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Camp @ Fishkill- Why we go and why is it so important.

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 by Staff

The tradition of Sachem Summer camp began in the early 70's under Long Island Sports Hall Of Fame Head football Coach Fred Fusaro.

Coach Fusaro believed that the camp offered an opportunity for the boys on the team to experience life away from home under a supervised environment. The opportunity to totally concentrate on footbal also allowed the coaches to have the young boys full attention all day long as compared to staying home during this part of pre-season.

The football program attended many different camps during those early years each one offering different challenges to running a successful safe camp. In 1983 the camp was moved to the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill NY. The Fresh Air Fund had never had a football team at one of their camps. When the 1983 team departed after their week long stay the staff at the reservation was so impressed with the behavior of the players and the orderly fashion that the camp was run that they have been welcomed back ever since. The Sachem Football program had found a home and would attend Fishkill every year but one during the next 21 years.

The positive attributes of the Sharpe reservation and Camp Hidden Valley is the seperate living cabins for the different age groups that attend the camp. The large in ground swimming pool and the quality and amount of the food offered during the stay. The quaity of the practice facility and the availability of equipment storage makes this camp a perfect get away for the teams.

When Coach Falco the current staff took over the program in 2003 the Fishkill tradition continued. Coach Falco is a 1984 graduate of Sachem and was a member of the 1983 championship team. "My experience as a player and as a an assistant coach at Camp Fishkill was one where I gained an understanding of its importance. The camp is not about winning football games. I do believe that we have an advantage over teams that do not go to camp. This camp allows our young boys to begin the transformation into being a young man. Being away from home and having to practice this tough sort of football is a great learning experience. Playing football is an extension of the classroom and going to camp is a learning experience. I believe that offering learning experiences is part of my job as Head Coach of this program."

"We have always offered opportunities to raise the money to go to camp and no boy has ever been denied an opportunity to atend camp because of money issues. we can always work out something and have all of our boys go to camp. As long as someone someone speaks to me early in the summer we can work it out."

With the situation at the Mempham School district regarding hazing many hours were spent looking at the procedures being used at Camp Fishkill. TThe committee recomended the continuation of policies of seperate and off limit housing and seperate buses and the no radio and cell phone rule.

New procedures that were recomended and implemented included the addition of the Jr high football staff attending the camp as chaperones and the addition of two nightime security guards to patrol from 10pm to 5am.

The program has always had the No Hazing rule but continues to talk about the reasons for our procedures and our zero tolerance for any hazing activities. We also continue to encourage the reporting of any percieved hazing harassment activities to a coach or a parent/guardian.

The following is an article (next headline) from Newsday Sports about Camp at the Sharpe Reservation.

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