Parker Scout Reservation

on October 8, 2007 in camping, summer camp

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.

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    4 Responses to “Parker Scout Reservation”

    1. B C Justice says:

      Y’know, as much as we moan about the dollars our councils spend on Cub Scouting while Boy Scouting is neglected, I have to admit it’s usually the desire to install Cub facilities that saves some of the old camps.

      Byron C. Justice Troop 1197
      http://www.HoustonScouts.ORG

    2. Old Scout says:

      What makes me sad is to see such a beautiful rustic camp turned into a Cub Scout playground. I spent a lot of time at Parker as a Scout on various camping adventures and OA conclaves.

      When I was under my Eagle Scout board of review, I was asked by an aged Scouter, “why does a boy join Scouting?” I responed, correctly, “because he wants to go camping.” If we take away the council’s most valuable asset (namely, the camp and camping program), we severely jeopardize our council’s future. By emphasizing the Cub Scouting program and recruitment with foolish investments in a “castle,” the Boy Scouting program becomes a risk.

      Covnersely, I think that active recruiting should be done at the 11-12 year old rage. It is easy for Scout officials to assume that Webelos cross-overs will take care of the Boy Scout membership, but this is simply not true (I almost did not cross over to Boy Scouts because I thought that Cub Scouts was lame). My opinion is that the Cub Scout program will take care of itself (a glorified day care, honestly). The Boy Scout program, however, needs places like Parker to thrive.

      Lastly, I understand the need for logging projects at Camp, but when I heard that the historic OA sites will be relocated for a Cub Scout castle, my heart sank. My most fond memories of Camp are from the secluded OA areas and to have these defiled by a Cub Scout program feature would tarnish my memories of Camp.

      I urge my brother Eagle Scouts to stop this atrocity. We do not need more Cub toys, but rather, we need attention on the Boy Scout troops, where places like Parker (Camp Clyde, when I was a kid) are camping havens.

    3. Anonymous says:

      Who said the camping program will be taken away? No Cubs, No Scouts.
      Logging of old and dangerous timber has paved the way to keep Parkers buildings and property maintained. There are 256 acres, trust me, the O.A. will still have a secluded area to call their own. But it would be nice if they would learn to share their skills with other scouts. (by volunteering for cub/webelos camp staff.)
      With out older scouts mentoring the newbies, instead of chastising their existance, then there will be nothing to look forward to. This is the Boy Scouts of America, Cubs, Webelos, and Boy Scouts, it’s all for one and one for all.
      Judging by the comments made, you don’t have all the information.

    4. Anonymous says:

      My family is currently involved in updating / restoring the Speltz Chaple at Parker. Does anyone have historical information as to the construction of the Chaple, first Mass, or other related information that I might use in a report?

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