HSR Alumni Weekend Recap

Another summer has come and gone, and for many of us, the Haliburton Scout Reserve Staff Alumni reunion weekend is always a highlight. For two days each year, we can return to the place that we would not have left had we been given the choice, and pretend that normal life hadn’t come along to ruin every summer since.

Although the places and faces are always familiar, each edition of the Alumni Weekend brings something a little different to the experience. For example: babies. If one had stumbled through the Guest Sites on Saturday, one may have noticed a veritable plague of the things. Good on the parents for wanting to share HSR with the youngsters as soon as possible. In a few short years, you may even meet some of them on the KYBO run.

Saturday offered many options to those in attendance. Some rediscovered the trails to favourite out-of-the-way places like Hurst Lake while others went for a “bake” on the H-Dock. Some stuck around the home base to sit by the fire and knock back a couple of wieners.

After the traditional staff-alumni steak banquet, the HSRSAA Bursary Award was presented (see separate entry for more), and Alumni and their families were invited to jump on a barge for an evening lake run. The sunset provided a spectacular backdrop, bringing back fond memories of the most magical summer evenings of our youth (without the horseplay, shenanigans, tomfoolery and resulting injuries).

Sunset at HSR Summer 2011

This brace of fresh air prepared us for an evening in the Hub and Cub Pub, where traditional pub fare was served up along with the sweet sounds of the open mic. Hosted as always by the multi-talented Warner Clarke, Alumni and Staff both provided and enjoyed a range of musical styles, running from folk to hip-hop to atonal experimental improvisations and back.

Sunday was a typical one for the Alumni Weekend: Sugar-fuelled dreams about a French woodsman/sorcerer, the Annual General Meeting, yet another Cricket victory, customary torrential downpour, high tea and a long drive home from the place we never would have left had we been given the choice.


2009 Reunion Weekend

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night ….. and Late Morning

Alumni Weekend was like a lot of weekends during the summer of 2009. Weather forecasts were largely tentative—promising cooler than normal temperatures and the likelihood of precipitation. Amongst HSRSA members was a single thought: “Cool—no campfire ban!”

Early arrivals included Warner Clarke (66-70) Beth (we got here early for a flat spot for Howard*) Katrina Angel (89- 90),Tim Collier (96-99) and Theresa, soon joined by Gord Fleming (84-88), Sarah and Heather Gillies (88-89). Tim, Theresa, Katrina, Warner & Beth managed a guest site gourmet meal of tandoori chicken while Gord and Sarah took off for an evening paddle.

Various alumni members arrived and set up camp. Some wandered down to Smokey Hollow to see the end of the week camp fire. Others remained at the guest site to have a “beginning of the weekend” campfire.

Chris Perez (00-03) arrived with home made marshmallows. The late evening involved some field testing of the toast-ability of Chris’ homemade marshmallows vs the commercial varieties and the various applications of both in the construction of Belgian chocolate ’smores.

A period of time lapsed between making ’smores and rising for breakfast. Most devoted this period to sleep. Breakfast included bottomless coffee, juices, seasonal fruit, various baked goods including Costco Mega-Muffins, spreads, and more marshmallows.

With the AGM moved to Sunday, many alumni and families took the opportunity to tour the camp, dodging incoming and outgoing scout groups. One of the outgoing scout groups dislodged Mark Daly (73-78), who committed (with some urging from fellow alumni) to return to join alumni weekend once he had gone to his cottage to shower. 

At some point, perhaps midday, breakfast merged with lunch while the sun continued to make intermittent appearances. Tim & Theresa became the masters of the BBQ and the guest site inhabitants settled into a lunch of ’dogs & ’slaw.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in camp, Ken Wrigglesworth (81-82, 85-86)reprised his “Trapper Ken” persona at the Trappers Cabin and gave an intense Trapper Ken kind of lesson to the folks who had ventured to that end of the camp with him. Photographic evidence posted weeks later on Picassa indicated that no appendages were lost during the demonstrations, although the transformation of coach Gord into a Slavic warrior looked pretty intense.

Alumni joined the camp staff at the hub for a steak supper on Saturday evening. Alumni in attendance had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the camp staff, and tell what the work they had done at camp.

The presentation of Bursaries happened after supper in the hub followed by the Hub & Cub later in the evening.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2008 Reunion Weekend

By Warner Clarke (66-70)

Well the good news was that, for the first time in several years, this was an alumni weekend without a local fire ban. The alumni weekend had a forecast not unlike most 2008 summer weekends—cool with a significant chance of rain.

