sing, play cornhole, and sit around a campfire until the wee hours of the morning. This year, two live bands played, and as always, the revelry continued until the wee hours next to the large campfire, which itself is perched over a bend in the Great Miami River just feet away from many riverside WPs took place. 

If you missed this year's May Babies, plan to attend next year's rendition, which is always scheduled for the Saturday *before* the Memorial Day weekend (i.e., May 17, 2014 -- it's an especially early May Babies in 2014). All members and generations of the Fort Scott family are invited to attend.



Updated 21 May 2013 

As per tradition, Stevie and Ted Leonard (and family) will once again held their annual May Babies celebration on Saturday, May 21st, 2016 along the banks of the Great Miami River. Nearly 200 people attended, including many, many Fort Scotters

Many Fort Scotters from across the generations always have an opportunity to catch up, drink, sing, play cornhole, and sit around a campfire until the wee hours of the morning. Typically, May Babies features live music (the band "She's With Me!" was excellent this year), with the revelry continuing next to a large campfire, which itself is perched over a bend in the Great Miami River just feet away from many riverside WPs took place.

May Babies is held every year on the Saturday *before* the Memorial Day weekend (i.e., in any year, find Memorial Day weekend, and go to the weekend immediate preceeding it -- it's always that Saturday!). All members and generations of the Fort Scott family are invited to attend.

Updated 5 June 2016


Ruth Marie (Vonder Haar) Beiting passes

The Fort Scott Family is saddened to learn that Ruth Marie Vonder Haar Beiting, mother of Tommy, Mary Ann, Laura, and Michael Beiting, passed away on January 21, 2015. The Beiting family has been one of the cornerstone families of Fort Scott, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the Beiting family. Ruth graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Celina and the College of Mount St. Joseph, where she was a journalism student and editor-in-chief of the Seton Journal (following her graduation, she wrote for The Catholic Telegraph). Afterwards, she served as a homemaker, and many of her children were very active in Fort Scott, ranging from campers to counselors to camp administators.

The visitation will be held on Friday, January 30, 2015, from 10-11 am, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at All Saints Church (8939 Montgomery Road, 45236). For more details, see her obituary.

Updated 25 January 2015


Old Fort Scott Brochures from 1930s available

During the Fort Scott Alumni Association's St. Patrick's Day party, one of the special treats was seeing some very old, original documents found by Sister Mary Morley related to camp. In particular, there were two brochures advertising Fort Scott from the 1930s, one for the Camping Season 1931 and the other for the Camping Season 1932. We now have electronic copies of these documents, scanned in high resolution, available on the Fort Scott website as PDFs. Thanks Sister Mary!

Also added is an old post card (from 1966) sent to camper Jeff Davis from his dad in France asking about how cold the pool is.

Updated 14 December 2013


Passing of Sister Mary Morley's sister, Judith Ann Barrett

It is with a sad heart that I share this news. Sister Mary Morley lost her sister, Judith Ann Morley Barrett, on August 10th, 2001. A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated on August 13, 2011, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Indianapolis. Although I typically don't post notes like these on the camp website (and unfortunately, I was out of town for the past several days and unable to access the website), I wanted to pass this news along because Sister Mary has played such a key role in so many Fort Scotters lives over the years, especially coordinating its alumni functions following the closing of camp. I would strongly encourage people to send a note of support to Sister Mary: Sr. Mary Morley, 3319 Ameliamont Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45209 (she can also be reached by email, smm@current.net). The thoughts and prayers of all Fort Scotters go out to Sister Mary during this difficult time.

Updated 15 August 2011


New Videos Posted on YouTube

There are now a number of videos that have been posted to YouTube (user iamrugby), with many of these based on video provided by Sister Mary Morley. First, there is a compilation of TV news stories (from Cincinnati's local TV stations) that covered the announcement of camp's closing back in 1989. In addition, there is footage from the Fort Scott Hayride in 2003 (broken down into two parts, Part 1 and Part 2), which represents some of the best video footage of the camp while all of its building were still intact.

Also, Sister May provided 8mm film footage shot at Fort Scott during the 1970s (and in the years 1974 and 1978 in particular). There are 14 videos in all, each in approximately 10 min segments with some details about their contents provided. The music was applied to the videos when the videotape of the 8mm movies was made in the 1980s (so don't ask me why these songs are on there... they are definitely "period pieces"). Also, the quality is pretty variable because we're dealing with so many generations of transfer (8mm -> VCR -> computer -> YouTube), and the footage (as all 8mm video tends to be) is pretty gittery (which is especially problematic for computer digitization). Still, the price is right (i.e., free). Thanks to Sister Mary for making the videotapes possible.

