Camp Fawcett

Camp Fawcett was the summer camp for the old Southwest Texas Council, head quartered in Uvalde, Texas.  This camp later became one of the summer camps of the Concho Valley Council and was used by them until 1996.  Summer camp was again held at Camp Fawcett starting in the summer of 2001.

Troop on the way to Camp Fawcett in 1929 by bus.
Early in 1928, at the 3rd Annual meeting of the Southwest Texas Council, President George E. Love explained to the council the need for the council to have its own property for a campsite and that a temporary site would by needed for the coming summer.  He appointed a committee composed of I. Q. McCorkle, A. B. Ewing, both of Del Rio; A. F. Smyth, Uvalde and W. L. Guyler, of Eagle Pass to select a temporary campsite for the summer and report back to H. B. Palmer, Scout Executive.

J. Q. McCorkle, Chairman of the committee, made the report of the campsite location committee to the board on March 20, 1928.  He stated that a site on the Nueces river, one mile from Barksdale and forty-seven miles northwest of Uvalde on the Rocksprings Highway, had been selected, as this site met most of the twenty-one requirements of the National Office.

Site Offered by Barksdale

The site was offered to the council for a summer camp without charge by the people of Barksdale, and they had offered their cooperation in every way possible to make the camp a success. He added that the camp would be above high water, in a beautiful pecan grove with two fine swimming holes within a short distance of the camp.

A well was to be dug on the site by the folks of the community for the Scouts.  Upon hearing the report of the committee, the board voted to have the summer camp between August 1-7, 1928, and that the name of the camp be "Camp Fawcett on the Nueces."

Tent For President

E. K. Fawcett on the rightA tent for the president would be erected and a large sign that read "E. K. FAWCETT, PRESIDENT, SOUTHWEST TEXAS COUNCIL" would be placed before the tent.  The camp fee was $7.50.  A road was built into the camp, a trolley placed over the swimming hole and spring board rafts were installed.  A bridge was built over the ravine, and water was piped from the new well to the camp kitchen.

E. K. Fawcett was a frequent visitor to camp.  He is shown the right side of this photo.

One hundred and fifty boys spent a week at the camp.  K. N. Clapp of Lubbock ran the waterfront and Chief Red Eagle of Roswell, New Mexico, who had helped out at Camp Cypress the year before, was there to assist.  H. B. Palmer, Scout Executive, was the Camp Director.  An ex-army cook, and his corps of assistants provided the meals for the camp.

At the end of the week of camp, 1,500 attended a picnic there on August 7.  Their regular quarterly meeting of the Council Executive Board was held at the camp on the same day as the picnic.

Rocksprings Chamber of Commerce Responsible for Camp

At the meeting of the Council Executive Board on August 7, V. A. Brown, chairman of the Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls' Locating Committee of the Rocksprings Chamber of Commerce, expressed the sentiments of Edwards County to contribute freely to the purchase of the present site of 380 acres at $20.00 per acre, the money to be raised in the ten counties of the council.  He stated that one hundred acres across the highway could easily be sold and that a thirty day option on the tract had already been obtained.

life saving classThe board granted him 30 days in which to report on the purchase of the land.  Brown placed $500 in escrow and had a contract drawn to send to the owners for a purchase price of $8,500, and which would be deeded to these organizations by the Edwards County Chamber of Commerce as soon as the necessary papers could be drawn.

The San Angelo Morning Times, dated September 4, 1928, page 3, reported that (in reference to Camp Fawcett) "This movement was started by the Edwards County Chamber of Commerce some two months ago and Mr. Brown placed at the head of the movement by the body."

In January of 1929, V. A. Brown, now Camping Chairman of the council, made a report to the board at its Fourth Annual Meeting, concerning the troubles they were having in acquiring title to the Camp Fawcett property.  The board elected Brown as trustee of the funds that had already been collected for the camp and directed that they be placed on time deposit in the First National Bank of Rocksprings.

First mess hall at Camp FawcettR. J. Nelson, a resident of Camp Wood, took this author on a tour of Camp Fawcett on June 26, 1989, and showed him where the various structures and activities were held when he went to the camp in 1938 as a young boy.

