by Doug Coy
August 21, 1999
Up On The Rooftop
However, his destination was rather unique.
Mr. Patterson was heading up to the roof of city hall where he planned to camp out for at least the next four days. It’s all part of an effort to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County.
On top of the roof a camping tent has been set up, along with a patio set where those making donations can join Mr. Patterson for lunch or a photograph. Letters detailing Mr. Patterson’s expedition and seeking pledges for each hour he spends on the roof were sent out earlier this month.
The funds raised will go to support the youth programs offered by the Boys and Girls Club. Mr. Patterson serves on the club’s board of directors.
While he has camped out before and owns his own equipment, Mr. Patterson admitted four-plus days or more on a rooftop is more of an expedition than he is used to.
“Two or three days of camping at Darien Lake is what we call camping,” he said with a laugh.
Mr. Patterson said he came up with the idea for the fundraiser after seeing something on television about the billboard-sitting craze a few years ago.
He cited cases where a sports announcer whose team was losing would go up on a billboard and stay there until the team won.
“I said to Lynn (Dorler, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club) ‘that’s a good idea,’” Mr. Patterson said.
After looking at the billboards in the area and noticing most were of a narrow, single- board style, Mr. Patterson said the idea of a rooftop campout might be more suitable.
With the idea in place, Mr. Patterson said the search for an adequate rooftop began. He explained city hall seemed like a natural choice, given its location in the heart of downtown.
So what is the biggest challenge of rooftop camping?
“The weather, probably, if it gets real hot or real wet,” Mr. Patterson said.
Mr. Patterson spent time earlier this week designing a pallet system to keep his tent off the roof. He explained this is essential should it rain as the roof is flat. It seems to be time well spent, with heavy rain Friday afternoon and showers in the forecast again today.
Mr. Patterson plans to spend at least 100 hours on the roof, which would take him into Tuesday.
“I’ll stay up there longer if there are enough pledges to make it worthwhile,” Mr. Patterson said, adding the goal is to spend between 100 and 150 hours on the roof.
However, there is a definite limit to Mr. Patterson’s rooftop expedition – a family vacation is scheduled for August 26.
“I’ll have to come down by the 26th,” Mr. Patterson said. “My wife thinks I’m insane as it is.”
A group of children from the Boys and Girls club came by around noon on Friday to wish Mr. Patterson good luck with his adventure. The children carried signs they had made.