Parker Scout Reservation is the name of our council’s camp. It is located north of Brainard in central Minnesota. It was the council’s summer camp until the late 1970’s when the council ran into financial difficulties. It is now used mainly for training sessions, Boy Scout weekends, and Cub Day activities.
I attended summer camp at Parker three times during the years that I was a Boy Scout of Troop 68 in the mid 1970’s. I have many fond memories of those week-long camps. We ate in the dining hall and always had to sing a song or two before the evening meal would begin. The Friday night campfire programs were great fun and actually gave me a start in performing during campfire programs, something that has carried on through my time as a scoutmaster. I remember earning the pioneering merit badge and having so much fun that I really did not realize I was earning a badge.
I believe the camp closed down in the summer of 1978. In 1980 or 1981 a motorcycle gang tore through the seldom used camp and did major damage to the dining hall and beach area. Many of the windows in the dining hall were broken, and most items inside the hall were damaged or destroyed. Glass bottles were broken and thrown along the beach making it unsafe to use. I arrived for a training weekend shortly after the damage was done and was extremely saddened to see the vandalism done to this place of so many of my Scouting memories.
The was a bright spot to be found after all this vandalizing. The council began to once again invest money into the camp and begin making improvements. When the council began it’s fall popcorn fundraisers it promised to invest the council profits from the sale into the camp.
A lot of camp improvements have been make during the past two decades. The dining hall and been improved and expanded. The kitchen has been modernized. A new freezer and food storage building has been built next to the hall. A large picnic shelter and barbecue grille shelter have been constructed. New shelters have been built at the rifle and archery ranges. Many of the camp buildings have been remodeled and winterized. A logging company has gone through the camp during the last two years and removed thousands of old growth trees thus reducing the risk of wild fires while adding addition funds for future camp improvements.
The are major projects planned for the next few years. The rifle range and the Order of the Arrow ceremony sites will be moved to another part of camp. This will make room for a new castle-shaped building to be used for Cub Scout Day Camps. A few existing buildings will also be receiving makeovers to make them more usable for weekend functions.
Will Parker even again be used as a summer camp? I doubt it. I think it is actually used more now then it ever was during its years as a summer camp. It will be interesting to see what the next decade or two has in store for this camp that was once know as Camp Clyde.