The Pryor Times

Features

June 16, 2010

Hardesty Center dedicated at Camp Garland

LOCUST GROVE — Camp Garland is getting a facelift. The dedication and ribbon cutting of the Hardesty Center, a $2.1 million, 10,000 square foot main hall, was Saturday, June 12, at the Boy Scout camp located south of Locust Grove.

“We’re making a major investment here in this community,” said Scout Executive with the Boy Scouts of America Indian Nations Council Bill Haines. “We look forward to working with all the local vendors.”

The Hardesty Center is just one part of a four phase renovation project at the camp. Haines said Camp Garland will be used as the main event center for the 18 counties which comprise the Indian Nations Council.

Haines said each of the nine districts in the council hold two or three main events each year, hosting between 1,000 to 2,000 visitors. “That should give a lot of through traffic to the Locust Grove area.”

Camp Garland, which was established in 1927, was in desperate need of updates, said Haines. The only buildings salvaged during the renovation are a small garage and the old dining hall. “That (dining hall) is the heart and soul of the old camp,” said Haines.

A donation from the Siegfried family will be used to renovate the dining hall for use by future campers. In total, donations of approximately

$5 million have been collected to make the renovation possible. The largest donation received was $1 million from The Hardesty Family Foundation, which was matched to make the $2.1 million Hardesty Center become a reality.

When construction is completed in four years, Camp Garland will be home to a new chapel, flag plaza, park area, high adventure area, shooting area, bathrooms, campsites and pavilion. Plans are in the works to

develop a wilderness center across the road near the training center.

With the Hardesty Center complete, the camp is scheduled to reopen in September for their first big event, just in time for the 100-year anniversary of the Indian Nations Council. The council was created in 1911, one year after the Boy Scouts of America.

Wayne Brock, Deputy Chief Scout Executive of the National BSA, said the organization is working to reintroduce scouting to American youth, who don’t know a world without technology. Brock said the Boy Scouts seek to bring today’s youth “out of the house and into the outdoors,” a feat not possible without the 1.2 million volunteers nationwide.

Brock looked over the audience of volunteers and youth in their khaki attire, and expressed his gratitude for what they do each and every year.

“Thank you for making scouting possible,” he said. “You are the core

of the Boy Scouts of America. Thank you.”

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