"Nakata, Cleven favored for camp"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:43 PM
"Nakata Park? Camp Cleven? An iconic island family and a longtime scoutmaster head the list of honorees being considered for a renamed Camp Hopkins.The Nakata family has done more for this island in the 45 years I've lived here than anybody I know, anybody I can point to, said Wayne Jacobi, one of a half-dozen citizens to propose the Nakata name for the park.Also garnering strong support, with a half-dozen or so nominations, is Richard Dick Cleven, a longtime island scoutmaster.In a written nomination, Dale and Carol Sperling praised Cleven for his service to local youngsters.His dedication to scouting, long after his own son became an Eagle Scout, is legendary, the Sperlings wrote. (He) has continued to lead innumerable outings over the years, most notably the infamous '50-miler canoe trips' (well into his 80s). Camp Hopkins was established in the 1930s on three acres of donated land near Yeomalt Point, with a Works Project Administration cabin constructed for scouting activities. It was named in honor of Major M.J. Hopkins, a regional scout leader and island resident. But the park district may change the name, after learning last year that some members of the island's Japanese-American community avoid activities there because of its association with Hopkins.The major - alternately believed to have been a retired soldier or civil engineer - helped organize a brief campaign at the end of World War II, to prevent the return of Japanese-Americans forced into internment camps by the federal government. He and several other islanders sparred repeatedly in print and at public meetings with Review editor Walt Woodward, a champion of the civil rights of those interned. In fact, many of the youths involved in Bainbridge scouting before the internment were Nisei, second-generation Japanese-Americans.A citizen committee considering the name change met Wednesday to take submissions from the public. Multiple nominations came in for Don Nakata, the Town and Country Market president, businessman and philanthropist who died last year, and scoutmaster Cleven. Arthur Barnett, another scout leader from the 1930s and supporter of the Japanese community, was also proposed.Other ideas, from a local Boy Scout troop:* Camp Sealth, Camp Chief Sealth or Camp Chief Seattle - for the region's well-known Native American leader;* Camp Endeavor - for positive spirit and motivation needed by all (young) people;* Camp Pousard - for the family that first donated land for the park;* Camp Baden-Powell - for the founders of the Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations;* Camp Adventure - for the spirit of curiosity and challenge sought by all young spirited people.* Camp Walt and Millie Woodward - for the former Review owners/publishers/editors.And from the local contingent of Brownies:* Rain Camp, Zizian Camp, Big Camp, Pine Camp, Scout Park and Camp Lucky. Reasons for those suggestions were not given.One 9-year-old boy, a committee member said, hopes the park will be called Camp Mike.Islanders Colin and Patricia Nash weighed in against historical revisionism and changing the park's name just because Hopkins' views are seen as distasteful today.We used to laugh at the Russians for rewriting their history, Colin Nash, and now you're doing the same. Nash then said that if the park is to be renamed, Cleven would be the right honoree.He introduced many boys to the camaraderie of scouting, and to the enjoyment of the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, Nash wrote in a formal submission to the committee.But district policies discourage use of the names of those still living, which may disqualify Cleven. And others suggested that the Nakata name would be squandered on a small park, when the island's next school might be a more appropriate honor.They're so prominent, there'll be plenty of opportunities to name things after them, one person said.Next week, the committee will winnow the list to three to five recommendations, which will be referred to the park board for a formal vote in April. "