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Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, Inc.

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  • 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.

  • May 01, 2013 11:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Please join us for a North woods break from your usual routine!

    This is your chance for sweat equity and camaraderie with fellow alumni as well as both Ely and Canadian staff, and to make your mark on this priceless Northern Tier asset.


    Work week is June 3 – June 11 and will involve continued restoration of the Lodge. We’ll be starting a new phase of work on the museum and interpretive center function of that building, while preserving its program capabilities.


    Meals and bunkhouse accommodations at the base will be provided at no cost. You’ll have the added bonus of participation in training week activities as your interest and time permit, and also a chance to meet and interact with current seasonal staff as well as fellow alumni. Bring your skills and/or enthusiasm; on the job training will be provided.

    We can use help for a day or a week, so come as early and stay as late as you can!  Consider contacting also some of your contemporaries and make your own reunion part of the fun. We’re planning an Alumni volunteer dinner on the evening of June 8.


    You can also combine some time at the base with some fishing and/or canoeing! As in prior years, some of our participants have worked a few days and then headed out on the trail. We hope to hear from you!

  • November 29, 2012 10:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Just as the BSA’s High Adventure Bases offer different cuisines, each base has a different fashion focus.

    At Northern Tier the fashion emphasis is on boots, but not just any boots, but jungle boots. Jungle boots are boots that allow the water that flows into the boots to flow out of the boots.

    At Philmont likewise the fashion emphasis is on boots. Philmont staffers seem mildly obsessed with boots.

    On your Coral Reef Sailing Adventure, February 17 – 23, 2012, you won’t be wearing boots! Instead, you will need to consider what swimming attire fits your form and physique. The Sea Base helps you focus on your swimwear selection with the following advice:

    “All swimming attire must be modest. For men, Speedo-type swimsuits are not appropriate; swim suits should have liners in them. For women, bikinis are not appropriate; one-piece swimsuits and modest tankini suits are considered appropriate.”

    For those with buff bods and enough bravado to sport Speedos, thongs, un-lined board shorts, bikinis, etc., there are beaches in Key West where you will be warmly welcomed following the Coral Reef Sailing Adventure.

  • November 29, 2012 9:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The SAA announces this year's recipients of the Seasonal Staff Scholarship Program.  The program provides qualified individuals with post-secondary assistance of a total up to $3,000. Recipients must exhibit both academic competence and exemplary ongoing service to youth.

    The 2012 SAA Seasonal Staff Scholarship Program recipients are:
    • Ellen Amundson
    • Benjamin Anklan (David Hyink Scholarship)
    • Jordan Cecil
    • Collin Cooper (Butch Diesslin Scholarship)
    • Mark Dierauer
    • Robert Hinrichs
    • Adel Huemiller
    • Matthew Marshall
    • Heath McCasland
    • Joseph Mingrone
    • Bradley Parker
    • Benjamin Rutherford (Clifford J. Hanson Memorial Scholarship)
    • Trevor Santy
    • Michael Shaughnessy (Terry J. Wall Charles Sommers Scholarship)
    • Michael Small
    • Brittany Turnis (Christopher D. Breen Memorial Scholarship)
    • Sally Waldman (Erickson Memorial Scholarship)
    • Jacob White
    Congratulations to this year's recipients! Learn more about the scholarship program at:
  • August 15, 2012 9:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Read the Summer 2012 edition of the Reflections Newsletter online.



  • August 14, 2012 6:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Join us at the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association's 2012 reunion banquet on Saturday, September 1st to bid on some fantastic auction items!  Auction proceeds will support the association's Seasonal Staff Scholarship Program.

    Bid Now!  Support the Seasonal Staff Scholarship Program.
    • Mail your bid to SAA Auction, PO Box 428, Ely, MN 55731
    Mail will be collected at 3:00 p.m. Friday, August 31, 2012. Late bids will not be accepted.
    This year's premier auction item is a "Shirt and Skirt Package" (Husband and Wife Package) generously donated by Campbell's Cabins.  The package features 3 full days and 4 nights. Accommodations, meals, 18’ boat, motor, gas, guide, return airfare from Crane Lake, MN.  Must be used in 2013 season.  The value of this package is Valued at $2910.00 CAD.  Download the information flyer.

    Cannot attend the auction?  You can still bid!
    • If you cannot attend the 2012 Rendezvous, you may mail your bid to SAA Auction, PO Box 428, Ely, MN 55731.  Do not include payment.  Include your contact information so you may be notified if you have the winning bid. Mail will be collected at 3:00 p.m. Friday, August 31, 2012. Late bids will not be accepted.

  • June 16, 2012 9:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sailing, snorkeling, fishing and new friends await you in the Florida Keys. The Florida Sea Base and Friends Association (SBAFA) is proud to host the Philmont Staff Association (PSA) and the Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association (SAA) for the 2013 Coral Reef Sailing Adventure. This is the second time this Adventure has been hosted by the SBAFA in the Exchange Program of the SBAFA, PSA and SAA.


