David Porter, EB Staff 1987 – 1996
Nature/Nature Director, Ranger Director, Program Director
Growing up, I could see Catalina from my church on a clear day. My troop attended Emerald Bay every summer I was hired off the porch in 1987. During my time on Staff, we faced the drama of the camp’s pending sale to the Cousteau Society. Fortunately, public pressure helped save the camp. I worked alongside Camp Director Toby Sharp for two years as Program Director before spending my final two years at camp as Ranger Director. I’m particularly proud of the great “Natureman Cast” of David Smith, Andrew Wilder, Bryan Silver, Sean Gardinier, and Jeff Smith.
After finishing my Master’s degree in History at Pepperdine University I moved to the East Coast to attend George Washington University, where I earned my Ph. D. in US History. My work was on regions of the nation that sought to declare their independence from the rest of the country. My dissertation was on the nearly successful efforts of Kentucky to become an independent nation in the mid-1790s, and the one (highly corrupt) individual that nearly made that a reality.
I am now a full Professor of History at Northern Virginia Community College where I have been teaching since 2000.
I met and married my wife Audra in Washington DC and our two boys (Luke and Will) are each Life Scouts (though the final part of Luke’s project is set for March 26th). After ten years as a Cubmaster, I am now our Troop Committee Chair and an assistant Crew leader. In 2021 Luke and I hiked in Philmont and last summer Will and I whitewater rafted at Summit Bechtel Scout Reservation.
Camp Emerald Bay was a big part of my life growing up. All through high school and college I spent my summer on the island. I have fun memories and I can still remember when Lee Harrison and I canoed the “baby white” to blue caverns and then ridiculously high waves got us a tow back to camp. I was fortunate that I had such a great formative experience and made good friends, learned many useful skills and had such incredible opportunities. I was blessed to be able to have Emerald Bay in my life and hope that it continues to offer all youth such opportunities for another 100.
Scott Porter, EB Staff 1991-1995
Emerald Bay has been, and will continue to be a large part of my life. I have shared Emerald Bay with my friends, my father, my wife, my daughters, my troop members, and especially my brother since I first visited as a camper in 1986. I served on staff starting at the end of 1991, through 1995.
I too, remember spending my youth looking at my home in Catalina across the channel. I also remember spending my youth looking at my home in Palos Verdes back across that same channel.
I now live one mile from my childhood home in Rancho Palos Verdes, with my wife (Stacey), and my two daughters (Naomi (18) and Sarah (15)). Stacey is a school teacher. Naomi and Sarah are in high school. Each has earned their Eagle Scout ranks and their Girl Scout Gold Awards. I am now an attorney in private practice and primarily represent cities private parties interacting with local government.
It was just a few weeks back when our family was talking about our “happy place.” Both of my daughters listed Emerald Bay. Clearly, they have been raised right. 🙂
So great to hear about Dave and Scott. Their success. Their families. I worked with each for a few summers. Dave mentioned the same memories that I have. Especially the campfires. I would also add the antics in Nature and all the fun times just hanging out. They were real assets to everyone’s camp experience. They also helped me to become a better staff member.
I was lucky enough to work with both of the Porters…just two great gentlemen
Fascinating to read about these two former members of EB’s staff. I am increasingly persuaded that there is a book in all of this. I would think the theme might be the long-range impact of this unique staff experience on who you have become. How did it affect your sense of being, your commitment to being a part of civil society, your leadership skills, your capacity for problem solving, and so much more.
My own experience pre-dates both David and Scott’s time at EB by quite a few years. I was a camper in 1954 and on staff in 1956, 57 and 58. I am clear about the impact of that experience on me and, by observation, on others. This clarity is what brought me to write editorials for local papers during that scary time when EB was threatened by takeover by high-end underwater tourism.
If there is interest in such a book, I’d love to help. As a retired academic, I might even be useful.
I know this is a far shot.. and the possibility of finding it are very slim. My dad had a 1956-57 Chevy panel truck in the late 70’s early 80’s and has always talked about that truck and wanting to find it. He had sold it in the late 70’s to early 80’s to someone who said it was going out to Catalina island to the Boy Scout camp. He was living in Norwalk, CA at the time.
I see people finding their fathers first vehicle or dream vehicle and would love to turn this into one of those stories. If there is anyone out there who was around the camp then or could put me in touch with someone who was.. I would greatly appreciate it! I know it’s a reach.. but I have to try.