Shown on the left is the first mess hall.  Nelson helped build the brush arbor used for the first mess hall that first summer.  It was located near oak trees on the bluff where Frontier campsite is located today.  They cut Sycamore trees near the river and used the big part of the trees for upright posts for the arbor.

The smaller limbs were used for the roof and the limbs with leaves on them were used to cover the roof.  The arbor was "about 30' wide and 75' long," according to Nelson.  They cooked on wood stoves outside the arbor and brought water from the river  and stored it in wooden barrels.  This was the only building in camp.  Bruce Ivey took the photo in 1928.

The tents were pitched on the flats below the present dining hall in a semi-circle.  They had about 15 tents.  This photo was taken at the first camp in 1928.  Left to right: Scottie Pegues, Marion Harkey and Welbourne Gardner.  Bruce Ivey took the picture.

In addition, Chief Red Eagle pitched his tee-pee with real skins over the frame.  The tee-pee was located about 100' South of the present First Aid Lodge.  He brought his wife with him.  They were from Ruidoso, New Mexico, a white boy who had been captured by the Indians.

He remembers them gathering on the flat below the tee-pee for campfires each evening and taking evening hikes up the gully to the NW side of camp.  These were called "survival hikes" as they had to find horned toads, grasshoppers, etc. to eat.
 
 

Swimming hole in 1928
 

The swimming area had three diving boards.  One was four feet above the water, one ten feet, and one was twenty feet.  There were a pond and spring located north of the swimming area where they could catch bass.  Bruce Ivey took this picture of the swimming area from the bluff in 1928.  Ivey was at Camp Fawcett from 1928 to 1936.  He remembers K. N. Clapp, a cotton Broker from Lubbock, who was waterfront director and brought his Scouts for several years to work at the camp.

They had no archery targets or bows but learned to make arrows while in camp.
 

Camp Fawcett - 1929

K. N. Clapp of LubbockThe summer camp opened on Wednesday, August 7, 1929, at 9 a.m. for ten days.  The fee was again $7.50 with the leaders coming free.  One hundred and eighty Scouts attended this session of camp under the direction of Scout Executive H. B. Palmer.

One of the features of this year's camp was the visit of F. H. Lehman of Mason, who as a lad of 11 years of age, was captured by a roving band of Apache Indians, and remained as a member of that and the Comanche tribes until 20 years of age when he was returned to his mother.  His story of his adventures was told at the evening campfires.

K. N. Clapp of Lubbock, executive of the South Plains Council, together with four Eagle Scouts from that Council, directed the waterfront activities, as well as a camp museum. He is showed on the right in his Indian Outfit.   Others on the staff were a Mr. Worley and Mr. Picnot of the Central Power and Light Company and Chaplain John MacWilliam of Fort Clark.

Airplane Landing Field Built

Some fifty acres had been set aside on the south end of camp for an airplane landing field.  The field was marked with stones secured from the river in letters ten feet high with the words "BOY SCOUT LANDING FIELD."  The stones were whitewashed so that the letters could be read from a great height.  Robert McNiel of Uvalde told the author, when presented with this bit of information, that he remembers moving rocks off the runway when he was a Boy Scout attending the camp.  Captain Robert Murphy of the United States Medical Corp, who was stationed in Galveston, was supposed to fly to the camp and spend several days there.

R. J. Nelson of Camp Wood, remembers when the landing field was built.  The round rocks, which were about the size of one’s head, were brought to the site in old Chevy or Ford trucks up from Lover's Lane in Barksdale.  The trucks could only carry about twelve rocks at a time.

Landing Field Sign Still Exists

During summer camp of 1989, this author, along with Tony Chambless, Program Director; Dr. Stanley Taylor, medical doctor; Curtis Eckerman, archery instructor; and George Gobel, Scoutmaster of Troop 298 of Eagle Pass, received permission to go look for the site of the old landing field.  To our surprise, the sign made with rocks, was still there with only about twelve rocks out of place!  The sign was 12' high and 125' long and said "BOY SCOUT LANDING FIELD".  It was interesting to note that the letters, which started out 12' high were only 8' high by the time they got to the word "FIELD", and the rocks were somewhat smaller.

