The landscape of one of the country's oldest camps is about to get a makeover in the form of a new building — an addition that will begin with the turning of dirt today.
After several years of fund-raising, the Erie Shores Council of the Boy Scouts of America will break ground on its Centennial Leadership Center. The 11,000-square-foot building will house offices, offer space for programming and training, and create a home for the Camp Miakonda Museum.
“We wanted a facility that can be the inside classroom for the outside classroom,” said Ed Caldwell, scout executive and chief executive officer of the Erie Shores Council, which serves northwest Ohio. “… It's a gateway to our 160-acre Camp Miakonda.”
Announcement of the center coincides with the council's 100th anniversary this year. Organizers said the facility “represents the rebirth of Camp Miakonda as well as a place the community can utilize.”
Built in 1917, Camp Miakonda is the sixth-oldest Boy Scout Camp in the country and for decades has been a destination for youth and adults alike. Mr. Caldwell said the new building will offer even more opportunities.
The council for years has considered options for the site of its Centennial Leadership Center and had to look for a new home for its offices after the United Way building downtown was slated for demolition. Mr. Caldwell said the organization ultimately decided to use its own land to build an updated facility to use both as offices and as a program and training center.
As of today, the group has nearly reached its $2.5 million goal to build the structure. Mr. Caldwell said the organization still is seeking the final $125,000 needed.
In addition to offices and programming space, the building will house the first-ever storm shelter for the camp as well as an expanded Boy Scout shop. Plus, its location will be just off the main parking lot on Sylvania Avenue. The building is scheduled to be completed in June.
“We're investing in kids, and we're investing in the community. We believe that is central to our mission,” said Gary Hardin, president of the Erie Shores Council. “We're very excited about this project. The point of the legacy center is that it is not just an office building.”
The Erie Shores Council serves 6,276 youths and has 2,300 registered adults who help run the program in Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, and Sandusky counties.