It has been the home to Rochester Boy Scouts Troop 31 for about 45 years, but as of Saturday, February 18, Troop 31 has officially vacated the HoRoHi camp located on property the owners had allowed the scouts to use since 1971.
Scout Master Mike Blanchard told The Wanderer that the property owned by Carr Family Bogs, LLC is up for sale and business representative Deb Clark had informed Blanchard back in December that the troop would be asked to leave the premises once a prospective buyer was found.
What the troop was not expecting was the 30-day eviction notice that soon followed.
Blanchard explained that back in October, Clark had circulated an email to her siblings, members of the LLC, regarding the property going up for sale. Once Blanchard found out about it in December, he said Clark was very apologetic for having mistakenly left him out of the loop.
“She did say that she wanted me to know before anything was done,” said Blanchard. “That way I could make plans to vacate.”
Clark told Blanchard that Troop 31 was welcome to use Camp HoRoHi until it was sold, but the 30-day eviction notice came just about a month later.
Blanchard said he had been scraping together some funds to come up with a space to rent or purchase to store the troop’s equipment and belongings and, once they received the notice to vacate, Blanchard was able to secure a shipping container that one scout parent said could be temporarily stored on his property.
“We purchased that with just about the last of our money,” said Blanchard. “We still haven’t found a place to call home.”
Blanchard said there are no hard feelings towards Clark or Carr Family Bogs, LLC.
“I understand. It’s a gorgeous piece of property for someone to build a huge house on,” said Blanchard.
In 1971, Howard Robert Hiller gave Troop 31 permission to use the land and granted land use rights to build a camp. The camp was named using the first two letters of Hiller’s name – HoRoHi.
Blanchard’s son Corbin joined the Cub Scouts in 2003, and Blanchard was cub master for that time period before Corbin crossed over to the Boy Scouts in 2009. Blanchard said the father and son have many fond memories of Camp HoRoHi.
“We’re deeply saddened that we had to lose our camp,” Blanchard said. “We definitely understood this day was going to come sometime.”
Blanchard said he is grateful for the use of the camp.
“Thousands of boys have come through there. Terrific memories have been made, lifetime friendships have been made,” said Blanchard. “Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.”
When cleaning out the final load on Saturday, Blanchard, the other scout leaders, and the boys gathered in a circle to share their fondest memories of camp HoRoHi.
“They just expressed a sadness that they’re never going to be able to play ’manhunt’ (group hide and seek) ever again.”
The troop would camp out there just about every other month, while holding regular weekly meetings at the Rochester Grange Hall.
“Right now, we’re pretty much homeless,” said Blanchard, although there is a possibility that Troop 31 could use land off Snows Pond Road owned by the YMCA, although nothing is final yet. However, there is no structure at the site, and the old fire pit at Camp HoRoHi will be sorely missed.
“We’ll see what we can do,” said Blanchard. “We’re Boy Scouts. We’re prepared. We’ll try our best and keep positive.”
Blanchard and the troop leaders had hoped to host one last camp out at HoRoHi, inviting all past and present Boy Scouts and troop leaders for one last hoorah before leaving the place for the last time.
“That would’ve been nice,” said Blanchard. “It’s a shame that we couldn’t have that piece because they needed us out as quickly as they did.”
Blanchard added, “I’m very grateful for them for allowing us to use the property. A more generous gift could not be given…”
By Jean Perry