Ye Old Menogyn Guides
"Reflections  by Bruce Ahlquist, Guide (1962-65), Assistant Director (1966)
(1)  "Some Remembrances of  Menogyn"

I may have the details wrong, but the following are a few things that came to mind.  Having to go into the water to get the pontoon boat of the pier at the boat landing in a strong west wind and riding down the lake in wet cloths. Giving the History of the area during opening Campfires.  The beauty of Menogyn and West Bearskin Lake.

When Bill McDonald was asked by an aide of the Governor of the State of Minnesota on the Granite River to come and talk to the Governor, he told the aide, “I ain’t got time”. They had wrecked a canoe in the rapids and were late returning to Camp on their last day of their trip.  Bill McDonald came to my wedding to Sue in Appleton in June of 1966. He stayed in the Fraternity House that Fred Nordeen had been President of. Fred told him about a broken window latch that he could use to get into the House. Everyone was gone for the summer.

I lost my hat when we tipped over in the rapids on the Granite River that has the big rock at the bottom. We were on the staff break in trip. I remember wondering around the campsite on Greer with a case of Sun Stroke.

When I stayed in the Ice Box, Chuck Norseng had the bunk above mine and across from Fred Nordeen. Chuck snored so awfully loud that Fred would hit him or I would kick him to wake him up and keep him awake until we fell asleep.

When the campers would drop the garbage cans and run whenever they saw a bear at the garbage pit, we would have to get the cans back before they damaged them. One time we chased a bear and it climbed a big pine. We all stood around the bottom of the tree feeling brave until someone lit a firecracker and the bear came down the tree really fast. We all ran.

The last summer I worked at Camp, my brother, Glenn, was also on the Staff. The kitchen boy quit and I think it was Arm who thought of my brother, Fred, as a replacement. He had helped out in the kitchen on work weekends with the Y’s Men’s Club. I remember my parents, sister and another brother coming to visit. We took them to the Campsite on the stairway portage for an overnight. A bear came and my brother Glenn hit it with a rock. My mother almost went into shock. It worked out well for the 3 of us to be on the same staff.

I think the Granite River was my favorite place to travel. The Greer swing was my favorite trip. I was a 12 year old camper with Rene Fournier the first time I took that trip. We may have been the first Menogyn group to do so and had to blaze our way on the portages. That was probably in 1954. The blueberries at the Greer camp site were always great in pancakes.

Wasn’t it amazing there was no electricity at Menogyn and we managed to survive and in fact loved it.

I think I was paid $300.00 for the whole summer the second or third summer that I worked at Menogyn.

My brother Glenn and I did training on “How to Pitch a Tent “during the staff break in trip. We were camped on the sand beach on the east end of Gunflint Lake. I said you should never face the door toward the lake in case of a storm. However I am going to door towards since it was so warm and there is a nice breeze from the Lake. That night of course it stormed and we got wet. A classic case of “Do as I say not as I do”.

It was amazing to think that we would have a group of teenagers that couldn’t paddle a canoe in a straight line, organize themselves for a portage or for make camp. In most cases after a few days, they would be working together like a well oiled machine.

All that water lake after lake, big lakes, rivers and Lake Superior. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I’ve lived in the dry West for the last 30 years and all that water seems almost unbelievable.
(2)  "Remembrances of Arm Paulson"
My first memory of Arm was talking to him on the telephone and finding out that I would have to fill out an application and have an interview if I wanted to be considered for a job during the summer of 1963 at Menogyn. I was kind of miffed that I wouldn’t automatically be hired since I had worked the summer before when Jim Gilbert was the Director. I did go through the process and I was hired as a Guide.
I have always found that it was difficult to follow someone that was good at a job. I admired the way that Arm followed Jim who was very good as a Director and became very successful at being the Director of Camp Menogyn in his own way.
I played a lot of volleyball with Arm. As I remember it, he really didn’t like animal ball [no rules at the net] but he played it fiercely.

The director’s office was on the porch of the director’s cabin. This had to be one of the greatest places for its wonderful views and great fresh air.  Although it could be really cold. The summer of 1965, I was the assistant director and would meet Arm in the office. He had the habit of going through his waste basket before disposing of the waste. At the time I found this a little strange. He had a bad experience when some important papers had somehow got thrown away.

Arm emphasized training and the Christian aspect of the YMCA. He developed materials that I often used in the 13 years when I directed two different YMCA camps. I can see him in my mind’s eye teaching us how to lead songs. He also enjoyed reading James Bond books that were popular at that time.

What a great example Arm was as a YMCA Camp Director. He made me want to be one and showed me how they were supposed to act. He also helped the staff get to know the Minneapolis YMCA Staff members that accompanied the Hi-Y groups that used to come to Menogyn. They were neat guys doing an important job which also influenced my choice of careers. The opportunity to be the assistant director for a summer was wonderful.  I learned a lot and became convinced that I wanted a career in the YMCA.  I’m very grateful to Arm for giving me the chance.

Later, I had the chance to be on the same YMCA Hiawatha Branch staff as Arm for a short period of time. One summer we went to a movie together in Brainerd, Minnesota and saw the movie “The Graduate”- quite a contrast to campfires at Menogyn. When Arm moved to Green Bay, WI, I was in Appleton and we had chances to get together. When I was moving to Salt Lake Arm was moving to Appleton. I enjoyed these opportunities to get together.

When I think about Arm, I always remember the emphasis that he put on Christian Personality Development. His Introduction to Menogyn Devotional Booklet that was done in 1966 is a great expression of this and is a charge to the staff.