Camp Staff Alumni Spotlight
Bruce “Fish” Foster
Camp Neibel Staff 1951-52
Tomahawk Staff 1953-57
Bruce “Fish” Foster has the distinction of being the only staff member at Tomahawk in 1953 and 1954. After helping make physical improvements to the completely undeveloped land, he went on to serve as a program counselor and Program Director. Bruce later served as a professional Scouter for Gamehaven and Missouri Valley Councils. As Scoutmaster for Troop 121 in River Falls, Wisconsin, he returned to camp at Tomahawk in the 1970’s. He reconnected with many old friends and fellow staff members at Tomahawk’s anniversary celebration in August 2003.
Q. What was happening at Tomahawk during your tenure? What was new?
A. Bob Bryant was the Ranger, and I helped him post ‘no trespass’ signs around the perimeter of camp. We also developed the Lake Neilsen and Long Lake (Main Beach) waterfronts. We drove to sand point for water near the Lake Neilsen waterfront area – we called the site “Popple Hill,” and it was used by the few troops who attended camp. Troop 121 of River Falls was one of, if not the first troop to camp at the site. We had eight or nine troops in the first year. My dad was Scoutmaster and also a member of the group that found Tomahawk and helped in it’s early development.
Q. What was your most memorable experience and favorite place at camp?
A. Camp probably gave me all the defining moments in my young life and the opportunity to work with fine Scouters who had lots of talent and a mission or purpose in what they did. I believe that as camp staff we were “our best” at that moment. One memory I have is of Lloyd Knutson building the split rail fence at the Chippewa Archery Range that stood for many years – hard work, but fun. My favorite place had to be out fishing on Lake Nielsen, catching sunfish on a fly and bobber. I have enjoyed fishing ever since.
Q. When was your last visit to Tomahawk? What was different?
A. I attended the 50th Anniversary and Dedication in 2003. I was amazed at the number of staff from the 1950’s that showed up. These are guys who have been friends for 45 to 50 years – still recognizable even when we haven’t had contact in 20 years! The conversations picked up where we had left off. There were lots of changes at camp, but the important things are still the same!