The following is the text of an article posted in the East Lodge at Treasure Valley, describing how Treasure Valley came to be a Scout camp:
You can talk all you want to about the "rising generation". but there are some people who are doing something about it. Of course they don't know as much about boys as we fellows who have spent so much time discussing them that we have never had time to do anything., but they figure that if they put time and energy and money and love into it, something good will come of it all, and the boys will at least learn to put time and energy and money and love into whatever they have to do and the world will drive forward. Then of course it's barely possible that these men who believe in living contact with the boys really know more about them than we theorists who have studied them from the light of our inner consciousness. At any rate, let's see what they are doing, then if we don't like it we can put time and energy and money and love into our ideas of training and service and everybody will be even.
The Boy Scouts of America believe in out-door life for boys. They believe that a boy ought to be able to go into the woods and cut down his own dead wood and and cut it up and make a fire on a rainy day with one match and put up his own tent and cook his own grub and bunk comfortably for the night, take a swim in the morning and be prepared for a 20-mile hike before doing the same thing the next night. They believe that the boy should be able to make an intelligible map of his course showing the characteristics of the country he is passing through; that he should be able to identify the trees, animals, birds and flowers; that he should know the ethics of camping so that he will leave a clean safe camping place and be able to give courteous and correct information to anybody he may meet; in brief that he should be trained to be self reliant, clean and courteous. The Boy Scouts of America believe in other training too of a more personal and character forming nature but the outdoor training is what we are concerned with at the present time. The basic item is the building of a sound body and an alert mind.
Everybody knows that the Worcester Council of that Boy Scouts of America has maintained a summer camp at Glen Echo, Charlton for years. It was a good camp for what it had to do when it started. At any rate it was the best available at the time. But as the Worcester scout body grew the Charlton camp became inadequate. Conditions as to water supply and sanitation were becoming dangerous and the Council found itself in the position of being compelled to abandon an activity that had ceased to represent the idea for which it was conducted. In addition to having become a threat the camp was out grown. It did not give space for the 500 boys who used it last year and it's few acres of woodland were too restricted for the proper carrying out of camp and woodcraft activities.
The situation had been visibly approaching for some time and the Council had been searching for two years for a suitable place. The main requirements were that the site should be isolated so as to provide the boys with nearly pioneering conditions as possible for hiking in wild country. It should have variety of terrain if possible - hill, valley, stream and woodland. It should be spacious enough to give the boys ample country to wander and work over without clashing with "no trespassing" signs. And it should be within reach of available finances. The last named conditions does not mean that it should be within the sum in possession of the Council. Scout work isn't run as a money making venture. The money would have to be an investment of members of the community for the boys of the community and because all real men are still boys the Council was confident that when it found the place it could find the money.
FOUND A WONDERFUL PLACE
Well it found the place. A wonderful place! Ideal for the building of healthy ideas and healthy efficiency into boys! Woodland, hill, valley, ravine, stream and a lake a mile long by three quarters of a mile wide! It has space to the extent of 500 acres, which is over three quarters of a square mile and it has several hundred thousand feet of standing timber including much fine pine growth.
It is situated far enough out to be isolated and not too far to be reachable-about eleven miles and a half. The farmhouse is in Paxton and the land lies in four townships, Spencer, Oakham, Rutland, and Paxton. It is the place known as the Browning Homestead, once a show place and famous for raising of fine stock. It was the property of Arthur Monroe of Spencer and the sale price was $17,000.
Seventeen thousand dollars is a lot of money, either relatively, positively or any other way. As far as the treasury of the Worcester Council of the Boy Scouts of America was concerned it might as well have been seventeen million. But on the executive committee of the council were men who know how to get things done; men who, importance figures in the business world, feel the importance and the joy of work among boys. We are not going to mention their names because this isn't a personal story. It is a story of something done disinterestedly and just for the joy of doing it by hundreds of men. This this is how they did it.
CIVIC CLUBS INTERESTED
They did it through the nine combined civic clubs of Worcester. These clubs are the: Avoda, Civitan, Exchange, Harmony, Kiwanis, Lions, Reciprocity, Rotary and Quota. These as you know are clubs of business men and business women and represent practically the entire business life of the city.
On the executive committee of the council were men connected with one or another of several of these clubs and most of these clubs have committees of their own dealing with boy's activities. So it naturally came about that somebody proposed seeking the help of the civic clubs. Well they didn't have to seek very far because no sooner had the board of directors of one club offered it's services than the other clubs came hurrying along to the Scouts and saying, "How come? When it comes to boys we're all boys except those of us who are fortunate enough to be girls and we all want a hand in this thing. Let's get together."
