Former Camper Concludes: ‘Father Made the Right Choice’

BY STEVE DINNEN

As a 12-year-old boy I set my sights on Lake Champlain for summer camp. My father thought a little soldiering sounded good, and so I found myself in Indiana, bivouacking alongside Lake Maxinkuckee at Culver Military Academy.

Camp seemed primitive to this city boy. We had canvas walk-in tents with planked floors, handling four campers each. Our nearby drinking fountain was well water, with a definite taste of iron.

Over three summers I acquired many skills, some of which were lifelong. I fired a rifle, shot an arrow mostly true and straight, sailed small boats, uprighted those boats once capsized, paddled a canoe. I dabbled with boxing.

I learned about flora and fauna. I learned not to mess with snapping turtles. This being a military school, I learned how to march, stand at parade rest, and make a bed with tight, hospital-cornered sheets. I sometimes bugled taps.

I competed for promotion. (I outranked both of my brothers, who also attended Culver.) I met my first Jew. My first Canadian. My first Venezuelan — Culver was popular with South Americans.

I knew loneliness. It was tough being away from friends and family for so long, while so young. But that, too, became a life experience, part of growing up. And decades later I think my father made the right choice.

You May Also Like

Under-30s find charity work refreshing

Above: Young volunteers improve the playgrounds in the Oakridge neighborhood as part of United ...

You Can Still Make 2017 Contributions to Retirement Accounts

BY STEVE DINNENWho says you have to get your income tax ducks in a ...

Choosing an Accountant Who’s Right for You

BY STEVE DINNENThis might help when you interview a new or replacement accountant: Bring ...

Let dsmWeekly deliver news directly to your inbox.