Many of New York City Mission Society’s Minisink Programs (Camp Minisink, programs at the camp, the honor societies that formed at the camp, and programs held at the Minisink Townhouse from the 1930s to the early 1990s) have active alumni associations. Click on the above links to learn more about each.
The Drum and Bugle Corps was founded in 1937 by Mr. Daniel Taylor of New York City Mission Society’s Harlem Unit (Minisink). The Corps was co-ed, with the female members playing the bells. The Corps marched in parades as separate units in their respective boroughs. All three units would come together for major parades such as Armed Forces Day and Veterans’ Day. The Corps would compete among themselves during this period, since they were not allowed to join competing circuits. The Corps had an opportunity to compete against the Holy Name Cadets (Garfield Cadets) in 1939, but was denied entry due to their race.
Throughout its 50-year history, the Drum and Bugle Corps, which would later be called the Minisink Warriors, the CMCC Warriors, and finally the Warriors Drum and Bugle Corps, would face and overcome racism to become the premier drum corps in New York City. The Warriors traveled throughout the country, performed at major parades and sporting events, and competed on the world-renowned Drum Corps International circuit! Under the leadership of several dynamic directors, instructors, and visionaries, the Warriors won numerous championships.
The Warriors Drum and Bugle Corps’ legacy is not only one of musical excellence and overcoming racism, it is also the development of positive young men and women who have gone on to become productive citizens and leaders in their communities.
The Tapawingo Honor Society, founded in 1942, was a program through which young people were given final preparation for service as counselors at Camp Minisink. The word Tapawingo, meaning “House of Joy,” derives from the name given to a young women’s cabin at the camp. Since 1949, upwards of 700 young people have been accepted into the Society and have gone on to be leaders in countless fields of endeavor.
Though no longer operated by New York City Mission Society, the Tapawingo Honor Society still exists. It endeavors to meet its original purpose by conducting “…camps and classes held in urban and outdoor locations that offer camp counseling and training programs designed to assist youth and young adults with leadership and development.”
The New York City Mission Cadet Corps was an outgrowth of the Minisink Regimental Band (Drum Corps) that met at the Minisink Townhouse, then located at 348 Convent Avenue in Harlem. The Cadet Corps, founded in 1946 by Mr. Wilbert E. Burgie, was originally named the Camp Minisink Cadet Corps. The first cadet unit also held its meetings at the Minisink Townhouse.
The Cadet Corps capitalized on the country’s pride in its military to engage young men (and later young women) in paramilitary training that required the utmost discipline and included marching, a rank structure, leadership training, and officers’ training. In 1965, the group was renamed the New York City Mission Cadet Corps. This name reflected the citywide reach of the program, which by that time maintained cadet units in numerous churches throughout the city, and served over 1,000 youth each year.
From 1947 until early 1990s, led by Mr. Burgie and Mr. Frank W. Jones (its only two executive directors) and such notables as Mr. James A. Lathan, Sr. and Ms. Debbie McKune, the New York City Mission Cadet Corps inducted over 10,000 cadets and offered many other educational, arts, cultural, leadership, and social service programs to youth and families in the city.
The opening of the original Camp Minisink in 1929 gave birth to the Minisink Honor Society for young men, which was renamed the Order of the Pines in 1937. Designed to combat the shortage of male staff at Camp Minisink, it sought to promote fellowship among the young men and aid in the development and selection of male leaders to support Camp Minisink and New York City Mission Society.
In 1946, the organizers sought to revive the concept of the Order of the Pines with the introduction of the Order of the Feather. These men became the first members of the Order of the Bonnet, founded in 1948 by Mr. Herbert Von King and Rev. Dudley DeCosta Cobham. Under the organizers’ leadership and supervision the older brothers of the Feather were inducted into the Order of the Bonnet and gave direction and leadership to their younger brothers (the Order of the Feather). The Bonnet also gave service to Camp Minisink and New York City Mission Society.
The young men of “the Feather” became leaders, following in the footsteps of their founders who were outstanding local and international leaders. Their motto is “Follow the Gleam.”
The Pen and Scroll Military Fraternity originated in 1964 by Mr. Wilbert E. Burgie, Mr. Ronald W. Watson, Mr. James C. Cooke Jr., Honorable Mr. Van J. Leggett, Mr. Roberto Barrigan Jr., and Mr. William W. Clark Jr.
The Pen and Scroll Military Fraternity was designed to meet the needs for comradeship and fraternalism among the senior officers of the New York City Mission Cadet Corps. The fraternity emphasized the principles that go into the formation of any well-rounded officer: maturity, motivation, military, and mission to its maximum. Pen and Scroll aimed to provide an atmosphere to help its participants grow through brotherhood and understanding, and to develop their maximum intellectual potential as well.
Living up to their motto—“Enter to Learn. Go Forth and Serve!”—the members of the Pen and Scroll continue to serve today’s youth.
The Phoenix Sorority was established July 30, 1994 at New York City Mission Society’s Minisink Townhouse. This organization was founded to help develop positive, young women in the community through programs that build self-esteem, leadership skills, and sisterhood.
The mission of the Phoenix Sorority is to ensure the preservation of culture amid sisters of the African Diaspora through programs that will promote self-confidence while instilling conscious values recognizing the family, community, and ever-changing society.
1. To develop a true and enduring bond of sisterhood among its members.
2. To serve Minisink Townhouse and support all of its programs.
3. To promote academic success among its members and the community.
4. To promote social and cultural awareness regarding the African Diaspora.
5. To serve the community by creating and supporting various programs for the family’s and community’s empowerment.
6. To increase awareness of physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellness on a group and individual basis.
The Phoenix Sorority focuses on the following program areas: cultural awareness, education, family/community, health/wellness, sisterhood, social awareness, and women’s history.