Education

At Age 100, Camp Stambaugh Is Forever Young

CANFIELD, Ohio — When it opened its tent flaps for the first time in July 1919, and served its first meal in the tent-enclosed dining hall, Camp Stambaugh became an outdoor home for young men – and now women – to learn how to become leaders.

The camp is the second-oldest continuously operating Boy Scouts of America camp in Ohio and tied for the ninth-oldest in the United States. To celebrate its centennial, scouts will camp overnight at the Canfield Fairgrounds Sept. 21.

“We’re planning for 1,500 scouts and adults for the 100th anniversary,” said Kurt Hilderbrand, one of the Key Three Committee members for the camp’s anniversary. “We’re covering all age ranges in scouting from Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, the new girls entered, Explore Scouts and veteran groups. It covers from kindergarten up to 20.”

A parade will begin at the fairgrounds on Sept. 21 at 7 a.m. Scouts will start on Leffingwell Road from Gate 13 and end at Camp Stambaugh.

“It’s a great reflection of the past of this community and how donors gave big dollars for the youth to establish a youth program,” Hilderbrand said.

During the weekend celebration, more than 40 displays and activities will run daily courtesy of the American Welding Society, the Mahoning Valley Amateur Radio Association and many others. Activities include a water rocket launch, paintball, kayaking and duck races.

“There’s items for all age groups,” Hilderbrand said. “Boating, fishing, we’ll have a bounce around for kids, climbing towers. It’s great for our youth and building the values for scouting.”

Food vendors will sell refreshments and a trading post will be on-site. A donation is required for anyone 7 and older.

Scouting changes all the time, Hilderbrand said. The addition of girls to troops has made it more inclusive and more family-oriented, he said. For the first time in history, the first female Eagle Scouts will be in place. As an Eagle Scout himself, Hilderbrand thinks it is great to promote the same values the Boy Scouts have to girls.

“The new girls will have to follow the same requirement so it doesn’t diminish the Eagle award in any way, and it’s a great accomplishment for the community,” he said. “A Boy Scout is usually a five-year program and you can see changes when they come in the unit and as they grow out and become an Eagle Scout. It’s good to see our youth learning good values plus getting them out to go camping. Values of learning how to cook, how to take care of equipment, how to set up a tent. It’s a great learning experience.”

The community has long supported scouting at Camp Stambaugh through fundraising and activities, he said. Two years ago, the Great Trail Council consolidated councils, which makes Camp Stambaugh’s council stronger.

“They’ve put a tremendous amount of money in Camp Stambaugh to make it a place for our Cub Scout resident camp and we can camp out,” he said. “These young men and women will present themselves better in industry, in business. It prepares them for the future.”

Those interested in getting involved can visit BeAScout.scouting.org to locate a unit by ZIP code. Registration can be done online or by calling the scout office. Go to GTCBSA.org to register as a troop or an individual for the anniversary celebration.

“We’re always looking to increase troops and our youth base,” Hilderbrand said. “We would like more exposure in the Youngstown area. In the city proper, there’s few troops and we’d like to get those youth involved.”

Hilderbrand has been a leader at the summer camp for 15 years, and says the advances in technology have made it a challenge to get today’s youth involved. The camp allows the use of cellphones to engage the campers.

Camp staff and scouts in the 1990s.

“We’re trying to work on the logistics for that because we’re trying to keep everything flowing and up-to-date for kids,” he said. “We’re trying to get a gaming trailer at camp for videos and gaming for the weekend celebration.”

Activities at the weekend celebration will end at 5 p.m. as all scouts will head back to the Canfield Fairgrounds for dinner. Beginning at 8 p.m., a show and closing ceremony will take place at the Canfield Fair grandstand.

Parking is only at the fairgrounds at Gate 12. Everyone attending will be shuttled back and forth to the camp and handicap accessibility is being provided. Registration can be done at ScoutingEvent.com/433-stambaugh100.

Pictured above: Camp Stambaugh summer camp staff, 1990.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.