We learned that the old highway from Rocksprings came down the west side of the camp property line before turning east and heading into Barksdale.  The sign was located only about 20' east of the dirt road.  We also discovered a rock pile marker located on the east side of the landing field to tell flyers where the end of the field was.  The flyers landed over the side coming in from the west.  George Gobel made a video of the sign and our search for the site.

Came From Several Towns

The Rocksprings Record and Edwards County Leader reported on August 9, 1929, that Scouts attended from the following towns along with the total number of boys from that town:

Hondo - 9   Barksdale - 8   Carrizo Springs - 6
Asherton - 7   DeHanis - 12   Rocksprings - 8
Jewell - 2   Leakey - 4   Brackettville - 3
Del Rio - 21   Houston - 1   San Antonio - 1
Uvalde - 9   Sabinal - 16   Sanderson - 14
Knippa - 6    Eagle Pass - 18

Camp Fawcett - 1930

Deed Closed

On Friday, January 31, 1930, at the Council's Fourth Annual Business Meeting, the council voted to close the deed for the Camp Fawcett property.  Mayor V. A. Brown, mayor of Rocksprings and chairman of the Fawcett finance committee, reported that they were only $250 short of the needed money for the camp, but that he had assurance from the Del Rio Merchants that the additional money would be raised.  The purchase price of the camp was $6,000 cash plus $50 for Abstract and $150 in attorney fees.  Present for this meeting, in addition to the board, was Charles N. Miller of the Boy Scouts of America, New York; J. P. Fitch, Dallas, Regional Scout Executive; and H. B. Palmer, local Scout Executive.  E. K. Fawcett chaired the meeting.

The summer camp was held during the week of August 4-14, 1930.  By that summer camp the 32-foot deep well had been curbed and concrete topped to prevent contamination and a Fuller and Johnson engine had been installed to pump water from the well.  The sanitary system had been installed and housed.

Mess Hall Built

The first permanent building was completed in time for camp that same summer.  A mess hall forty by twenty feet was built with a sixteen by twenty-eight foot kitchen and a store room.  The mess hall was built of reinforced concrete, railroad timbers, and covered with corrugated iron along with tables and shelving.  The kitchen was screened, but the mess hall was not.  (The concrete floor for the dining hall was poured in July, 1931. The unskilled labor was furnished by the neighbors and the men and boys from Buffalo Trail Council, Sweetwater, Texas, who helped with the concrete in return for use of the camp that summer.  The floor finishers and the carpenter agreed to work for $1.50 per day.  The original dining hall is still in use today.)

Camp Fawcett dining hall in 1932R. J. Nelson said that when the mess hall was built, it had a dirt floor, no screening and no water or electricity.  He worked in the mess hall the first year it was built and remembers cutting wood for the stoves.  The kitchen crew lived in tents located behind the dining hall on the north side.  He believes the tables had metal tops and separate benches for seating.  All the equipment for camp came for San Antonio and was World War I surplus, including the tents they stayed in.

At the August 12, 1930, Executive Board Meeting, held at Camp Fawcett during summer camp, the board approved naming the dining hall as the "V. A. Brown Hall" in honor of Brown's efforts in obtaining the camp property.  The camp fee was $8.00, or $1.00 per day.  The first two days of the summer camp were set aside for camp leader training and the following eight days for the Scouts.

Materials for Mess Hall

The following firms donated material to the camp for the dining hall:

Republic Portland Cement Company - 528 sacks of cement
San Antonio Portland Cement Company - 528 sacks of cement
Southern Pacific Railroad Company - a carload of railroad timbers from bridge 290-D near Knippa.
Uvalde & Northern Railway Company - Transported the railroad timbers from Uvalde to Camp Wood.

First “Camp Ranger"

C. E. Daly, nearest camp neighbor, offered his services to the board without charge to serve as property custodian and grounds keeper of the campsite.  He was appointed by the board with the authority to protect the buildings and trees and to prevent any misuse of the camp site that would reflect on the Scout program.  Mr. Daly was commissioned as a member of the council and was urged to use the road through the camp site in going and coming from the highway, in order to watch the property.  He was to receive his instructions from President Fawcett and the Scout Executive.

