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Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, Inc.

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  • May 14, 2014 4:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Read the Spring/Summer 2014 edition of the Reflections Newsletter online.



  • May 11, 2014 7:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Register today!

    When: Friday, August 22 – Sunday, August 24, 2014

    Why: To reconnect with friends and make new friends, pass the paddle to the next generation of alumni – and have fun!


    By Karl Huemiller 

    August 22 - 24 alumni from all over the country will be coming together on Moose Lake for the 2014 Reunion Rendezvous where we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Northern Tier program and 20 years of support by the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association. We will celebrate with activities on base and in Ely, a picnic in Whiteside Park, and a banquet at the Grand Ely Lodge. Our biennial banquet will feature event speaker Kevin Callan “The Happy Camper.” Youth attendees will have the opportunity to tour and sleepover at the world-renowned International Wolf Center.

    I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting their families. Many of us have made big changes in our lives over the past few years, getting new jobs, having kids, or retiring. I am eager to hear about everyone’s great life adventures, plans for the future, and sharing some of my own stories.

    With all the exciting events planned for the coming reunion, we need some help to make the event the best that it can be. Volunteers are particularly needed to help out with a picnic in Whiteside Park and finding items for the banquet's auction. We will also need help with registration check-in and setting up at the banquet. If you would like to help make the reunion a great event, contact Karl Huemiller.

    What your reunion registration includes:
    • SAA/Northern Tier Anniversary Reunion T-Shirt* (Only available to those who attend the reunion!)
    • Banquet at the Grand Ely Lodge*
    • Meals though Friday dinner to Sunday breakfast
    • Lodging at Northern Tier on Friday and Saturday night
    • Saturday picnic at Whiteside Park and two museum or tour activities in Ely
    * T-Shirt and banquet attendance are subject to availability. Late registrations may be affected. 
    In an effort to keep the reunion affordable there is a low all-inclusive price. In addition, to encourage recent alumni to join us, more "experienced" alumni have the opportunity sponsor a "fellowship" so younger alumni can afford to attend. Young alumni can learn more about applying for a fellowship on the registration site.

    I hope to see you and your family in Ely at the reunion. It will be an event you will not want to miss.

    Visit to register.
  • January 18, 2014 6:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are You Philmont’s 1 Millionth Camper?

    The Philmont Staff Association’s Annual Trek is wildly popular (114 Trekkers participated in 2013) and in 2014, the PSA is inviting all members of the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association and the Sea Base Alumni and Friends Association to join them in this enduring PSA tradition (28 years). This invitation is extended as part of the Exchange Program between the PSA, SAA and SBAFA which provides an opportunity for the members of the Associations to experience the High Adventure programs offered at the BSA’s premier High Adventures bases.

    Philmont is projecting that the 1 millionth camper will arrive July 12, 2014. This projection is based upon assumptions, so when you arrive at Philmont July 14, 2014 for the Trek, you will have as good a claim as anyone to being the 1 millionth camper.

    The 2014 Trek is July 14 to July 21 and the cost is $475. To be compliant with Philmont’s “9,000 foot rule”, you must spend the night of July 13 in the Philmont area. (Philmont will provide free tent accommodations.) Your more detailed schedule is as follows:

    1. Report to the Philmont Welcome Center at 8 a.m. on Monday, July 14. You will spend most of the day doing medical re-checks, checking out food and gear, trip planning, group photos, etc.
    2. Hit the trail on Tuesday, July 16 following customized itineraries available only to participants in the PSA Trek.
    3. Spend 6 days and 5 nights on the trail having glorious fun.
    4. Come off the trail Sunday, July 20, attend Philmont’s closing campfire and receive the Philmont Arrowhead Award.
    5. Depart Philmont on Monday, July 21.

    Trek eligibility requirements are as follows:

    1. Be a member of the PSA, SAA, SBAFA or Trek-eligible family member,
    2. Be a member of the BSA,
    3. Presented a completed appropriate medical form,
    4. Be 14 years old (by date of arrival) OR completed 8th grade and be at least 13 years of age by date of participation,
    5. Be in good physical condition.