Beth & I arrived in late afternoon in order to score a rare flat parking spot for my RV and discovered a chilled Katrina Angel (89-90) who had already arrived and set up tents and a reception area. We set up a screened tent and started a fire to begin to dry out firewood. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, many other alumni and family members drifted in, set up and greeted each other.

Saturday morning dawned damply. Tim Collier (96-99) arrived with a campsite sized free-standing canopy. Collectively thumbing our noses at the rain gods, a do-it-yourself breakfast was assembled under the nylon sky. Intermittent periods of rainlessness occurred over the morning and encouraged some members to proceed with the plans of a luncheon BBQ followed by an AGM at Twister site. The luncheon hour arrived with another downpour so lunch was held back at the guest site under the nylon sky and the AGM was re-routed to the hub.

Saturday night saw the Hub & Cub is a social activity linking Alumni members attending the Alumni weekend with current staff members through the venue of a Saturday evening special snack and open mic. This year’s Alumni “House Band”  included Warner Clarke (66-70) and Tim Collier (96-99) with Beth Hoen on bass. Mark Daly (73-78) also contributed some tunes. Some really good music was provided by current staff members.

Special thanks to Heather Gillies (88-89)Katrina Angel (89-90), Katherin Green (89), and Sarah Nunes among others who worked their magic in the kitchen and “bar”.

Sunday morning featured a kick off brunch assembled in Warner’s RV and served in the common area of the guest site. The rain had stopped and threatened to stay away for the entire day. More alumni drifted into camp to answer the call of the crack of a cricket bat. (See 2008 Cricket Match posting.)

After the cricket match, many Alumni members returned to the Hub for High Tea, while others said their farewells at the Cricket Pitch.

Once again, the hospitality and welcoming of the current staff was very much appreciated. We look forward to seeing more of you during the “hoped to be drier” summer of 2009.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2008 Cricket Match

Alumni Team fails to make it 4 in a row – Plans to focus on rebuilding for 2009

Highly anticipated as always by its long-time followers, the 2008 HSR Cricket League season was about to begin, with its exciting single-game format, where all two teams make it to the final and a champion gets bragging rights for nearly an entire year.

This has been an excellent strategy to build up the kind of rivalry that keeps the fans coming back” said league commissioner Kevin Bell (89-93, 05-08). “We don’t charge admission, so we have to find other ways to generate income for the league and its teams. Nothing’s worked yet, but by golly, if we wish hard enough, the money will come!

As always, the HSRCL pulled out all the stops to make sure that 2008 would be its best season ever, with plans to make eventual inroads to untapped markets that up until now have shown little interest in this brutal, fast paced and furiously exciting sport. “We think that this is a new beginning for the HSRCL” said Bell. “We’re going to be bigger than the NFL within two years”.

Despite the hopeful tone of the commissioner (and perhaps because of the obvious absence of any kind of business strategy or sense of reality whatsoever), the real story was the speculation that if the Staff team had posted a third consecutive losing season that its board of directors was going to consider folding or relocating the franchise. Either decision would have been a disaster for the two-team league.

We came in to win, as always”, said long-time Alumni captain Gordon Fleming (84-88) when asked to comment on the future of the league. “I don’t pay much mind to the suits in the Admin office. We mind our own business. Our business is winning matches.

Clearly lacking a business strategy of its own, the Alumni team played its worst match ever, failing to capitalize on the weakest offensive numbers yet seen during the HSRCL’s modern era, on the losing end of a score that is too embarrassing to print (ed. Note – you just don’t remember!). Bats for both squads were deafening in their silence, leading to speculation that the clearly superior Alumni team’s performance was directly related to the rumours of the league’s potential demise.

That’s a bunch of codswollope”, said returning Alumni veteran and resident anglophile Jamie Kissick (74-76, 88-98) following the game, as he held a large bag with a dollar sign on it and a note that read “to the Alumni team from the Staff, with many thanks”.  “We tried as hard as we ever do. Sometimes the effort just doesn’t pay off.” He refused further comment and threw the bag of money into his trunk, nearly slamming Commissioner Bell’s fingers in the process.

Maybe we were a bit complacent after feeding the Staff team its lunch in five of the last six final” said a clearly preoccupied team manager Gord Fleming, holding a similar bag. “We just couldn’t pull it together today. We know this is a great team on paper, but we don’t play on paper. We play on grass.