Camp Fawcett - 1931

In a letter dated August 28, 1931, to James P. Fitch, Regional Scout Executive, from W. B. Tuttle, President of the Alamo Area Council, who had inspected Camp Fawcett during summer camp, a report was given on the camp that was held from August 5-12, 1931.  His report stated that the mess hall was the only permanent building on camp.  The rest of the camp was under canvas, most of the tents being pyramidal tents which had been purchased at army sales.  Water was piped from the well to wash racks nearby.

A well was dug just east of the present First Aid Lodge and they had a small storage tank located just north of the well.  Water had to be carried everywhere in camp including to the dining hall.  The concrete top of the well is still visible today at the site.  The food was prepared by two cooks, and assisted by two helpers.  It was noted in the report that the cooks were handicapped by the old field ranges that they had to cook on.  Milk and butter were sent up from Uvalde daily and veal and mutton were killed locally.  The groceries were bought in Uvalde.

Kid Ran Over By Model T Ford

Sometime during this period, at the age of 17, a Scout had come to camp early, along with some other boys from Barksdale, to get the camp ready for the other Scouts.  He was driving a Model T Ford with two kids riding the fenders when he hit a chuckhole while coming off a hill.  One of the kids fell off the fender and he ran over the kid with the car.  The kid reached up and grabbed the tail pipe with his hand and burned his right hand pretty badly.  Otherwise he was not hurt.  After that incident, they didn't allow cars into the main part of camp.

Camp Newspaper Produced

A camp paper was produced on a mimeograph machine by one of the boys and was called "Camp Fawcett Fables."  The first issue was brought to the camp by members of Troop 7 of Eagle Pass.

Fourteen Scouts passed Junior Life Saving, and eight passed Senior Life Saving during that week of camp.

The charge for the camp was $6.00 per boy and leader.  Salaries were paid only to the cooks.  Chief Red Eagle was paid for his traveling expenses to and from the camp.  U. S. Chaplain John MacWilliams was the Camp Director, with H. B. Palmer, Scout Executive, in charge of details and Chief Red Eagle in charge of Indian lore.  In addition, about twenty-four leaders were present during the camp.  No mention was made of how many Scouts attended the camp.

The daily program schedule was as follows:

6:00 a.m. First Call
6:05 Reveille
6:10 Colors
6:15 Upsetting exercise
6:25 Optional Swim
7:00 Breakfast
8:30 Inspection
9:15 Scoutcraft and handicraft
10:00 Life Savers' Call
11:15 General Swim
12:30 Dinner
2:00 Handicraft
2:45 Life Savers' Call
3:30 Games
4:45 General Swim
6:15 Retreat
6:30  Supper
8:00 Camp Fire Council
9:30 Quarters
9:35 Taps

A "History of Camp Fawcett," prepared by H. Robert McNiel of Uvalde, stated that on December 5, 1947, 24.39 acres of the land was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale for the amount of $609.75 with the Granter retaining one half rights to all Oil, Gas and other Minerals on this tract of land.  Sam H. Walk, of Del Rio, was president of the Concho Valley Council at that time. On January 9, 1948, 102.16 acres of land lying south and west of the then Highway 55 was sold to Neal Jernigan of Barksdale for $25.00 per acre, for a total of $2,554.00.  The Concho Valley Council still owns approximately 173.45 acres of land and still using the camp for summer camp each year and for numerous other activities.

Improvements at camp

The camp received electricity in time for summer camp in 1946.  This allowed them to have refrigeration facilities.  They also got new mess hall benches, tents, showers and a new road leading into camp.  They had four weeks of camp that summer starting on June 2, 1946.

Trading PostA new trading post building was built at the camp in the spring of 1971 as a result of money being given by the estate Lum Thompson.  Lum Thompson had lived in Barksdale, and upon his death the Lum Thompson estate was established to fund projects at Camp Fawcett.    Claude Gilmer was administrator of the estate.  The trading post was dedicated on June 17, 1971, during parents’ night at the camp.  The old trading post, located just below the dining hall, was turned into the camp office.

That same spring, the Rocksprings-Nueces Canyon Telephone Company sent equipment to camp and drilled more than 100 post holes to be used for fencing as well as set up temporary latrines for use at the various campsites that summer of 1971.
Also in 1971, the water system at the camp was improved through a grant by the Ewing Halsell Foundation of San Antonio.  This project included some 5,000 feet of new water lines,  a complete water treatment center, water storage tank and pumps of sufficient capacity to use for fire-fighting if necessary.  At the same time a new bathhouse was built at the waterfront.  J. B. Ward, Camp Director at this time, was very much involved in both these projects.