Finally, another group of videos chronicles "A Day in the Life at Fort Scott Camps 1986" as seen through the somewhat languid eyes of the Swimming Department. John "Jack" Stenger and Eric "Capt. Fun" Frayer oversaw the video project, and the video is broken down into 17 segments on YouTube. You can view each of them, reliving moments in the messhall, visiting with Doc in the infirmary, hanging out in the main office, and even attending a liturgical celebration. Unlike the 8mm video of the 1970s, this video has audio of those people involved. Please note that the quality is variable -- it's 20+ year-old videotape of circa-1986 camcorder technology. Enjoy this special trip down memory lane!

Updated 13 May 2009


New Camp Website Address: www.fortscottcamps.com

In January of 2009, we rolled out a new website address and website, www.fortscottcamps.com. The former website, hosted at Miami University, will no longer be updated from this point forward (and a link from the website will push people to this new URL). In addition to providing an easier-to-remember URL and an independent website host, we plan to provide new tools and capabilities for Fort Scotters, including the ability of post photos to the website, participate in forums and blogs, and perhaps even provide e-mail. Please send questions or suggestions to my new website-specific e-mail address (allen@fortscottcamps.com). Special thanks go to Fort Scott alum Craig "Stretch" Simmons (craig.a.simmons@gmail.com), who provided the idea, domain, and legwork to make this move possible. As we move forward, please excuse any bumps in the road as we try out new ideas and capabilities. Thanks!

Updated 31 January 2009


"Closing Flicks" gathering well attended

On September 13, 2008, approximately 80 Fort Scotters gathered for a traditional "Closing Flicks" event at Les Flick's Homelike Inn in New Baltimore, OH. People from many different eras of Fort Scott attended, filling up practically every chair in Flick's Homelike Inn.

Fort Scotters reveled well into the wee hours at Flick's and elsewhere following the party. Flick's of course is the long-time home of Fort Scotters across many generations, who spent many a datenight (and ate many a cheeseball) while enjoying cold beverages on hot summer days and nights. Since this meeting, unfortunately, Flicks closed and was recently sold.

Updated 7 February 2011


New Electronic Forums for Fort Scotters

Recently, two new ways to stay in touch with the Fort Scott family have debuted. First, all Fort Scotters with a Facebook account (free at facebook.com) can join the group "Fort Scott Camps" to share comments, post their own pictures and memories, and find other Fort Scotters. It will probably take some time before the community on Face Book hits a critical mass of members, but I believe it can serve as an excellent outlet for Fort Scotters. Moreover, Facebook is super easy to use (e.g., posting videos, photos, etc. is "no duh") -- so I encourage people to use it (I recently started using Facebook, and I'm hooked).

Also, Bob Sauber has set up a Fort Scott blog for a discussion of camp-related memories and issues. There are already some interesting discussions on his blog... thanks Bob!

Updated 25 July 2007


Former Directress Nancy Danahy dies

Sister Mary Morley reports that Nancy Danahy passed away on May 6th, 2008. Her father, John C. Danahy, M.D. was Consultant and Chief of Examining Staff at Fort Scott in 1939 and early 40s. Nancy was a former camper, counselor, and Girls' Directress from 1956-1960. She also served on the Advisory Board during the 70s. Nancy touched many lives with her charm, wit, and sparkling personality, and never missed a gathering until this year...a true Fort Scotter. Visitation was held on May 10 at the Bellarmine Chapel at Xavier University, from 9 AM until Mass of Christian Burial at 11 AM. An obituary is available on-line.

Updated 12 May 2008


Former Fort Scott secretary, Lisa Taylor, dies

Patti Miller (Pattimiller2@excite.com) reported that former camp secretary, Lisa Taylor, who lived in Dayton OH, died June, 22, 2007, following a difficult struggle with cancer. She was 47. Her obituary is available on-line. Our sympathies go out to Lisa's family and those who were touched by her involvement with Fort Scott.

Updated 25 July 2007


Former Camp Director Bernie Sinchek dead

Bernie Sinchek, who served as Fort Scott Boys Camp Director from 1954-57 then again from 1974-76, died after battling serious diabetic complications on April 5, 2007. Bernie was the husband of the late Kathleen "Pinky" Sinchek and is survived by 6 children, 17 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren. Born in Niantic, CT, in 1927, Bernie gradated from Arnold College (Milford, CT), served in World War II (US Marine Corps), and coached a number of sports at Purcell High School and in the Cincinnati Public Schools as well.

