Troop committee member attending 59th consecutive summer camp

Robert Podboy loves Scout summer camp. This month, he’s attending his 59th consecutive one at Sinoquipe Scout Reservation in Pennsylvania.

“I do enjoy camping and still go hiking as long as it’s not too strenuous,” the 88-year-old retired optometrist says.

Podboy, who serves as a committee member for Troop 97 in Waynesboro, Pa., got involved in Scouting soon after he moved to Waynesboro in 1959. As a newcomer to town, he felt getting involved with an organization would be a great way to meet people. A troop was seeking a leader; Podboy wasn’t too sure he’d make a good leader, especially since he was never in Scouts as a boy. He originally thought he’d volunteer for a just few months.

“I got into it,” he says. “I really enjoyed my work and helping the boys.”

Some things never change

Summer camp has changed quite a bit since Podboy first attended at Sinoquipe. Hot showers were a new feature at the camp in 1959; camp roads were primarily dirt; and old Army surplus buildings served as some of the camp buildings.

Now, Scouts at Sinoquipe can go rappelling off the climbing tower, zip line at the C.O.P.E. area and study robotics in the technology center. They can also enjoy archery, canoeing and swimming just as Scouts did five decades ago.

One thing doesn’t change: Summer camp is fun.

Podboy has served as a leader for provisional troops at camp, an assistant Scoutmaster and an international representative for the Mason-Dixon Council. He has relished seeing Scouts learn and mature, and then catching up with them years later. Some of them are grandfathers now.

He plans to continue attending summer camp, guiding young Scouts as they begin their Scouting adventures.

“I view them as going to be good citizens,” Podboy says. “The country is going to be in good hands with them.”

About Michael Freeman 38 Articles
Michael Freeman, an Eagle Scout, is associate editor of Boys’ Life, Scouting and Eagles’ Call magazines.