Camp Hugh Taylor Birch gets $300K in upgrades ahead of camping season

The Mary Woolf Pavilion, named for a late scouting supporter who had a vision for recently completed upgrades at Camp Hugh Taylor Birch’s aquatic center, was dedicated on Saturday, June 27. Photo by Brett Turner

caption arrowCaption
The Mary Woolf Pavilion, named for a late scouting supporter who had a vision for recently completed upgrades at Camp Hugh Taylor Birch’s aquatic center, was dedicated on Saturday, June 27. Photo by Brett Turner

New conveniences await Boy Scouts from a five-county area when their summer camp season opens today.

Camp Hugh Taylor Birch, 4057 Swimming Pool Rd., in Yellow Springs, dedicated the new additions to its aquatic center on Saturday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by area scouts, scouting leaders and several of the donors and builders.

The $300,000 project includes the Mary Woolf Pavilion, named for a long-time scouting supporter and wife of Tecumseh council board member Brad Woolf, who had a vision for the area before passing away in 2017. The pavilion is a 30 by 60-foot multi-use roofed area that will provide teaching and picnic space across from the Olympic-size outdoor pool.

Also installed was a building with nine single-entry unisex toilets and four full bathrooms including handicapped accommodations, and a new concrete pathway creating handicap access between the pavilion and the pool.

MORE: Springfield has a new ‘top-of-the-line’ basketball court

Rob Lavoie, the Scout Executive/CEO of the Tecumseh Council Boy Scouts of America, the Springfield-based body for scouting in Clark, Champaign, Greene, Logan and Clinton Counties, said it was the scouts who suggested these upgrades.

“We asked the kids what they wanted improved here, and instead of food or something else, it was to have flush toilets near the pool,” he said. The previous facilities were basic latrines, and this is now convenient to males and females.

The plan formed in Dec. 2016 and ground was broken in Aug. 2019. Several area businesses, individuals and groups made financial contributions. A sign and donor bricks commemorating those who gave is on the premises.

Lavoie and other speakers praised the dedication of the professionals involved, one of whom did the work at cost as they believed in the cause.

A shower house near the pool and other restroom upgrades in other parts of the camp are future projects.

The camp has served local Boy Scouts since 1935 as a place to camp, canoe, swim and engage in other activities. In recent years, new recreational activities such as disc golf were implemented.

Today will welcome the first of six consecutive weeks of scout camps. Lavoie and his staff have spent the past several weeks making sure things are ready to conform to health guidelines in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and he says Camp Hugh Taylor Birch is one of just three scout camps in Ohio out of 12 to open this year.

With about 150 campers a week, it meant negotiating with health districts in all five counties involved, getting health protocols and making sure face coverings are available.

CORONAVIRUS: Clark County workplace outbreaks start to stabilize

Campers will have their temperatures checked, there will be medical officers on sight and cleaning crews to keep restrooms sanitized as added measures.

“It’s been a lot of jumping through hoops but it’s to keep things safe and protect everyone,” Lavoie said. “This is what kids join scouting for and we don’t want to disappoint them.”

Scout Skylar Nixon, a Springfield resident who will attend Emmanuel Christian Academy in the fall, is used to helping around the 440-camp camp with his dad, Shawn Nixon, the camp ranger, including painting around the outdoor pool. He looks forward to using it as a camper.

“Boy Scouts is fun. I’m an outdoorsy person and this is high adventure for me,” he said.

The camp isn’t exclusive to scouts. Others can rent the facilities for activities such as weddings, conferences or other purposes.

For more information on the camp or the Boy Scouts, go to www.tecumsehcouncilbsa.org/.

About the Author