Another new shower and restroom facility were built  in the north part of the camp.  Prior to that time, the only facilities for use by the campers were located at the waterfront and at an old white latrine on the bluff overlooking the canoeing area.  The facility was build by Sam Fish of Barksdale in 1977.

A much needed restroom was added on to the cook’s cabin in 1978 in time for summer camp.  Prior to that time the cooks only had one room and had to go outdoors to shower and to the dining hall to use the restroom.  The new room featured a sink, tub with shower and flush commode.

Sally Sablan cooked for ten years at FawcettThe 47th Engineers from Laughlin Air Force Base volunteered their services in May of  1978 and again in May of 1983 to prepare Fawcett for summer camp.  They painted the outside of the dining hall and water tower, repaired plumbing, refrigeration, dining tables, bridge to campfire ring, picked up junk and in general made the camp ready for the summer. The Goss Chapel and Council Campfire area was completed and became the model for a similar chapel at Camp Sol Mayer.  The new quartermaster/staff restroom facility was completed in time for summer camp in 1979 and was constructed on the old “staff slab.”  The concrete slab had been poured some ten years before with the intention of building a screened in bunk house for the staff but was not authorized by the Council Board, so work had stopped on the project.  Once the new quartermaster was completed the old double garage next to the dining hall that had served as the quartermaster for many years was torn down before it fell down!

With the building of the new quartermaster, the staff area had to be relocated as it used to be clustered around the concrete slab.  So, in 1982, a new area was carved out by the Order of the Arrow about a block from the quartermaster/staff latrine and platforms were built along with electricity to each platforms.  A couple of platforms were built each year until enough were built to accommodate the staff.

The 47th Air Force Civil Engineers from Laughlin Air Force Base came back to Camp Fawcett in 1982.  They took the old roof off the Brown Lodge Dining Hall, insulated the ceiling in the Trading Post and added sheetrock, as well as painted the outside of the Trading Post and Liberty Campsite Latrine.  They also had time to build a new shotgun storage cabinet at the shotgun range.  They were back at camp in 1983 to continue their work of carpentry, painting, checking out refrigeration units, plumbing and doing general cleanup work at the camp.

During that same year, a new flammable liquid storage shed was built; all wiring in the health lodge, dining hall, office, swimming area shower and white latrine was put in conduit; and new storeroom shelving was built in the dining hall.

Memorial to Eagle Scout James Story MartindaleThe swimming area received a $22,000 concrete face of concrete to stabilize the embankment and provide a safe place to swim.  Floods in previous years had washed away the dirt behind the old concrete slab.  The project was completed in 1979. A plaque, in the shape of a star, was placed on the waterfront in 1980 in memory of Eagle Scout James Story Martindale of Rocksprings.

His parents, Ruth E. and Howard S Martindale, contributed $25,000 to build the waterfront including ladders, diving board and lookout tower. Lee Allison of Rocksprings built a strong fence around the swimming area at the top of the bluff and also designed and built the memorial plaque.

Floods

The Nueces River had four major floods in 1981.  The last flood of that year was so high that it almost went over the 30 foot bluff into the camp property.  The only damage it did to the new swimming slab was washing out some dirt behind the slab.  But it also pushed the gravel bed up against the slab so the water in front of the slab was now only ankle deep.  The river had to be dredged before summer camp in 1982.

After a flood on the river in 1981, a retaining wall was constructed  at both ends of the swimming area and concrete was poured eight feet up the side of the hill between the walls to protect the concrete slab against future flooding. In 1986, an additional eight to thirty feet of concrete was poured at the swimming area.  The additional footage was poured to provide additional protection against erosion of the embankment.  Bob McNeil and Troop 81 of Uvalde contributed $2,500 to the project.

A new entrance to camp was started in 1981 and was finally completed and dedicated on April 5, 1986, in the memory of Homer A. Smith, former Chairman of the Fawcett Development Committee, by the Smith family.  The entrance was built by his son, Ray Smith, over a period of five years. A new lady’s restroom and shower facility was started at Camp Fawcett in 1989.  It was finally completed and dedicated in 1992.