A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Tuesday (April 10, 2007) at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church, 177 Siebenthaler Ave., in Reading (Cincinnati, OH), with a reception to follow in the community room. Visitation will take place on Monday (April 9, 2007) from 6-9 p.m. at Schmidt-Dhonau-Galloway Funeral Home, 8633 Reading Road, Reading (Cincinnati, OH). Memorials may be made to the Mt. St. John School, 135 Kirtland St., Deep River, CT 06417-0641. A complete obituary is available from The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Updated 7 April 2007


Fort Scott Demolition Completed

In December 2005, the demolition of Fort Scott Camps took place. Most (but not all) of the buildings were demolished and burned in the first half of the month. The remainder (with the exception of Wagner Lodge) were destroyed early in 2006. During 2006 and 2007 (see photo at left), the entire property was "reshaped" for a new housing development. You can see post-demolition photos -- sadly, there wasn't much left when those photos were taken. Also, there are more recent photos taken from February 2007 revealing how the camp looks now (the only three buildings left standing are the Gatehouse, the Barn, and Wagner Lodge).

At present, the Fort Scott Camps property in being developed to establish over 900 residences and light commercial ventures that will be developed on the former camp site (for more details, see the story that appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier). Altogether, over 400 acres (including camp and nearby properties, including the junk yard) are being combined for a $200 million development just outside of New Baltimore, in Crosby Township Ohio.

The property was recently deeded to Douglas Homes, which is developing the property. They reportedly purchased the site for $6 million. Douglas Homes purchased the property from Ed Nusekabel (a Cincinnati restaurateur), who purchased the land from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1995 for $525,000. The camp never re-opened following its final season in 1988.

The new development will benefit from the recent extension of Blue Rock Road (with its new bridge that crosses the Great Miami River a bit upstream from the grated deck bridge that used to serve as the means to cross the river). There are plans to build a sewage and water treatment plant on the river side of River Road -- one might question the intelligence of building a sewage treatment plant in a place so prone to flooding.

In early December, the Girls Lodge (see photo at left, courtesy of local journalist Joe Wessels's blog), was burned as part of a "training exercise" for local fire departments. The building burned quickly, in approximately 15 minutes. The building was the site of many camp events, including senior dances and the arts and crafts department. Its stone porch was viewed by many as the prettiest spot in camp, with its commanding view of the lush green valley around camp and of the Great Miami River below.

There were rumors of a final camp auction to take place, however, this appears to have been a diversion to allow the new owners to quickly dispose of the remaining camping buildings.



Updated 8 February 2007


Camp to be razed for new housing development in 2005

Sometime during 2005, the Fort Scott Camp site (along with adjacent property) will be razed in order to transform the camp property into a large block of homes and condos (perhaps as many as 900) on very small lots. The development will be overseen by Douglas Homes. The plan was controversial because the required rezoning went through without any community input. After collecting a large number of signatures to place a township rezoning issue (required before the project could go forward) on the November 2002 ballot, the Hamilton County Board of Elections threw out the petitions (which were signed by a large percentage of residents of Crosby Township) because of a minor technicality in their collection -- thus, denying residents of New Baltimore and the surrounding area any say in the large development that will sizably change the area. In addition to the new homes, there will be new business to support the housing development as well. Also, there is discussion of building a water treatment facility next to the Great Miami River on a site that some contend may be contaminated with chemical waste. The treatment facility would be needed to support sewage for the new houses. Although most of the camp property will be destroyed, some building may be maintained in order to retain some linkage to the Fort Scott property and its history in the New Baltimore area. Also, a road would be constructed through camp property, linking Blue Rock Road (which now has a new bridge in New Baltimore across the Great Miami River) through to Ohio route 128. You can view the development plans either at low resolution (143K jpeg file) or at high resolution (512K jpeg file, only recommended for high speed connections). Please note that the outlines and notes are provided as guides -- they are not precise. There are many photos available that lets you see how the camp looks today.


Updated 1 January 2005


Tragic accident claims Beth (Ernst) Lipka

On Sunday, May 25, 2003, Beth (Ernst) Lipka died from complications resulting from a rollerblading accident. Beth was an avid Fort Scotter and helped anchor the swimming department throughout most of the 1980s at camp. She was 37 at the time of her passing.

