Regular readers of this column have likely surmised that it tends to favor “career” campers – those who begin camp at a young age and continue, non-stop, until they have served on the staff for a time. Rick (Ricky) Bellas is another such alumnus of Forest Lake.
Rick began as a junior in Cabin 2 (Seminole) in the summer of 1959 and logged an uninterrupted attendance as a camper, general counselor, and head counselor through the summer of 1980. When he first attended FLC, his family lived in North Caldwell, NJ and his sister attended nearby Pine Log Camp at the same time. Any alum who knew Rick would recall him being a very enthusiastic camper with wide interests and talents – great on stage, fleet of foot, and acrobatic among them.
After passing through all the stages of campership (junior, intermediate, senior, CIT), Rick joined the staff as a general counselor with particular interest in archery and drama. His cabin was always a contender for cabin inspection honors and his campers were enthralled with his storytelling ability. It didn’t take Phil Confer long to recognize Rick’s administrative potential and towards the end of his tenure he was asked to be one of the head counselors “on the hill” with duties of special event planning, red and blue, and campfire. Not only did Rick organize and “MC” campfire but his renditions of Sam McGee and others are legendary.
Rick attended the University of Virginia (BA in 1973) and Trinity (MA in 1985). His professional career was in education having taught math and economics at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA from 1974-2005 and then math at the Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, FL from 2005-2014. He is now “gratefully enjoying retirement.” It should be mentioned that the Berkshire School dedicated a new building in Rick’s honor to recognize his exceptional tenure at the school.
Currently a resident of Pompano Beach, FL, Rick is an avid orchid grower and belongs to several orchid societies and, in fact, he is training to become an orchid judge through the American Orchid Society.
Rick was helpful in replying to the request for recollections of summers at FLC but space will not allow for the full listing. However, the following are highlights: Ollie’s bugle, Junior trips to FT. Ticonderoga, speedboat rides on Lake George, riding in the back of the camp truck, ‘ol faithful, Mrs. Doherty and personal inspection, Stunt & Story, Scholly’s astronomy, Rush Day, dances with Severance and Point O Pines, Perry Como, Tally & Sally announcing “Roosevelt, please come to the Lodge”, nights off as a counselor, Batman appearances, Bill Goodrich’s stories………..
Rick is well remembered by alumni for his fine example and his unwavering camp spirit.
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