The Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts involved in Culver Summer Schools & Camps’ two troops have been busy restoring, refurbishing, and rebuilding various sites around Woodcraft Camp over the past five weeks.
The major project is the restoration of a 1930s-era totem pole that Maj. Dick Zimmerman had in storage. Maj. Mary Szymusiak, who serves as the scoutmaster for Woodcraft’s boys and girls scout troops, said the scouts have cleaned and repaired the totem and are in the process of repainting it.
Other projects have included repainting the symbols on the floors in Woodcraft Headquarters, cleaning the tack in the Vaughn Equestrian Center, refurbishing the signs along the scouting trail, and clearing the brush and repainting the signs along the ecology trail, she said.
“We are stressing service to others,” she said, along with the 12 core values of scouting (citizenship, compassion, cooperation, courage, faith, health and fitness, honesty, perseverance, positive attitude, resourcefulness, respect, and responsibility).
The service to others includes individual projects like the knot board made by one camper so people practicing their knot-tying skills can see a three-dimensional example. Szymusiak said it is much better than looking at an illustration on a piece of paper.
Two campers have undertaken the refurbishment of the Woodcraft basketball courts. One replaced the nets on each hoop and both are now repainting the foul lanes.
Approximately 100 campers take the scouting classes, which rotate every two weeks. Some campers – especially Top-Notch campers – take the class again, and they end up mentoring the new students, Szymusiak said.
The first scouting lesson covers safety and the handling of outdoor tools. Capt. Shannon Barton said the campers then learn how to cut firewood, build camp fires, and cook over open flames. There have been no accidents except for the melted marshmallow on everyone’s shorts after the campers made s’mores, he said.
Recipes have included banana boats and various kinds of chili. The final cooking lesson will be a cake baked in a dutch oven. The chili lesson turned into a cook-off with Barton winning with his smoked turkey and white bean recipe. The other recipes were vegetarian, lamb, venison, and regular beef chili.
A work in progress is the tomahawk target range, Barton said. The targets will be made from recycled timbers from the original location of the Woodcraft bell and two large sections from a fallen cottonwood tree. The scouts helped prepare the wood and the next step to attach the targets to the timber frames, which will take some heavy equipment, he said.
Boy Scout Troop 261 has been a mainstay of the Woodcraft program through the years. Girls Scout Troop 20303 became part of Woodcraft Camp just before the 2012 Centennial. Interestingly enough, the Girl Scouts were also celebrating its centennial last summer, too, Szymusiak said.