The Three Day Hikes

By Keith Gibson

The day had finally arrived in the small town of McGill, that so many parents had been anxiously awaiting.  It was that fateful day that most of us urchins would be rounded up and bused to a remote location in the mountains far from town.  We would be confined there for three days and nights with no means of escape.  We would be housed in tents and sleep on Army style cots. The meals were served in a large mess hall. There were work details such as KP.  == All activities were announced by a bugler blasting thru the clean, fresh air filled with the scent of pine trees.

The parents may be happy, but we boys were happier.  We were out of the clutches of the parents for 3 glorious, fun filled days.  We hiked, played games and learned a lot of great things about wildlife.  Camp Success is a beautiful place to be confined to and we owed it all to the McGill Community League, Boy Scouts of America and Kennecott Copper Corp.  The League was formulated in 1925 under the guidance of J. C. Kinnear, who had just been promoted to General Mgr.  The League was funded by each worker paying fifty cents a month and that amount being matched by KCC.

The League funded many activities such as baseball teams, the swimming pool, horse corrals, rodeo arena and many other sports activities.  There were card parties and dances for the adults.  A fond memory was the large box of chocolates deposited at our front door on Christmas morning and the Santa Claus party for the kids, held in the I.O.O.F. hall, Cypress Hall and later at the McGill movie theater. Every kid received a huge stocking filled with nuts, oranges and a small toy.  These stockings were a treasure doing the WW11 years when so many things were rationed and hard to get.

The League put a lot into the local passion for baseball.  The Twilight League teams played several times a week in the evening at the old ball park.  There was a terrific sense of pride in the community because of the League.  People volunteered in so many ways.  I remember in the spring how a large group would show up at the ball park with fine toothed rakes.  We would line up in a row at the ditch at the top of the outfield and rake towards home plate.  We accumulated quite a pile of racks that KCC hauled away.  It is hard to explain this to anyone that didn’t live thru that time frame.

The third and final day of our time at Camp Success arrived too quickly.  It was time to go back to civilization, or whatever it was called.  There was one benefit in going back to town.  That was the fact that the League rounded up all the girls to be bused to the camp for their three day hikes.  We boys had the run of the town for 3 glorious days.  I am sure the girls felt the same way when we were out of their hair for a while.

Thanks to the McGill Community League we old timers have a lot of terrific memories.  A more detailed account can be found in “Making America’s Copper”, my second book on growing up in McGill.