Looking for footprints…one of the original four – Goupil
By Pati Egan
Every time I go to Camp, one of the units I stop and spend some time in is Goupil. When I was a camper, I usually tried to stay in Goupil if it was still open when we arrived. I actually enjoyed all of the units I stayed in as a camper, but I like to walk around Goupil and let the memories flood my mind.
The original cabins are long gone but, in my mind, I can see the footprints of the original six cabins. In those days, Goupil was one of the few units that the cabins had names. These three cabins were Australia, Africa, and for some reason I think it is South America.
Goupil’s location hasn’t changed, but it is now located up in the rocks that surrounded the unit in the past. These three original cabins are very close to the location of Goupil’s current fire pit. The cabin with the door hanging off would be about 10 feet from the far-left bench. The tree by the middle cabin could be the same tree in the fire ring picture.
There was one cabin all by itself named Deutschland. Today, the path to the Lodge Ceremony crosses the path where this old cabin stood when entering the Council Ring.
Campers pass right by the last two cabins in the original unit. When walking to the Lodge Ceremony campers go across a little bridge and walk a bit and go through a split in the rocks. The cabins Europe and Asia were between the road and the split. When I walk to the ceremony now, my mind still sees the glimmer of these cabins in the torch-lit path to the Council Ring.
At one time, Goupil was a lakefront unit. It’s hard to imagine now that one could see to the old Garner Bridge from the unit. I don’t know if units still do this, but during the Monday night unit campfire, units would yell hello to other units to get a response back. The sound would carry across the lake.
When Goupil was rebuilt, Gene Canavan built the cabins high up on the rocks. Christy Balich McDougal recalls that there are 107 steps in the unit. It has become affectionately called the “Stairmaster Unit.”
The original staff cabin sat on the ground in very close proximity to this staircase.
The natural environment was utilized to make Goupil a beautiful, unique, living experience. Goupil’s color has always been purple and the spirit animal has always been a fox.
Kids now see just a really cool unit built up in the rocks. When I sit and visit there, I see six cabins on the ground and all of the amazing campers I had in my unit. The footprints are still there – you just have to look and listen closely.
Click Here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s history