Star bowlers Scott Turner (98-00) and John McVeigh (98-02) commented briefly on the match, curiously without bags of cash like those that were distributed to the rest of their team. Turner, with a bag over his head, could not be clearly heard, but the words “disgusted to be associated” were clear before he trailed off again and left the field.

McVeigh, when asked about the significance of his traditional First Nation outfit, replied cryptically that he wanted to honour his ancestral origins in the Alaskan Bowledmyassoffand Nevertookabribe tribes.

We may never know what he meant by that, but it does appear that the narrow Staff victory will ensure the survival of the HSRCL into the foreseeable future. In that sense, everyone’s a winner.

See also 2008 Reunion Weekend posting.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2007 Cricket Match

Here Today, Gown Tomorrow: Celebrations but no Wedding Bells for Alumni Team
by Gord Fleming(84-88)


On August 12th, 2007, the 25th Annual Haliburton Scout Reserve Cricket Match was played. Few that participated in that first rain-soaked match in 1983 could have predicted that the two-team HSRCL (Haliburton Scout Reserve Cricket League—Ed) was here to stay. Back then, with nothing more than broken canoe paddles, sawed off broomsticks and a ball made of fragments of electrical tape, the two English guys on staff brought the grand game of the old world to an improvised sports field at HSR.

The now-defunct Lords and Loon Islanders were the Original Two in a league that started out mainly to provide older staff (Loon Islanders) a venue to wail on (wale on? Ed.) ITs (Lords) when it was decided that late-night lard and eyebrow shaving raids were sort of inappropriate.

Over time, equipment would be improved, players learned the actual rules and terminology, and the Original Two franchises were replaced by teams representing current and former staff respectively, resulting in the HSRCL as we know it today.

The 2007 edition would be the first match played under the new format of timed innings, replacing the stodgy old “all out” rotation that so badly slowed the pace of the sport. It offered players the incentive to swing for the fences and play a more aggressive running game, as runs were more important than staying alive.

You need to try something new when fans and players alike are getting bored” said league spokesperson and MVP bowler Shaun Donald (98-06). “You shouldn’t have time to recite three Norse sagas in your head between ball contacts”. When asked which ones, he would only reveal that they were all works by Snorri Sturluson.

As players from both sides emerged to greet the day, they slowly allowed the little scratching thought at the back of their waking minds to take it over: today’s match was their most important of the year. It was also their only game of the year – a must-win, sudden-death, winner-take-all, hyphenated-superlative laced contest for all of the glory and legend that comes with a championship. They had worked so hard all season to get here.

Some may cynically point out that they played no actual cricket, but they certainly watched some baseball on TV and possibly chased the cat around now and then. One may even have taken some pointers from the pros at the 2007 World Cup.

Yes, I picked up some excellent tips by listening to World Cup of Cricket updates on the radio sports briefings” said Alumni Skipper, Gordon Fleming.“Mostly, I learned that if we lost, my body might be found somewhere under mysterious circumstances – so I came here motivated to win.

The alumni team and its die-hard supporters started their intensive pre-game preparation with a hearty meal that included at least 117 of the major food groups, carefully prepared by team chefs Warner and Beth in their awesome recreational mobile conveyance.

The players built their mental toughness with visits to a kybo in which a once vanilla-scented air freshener was hung by the neck until dead as a cruel warning to other air fresheners not to even bother trying.

The Alumni team then hit the field led by new staff ace John McVeigh, decked out in a beautiful wedding gown.

It’s tradition to wear white on these occasions”, said McVeigh. “I really believe that one should respect traditions, even if some of us don’t really have the right to wear white. I’m not naming any names because what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse, you know? I have to honour that as well”.

So, with a dude in a dress and a new format, the 2007 HSR Cricket Championship was played to a small but enthusiastic crowd, as balls were hit, thrown and caught and people in white ran around the field. In the end, the Alumni team triumphed over Staff team by a margin of, oh, I don’t know…Let’s say…18.

I think that was a key component in our victory” said Skipper Gord during the post-game wrap up. “Like every year, I told our team that the secret to winning is to score a little bit more runs and have the other team score a little bit less runs. I don’t know the exact statistics, but in my experience, the success rate of this approach is pretty high”.

