The Peach State Serves Up An Extra Helping
Of Great Scout camps
by Ed Henderson - Updated July 2007
Many of Georgia's camps are easily accessible to major Interstates making them a great overnight stop enroute to Florida tourist destinations or the Florida Sea Base. And for the many Florida units that are always in the "sunshine state", the mountains of North Georgia offer a refreshingly different climate and change of topography.
THUNDER SCOUT RESERVATION, nestled in the Pine Mountain Range in Central Georgia is the crown jewel of scout camps in the state. Flint River Council is a case study of a small council that twenty five years turned around a nondescript camp and made it the rage of units from the entire eastern half of the United States. With a full time staff of professionals who's only job is the successful running of this 2200 acre reservation TSR offers free excellent promo videos & high quality leader's guides almost a year in advance of camp.
THUNDER was selected by ESPN as the site for the smash hit TV series outdoor action game show called "Radical Outdoor Challenge," Southern Region has repeatedly tapped the camps facilities for National Camp School in recognition of the excellent modern COPE course. Hundreds of world class Mountain Bike racers from around the United State flock to the Thunderbolt Challenge, a NORBA sanctioned event. In 1997 the camp was active 51 weeks out of the year, often upwards of 1,000 people are at the Reservation for everything from Conclaves and Cub Spook-o-rees, to Camporees, and Geosphere Teacher Outdoor Education Workshops.
Tucked away in the extreme northeastern corner of the state CAMP RAINEY MOUNTAIN is only one mountain away from Georgia's only Snow Ski Resort, a fact not lost on the many Florida troops that enjoy the cooler and much less humid climate of the humid deep south. Rainey has more than just the temperature, it's summer camp program runs nearly the entire summer, attracting troops from several states away. It is also close to some of the most challenging rafting trips in the Southeast with two great rivers.
On the other side of the North Georgia Mountains, the Northwest Georgia Council has been building up the programs at CAMP SIDNEY DEW. Each year it seems to attract more and more out of council troops, yet still keeps that small camp charm.
Any troop looking to travel through Georgia and seeking a camp along the Interstate has many great choices. Coastal Empire's CAMP BLUE HERON is just off I-95 about an hour below Savannah. The camp, near the town of Midway, is just into its second decade and has great modern facilities surrounded by historic forts and museums along the Georgia coast. They came up with a Sea Kayaking program that has really taken off.
CAMP BEN HAWKINS of the Central Georgia Council is just off I-75 below Macon in Byron Georgia. This is a wonderful facility but in 2006 the Council decided not to operate a long term summer camp there. Having been on their camp staff in 1984, 1985 & 1992 I regret hearing about that but the camp is still available to year round camp use.
On I-85 at the first exit in the state from Alabama, the Chattahoochee Council's CAMP PINE MOUNTAIN offers rustic cabins with fireplaces and an Olympic-size swimming pool that was built by German P.O.W.'s during World War II.
Chattahoochee Council Scouters certainly have reason to celebrate the new century as the council debuts one of the newest Boy Scout Camps in the United States called the CHATTAHOOCHEE SCOUT RESERVATION (a.k.a. Camp Frank G. Lumpkin). The camp is the only fully operational Boy Scout Summer camp in the state on a major lake where Motorboating and Water Skiing are part of the Merit Badge offerings. Both the Atlanta & Northeast Georgia Council also operate specialty weekend camping facilities on major Georgia Lakes. Atlanta has an Aquatics Base at Lake Allatoona & N.E. Georgia Council has Scoutland at Lake Lanier.
The Georgia Carolina Council has CAMP LINWOOD HAYNE just outside of Augusta but it's days as a summer camp are gone as the council has turned toward CAMP KNOX to establish a new summer camp program.
Albany's renamed Chehaw Council operates CAMP OSBORNE near Sylvester Georgia and they are also tapping into the alure of the Flint River with their own 20 mile canoe trip.
The Okefenokee Council of Waycross operates CAMP TOLOCHEE. The council has been putting a lot of effort into building up this camp with a new portable climbing wall now a part of the program.
The Alapaha Council is one of the few in the nation to not operate their own organized summer camp, they have focused on making their CAMP PATTON a top notch weekend camp with lots of programs.
Finally, the Atlanta Council, one of the largest in the nation, has two large facilities besides the Lake Allatoona Aquatics Base mentioned above. Woodruff is a relatively new camp in the North Georgia Mountains that was built largely as a gift from Coca-Cola and the Robert W. Woodruff foundation. Bert Adams far to the south near Covington is becoming more of a training and Cub World Camp. It is one of the few BSA Summer Camps in the nation with a year round Supply Division operated Scout Shop operating on the property. below.