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Snap-Shot Memories at Camp Baco

Time at Camp Baco creates memories that last a lifetime.

A look back on 30 years at Camp Baco by Danny Silver- Head of Basketball, and Baco Administrator


As summer 2017 draws closer, it has dawned on me that this is the 30-year anniversary of when I started as a Baco camper back in 1987.  While each summer has been filled with countless memories and images (most of which blend together as I get older), here are a few snap-shot moments and take-home facts from each year that readily pop into my head.  For whatever reason–sane or not–this list is what my brain FIRST comes up with when thinking back over the last 30 years:

1987:  Winning the ping-pong push relay in the Braves swim meet and capturing my only Indian Olympics title in 11 tries.

1988:  The “scariest” break in all my years that I still sort of believe even to this day.

1989:  I witnessed the most riveting divisional tennis match in Baco history between Tank and Grossberg.  Even though Tank pulled off the upset 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to claim the senior division title, the famous “YEAH JAY!” phrase was born. Oh yeah, and how can I leave out “Yo Blackfeet team, adoosh adoosh!”

1990:  Baco/Chenawah Bazaar T-Shirts and Ski Nautiques make their debut, I get nightly tall tales from bunkmate Ed Harley, and Army/Navy Day randomly broke at night that summer.

1991:  Most hilarious group of waiters ever, JD in 3, and a 16s Softball Championship in the home tournament’s last year of existence….”Was Max’s foot really on the bag?”

1992:  I can’t think of 1992 without thinking about the Big Show “Grease”, the original “under the lights” game, dining room going from family style to buffet, impressive Baco 3 numbers, and a historically great waiter plaque.

1993:  Sweeping the sing as a member of Oneida using a legendary trilogy of songs (Alma Mater was “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey, Fight was “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5, and Cheer was “Girls” by Beastie Boys).  The Bulls “3-peat” line in the cheer was a classic.

1994: The “Devil Sticks Summer” and also “my brother’s year”. But much more importantly, Ice banks in a 30 footer and we won 13s in overtime in the other camps arena.  We do the classic championship dining room run during Friday night dinner…a memory my friends and I still talk about regularly and story I share with any Baco boy willing to listen (definitely top 3 moment in my 30 years).

1995: First ever Live Auction at the Bazaar.  But personally more important was winning 14s basketball on our home court in front of the whole camp…and the not-so-artsy plaque in Bunk 20 is still there to commemorate it.  Probably my favorite camper summer.

1996:  Phish and Dave Matthews are reaching the peek of their powers.  Shaq and Kobe become Lakers.  But Baco is victimized by a phantom flagrant foul call at “ACC” that none of us on the team have recovered from.

1997:  My waiter summer and all that goes with it is the easy answer here.  But how about Mel sticking the first shot on his first attempt on the newly installed glass backboards on the Big Court!

1998: Mickey comes up the hill from the waterfront to be Head Counselor. And thanks to SammyO, Baco enters the title years.  “I mean the guy put up 30 in a 14s tournament at age 13…I mean WHO DOES THAT?!” ~JR

1999:  While wearing the collector’s item Vista jerseys, Baco is 16s Hoops Champs for the first time since the 1985 Triple Crown. Hewlett cleans up awards night.

2000:  As a counselor in Bunk 11, this marks one of the very few times where my bunk plaque was actually good.  Check it out when you have a chance.  It’s the one with the Polaroids and mouthwash stickers on it…it’s still in terrific shape.

2001:  The Yahtzee craze takes over camp. Countless great inspection/judges songs (“The dustpan, the garbage, and the golden broom” to “Cats in the Cradle”). And this was the summer of the classic Survivor sponger game. That win is the greatest stat of your life, Adam Pollack.

2002:  A legendary waiter bunk, a legendary 16s hoops victory, and a legendary performance by “Double Who” is all can come up with here.  The years are really starting to blend.

2003:  I should have hit the upper field shot, but a camper intercepted it.  This was also my brother’s last year living in a bunk and Steve “Bruno” Brunstein’s first year back after a 15 year hiatus.  I know I’m including too much hoops, but this 16s team may have been the best one ever.  Email me for details.

2004:  The handheld game “20 Q” takes camp by storm and Yuke hits the upper field shot thus getting it named after him.  But most importantly, this was my last year living in a bunk and unquestionably my best summer ever.  There was literally magic in the air that summer:  “We’re Old School.  We’re Boushy. We’re Heschka!”

2005:  This was year 1 of my 2 year sabbatical, but a huge summer in Baco history. Yahney, Scheman, and “The New Bunk” (current Bunk 22) all make their debut.

2006:  Year 2 of 2 of my sabbatical.  I wasn’t there, but I know all the waiters seem to have long arms and wear tie-dye Bazaar shirts. Sorry, this is what sticks out in my mind.

2007:  A photo-finish in the Bucket Brigade, welcome Shlomit, the inaugural Mountain Jam, the first year of head-to-toe waiter gear….and who can forget Donkey Basketball.  Did that really happen by the way?

2008:  2 Waiter Bunks, lots of “hair summers”, and goodbye to The Dome.  Smiley, Max, Pete Karp and the Baco Band gets in full swing and the music program never looks back.

2009:  The Super Dome has its Grand Opening with “Man in the Mirror” during the Baco/CNW 4th of July show.  Oh Nine….So Fine.

2010:  One word:  “TWELVES!”

2011:  Rick Weiss returns with his family after 19 years off and proceeds to “throw Mel Wortman in the air sometimes.”  I ate a lot of beets.  Bob got really into the evening activity 13’s soccer finals, and the Big Show “13” blew our minds.

2012:  Lowest Baco 3 total ever.  The cast of “Legally Blonde” give us one of the greatest Big Show performances the social hall stage has ever seen.  And then we get perhaps an even better treat as the Main Squeeze plays the Super Dome in such an amazing camp moment that it didn’t even seem real (another top 3 moment in my 30 years).

2013:  Even in his swan song, Melvin J delivers a sermon at every Saturday service, gives out personal inspection prizes, tells us the stories of Indian Olympics and Lord Balfour, and Good Shabbos’s us every Friday night.

2014:  The Baco community is blessed to have Jayson Grossberg back in camp cooking us meals better suited for a 5-star restaurant than a camp dining room.  He threatens to “take his talents to Lake Eerie” with Lebron for the Army/Navy day break, but decides to stay with us instead.  “YEAH JAY!”

2015: There was an magical Baco Pride moment on the lower field for the 13’s soccer championship.  Also, Mickey flexes to music and Bruno sings his 1984 Alma Mater during an 11am staff-only talent show that was so bizarre that I’m not so sure it actually happened.

2016: “Bear to Man…Yes, Yes, We Can!”  13’s Soccer goes back-to-back.  12’s hockey wins in front of the home crowd.  I dressed up as a chicken for the Senior Show, A hypnotist had Bruno convinced he was the devil.  And a ventriloquist stepped in for Ron Dagan.  And of course, Litty was part of all of it.


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