Wise words from the Captain, ringing loud and true as he hoisted the HSRCL trophy for the third straight year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2006 Reunion Weekend

August 11th – 13th

Alumni Weekend began over the afternoon and evening on Friday as people arrived, dropped by the registration area, and set-up their camp sites. They were greeted with a warm fire at the registration area, and a place to chat and catch up with others. Some headed to bed after the trip to HSR, but some sat up around the fire until the wee hours of the morning.

With no activities scheduled for Saturday morning, we got to sleep in.  Although, only the heaviest sleepers can sleep through Saturday morning commotion going on at the barge docks, with the previous week’s troops heading home.  In the late morning, we headed down to Smokey Hollow for lunch.  Over hot dogs and cream soda, we took in the recent renovations to the campfire site. The Annual General Meeting followed lunch, and the executive was pleased to have some members stick around for the meeting. Afterwards, we had free time until dinner, to take a walk, a canoe, a kayak, or for some, a nap.

The kitchen staff, including our very own Jeff Lake (76-77, 06), with Alumni helpers put on a great spread for dinner. We feasted on steak, corn on the cob, a fresh salad, and (cooked!) baked potatoes.

The Staff Bursary was awarded to Dean Janowski (02-05) during dinner announcements.

After dinner, the Alumni Weekend organizing team got to work remaking the Hub in the Hub & Cub Pub – the highlight of Alumni Weekend. Alumni and staff were treated to imported pub fare and a variety of cocktails. An Open Mic area was set up. Both staff and Alumni entertained us the night through. With full bellies, we headed back to our camp sites, and a group continued the festivities around the camp fire.

Sunday morning, we were able to sleep in without the noise of troops coming and going. We gathered for brunch at the newly renovated Snack Shack area. Once again, we were treated to a wonderful meal of egg-on-a-muffin, peameal bacon, fruit trays, and plentiful coffee and juice. The cricket team headed to practice after brunch, to get ready for the big game.

Alumni and staff gathered at the Mill Site in the afternoon for the annual cricket match, which the Alumni handily won (see 2006 Cricket Match). Then it was back to the Hub for High Tea and the cricket trophy presentation. Unfortunately, that was when most of the Alumni had to say good-bye to each other and HSR, and head home.

Attendees included:
Katrina Angel (89-90), Tim Collier (96-99), Heather Eggleton (99 -02), Murray Fenner (64), Gord Fleming (84-88) and Sara Nunes, Nathan Frey (99-02), Heather Gillies (88-89), Joe (90-91) and Shirley Godwin, Katherin Green (89), Rob Kelly (01-04), Grant (88) and Terri Lafontaine, Tara (90) and Declan McNally, John McVeigh (98-02), Graham Molenhuis (00-04), Dan “Peaches” Piccininni (00-03), Ben Schneider (02-04), Dave Webster  (96-00), David Wharrie (00-03)

Joining us for the Cricket match: Dave (02-05) and Nelly Ashworth, James Donald (05), David Frankovich (01-03), Sandy Stenhouse (81-84), Dale Warburton (80-83)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2006 Cricket Match

How’s That!—Alumni Team wins 2006 Match
By Gord Fleming (84—88)

Watch a video of the 2006 Cricket Match filmed and edited by our videographer Dean Janowski (02-05).

HALIBURTON – The 24th Annual Staff vs. Alumni Cricket match was a hotly anticipated event, as clearly demonstrated by the HSR Staff team, which somehow managed to keep their whites looking their whitest for almost two months. They were a well-organized squad, with two full teams of players ready to take the field. The Alumni team on the other hand was again hastily cobbled together from a ragtag bunch that turned up to eat some eggs the morning of the game, and a few mystery guests who arrived just prior to the coin toss.

There was much at stake after last year’s one-run Alumni loss, which also saw the end of the career of veteran bowler Mark Burns who sustained a severe knee injury while executing about the coolest fake-out ever to secure an out in the late stages of the game. Another blow to the Alumni squad was the no-show of star Silly Mid Off Dave “the iron man” Taylor, whose consecutive match record ends at 23. Pending review by the league commissioner, he is expected to be heavily fined.

Several off-season call ups filled the void, part of the new youth movement that the Alumni management has identified as its new direction. “Like that creepy beaver skull at the Trapper’s Cabin, we were getting a little long in the tooth there” said captain Gord Fleming. “We needed some young arms and strong bats to make up for the injuries, stiffness, ear hair and alarming weight gain that can slow a veteran lineup down“.

