Saturday, March 1, 2014

What Does Sinoquipe Mean to Me by Jack Rhodes

What does Sinoquipe mean to me?

When asked this question my immediate reaction was how much time do you have to hear my story? There are so many fond memories and emotions that I cannot possibly share them all.

Shortly after Patty, CJ and I moved to Fulton County in 1988 to begin my position at JLG industries, we took a drive to explore the beautiful area we now call home. We found ourselves at the northern end of the county. We stopped at an old abandoned 1800’s farmhouse with an old Chevy truck on a property in need of a lot of TLC.   My comment at the time was “I could live here they have a wood stove. Patty’s response was “no way could I ever live here.” 

Within a few months I replied to an ad in the local paper for a Camp Ranger position with the Boy Scouts of America. During the interview process I was told no decision would be made until candidates had an opportunity to visit the camp and assess the living accommodations. Low and behold the address led us to the old abandoned farm house with the old Chevy truck in the driveway. This time with key in hand we toured our future home. There was a lot of family discussion/opposition on how could we possibly live in this house with a 6 year old and newborn!

CJ and I decided with a lot  of work, new paint, new carpet, a thorough cleaning and persistent pleading we could persuade Patty into this new adventure for our family. I began my career in Scouting in December 1989.

Sinoquipe had been without a Ranger for over a year. Volunteers had been the only work force within that time. There was a lot to learn and a lot to be done.

It did not take long to witness the Scouting spirit. We were so blessed to meet such kind and dedicated Scouters, who we consider some of our most treasured friends today.  One of the most important things that had an impact on me throughout my Scouting career is the genuine caring and kindness that is exemplified in the Scouting movement. This remains a beacon of hope for me when I look to the future of our youth.

Numerous times I have been fortunate to witness God’s hand at work at Sinoquipe. Early in my time at Sinoquipe, I would scratch my head and wonder how could this impossible situation or issue be resolved? Now, I bow my head and give thanks for God’s divine intervention. 

Sinoquipe is more than just a place; it is a spirit that lives within anyone who chooses to adopt the spirit. From the wildlife that thrives here, to the healthy waterways, plant species and forest land, we are fortunate to deliver a Scouting program on this beautiful parcel of land. It is imperative we as a Council protect and preserve this property for future generations. I am and will remain dedicated to the preservation of our beloved camp.

One of the most gratifying  moments for me is when a young man who is now a father knocks on my door with his son and asks if I remember him and proceeds to share with me how his experiences at  camp had an impact on his life. I have learned the most valuable thing any of us can do is to guide a young man along the path to a moral, ethical and spiritual life. In turn, they will pass that on and our legacy will continue.

To sum up “what Sinoquipe means to me?” Sinoquipe provides a place to appreciate and enjoy the splendor of nature while learning life skills. My family has been blessed to be raised at Sinoquipe and call it home. 

When growing up my parents taught us you should not love inanimate objects. I think it is safe to say, I love Sinoquipe, as it is a living entity.

Thanks to all the great Scouting folks I have met along the way in my journey through life at Sinoquipe!

God Bless each and every one of you,
Ranger Jack

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