Always A Highlight Adventure

Having fun in free swim
Summer camp has always been a highlight adventure for Scouts in the council.  In the August 1972 issue of the council’s newsletter, BOYPOWER, a recap of that year’s summer camp was printed on the first page.  It pretty well sums up many of the adventures a boy experiences at summer camp:

“The Concho Valley Council’s two camps, Camp Sol Mayer and Camp Fawcett, look pretty deserted right now. The grass is growing tall once again, and the sounds of boys and Scoutmasters are stilled.  The dining halls are resuming their dusty, unused look - and the scarce wildlife has returned in abundance now that the old familiar sounds of camping are gone.

“It is hard to realize that over 750 boys attended the two camps this summer, and this does not include the many Scoutmasters and Assistant Scoutmasters and the other good men who acted as Scoutmasters for a week, and this does not include the Philmont and Canadian Canoe Trippers.  The thirty-two members of the staff have returned home, to school or have started treks around the good old U. S. A.

“The office realizes that may boys were in camp - they have processed the jillion merit badge applications completed at camp, recorded the advancement of many of the boys and heard many of the tales that come out of each summer camping experience (from boys, leaders and staff members alike) such as the oatmeal at Sol Mayer being so resilient that it defied all efforts to get a spoon into it. Who knows, we may have found a new paving material for our highways. We also heard of the new water system at Camp Fawcett defying all efforts to get the water to run from the hydrants - when it is supposed to run.

Lee Alliston and Jack Carpenter“Nature area has certified that 223 critters were taken home by campers. Over 750 campers and adults can certify that in excess of one billion chiggers and ticks were carried home - and untold numbers of mothers can certify that (1) a critter did come home with son, (2) one billion and one chiggers and ticks were brought home by each camper and (3) the campfire smoke which has soaked into the campers' clothing defied all human efforts at removal.

“The camp directors and the program director were extremely pleased with the number of campers - but wish even more boys could have attended.

“The High Adventure' groups at both camps posed challenging problems this year, since this was a new experience. Tommy McSwain and Russ Tidwell will both agree that rubber life rafts absolutely will not hold air when punctured in midstream.  Over sixty of the older boys joined the high adventure group this summer - and the staff is really happy about the turnout.  The first group on the trip down the Llano River can take pride in the fact that they were the pioneers - and they really had a ball!   We learned a lot this summer - and already, plans are being made for another high adventure trip next year - with the possibility of a different type of adventure.  Anyone for hot air ballooning?

“Council and District Camping and Activity Committees are screening the results of this years' summer camp experiences and are planning ahead for the 1973 camping season right now. This will include two 1973 Jamborees, the Canadian Canoe Trip, Philmont and other treks by units.

Parent's night at camp“We do have a few of the trail food left from the high adventure group. These are selling for $1.20 per meal, or $4.20 for 3 meals for one day (for 4 to 8 persons). This is a good buy for a patrol or a troop that wants to try these out.

“Camp Fawcett played host to two Scout Troops from Monclova, Coahuila, Mexico. The two Troops combined had a total of 23 Scouts and 3 leaders. Acting as Scoutmaster for the combined units was Francisco Alfaro Lopez. Scouts in attendance at Fawcett during the week Troop 4 was in camp received a taste of international Scouting. From all reports everyone enjoyed this week - except for several staff members who had to act as interpreters, racing from one activity to the rest in order to help our visitors and staff in their activities.  Needless to say - we look forward to their return in the future.”

Note:  Francisco Alfara  Lopez did bring his troop back to Camp Fawcett for several more years.  The last year he was at the camp, they had some 50 Scouts, all in complete uniform.  It was always a pleasure to have these Scouts as part of the summer camp program.

Summer Camp Discontinued in 1997 - 2000

Summer camp was held at Camp Fawcett every summer from 1927 through 1996.   The camp was not held from 1997 to 2000 as the summer camp program was held only at Camp Sol Mayer.   The summer camp program was once again held at Camp Fawcett in 2001. There was a total of 276 Scouts in the camp with 97 from other councils.  Summer camp was held again at Camp Fawcett in 2002.  Also, after Boy Scout Camp, they held two sessions of Cub Residence Camp in 2002. The camp was again not used for summer camp after 2002.  The Camp Sol Mayer Ranger goes down one a month and opens the camp for Troop weekend camping.  The camp is still used for District Camporees, Cub Camps, Order of the Arrow, and other weekend activities.

