Camp Staff Alumni Spotlight
Chippewa Staff 1982-89
Steve Linder served in a variety of roles on Tomahawk’s camp staff during the 1980s, including Chippewa Camp Director. Steve has remained an active volunteer following his camp staff years as a member of the Council Camping Committee. He will undoubtedly continue to be involved in Scouting for many years to come. Steve and his wife Sarah have three young boys (and one daughter!). This summer, Steve and his oldest son, Matt, will be campers at Tomahawk in Navajo Camp.
Q. What years were you on Tomahawk staff?
A. 1982-1986, 1988-1989
Q. What were your positions?
A. Trading Post Operator, Commissioner, C.O.P.E. Director, Scoutcraft Director, Camp Director—all in Chippewa Camp.
Q. What was happening at Tomahawk during your tenure? What was new?
A. The climbing towers in Chippewa and Sioux Scoutcraft were built. Foxfire Outpost was new. The first Project COPE course was built. Chippewa and Sioux were the only sub-camps; there was no Navajo or White Pine Camp. Food for Sioux Camp was prepared at the Chippewa Dining Hall and delivered to Sioux Camp in the muck truck. The kitchen staff all lived in “skid row” attached to the Chippewa Dining Hall. We had war canoe races between the Chippewa and Sioux staff during Saturday lunch.
Q. What was your most memorable experience?
A. No one thing stands out over the others, but I particularly remember the night the sauna burnt to the ground at Chippewa Beach my first year at camp. I also remember the many Camping Merit Badge outposts I survived and the all-nighters we would pull taking down camp the last night of the summer.
Q. How did your experience at Tomahawk affect your life?
A. Working at Tomahawk gave me self-confidence and taught me valuable leadership skills which have carried over to my career, where I currently manage a collections department in a Minneapolis law firm. Also, I have remained active in Scouting, particularly in the council’s camping program, because of my experience at Tomahawk and my friendships with other camp staff members.
Q. What was your favorite place in camp?
A. It is hard to pick one place, but I would have to say sitting on a picnic table in Chippewa Scoutcraft and observing all of the activity around me. I spent countless hours watching excited Scouts working on merit badges, riding the Ferris wheel, tying knots on the knot rail, climbing on the various pioneering projects, feeding the burro, pounding on their leather rounds, and climbing the climbing tower.
Q. Do you have any advice for the current staff?
A. Remember that, at all times, you are being watched by the Scouts and are a role model to them. For many years after leaving Tomahawk, Scouts will approach you around town to tell you that you were their counselor at Tomahawk. Also, take advantage of the fact that you are part of a staff made up of quality and talented individuals by getting to know your fellow staff members. Learn from them and make many friendships; the friends I made at Tomahawk became my best friends for many years thereafter.
Q. When was your last visit to Tomahawk? What was different?
A. I have been back to Tomahawk every summer to visit; my last visit was last summer for the Phillippo Fire Tower and Navajo Nature Lodge dedications. The big changes since I worked at Tomahawk are the addition of Navajo and White Pine Camp and the remodeling of the Gagner Central Service Lodge.
Q. What is your current occupation/affiliation with Scouting, etc?
A. I am an attorney with the Meyer & Njus Law firm in Minneapolis. I am married and have four children—three boys and one girl. I am the Indianhead Council Cub Scout Camping Chairman, and the Assistant Cubmaster and Pack Camping Coordinator for Pack 224 in Lake Elmo. I am looking forward to camping this summer at Navajo Camp with my oldest son, Matt, who is a Webelos Scout, as well as camping at Kiwanis Cub Camp with my son Joshua, who is a Tiger Cub.
Q. Which former staff members do you keep in touch with?
A. I kept in close touch with a number of staff members after camp, but as the years have gone by and life has evolved, it’s been harder to stay connected. The former staff members I stay in contact with most often now are Chris Johnson, Steve Nordrum, and Jeff Sulzbach.
Q. Do you have any other comments you would like to add?
A. I would not have traded in the experience I had working at Tomahawk for anything!