No sooner said than done a meeting of the presidents and chairmen of boys activities of all the clubs was called and they appointed a committee to represent them. Somebody suggested that they investigate the possibility of the combined clubs making a gift of the farm to the Boy Scouts and each president undertook to put the matter up to his or her board of directors. The boards of directors unanimously agreed to put the matter before their clubs.
Speakers were appointed to go to the meetings of the various clubs. Nothing could have hit the members harder than the idea of doing something so permanently constructive for the boys. It had every possible element of appeal. It wouldn't be doing something for the boys just once and having it pass into the forgetfulness of things done and done with. It wouldn't even be doing something for just one generation of boys. It would be for generation after generation 100, 200, perhaps 300 or 400 years of boys, generation after generation of these benefiting by this one act. Somebody once created the phrase, "A magnificent gesture" This is it. and like all really magnificent gestures it isn't a gesture at all but a spontaneous response to something simple and fundamental and fine.
CLUBS PLEDGE $17,000
The clubs unanimously agreed to purchase the Browning Homestead as a gift to the Worcester Council of The Boy Scouts of America and decided to organize a drive among their members for the pledging of the sum of $17,000. all to be raised during the year 1926.
Each club has organized a team Each member of the team is to see ten members and each member will pledge whatever he can afford or whatever he feels the project demands of him, in four payments to be made in February, May, August and November. In the meantime, a Worcester friend of the Scouts has made an initial downpayment to hold the property until the deal is consummated.
To what purpose will the Worcester Council of the Boy Scouts of America put the Browning Homestead and farm? The Worcester Council represents a district embracing Worcester and 15 neighboring towns. It has a present enrollment of over 1000 and expects to have within a period of five years an enrollment of 2000 to 2500. During the past summer it accommodated 500 boys at its summer camp in Charleton. The summer camp at Paxton will open on July 1 for a period of eight weeks. But the summer camp, while it is at present the major activity of the Scouts in this direction is by no means the only one. They had the use of the property since last fall and parties of scouts have been going there under the guidance of their scout masters throughout the winter. There they lean a lot about winter activities and the winter life of animals and the winter condition of inanimate nature. The land formation is of such diversified nature as to provide them with a wide variety of opportunities for study and recreation.
The acres of cut-over land will be use for reforestation projects and the boys will gain valuable information from the lectures and actual work of foresters dealing with the suitability of the soil for certain trees, their time of planting and period of growth and other essential features of tree culture. This is expected to be one of the most valuable features of the work at Paxton. Through the extensive woods the boys will learn woodcraft that will be real woodcraft. Within their own domain they will be able to travel through the miles of woods that will be the peaceful home of all kinds of birds and whatever animals are native to the district.
A game preserve will be established throughout the farm and the proper ways of caring for wild game both during their mating seasons, their period of growth and through the trying time of winter. Under such conditions nature study will naturally play a most prominent part in the work of the boys.
The fine lake will provide them with water sports to their heats content - canoeing, swimming and the stunts and fun that demand a maximum amount of noise and a maximum degree of alertness.
And then there is the house and the camp sites. So far we've talked only about the $17,000 to be raised by the civic clubs for the purchase of the place but the civic clubs resemble all other truly helpful agencies in that they help those who help themselves. So in addition to the $17,000 there's $6000 to be raised among council members of the Boy Scouts for building repairs and other developments and $2000 to be raised among scouts and their parents for waterworks.
HOUSE TO BE RENOVATED
The house will be renovated. Perhaps a caretaker will be put in with the idea of cultivating part of the farm. The present plan is that certain parts of the farmhouse will be used of a museum for scout work such as nature study construction work, woodcraft illustrations and such of the host of other things taught to scouts as can be made the subject of exhibition. It will probably also contain a reading room and perhaps a gymnasium.
The summer camp will be located on the east shore of the lake. Every precaution will be taken to insure a sanitary camp with an adequate and pure water supply. On the opposite shore a winter camp site is contemplated.
A Scrutiny of the map will show the splendid advantages of the property for the use to which it will be dedicated. Its elevations varying from 800 to 1050 feet; its streams suitable for fishing and experiments in bridge building; it extensive woods; its stump land, all offer opportunities for some form of activity both beneficial and instructive.
And now you must visualize the joy of 1000 boys, many, many time repeated through many, many golden years. And you will realize that this wonderful and beautiful gift is not merely a gift to the Boy Scouts of America. It is a gift in perpetuity to the entire community.
Page updated 10/25/10.