The new approach paid off in another exciting match. Bowlers on both sides sometimes delivered balls within the batsmen’s reach, and the batsmen responded by periodically hitting them. Every now and then, runs were scored while search parties were dispatched to the forest to retrieve hit balls. Following a fast-paced first inning, two 20 minute halves were given to each side to generate as much offence as possible. Some was, and the Alumni triumphed over the staff by four runs.

We knew that all we had to do was score a little more and have the Staff team score a little less to give us a good chance of winning“, Fleming astutely observed. “It was close though. I think we’re finally starting to see some parity. That’s important in a two-team league“.

Next year’s tilt will have the added dimension of being the 25th match – a strong incentive for any team to claim victory. Fans and casual observers alike will want to plan a trip to the Mill Site next August to see this historic event first hand. World Cricket supremacy will be on the line!

See also 2006 Reunion Weekend.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2005 Reunion Weekend

Wasn’t That a Party……
by Warner Clarke (66-70)

at HSR in late
June of 1966 as an IT
with a borrowed Harmony
arch-top guitar and possibly 4
guitar chords. I found that HSR and music
are complementary and there were always
opportunities to play and sing with somebody. I always
found someone that I could learn things from and in later
years was able to reciprocate by showing someone else a few
something I knew. Lessons learned at HSR play out well in life.

Fast forward 39 years and for the second consecutive Alumni
Weekend, my bass playing wife Beth and I hosted an open
mic at the Saturday night social, also known as the
“Hub and Cub “. Great talent in this year’s
staff group for sure and lots of spirit.
Here are some of our
favourite pics of
the night.

See also 2005 Cricket Match.

2005 Cricket Match

by Gord Fleming

After a year-long layoff, sports fans were treated to the return of the HSRCL, as it kicked off its 23rd season, wrapped it up and crowned its champion on August 10th. As there are only two surviving teams,  everybody already knows who’d wind up in the final, so nobody can think of a good reason to have more than a one-game season.

Carrying on without the benefit of any corporate sponsorship or paying customers, the HSR Staff and the HSR Staff Alumni continue a rivalry that dates back to the demise of the Original Two, the HSR Lords and the HSR Loon Islanders.

Dave Taylor, the only remaining player from the inaugural days of the original league reminisced prior to taking the field in his usual Silly Mid On position.

We played with sawed off broomsticks and canoe paddles. We used Bisquick to draw the lines. There were wasps everywhere. Not to mention the puddles of Red Man chew all over the pitch. These kids just don’t know how good they’ve got it”. Taylor’s production has understandably tapered off of late, but he is still feared.

The HSR Staff Alumni team once again fielded an impressive team made up largely of Daves, led by team manager Gord Fleming and legendary but oft-injured bowler Mark Burns. The team was complete only after the stunning signing of current staff member free agent Justin Way.

Team Manager Gord Fleming had this to say:

“Our future plans keep getting thwarted by staff that just will not leave the farm team to join the senior club. We fully expected to land (star bowler) Shaun Donald in the off-season, but he surprised…well let’s face it, he surprised absolutely no one by returning to the Staff side for one more season. Nicking Justin was sort of payback”.

The match itself got underway under the “impartial” eye of Camp Ranger Kevin Bell, a first-time umpire who is on the injury list due to chronic back problems. With his bat out of the Alumni lineup, they would be in tough. At least the Alumni could count on a few calls going their way (thanks Kev!)

What followed was a low scoring bowlers’ duel, which featured the usual assortment of very wide bowls, several dropped balls and the always amusing everybody-run-blindly-into-the-woods-and-tear-open-your-legs-on-the-junipers-ball-search plays.

The highlight in the late going of this very close match was a stunning fake-out by bowler Mark Burns in the dying moments of the Staff half of the second innings. He wound up and followed through, but held on to the ball. The runner took the bait and ran from the box as Burns knocked the bales for the out. He paid for this sweet move with a blown knee and had to be carried from the field, nearly a hero.  It is not yet known if this is a career threatening injury, but several threats were subsequently received by the alumni team by a woman claiming to be his wife Georgina.

The Alumni were unfortunately unable to capitalize on this bit of heroism, as the clock cruelly ran out on them with only four runs separating them from victory over their most intense – and only – rivals.

The Alumni team congratulated the Staff team on its hard fought victory, but indicated that it will be making some exciting off-season moves and promises a much improved on-field product next summer.

See also 2005 Reunion Weekend.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.