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Local Boy Scouts mark 100 years

The Tecumseh District of the Simon Kenton Council Boy Scouts of America will host a 100th anniversary celebration and open house at Camp Oyo on Sept. 25. Willis Hoy of Russell, Ky., has been collecting Boy Scout memorabilia since 1965 and has an extensive collection to display.

PORTSMOUTH — As part of the 100th anniversary of Scouting in the United States, the Tecumseh District of the Simon Kenton Council Boy Scouts of America is hosting a 100th Anniversary Celebration and Open House at Camp Oyo in West Portsmouth on Saturday, Sept. 25.

The Open House is scheduled between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“With a rich history in Scouting in our area, we felt it was only fitting to hold a celebration at Camp Oyo in recognition of Scouting’s 100th Anniversary,” said Vicky Hatcher, event coordinator. “We want the public to come out to celebrate, participate and experience Scouting at its best in Southern Ohio.”

Scouts from Scioto, Lawrence, Adams and Greenup counties will demonstrate their skills including fire building, rope making, and communications to name a few.

A Frontier Living display by the Long Hunters promises to be of great interest with tanning demonstrations and cooking over deflective rocks. There will be many interactive displays for Scouts and visitors alike to get hands on experiences. “Scouting is filled with adventure and we want everyone to share in the adventure while having a good time”, said Josh Howard, Tecumseh District Chairman.

Activities include a Pinewood Derby track with cars available for racing. Past and present Cub Scouts are encouraged to bring out their own pinewood derby cars for a run down the track. One Cub Scout Pack will set-up a Rain-Gutter Regatta where participants can race a seven inch sailboat down a 10-foot rain gutter by blowing on the sail. Visitors may also get a taste of camping with samples offered by units demonstrating Dutch oven cooking or try their hand at building a pinecone bird house to take home with them.

Displays of Scout memorabilia will be found throughout the camp. Visitors can view an extensive collection of BSA memorabilia including the original Scout handbook dating back to 1911 along with old Scout knives, axes, uniforms and other vintage camping gear and equipment in the camp’s dining hall. An array of Camp Oyo memorabilia will be on display in Boyd Lodge with patch trading available as well.

One of the Council’s troops from the 2010 Jamboree will display National Jamboree memorabilia and hold a decommission ceremony at 3 p.m. These displays offer a look-back into the rich history of Scouting in the area as well as in the USA.

Camp tours and special activities provided by area organizations and individuals will be ongoing throughout the day. Live music by area musicians including Josie Feagan and Dennis Hawkins will resound throughout the campgrounds. Visitors can enjoy a Tomahawk Throwing demonstration by Rusty Larter, a Native American Dance Team as well as the OA dance-team and the Ranger from Shawnee State Forest is bringing live snakes and critters. Both the archery range and BB gun range will be open for hands-on experiences.

Eagle Scout Franklin T. Gerlach is serving as chairman of the “Gathering of Eagles,” a reunion for all Eagle Scouts in the area.

Eagle Scouts are encouraged to attend the special reception between 1 and 2 p.m. whether they earned their Eagle rank in the local Council or elsewhere. All Eagle Scouts in attendance will receive a unique commemorative patch.

The Camp Oyo Staff and Alumnae Association is holding their annual Alumnae Reunion in conjunction with the centennial Open House. Anyone who served on the staff or has an interest in Camp Oyo is encouraged to attend whether or not they are a member of the Association. “This is a great opportunity for former Boy Scout and Cub Scout campers as well as adult Scout leaders to share their memories of fun and fellowship as well as their training experiences with one another“, said George Leightenheimer, President of the Association.

A Centennial BBQ is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. including a dinner with pulled pork, BBQ chicken, cole slaw, baked beans, beverage and Anniversary cake for a cost of $10 per person.

It is recommended tickets be purchased in advance and are available at the local Boy Scout Service Center at 318 Chillicothe Street or by calling 740-354-2811.

Southern Ohio and Camp Oyo are rich in Scouting’s history. The first Eagle Scouts in the State of Ohio were from Scioto County in 1914. The original Scout Council for the area was established in 1911 and was one of the first three groups organized in America and the areas first Cub Scout Packs date back to 1933. Camp Oyo, located in the Shawnee Forest region, saw its first contingent of Scouts in 1927. Some of the original buildings and points of interest are still in use today, including the original eight-sided dining hall, the swimming pool and shower house, the Cooks Cabin and the flagpole. Today, seven cabins are available for sleeping along with numerous sites for tent camping. The tall stately pines along Route 125, planted by Scouts in 1930, are much taller now, but the true spirit of Camp Oyo lives on for many area Boy Scouts. Camp Oyo is currently one of six camps operated by the Simon Kenton Council and offers High Adventure camping for older Scouts, Cub Day Camp as well as District sponsored campouts throughout the year.

The Simon Kenton Council is one of the largest Boy Scout councils in the nation serving seven counties in central and southern Ohio and Greenup County in Kentucky. The Tecumseh District is one of 11 traditional Scouting districts which serves specific school districts and communities within Scioto, Lawrence and Adams counties in Ohio and Greenup county in Kentucky. The Council is staffed by 22 professional Scouters with over 8,000 adult volunteers delivering the Scouting program to more than 40,000 youth. More than 550 charter partner organizations sponsor more than 800 Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Venturing, and Exploring units in the Council. The Council’s goal is to be the premiere leader in youth development by delivering on the promise to provide character development, citizenship training, personal fitness and fun. The values we strive to instill are based on those found in the Scout Oath and Law and Outdoor Code.

“We are really looking forward to the public coming out and seeing what the Boy Scouts offer and enjoy a day at Camp Oyo'” Hatcher said. “It’s an opportunity for everyone to take a step back in time while we move on into the next one hundred years of the Boy Scout program.”