Beth grew up in Sidney, Ohio, receiving her bachelor's degree from Ohio University in 1987 and her J.D. from Catholic University in Washington DC in 1991. She was a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association. In recent years, she spent most of her time as a full-time mom. Beth is survived by her husband of 10 years, Michael J. Lipka; her children, Michael, Hannah and Jack Lipka; brothers and sisters-in-law, John and Jane Ernst of Cincinnati, Paul and Lora Ernst of Tipp City, and Daniel and Cindy Ernst of Sidney; father and mother-in-law, Michael and Marie Lipka of Cleveland; sisters-in-law and brother-in-law, Mary Beth Lipka and life partner Carrie Davidson of Cleveland, Julie Lipka and husband Mark Harms of Bay Village, Ohio, and Ken Lipka and wife Amy of Lakewood, Ohio; 13 nieces and nephews; and a host of other relatives and friends. Betty was buried on May 29 at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 11000 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Friends of Betty (click on photo for larger image) congregated at Fort Scott in her memory. Included in the photo...
Back: George Stenger, Mark Maxwell, JoAnn (Wolf) Maxwell, John Stenger, Richard Stenger, Eric Frayer, Mary Ann Beiting, John Farmer
M
iddle: Karen Cullian, Suzy (Dunn) Ziegenfuss, Jeanne (Roberts) Fairbanks, Biz McClure, Sandy Ratterman
F
ront:  Jerry Moore, Fr. Jamie Weber, John Lynch, Fr. Pat Fairbanks, Sue Leonard & child, and Anne Steinert.

Thanks to Pat Fairbanks for the photo.

Updated 19 June 2006


Dr. Joseph Link, Jr., dead at 89

Dr. Joseph Link, Jr., 89, died January 1, 2003, sister Mary Morley reports. He was the former administrator at Fort Scott and a professor of economics at Xavier University for many years. His funeral was held on Wednesday, January 8, 2003, at 10:30 a.m. at Bellarmine Chapel, on the campus of Xavier University, followed by a reception at Xavier's Cintas Center.

Updated 15 February 2003


Doc Schroder dead at 90


C. Richard "Doc" Schroder, who served as Fort Scott's Medical Director for 38 years, died peacefully on Saturday, May 5, 2001, at approximately 4:30 p.m. He was 90 years old. Doc is survived by two living siblings (Louis E. Schroder, Sue Grubber) and by 17 nieces and nephews.

For the past few months, Doc had been battling recent health setbacks while in residence at St. Margaret Hall. He died of congestive heart failure. Although Doc suffered from physical setbacks during this period, he remained mentally alert during his decline.

Doc was arguably the most popular and influential member of the Fort Scott family. This was evidenced in 1999, when several hundred Fort Scotters attended a party at Coney Island to celebrate his 89th birthday (the photo at the right was taken at his birthday party). Not only did Doc contribute greatly to the camp as its medical director (a position he held continuously since 1950), but he was a huge supporter of the camp and its mission since his first year at Fort Scott in 1927 as a camper. Thousands of campers and staff members will always remember Doc and trips to see him at the infirmary for medical concerns ranging from poison ivy to homesickness. Although his primary duties were to treat rashes and to set broken bones, his skill and compassion were often best revealed in healing the broken hearts of young children sleeping away from home for the first time.

Doc's life was celebrated on Wednesday, May 9, at a Mass of Christian Burial held at the Church of the Nativity of Our Lord in Pleasant Ridge. Hundreds of family members, friends, and Fort Scotters attended. Rev. Pat Fairbanks, SJ, presided and gave an inspiring homily about Doc and his life. It was filled with fond memories, warm feelings, and charming wit (with many subtle Fort Scott references sprinkled in it). Pat, a former camper and counselor, had many wonderful insights on Doc's life and why his is truly inspirational.

Following the service, a "final cookout" in honor of Doc was held at Xavier University's Cintas Center. In planning his final arrangements, Doc wanted to throw one more cookout with burgers, brats, and beer. Many people spoke about Doc and his contributions to their lives. One of the special moments was when Joe Mulligan read Jack Stenger's reflections on Doc's life. Jack had many wonderful experiences with Doc while a camper, counselor, and friend.

You can also learn more about Doc's contributions to camp by reading the camp history that appeared in the Catholic Telegraph in May 1987, and you can read its detailed sidebar on Doc and his contributions to camp. You can also read Doc's obituary that appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Doc grew up in Pleasant Ridge (a Cincinnati suburb), and he graduated from Xavier University in 1932 and from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1936. He set up his first practice in Avondale in 1938. Later, he served in World War II in General Patton's 4th Armored Division (1942-1946), was the medical director at Xavier University's Student Health Clinical (he served on its staff for 37 years), and was on the staff of Longview State Hospital (16 years) as well as several other tri-state hospitals. For much of his life, Doc maintained a medical practice in Oneida, KY. In addition to being a paragon of the Fort Scott community, he also was involved with the Knights of Columbus and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Rest in peace, Doc.

Updated 5 June 2001


Webmaster

Allen McConnell
Camp Webmaster

E-mail: allen@fortscottcamps.com
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Updated on Wednesday 22 March 2017
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