Lansing Rec Camp and Ice CreamNick Pidlypchack handing out ice cream to Lansing Rec campers last Friday

This was an exciting week at Lansing Rec. Department's summer camp.  Aesop's Fables at the Hangar Theatre.  Games every day.  And flooding in Myers Park.  But the last day of camp was, perhaps the best: free ice cream from Nick Pidlypchack, the ice cream man.

"As an end of the year type of thing I thought about getting the ice cream man down here and have a good time with it," says Camp Director Dan Cheatham.  Cheatham noted that when asked to bring his truck to the park Friday, he volunteered to provide the ice cream for free.  "It's a good chunk of change.  We really appreciate him doing it."

Pidlypchack bought a used ice cream truck ten years ago, got it running and began selling ice cream all over Tompkins County and some of the neighboring communities.  He re-branded it 'Meg-A-Moo's', named after his girlfriend's daughter, and over the past decade the calliope tones playing 'Turkey in the Straw' has meant Meg-A-Moo's is pulling in, chock-full of ice cream.

"I do about 160 events in the summer," he says.  "I do a lot of fund raisers all over Tompkins County, some in Cortland, and one or two in Cayuga County."

In addition, Pidlypchack is a bus driver for the Ithaca School District, is a volunteer fireman for the Dryden Fire Department Neptune Hose Company.  The ice cream truck is sometimes another way to see kids he drives to school.

Last Friday marked the last day of the five one-week camp sessions.  About 45 campers attended the session.  That kept Cheatham and his counselors -- six full time and one part time -- busy.  This summers torrential rainstorms provided an added challenge.  Cheatham and his staff had to be quick on their feet to adapt each day's activities when the area where camp is usually held was flooded.

Rec Department Day CampCamp Director Dan Cheatham holds the menu while day campers make their choises for free ice cream on the last day of camp last Friday

"The first three days were hit or miss with the weather," he says.  "We had to be stationed in Pavilion D because of the extensive flooding we had.  We had to change a lot of the games.  We had to move it more into (the small playground area) and not use the main playground as much."

That has not discouraged him.  Cheatham will be earning a masters degree in social work at SUNY Binghamton, but he says he would like to manage the camp again next summer if his school schedule allows.