Merit Badge Encampment in 2005

In the summer of 2005, a special one-week merit badge encampment was held at Camp Fawcett from July 11 - 16.  The official name of the camp was "Camp Fawcett Merit Badge Encampment" . Some 60 Scouts, leaders and staff participated in the camp.  The troops cooked their own food by patrols and invited a staff person to eat with them.  This encampment was the brainchild of Dennis Luellen, Assistant Scout Executive of the Concho Valley Council, after a conversation with Vic Hildebrand.  In his words, "It was an awesome camp."

The eight Troops that participated were Troop 81, Uvalde; Troop 140, Kerrville; Troop 257, Bracketville; Troop 272, Del Rio; Troop 313, San Angelo; Troop 346, Uvalde; and Troop 402, Brady.

Camp staff members were Dennis Luellen, Camp Director; Jared Ducote, Assistant Camp Director; Lisa Mahler, Program Director/Trading Post Manager; Wynn Alston, Aquatic Director; Stephen Meuth, Shooting Sports Director; Sandi Bertocci, Health and First Aid; and Mike Wallace, Camp Ranger.  All other merit badge instructors were Scoutmaster and leaders of the individual troops.

The Canoeing Merit Badge class took its final trip down the Nueces and got so tired that they couldn't canoe back.  The merit badge instructor had to hike back to camp to get the truck and canoe trailer to return to pick up the class.

The entire camp took a trip to Rocksprings, Texas, and had dinner at the local King Burger.  They took up every seat in the place. Following dinner, they then went to the Devil's Sinkhole to watch some three million Mexican freetail bats fly out of a hole in the ground.  For most of the Scouts this was the first time they had seen bats, much less three million of them at one time!

This was the 75th Anniversary of the camp being deeded to the Southwest Texas Council (although the camp was actually first used as a summer camp in 1928).  So, it was fitting to hold a rustic camp with patrol cooking, Scoutmasters teaching merit badges, much like what it would have been like in 1930.  The Merit Badge Encampment was again held in 2006 but with a smaller turnout. The name was changed to "Outdoor Skills Workshop."

Outdoor Skills Workshop was held at Camp Fawcett July 12-14, 2006. There were four troops in attendance. A total of 22 Boy Scouts participated. Eleven adults were on staff. Brad McCormick served as Camp director. The Scoutmasters taught Merit badges: Indian Lore, Rifle, Archery, First Aid, Fishing, American Culture, Emergency Preparedness and Citizenship in the Community. The Troops cooked their own food in their campsite.  A commissary provided the food. Thursday night was family night. A fun campfire was held followed by an OA Call out. There were numerous visitors in camp for family night.

Wood Badge Courses

A couple of Wood Badge courses have been held at Camp Fawcett over the years.  The first Wood Badge Course held by the Concho Valley Council (now Texas Southwest Council) was held at Camp Sol Mayer in 1975. The course was SC-57 and was a seven-day outdoor training event. The course was well attended by the Scouters of the Council.  In fact, the course was such a success that a second course was held two years later at Camp Fawcett June 4-11, 1977. The course number was SC-104.  A third course was held at Camp Sol Mayer, SC-241, June 4-11, 1983. 

The most recent one was Wood Badge for the 21st Century course held in the Texas Southwest Council (formerly Concho Valley Council) and was conducted in October 2010.  The first phase of Wood Badge 1 was completed in the two council camps.  Since this was the first Wood Badge for the 21st Century course in the Concho Valley Council, they also were “741-1" or “Wood Badge 1". The second weekend of the course was held at Camp Fawcett on October 29-31, 2010.

Texas Southwest Council Wood Badge 2 was officially approved for course number S3-741-12! Bob Gardere has been selected as the Course Director.  His mentor will be Dave Wakefield.   The course will be held in October 2012 on the second and fourth weekends (October 12-14 and 26-28, 2012). One of those weekends will again be held a Camp Fawcett.  It’s called Wood Badge 2 because this is only the second Wood Badge for the 21st Century course offered in Texas Southwest council. 

