Camp Pine Mountain: A century of adventure
Published 10:30 am Wednesday, June 14, 2023
Camp Pine Mountain is rounding off its 100th year serving the local Boy Scouts of America.
This fall, the camp will celebrate with a Centennial Camporee hosted by the Chattahoochee Council Boys Scouts of America.
The weekend-long celebration will commemorate the 100 years since Camp Pine Mountain opened. All local Scout groups will be invited to spend the first weekend in October at the camp.
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“The intent behind the centennial camporee is to celebrate our camp and the 100 years of history, as well as to bring scouts from all over our area,” said Chattahoochee Council BSA Scout Executive Juan Osorio.
In addition to modern-day scouting activities, the Scouts will also have the opportunity to try some scouting activities that were popular back in the early mid-1900s when the camp first opened.
Though the Chattahoochee Council serves 15 local counties including Chambers, Lee, Troup and Harris, Osorio said that Scout groups from as far as Atlanta, Florida or South Carolina may participate.
The camp officially opened its gates in 1922. Named Camp George Lanier at its inception, it soon changed to Camp Pine Mountain.
The camp was recognized as one of the finest in the South. Unique to the camp’s location, each cabin in the camp was built by the Scout leaders and Scouts of each of the old mill towns in the area.
By 1926, several more facilities were built including a caretaker house, nine troop cabins, a swimming area, a mess hall and a headquarters building.
“Scouting here in this area is in the fabric of our community,” Osorio said. “Scouting has been around locally for 100 years here in the counties that we cover.”
The Scout law teaches kids to exemplify 12 points of conduct: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. Osorio said thousands of Scouts have camped and visited Camp Pine Mountain since its opening.
“Scouting really equips are kids to be model citizens,” Osorio said. “And we’ve seen that again and again with these community leaders and these adults that went through our program in the 50s and 60s that are now the community leaders of today.”
Some modern leaders in the country and local area who were Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts include John Flournoy, founder of Flournoy Development Company, in Columbus; Ret. General Rod Barham, volunteer Chattahoochee council president; Ret. Col. Ralph Puckett, a Medal of Honor recipient from President Joe Biden and Congressman Sanford Bishop.
For 2022, the Chattahoochee Council BSA have served over 1000 local youth. Over 1,800 merit badges were awarded. Recently, the BSA opened their ranks to girls. In the Chattahoochee Council, 300 girls participated in scouting.
“To me, that is an opportunity to provide a program to the whole family, allowing us to leverage our camp, Camp Pine Mountain, to better serve the needs of today’s family,” Osorio said. “And so my hope is that we will continue to utilize Camp Pine Mountain for the next century, equipping today’s young men and young women to be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Chattahoochee Council BSA serves 15 counties including Lee, Chambers, and Russell in Alabama, and Webster, Quitman, Stewart, Talbot, Marion, Randolph, Heard, Chattahoochee, Meriwether, Harris, Troup, and Muscogee in Georgia.
Currently, local and regional Scout Groups use the camp for weekend campouts. The local Boy Scout office holds several yearly events such as Spring Family Camp, Fall Family Camp and Volunteer Training.
“For me, while Scouting is a program that’s been around for over a century, it’s a program that is needed today more than ever,” Osorio said.