A Boy Scout camp on the eastern edge of Hillsboro that’s at least 55 years old is in need of repairs, and the community is being asked to help.
Camp Bo-Wa-Ge, located off Greystone Drive, is a five-acre tract of land that was left in a tax-free trust to the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 171 many years ago. The camp was officially dedicated in August of 1959, and over years saw an enclosed building, shelterhouse with a fireplace, flag pole and a fire pit built on it. But it’s been 20 years since any major repairs were made, according to former scoutmaster Dave Lowell, who still serves on a committee that oversees the camp.
The enclosed building has overhead electric service to it, but in recent months ice on the electric line has caused it to pull away from where it’s anchored to the building’s roof. That’s created a water leak that has damaged the structure.
“Boy Scout Troops, according to the national charter, cannot solicit money,” Lowell said. “But the charter organization for Troop 171 is the Hillsboro Lions Club, they can solicit money for the scouts, and they have set up a fund for Bo-Wa-Ge.”
Anyone wanting to donate to the fund needs to make checks payable to: Hillsboro Lions, P.O. Box 711, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. The memo on the check should specify that the money is for Bo-Wa-Ge.
Here’s what the scouts would like to do: have the electric line, which runs back about 200 feet from Greystone Drive, buried; repair the roof where it’s leaking; replace the wood stove in the enclosed building because the one it has now is not safe for use; and replace the chimney on the shelterhouse fireplace.
About 20 years ago, the Lions Club paneled the enclosed building and insulated it. But due to the water leak, that all needs taken down to see how much damage there is. That could mean the ceiling needs replaced, as well as rafters, studs and other wood above the ceiling.
Lowell said the long-term goal is make Bo-Wa-Ge accessible to Cub Scouts, and to that end they’d like to put new gravel down and add picnic tables and benches.
Primarily two troops – 171 and 226 – have used the camp year around until the last few weeks. Lowell said Troop 171 was chartered 94 years ago and Troop 226 was charted by the Hillsboro Methodist Church and in the 1950s and 1960s was the troop for young black men in the area.
The camp is also available to youth groups as a place to study nature.
Lowell said most of the five acres is heavily wooded and the possibility of selling off some of the wood was explored. But the only trees with real value are two old oak trees that Lowell said are too big for any local logging outfit to handle.
Anyone with questions can call Lowell at 937-402-2555.
Jeff Gilliland may be reached at 937-393-3456 ext. 209 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.