Scout Camps Recovering
from Hurricane Katrina

From an email on Scouts-L - Used with Permission

The Forest Service, Bay-Lakes Council (WI) and National Capital Area Council (DC) worked together in the months immediately after Katrina to bring back Camp Tiak (Pine Burr Area Council) in southern Mississippi. In exchange for rent-free use of the forward property by the Forest Serve as its staging area for its own clean-up work, the Service cleared the camp's interior road system.

When our church group was working in Gulfport, four weeks after landfall, "Scoutmaster" John Kelley of Troop 301 (the guy who daily made us pancakes for breakfast and received his Silver Beaver two years ago) drove me to Tiak on our Sunday afternoon "off-day" to look around, take video and shoot pictures, so we knew what we had to deal with.

Bay-Lakes was able to secure about $30K in donated equipment and tools, delivered in late October so NCAC's crews could finish removing fallen trees and limbs. We also were able to deliver surplus tents, sleeping bags and other scouting equipment to distribute to units in need. Based on my visit to the late-September Spanish Trail District roundtable meeting during that work trip, every unit was in need; at least those which could be accounted for. The whereabouts for units in Waveland/Bay St Louis nearest landfall were unknown.

Over the Christmas break, Bay-Lakes chartered two coach buses and sent nearly 120 scouts and adult volunteers, including a group from Chippewa Valley Council in west central WI, for two days. Teams cleared brush, cats pushed it back into the woods. Teams tore off roofs, replaced rafters and subroofing, put on new roofs. One team rebuilt the waterfront storage shed. Arrowmen taught merit badge classes and led a last-evening-in-camp campfire. A Webelos leader tearfully told our SE how grateful she was for the donated supplies so she could bring her unit to the annual Winter Camp. the NYLT campers led a midweek service. We brought brats, donated from Johnsonville, and they served us catfish and hush puppies. We brought cash, raised during the four months between landfall and our worktrip, to help fund other repairs. The ranger, John Wooten, was impressed, expecting us to accomplish only about 1/4 of what we actually got done.

We brought the SE and Council president to Wisconsin for our annual dinner in spring 2006 and they reported that Camp Tiak was back, ready to put on a complete summer program. Sadly, a tornado took out part of the dining hall, one of two structures Katrina and a side tornado left untouched, and camp closed a week early. But when I brought another work team to Gulfport during Christmas break 2006 and we delivered another round of tents and supplies, the dining hall was fully repaired and operating for winter camp again.

Most of this didn't make Scouting Magazine because of the long lead times, but we kept sending updates to BSAnews. Camp Tiak was and is back and still running a summer camp for the Boy Scouts during the month of June!

Yours In Scouting,
wpkraft, Chaplain
Twin Lakes District, Bay-Lakes Council
Troop 615, Oshkosh
Bobwhite, C-09-02

I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.
I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.

Abraham Lincoln

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