Camp Workcoeman

Preparing the Camp

With Frank Coe’s death, ownership of the property transferred to his wife, Jennie, and responsibility for the Scout program to Council Executive Earle Beebe. Beebe served as the first director, or Camp Chief, and he recruited Scouter Seymour Weeks as his assistant. Scouts Ralph Fox, Kenneth Green, Harold Patterson, and Thomas Wall made up the rest of the staff.

Chief Beebe camped at Workcoeman during the last two weekends in June, in order to encourage Scouts and Scouters to visit the property. In addition to the registered members, volunteers from Torrington also came up to help establish the camp. The old logging road was too narrow and uneven to drive on, and, as such, the equipment and most of the building materials were carried into camp by hand. In addition to clearing sites for the tents and digging a four-seat latrine, the volunteers built the first kitchen. This open-sided wood structure provided cover for an icebox and a World War I surplus wood-fired stove.

The five-man staff joined Chief Beebe in July, and they spent the next two weeks completing the camp. Frederick Baldwin offered the council a shack near the brook that flows in front of the present camp sign. The staff tore this structure down and used the lumber to build a storage shed. Near the kitchen and under the shade of taller trees, they set up a dining fly. In addition to a staff tent and a headquarters tent, the staff set up four camper tents. Each tent had six cots set up on a thick layer of straw, to protect the ground. The last major task before the Scouts arrived on the fourteenth of July was to set up the waterfront. The staff built a dock that stretched beyond the boulders along the shoreline and into the clear waters of the lake. Of course, the staff weeks consisted of more than just construction and setup. Chief Beebe, an officer of the Red Cross Volunteer Life Saving Corps, taught the staff lifeguarding techniques.

The photograph below shows the entrance to camp in 1924.

Camp Workcoeman Entrance in 1924