    You are encouraged to bring your Trek-eligible family members. Trek-eligible family members are your spouse, child or step child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law of the PSA, SAA or SBAFA member. All Trek-eligible family members must meet the requirements above.

    Soon after you register, you will be contacted by the PSA Trek coordinators who will guide you through the process of finding a crew, planning itineraries, answer any questions you have, and help you find rides to and from the Denver and Albuquerque airports. By the time you arrive at Philmont, you will already be part of a crew and have experienced the fun of pre-Trek planning with your crew mates. You will not be left to flounder on your own.

    On-line registration at You can also register by sending $475 per person to Randy Saunders, PSA, 17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, New Mexico 87714. If registering by mail, please include a piece of paper with your name, whether you are SAA or SBAFA, the names of Trek-eligible family members, mailing address, e-mail address (of each participant) and phone number.

    The cancellation policy is as follows:

    1. Cancellation prior to the registration deadline of June 1, 2014 will receive a full refund.
    2. Cancellation after the registration deadline will not receive a refund. Monies paid can be used for another PSA, SAA or SBAFA event prior to the end of 2014 or can be contributed to the general fund of the cancelling participant’s association.
    3. In exceptional cases, the Executive Director AND Vice President of Service of the PSA can authorize full refunds for cancellation after the registration deadline.

  • January 18, 2014 6:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Read the Winter 2013/2014 edition of the Reflections Newsletter online.



  • January 18, 2014 5:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Last summer, Northern Tier had a great time hosting members of the SAA as Volunteer Interpreters. 

    We would like to welcome any former Interpreters who are current members of the SAA to apply for this opportunity again. Dates are flexible, but our need is greatest in the month of July. 

    Those interested should fill out Seasonal Employment Application and have 3 people submit reference forms on their behalf. On the application, please put “Volunteer Interpreter” as your first choice and indicate the dates that you could be available. Please submit the application and reference forms via fax (218.365.3112) or by mail (PO Box 509, Ely, MN 55731) to Davey Warner. 

    Those that are accepted will have to meet some minimum requirements. This includes a BSA Health and Medical Record completed by a physician and current certification in BSA Youth Protection, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim Defense, Weather Hazards, CPR, and Wilderness First Aid.

    If you have any questions, please contact Davey Warner. Note: This opportunity has since ended.
  • January 18, 2014 5:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Canoecopia is less than 2 months away! This annual event is held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Wisconsin March 7-9, and bills itself as “the world’s largest paddle sports exhibition.”

    This year the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association has committed to staffing the Northern Tier midway booth for the duration of the program. Volunteers are needed for Friday afternoon and evening, Saturday and Sunday.

    This is a great opportunity to hear national quality speakers on a host of topics including great trips, gear and techniques, while meeting up with fellow alumni and friends. We’ll have displays and information for potential future participants, and will provide you with talking points for Scout leaders and youth.

    Ready to volunteer? Register here for a 2-hour time block to help out. Use the booth as your own headquarters for the event. (Note, volunteers are responsible for their own event admission and parking.)

    Questions? Contact Dick Shank ( .Hope to see you there!
  • September 30, 2013 11:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Who: Members of the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association (SAA)

    When: Starting Saturday, October 12, and continuing through Friday, October 18.

    Project: To remove and replace old insulation in cabins, and to install ridge and turtle vents in cabins and staff living quarters.

    Purpose: Proper ventilation and insulation will help keep the buildings cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter, and avoid moisture and mold problems.

    Skills Needed: Carpentry, roofing, general labor and a desire to enjoy the best time of the year at Northern Tier!

    Volunteers Needed: Whether you can spend part of a day or the entire week, any extra set of hands will help for any part of the work week. Like any volunteer-led and directed project, the more volunteers the better.

    Protective Clothing/Gear: Volunteers should bring/wear long-sleeved shirts, work pants, work gloves and hats to reduce exposure to fiberglass fibers. Although the Base will provide safety glasses and dust masks, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own safety glasses, masks and/or respirators.

