It’s a milestone for Camp Oyo, as the Scioto County campground celebrates its 90th anniversary. The 55 acre camp on the edge of Shawnee Forest continues to serve Boy Scouts, leaders, and other groups in several Ohio counties. Thousands of scouts from Scioto County attended the camp through the years. The Simon Kenton Council of BSA has held summer camp at the grounds the past two summers. Year round camping is also popular for troops and leaders. Historically Camp Oyo also served several Kentucky counties for several decades.
Ohio Governor Alvin Donahey approved setting aside the land in the Roosevelt Game Refuge for the camp in 1926.
The Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association is holding a reunion and open house for former scouts, parents and leaders at the camp, Saturday afternoon, Sept. 17 at the camp. The volunteer organization is made up of former camp staffers and volunteers and works to improve the camp.
This year renovations to the Blockhouse cabin will be dedicated. A two year renovation includes a new hardwood floor in the top floor, and a new concrete floor in the bottom. New bunks designed by the group, are in place to replace World War II vintage bunks. New bunks are also in the Dan Beard Cabin, which was renovated in 2014.
Those cabins were built by the WPA in the great depression in the 1930s using downed chesnut trees from the forest and stone from Turkey Creek.
The alumni group is also inviting the public to tour the camp’s small lake. Local leaders in 1930 built a concrete dam on Turkey Creek for swimming and canoeing. Severe flooding in the spring of 1997 gtore out the earthen part of the dam and the creek has been eroding since that time. COSAA obtained permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild the structure and clean out the debris in the lake. While much of the work is continuing, its hoped the work will be complete and the gates reinstalled in the low water dam in the spring of 2017 to allow the lake to fill once again.
The gates to Camp Oyo will open at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17, and the public is invited to walk through the grounds in self-guided tours. Former scouts are encouraged to bring memorabilia to share that afternoon. A small silent auction of scout items will be held, and visitors will be treated to a camp dinner at 4 p.m.
A special program will follow highlighting the camp’s 90th anniversary. The Ohio Senate and House of Representatives approved resolutions recognizing the achievement. Annual inductions to the Scoutmasters Honor Roll and other annual awards will be made.