Future Plans for Camp Fawcett

Plans are in the works to improve the physical facilities at Camp Fawcett.  A grant was received that will allow the Texas Southwest Council to build a new restroom facility and paint the First Aid Lodge as well as build a new trading post under the old trading post roof.  During  the summer of 2012, several of the old latrines, the cooks cabin and the old trading post were bulldozed. 

A one week Boy Scout Summer camp was once again held at the camp during June of 2013.  Each troop cooked its own meals and there was a central staff there to provide merit badge instruction and other activities.  The Shawee Indian Dancers of Uvalde came out and performed for the camp.  The camp is once again a BSA National Accredited Camp.

Special Camp Staff Member

Jason Young

Hundreds of adults and youth served on the summer camp staffs of  all the camps in the history of this council.  We want to recognize one special camp staff member, Jason Young, who, more than most, gave his very best on the camp staff.  We quote here David O’Neill who served on the staff with Jason.

“Through the many years that I have served on camp staff, I have worked with hundreds of Scouts and Scouters as my coworkers and as my employees.  But one staff member stands out in my mind from these many scouts that I have worked with.

“The summer of 1990 was my second to serve on camp staff.  It was a memorable summer for several reasons.  First of all, Camp Director Frank Hilton assigned me to a brand new program for the summer called First Class Quest.  This program would take in the boys that had not quite reached the rank of First Class, and would help them learn the skills to make progress on all of the ranks through First Class.  As a CIT, I was excited for this opportunity to work in a new program area.  But what really made the summer special was my area  director, Jason Young.  Jason was like any other Eagle Scout in many ways.  He knew his skills, he was a leader and he loved working with the boys, but he was deaf.

“I remember Jason from working the previous summer.  He worked as the dining hall steward that year.  I knew he was deaf then, but I never really got to know him.    CITs usually only worked one week plus staff week, so I never had the opportunity.  I do remember watching him ‘listen’ to the radio in the dining hall at Camp Fawcett during staff week of that first summer.  He couldn't hear the music, but he could feel it vibrating the table, where his arms were resting.  I'll always remember watching him ‘listen!’

“When I was assigned to work with Jason at First Class Quest, I wasn't sure how it would work.  Frank told me of Jason's inability to hear, but also told me of his skills as a Scout.  He wasn't wrong!  Jason really knew his stuff, backwards and forwards.  Jason could speak quite well, and could lip-read anybody that was speaking while facing him. At first, the kids in the classes didn't know how to deal with the situation...but after a few minutes, Jason would have them eating out of his hands.  The kids loved him, respected him, and listened to him.

“We made a great team that summer and became great friends.  I looked up to him for many reasons.  He was a great leader, a very skilled Scout and never his disability slow him down...not even for one second.

“One of the greatest tributes to the work we did that summer came in 1996, my second year as Program Director for the Council.  A scout came up to me and simply said ‘Thank You.’  1990 was his very first summer camp, and he was a student in First Class Quest that year.  He was now 17, had just graduated high school and was about to go off to be in the Navy.  Now an Eagle Scout, he expressed how much he appreciated the attention that Jason and I gave him during his first year of camp.  Without our help, he said he never would have become an Eagle Scout.

“Working with scouts is a job that has few material rewards.  Making a difference in a Scout's life is the best reward that can be received...and hearing the ‘thanks’ is all it takes for one to realize that difference.  Jason made a difference in more than just that one scout's life.  He made a difference in mine as well.  Thank you, Jason!”

We salute all members of the summer camp staffs who, like Jason, dedicated themselves to teaching the campers their skills.  And, we say a big “Thank You” to those who prepared and served the food, worked in the Trading Post, office, First Aid and all the other support positions on the staff.  You truly made a difference in the lives of boys!

| Camp Fawcett Website, Boy Scouts of America |

| Buffalo Trail Council in 1932  | Additional Photos | More Photos | Yet More Photos | E. K. Fawcett |


Material for this page was taken from Panjandrum A History of Scouting in the Concho Valley Council 1911-2001, Frank T. Hilton, 2001 and the San Angelo Standard-Times and from a letter, dated October 24, 1990 from Bruce Ivey of Crystal City, Texas, along with Xeroxed photos.

Last updated:  July 26, 2013
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