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Charles L. Sommers Alumni Association, Inc.

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  • 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.

  • 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:
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