Story - Ledbetter Lodge
LEDBETTER LODGE DINING HALL
Camp Daniel Boone, BSA – Canton, NC
I had a great experience growing up in Scouting! I loved my adventures each summer at Camp Daniel Boone in Haywood County and when time came, I jumped at the chance to be on camp staff. The staff all shared in various work at the Dining Hall, a wonderful, but rickety old wooden building, busting at the seams. Back porch duty included wearing elbow-high, thick rubber gloves and dunking racks of plates and silverware in scalding hot water to get them sterilized. At that time, I never dreamed that some 25 years later I’d get the chance to help craft a new dining hall, sans the crude sterilizer, which would become the center piece of one of the finest camps in America.
Often symbolically connected to Native American Indian lore, scouting in WNC is linked to the history of the Cherokee and their famous Chieftain Tsali. The Cherokee were a vibrant, thriving culture and the idea of the ‘Lodge’ takes reference from their tribal structure - a place to gather, tell stories, socialize and discuss important matters. Named for a prominent Asheville physician and Scout leader, Ledbetter Lodge is the social heart of the camp community - food to eat, songs to sing, achievements to celebrate, experiences to share with kids from all over the country, and a place to just relax. Very cool!
Native Americans were fantastic at using the natural resources available to them whether establishing farms, constructing buildings, in hunting and fishing, for clothing, or navigating waterways. With Ledbetter we took an intentional approach to integrate materials available at camp, mainly logs used in the building’s structure. The two species we chose were Yellow Poplar for their long straight trunks and Black Locust for their heartiness and weatherability. After harvesting, peeling and curing large sections of 20” diameter trunks, they were cut to length and used as column supports for the new dining hall. This helped the lodge attain a rustic, camp quality and also connected it to the land in a more meaningful way.
Some musings of Robert Baden-Powell, founder of Scouting:
“We never fail when we do our duty, we always fail when we neglect to do it”
“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness in the lives of others”
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than by talk”