The Nimrod Club: Lumberjack or Prep Student—You Decide
“Every youth should learn to do something finely and thoroughly with his hand. Let him once learn to take a straight shaving off a plank or draw a fine curve without faltering, and he has learned a multitude of other matters which no lips of man could ever teach him.” — Theodate Pope Riddle, Founder
Does anyone know where the name ‘Nimrod’ comes from? No, it's not what you call your son when he is misbehaving! The term Nimrod actually comes from the Old Testament. Nimrod was the King of Shinar—the region of Mesopotamia. The name Nimrod means ‘skilled hunter.’
Okay, so is the Nimrod Club a hunting club at an all-boys high school? No, not really. Wyatt Reller ‘18, who is the president of this year’s Nimrod Club, explains that "The Nimrod Club is an outdoor woodsman club oriented towards community service around campus. We keep the trails on our 860 acre campus clear of debris and we provide firewood for events and faculty."
Wait, how did the Nimrod Club start?
1939 Yearbook Description of the Nimrod Club
While the Nimrod Club no longer buys birds or collects dues, the group still exists to care for our land with integrity and purpose.
“The club was started by Verne Priest, who was hired by Mrs. Riddle, the school’s founder, to teach the students how to manage a forest. The club’s origins included small game hunting. Our cabin was originally a sugar house for when the club made maple syrup, and is now used for Tuesday night dinners, and storage of club supplies.”
So, what can I expect as a member of the Nimrod Club?
“On Sunday mornings, we meet in the refectory at 9:30 a.m. for brunch, and we have a two-hour crew from ten to noon. So while some students may be sleeping in, we're outside working together and having fun.”
How do I join?
Students take a break from class to stock Beaver Pond.
“Many don't know that all you have to do is show up to join. This year I hope to get a lot of new members. I became involved because a few of my friends were members. We also have dinners at the cabin on Tuesday nights where we cook hamburgers in casual dress, but you can only show up if you’re a member or if you went to the crew the previous Sunday. That has always been the reason many students would come to the crews, but we have a saying, "You come for the dinners, but you stay for the crews.”
What did you know prior to Nimrod? And what do you know now, as a 4-year member and president of the club?
“I had experience cutting wood with my dad, but most members don’t have experience prior to joining Nimrod. I also never used a splitting maul to split wood; Nimrod was the first place I used one. I've learned about many different species of trees, how to build a fire, and how much of an impact we have on the environment. As a club, we help the forest grow, and keep fire danger low, because we remove all the dead trees, ridding the forest of dry wood that would be fuel for a fire, and giving saplings room to grow.”
2016 Nimrod Club
The Nimrod Club may have been started by a faculty member years ago, but most of our clubs are student-driven. Our robust club list—offering over forty clubs each year—provides a platform for leadership among the student body. Each year, new boys will be elected or appointed to presidential positions for each club. Most of the time, these boys are filling leadership positions for the first time, which then provides them with the confidence to lead in other disciplines, too.
At Avon, our boys will be members of four to five clubs each year, and our schedule in the fall and spring seasons allows for the boys to meet with their perspective clubs on Monday mornings during our club/activities block, so the students don't have to sacrifice academic time to gather as a club; therefore, our boys can balance the many different demands that 24 hours may present.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Avon Old Farms Class of 2011
Director of Financial Aid