Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Following traditions of Family, Faith, and Fun

Grace, Francis, Eunice, Mava, Eva McCutcheon, and their brother Glenn all grew up in East Boyer Township in Crawford County. Long after they've all passed away, their grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren gather every year for the "McCutcheon Cousin Campout."

Doris and Ed Schreiber or Ricketts. Doris started the McCutcheon Cousin Campout in 1973 with a letter to her cousins which included Grace (McCutcheon) Samuelson's daughters, Gladys, Erma, Maryland, and Janet. Gladys's son Allan Neddermeyer and his wife Margorie (Langhold) now to the campout with their children and grandchildren. Ed Schreiber has performed a comedy routine at the campout for the last several years.

Back 1973 Doris (Johnson) Schreiber of Ricketts wrote a letter to you cousins inviting them to a campout at Ledges State Park near Boone in August. Thirty-five years later, "the McCutcheon Cousin Campout" is still an annual event. Today families travel from as far away as Georgia, Maine, and Oklahoma to attend the three-day event every Labor Day weekend. Nine states and all corners of Iowa were represented this year. Maryland, Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Nebraska and Kansas were all included this year. Well over a hundred people attended.

Grace, Francis, Eunice, Mava, Eva McCutcheon, and their brother Glenn all grew up in East Boyer Township in Crawford County. Generations of their decedents of these siblings carry on a tradition initiated by their cousin Doris back in '73.

Originally the campout was in tents and trailers. Those who stayed in nearby motels were ribbed by receiving an annual "marshmallow award."

The cousins have kept a memory book of comments and snapshots that spans four decades.
"The church service was so inspiring," wrote Grace Samuelson (one of the original McCutcheon siblings) in the memory book, already in 1974, about how much her family enjoyed the campout, especially the Sunday morning worship gathering.

The culmination of the weekend is an ecumenical worship time followed by the annual business meeting (including humorous awards and door prizes), an Abbott and Costello style comedy routine by Doris' husband Ed and their cousin Dick Larson and, of course a huge pot-luck. For thirty-five years the cousins have sung Grace and her husband Art's favorite hymns; "Amazing Grace," and "How Great thou Art."

The direction of such a big event is shared by each of the six different families, but each new "President" is guided by the Dean of the campout, Gerald and Joann Beckett of Des Moines. By far the most cousins come from the clan of Mike and Marylin Schiltz of Bancroft, Iowa. In a given year, they're represented by anywhere from twenty to thirty members. Donnie Larson, 81 was the eldest cousin to attend this year.

For some, the McCutcheon Campout has always been a part of their lives. In 1969 Verle and Linda McCutcheon of Dow City had triplets, the girls now bring their children and husbands to the campout.

In 1975 the campout was featured in Better Homes & Gardens magazine. The article explained that the reunion was a way to compensate for the challenges of living in such a mobile society.
For the last several years, the campout has been held at the St. Thomas Moore Catholic Youth Camp near Guthrie Center. Cousins enjoyed softball, scavenger hunts, cards, games, and of course campfires.

Because of logistical considerations, the Cousin Campout may need to pick either a new weekend or a new location. But the challenges of the twenty-first century will be well met. The torch is being passed. Gerald and Joann's grand daughter Jessica, a recent Buena Vista University graduate living in New Haven, Connecticut made the bold move of actually volunteering to serve as next year's President.

New playground equipment

Doris Schrieber got a nice grant to pay for the equipment. Bud Gloede volunteered his own time to get it put in in time for kids day, which is the 6th of September, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

The adults in the pictures are Mayor Connie Gloede, Bud Gloede and Doris Schrieber and some of the town kids.

One Saturday morning during our coffee, Francis and Ruth Baker, who are in their late 80's,decided to try out the new teeter totter.. I guess the equipment is even for the young at heart.