Stillwater News Press


July 14, 2010

Tour of Boy Scout camp proves to be enlightening

STILLWATER, Okla. — In June, I was invited to Will Rogers Boy Scout Reservation near Cleveland. I stopped about 50 feet inside the gate and looked at the trees, grass, wildflowers and bushes. If anyone ever wanted to see 1,000 different species of Oklahoma plants, that would be the place to start looking.

The camp covers about 320 acres. Scouts were scattered among 12 campsites. Each campsite had a flag pole, an area for sleeping tents, a fire circle and oftentimes a totem (pole). Most displayed the name of the Scout troop and its city. One new site was being prepared.

Years ago, Buck and I were friends with John and Jan Duck. What a surprise to meet the cook and find that Susan is a daughter-in-law of John Duck. They’d had taco salad for lunch, and Susan and her helpers were cleaning the premises, getting ready for the next meal.

Each Scout is obligated to attend the flag raising (at 7:50 a.m.) and flag lowering (at 5:50 p.m.). Other than that, most experiences are optional.

Fun is the No. 2 objective of each week-long camp. The No. 1 objective is safety. An EMT from Medford was the camp’s medical personnel for the month. Because he’s on 24/7 duty, he lives in the Health Lodge. Tick bites and minor wounds are treated on-site. He has oxygen and antihistamine available.

For more severe medical problems, an ambulance is called and the parents are notified. These might include broken bones, heat exhaustion, animal bites and those kinds of medical emergencies.

He said his goal at each week’s camp is to be “put out of business.” I forgot to ask him what he does for poison ivy. Some was growing near the camp gate.

There are 52 staff members there for the four weeks of summer camp. The first week is devoted to staff instruction with no Boy Scouts present.

There is a big lake on the premises with provisions for boating, sailing, etc. There is a swimming pool, too.

All kinds of courses are available for the Scouts during their week at camp. During my tour, I asked the leader of the weather course how much rain they got the night before, and he checked the rain gauge.

The camp is extremely rugged. There are enormous rocks, all kinds of trees and underbrush. When my tour guide drove me to the back side of the camp, I found out why. The camp backs up onto the Arkansas River. We stood on the banks and looked across the river. I realized that the camp is typical riverside land. I’d hate to hunt a cow in that rough country.

It was an interesting tour and an informational tour. I came away with a renewed faith in the future of our country — if our country is in the hands of today’s Boy Scouts.

Marjorie Buchanan is a resident of Pawnee County. She can be reached at

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