    During your Adventure, you will sail the Florida Keys in a 40-45 foot sailing vessel and have the opportunity to snorkel and fish some of the most beautiful reefs in the Keys. You’ll also learn navigation, fish identification and coral reef ecology, and hang out with friends, old and new. Except for the last night, you will sleep on your vessel and fall asleep to the rocking of the waves.


    Sailing Adventure Basics


    The Sailing Adventure is February 17 to February 23, 2011. The cost is $6,100 per vessel. There is a minimum of 6 sailors per vessel, maximum 7 sailors per vessel. On a per sailor basis, this means that a six sailor crew would pay $1016.66 per sailor, and a seven sailor crew would pay $871.43 per sailor. Your actual charge will be determined by taking the total cost for the number of vessels required and divided by the total number of sailors. For example, 20 sailors would require 3 vessels and the resulting charge to each sailor would be $915.


    Your fee includes a berth on the vessel, all fishing licenses and gear, on-water food, (fresh -- not trail food!) snorkel gear, on base-lodging and meals, a Coral Reef Sailing Mate on base and a fully qualified captain for your vessel. You are responsible for the limited personal gear required and your transportation to and from the Sea Base in Islamorada, Florida.


    Eligibility requirements

    1. Be a current member of the SBAFA, PSA or SAA or eligible family member.
    2. Be a registered member of the BSA.
    3. Presented a completed medical form.
    4. Pass the basic BSA swim check upon check in – persons not passing the swim check will be required to wear a personal flotation device at all times.
    5. Be 13 years old and have completed 8th grade, or 14 years old, by arrival day – youth participants will be required to present a valid ID showing proof of age.


    Eligible family members are your spouse, child or step-child, sibling, parent, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew or in-law who meets the eligibility requirements above.


    Becoming a member of the BSA is straightforward: register at your local Scout office by explaining that BSA membership is a requirement for participation in an event at the Sea Base, pay nominal fees and pass a background check.


    BSA swimming requirements are simple: jump feet first into water over your head, swim 75 yards in a strong manner using a forward stroke, turn over, swim 25 yards using a resting back stroke and then float motionless on your back for one minute.


    The schedule

    • Sunday, February 17 -- Arrive at Sea Base by 10:00 a.m., meet your Coral Reef Sailing Mate and fellow/sister sailors, have lunch in the Sea Base galley, go through swimming re-check, snorkel instruction, food pick-up and crew photos. Set sail from Sea Base before dinner and eat Sunday dinner on your vessel.
    • Monday, February 18 -- Sail the Keys.
    • Tuesday, February 19 – Sail the Keys.
    • Wednesday, February 20 -- rendezvous at Big Munson Island, site of the Sea Base’s Out Island Program, and complete a fun service project and tour the island. The opportunity to visit Big Munson Island is not offered to regular Coral Reef Sailing Adventure participants – just you! Then visit the Brinton Environmental Center for hot showers. Wednesday evening return to your vessel and set sail again.
    • Thursday, February 21 -- Sail the Keys.
    • Friday, February 22 -- Return to Sea Base, participate in a luau, and receive your Sea Base participant’s award. Those persons having earned participation awards at all three BSA High Adventure Bases will receive their Triple Crown Award.  Spend the final night in a Sea Base bunkhouse.
    • Saturday, February 23 – depart Sea Base.


    Deviations from the above schedule are not possible. Persons arriving a day early can sleep at the Sea Base at no charge.

    How to register

    To reserve your slot, you must pay a $100 deposit by November 30, 2012. After November 30th?  Currently there is still space for you to sign-up!  Register and pay your deposit online here. Call the Philmont Staff Association to confirm space at (575) 376-1138.

    Except as set forth below, this deposit is non-refundable, but it is transferable. Immediately after November 30, the number of vessels required will be determined and the final price per sailor calculated. You will be immediately notified of the final price and the balance of the final price must be paid in full by December 10, 2012.  Once paid the balance is not refundable and the purchase of trip interruption/cancellation insurance to protect you against unforeseen cancellation is advised.


    In the event the number of registrants is such that all cannot be accommodated on vessels, sailors will be awarded their slot based on the order in which their registration was received, priority beginning with the first registrant. Sailors who cannot be accommodated will receive a refund of their deposit.


    All registrations will be handled by Randy Saunders, Executive Director of the Philmont Staff Association. To register and get top priority for a slot mail the form below, together with your check in the amount of $100 per sailor payable to the PSA, to Randy at Executive Director, Philmont Staff Association, 17 Deer Run Road, Cimarron, NM 87714.


    Don’t miss out on this – the first Coral Reef Sailing Adventure in 2011 proved to be very popular.


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