    Overview: This past June, the ventilation and insulation of every structure at the Base was assessed by a volunteer, Chuck Barson, a professional from Colorado in the insulation business. Chuck spent over two weeks assessing each structure. It came as no surprise that he identified many issues with either ventilation, insulation or both. This project is focused upon the cabins and staff living units, also known as SLUs. Old, damaged insulation will be replaced with new insulation, while ridge and turtle vents will be installed in the cabins and SLUs. We know the fall is a busy time of year and that this is short notice, so whether you can join for part of a day or more, your help is greatly appreciated. 

    In order to properly plan for food and lodging, you must contact Jon Gehrke, the Ranger, to RSVP. 
  • May 20, 2013 12:15 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    WANTED:  One or more persons willing to serve as Editor of Reflections.  The Board of Directors is still searching for one or more candidates qualified to serve as Editor.  Click her to learn more.


    That’s right.  We’re still looking for one or more persons who can serve as Editor or Co-Editors for Reflections.  There are no defined criteria, but clearly writing skills are paramount.  Knowledge of how publishing works helps, but isn’t necessary.  Being able to work with the Board of Directors and to solicit articles and photos from the Board and the general membership is important.  Think of it like trying to herd a group of Charlie Guides.   Herding cats would be akin to this. 


  • May 20, 2013 12:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Do you have some expertise or knowledge that you’d be willing to share and teach a new generation of Charlie Guides?  Whether you are an expert in fire-building, voyageur history or something as seemingly simple as paddling technique, June 9th is your opportunity to share your experience during the seminar day at the seasonal staff training.  Click here to learn more how you can participate!


    For 90 years, the difference between the Northern Tier and others that outfit or take Scouts into the BWCAW and Quetico Provincial Park is one person; the interpreter. But, no two interpreters are the same.  One may be an expert fisherman, while another may be an expert in Ojibwe culture.  Another may meet her crew in a voyageur’s outfit and regale her crew with fur trade songs, while another may tell his crew about the folklore and science of the northern lights.


    The annual seminar day during seasonal staff training is a chance for interpreters to pick and choose, ath their option, topics they’d like to learn more about.  SAA members provide the knowledge and expertise to present a variety of topics relative to dealing with youth and adult leaders in Canoe Country.  Whether you are an expert in photography, team-building, baking, portaging, flora and fauna, or meteorology, you are invited to come up and be a part of the seminar day.  Most sessions range from 50 minutes to 2 hours.  Some are hands’ on while other presentations may be in class-room setting.  If you are a presenter, it is up to you to decide. 


    We’d like you to join fellow SAA members and share your knowledge with a new generation of Charlie Guides.  

  • May 17, 2013 11:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SAA members are invited to be non-paid, volunteer interpreters for Northern Tier crews arriving during the period June 23 to July 1, 2013.  Click here to find out more about this exciting opportunity!


    Due to an unusual early season peak of crews attending the Northern Tier High Adventure Program in late June 2013, Leslie Thibodeaux, Director of Program, has extended an invitation to members of the SAA to be non-paid, volunteer interpreters for crews arriving during the period June 23 to July 1, 2013.


    Potential interpreters must be registered members of the Boy Scouts of America.  If you are not currently registered, you can register with BSA through the Northern Tier.  All individuals must be trained and certified in Youth Protection, Safety Afloat, Safe Swim Defense, and Weather Hazards, all of which are offered on-line by the BSA.  Potential interpreters must also provide a BSA Annual Health and Medical Record that includes a certification by an examining health care provider that you may participate in Northern Tier canoe treks. 


    Proficiency with and an understanding of current policies and practices applicable to both paid staff and participants at the Northern Tier by volunteer interpreters is essential.  Volunteer interpreters should plan to arrive one day in advance of your assigned crew for training and familiarization of policies, practices, equipment and facilities, including a BSA swim test.


    If you are interested in being a volunteer interpreter, please contact Leslie at 218-365-4811 for more details.

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