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Pieces of our Past: Part 4 A Familiar Sign for Every Age

Graeme Noseworthy — March 24, 2016


Its a hand painted sign that all of us have seen but few of us if anyone at all know its true origins. As you leave Camp, you pass underneath two words that have tremendous meaning: Boost Takodah!

This week, Id like to share what I believe this is the earliest photo of the sign that exists in our archives:


As far as I can tell, this picture was taken around 1938. The sign, as shown here, was originally located near the entrance to Camp and was moved to its present location at the top of Dickinson Lane many years later.

Uncle Oscar started using this phrase as a way of encouraging campers to share their experiences with their parents, for staff to remember the training they received while working at camp and for everyone to think of ways to raise funds for a program that the Elwells would endeavor to strengthen and expand over 50 years.

Over the past week, I reached out to several Takodah Historians including Bill Allen, JEF Craig, Joan Bird, Mike Hoefer, Doug Brown, Bill Parkman and others to see if any of them had any additional insight into exactly when, why and how Oscar started using that phrase and why he chose to emblazon it on a sign for all to see as they leave the property.

Surprisingly, it seems as though the only person who has that answer was Uncle Oscar himself.

However, I did learn that both he and Francis spent a lot of time visiting other camps, studying techniques used throughout the YMCA and the Boy Scouts and other sources of inspiration. Most, if not all, of our Takodah traditions have been assembled as the best of the best that Oscar could find. That begs the question: is there another summer camp somewhere in the US or Canada that has a Boost sign marking the way out from their property as well? I’d wager my 10 Year Jacket that there is.


The next time you pass under this iconic sign, we hope you’ll remember that you follow in the footsteps of thousands of Takodians young and old, campers and leaders, volunteers and fundraisers, friends and family who have come before you. Take a moment, look up, read the sign and ponder what you have accomplished and provided. Then, go, and spread these two good words that marks ever the place you can take for your home.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in having me find and report on something in particular or if you have a piece of our history that you’d like me to feature, Id love to hear from you.

Silver, green, and gold!