Elton Scott Shove Memorial Campway
Cooperstown, NY
Otschodela Council BSA, Oneonta, NY
 
by Donald L. Tuttle
This campground [the property was never developed as a full-fledged Boy Scout camp] was established in the memory of Elton Scott Shove, an 18-year old Cooperstown High School senior who lost his life on the eve of his high school graduation in 1960. Elton Shove died in a gruesome four-student auto accident on the night of his graduating class dance. Elton was to have graduated with his Class of 1960 the next day and had been enlisted to join the U.S. Navy.
Elton's parents and siblings were all active in Scouting; Elton's father Edward had been a Cubmaster of Pack 12 in Cooperstown in the early 1950's and a recipient of Otschodela Council's Silver Beaver Award in 1963. Brother Gary Shove was also a Scout. "Elton loved baseball and Boy Scouts", says sister Bessie, " so my parents set about creating a memorial to my brother on some property they had on the eastern side of Otsego Lake.
At first the campground consisted of little more than an entrance archway and staked-out overnight camping sites as a facility for Boy Scout troops visiting the Cooperstown area attractions. Later a dirt-lot baseball diamond was added in the hope that the property would see more local day use. A picnic pavilion was planned but never built.
The Shove family eventually deeded the property to the Otschodela Council with the hope the Boy Scout council would develop the property as a sort of Cooperstown subcamp to the council Crumhorn Mt. Camp near Oneonta, but the council's stewardship was not much better. Finally, citing declining use, liability costs and the lack of onsite supervision, the property was sold.
A single patch (above) created to promote the campground still turns up occasionally in local collections of Scout patches forty years later. The baseball hat-shaped patch features a BSA gateway and a baseball reading "Cooperstown New York" on the lower right and a "Elton Scott Shove Memorial Campway" signboard on the lower left. The patch is a more lasting reminder of the tragic back story that spawned it than the memorial campground it was intended to promote. Elton Scott Shove is not forgotten.

  Updated September 14, 2003