Scout camp offers a unique blend of history and adventure

For 90 years, Theodore Naish Scout Reservation has served Boy Scouts and other campers alike through a mutual respect of the outdoors

May 21, 2016

Fun, friendship and adventure are just a few words to describe Theodore Naish Scout Reservation, a Boy Scout summer camp proud in its history and eager to grow with the next generation of Boy Scouts.

Camp Naish will celebrate its 90th anniversary this year, accommodating over 7,000 scouts and staff members each year. The property, in association with the Heart of America Council and YMCA of Kansas City, serves numerous functions including camps for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts, training for police and emergency services and other weekly camps.

Reservation director Scott Weaver, a former soldier, first came to Camp Naish because of his love of the outdoors and the opportunity to impact younger generations.

“There’s nothing better than being outdoors and in nature, and learning to respect its beauty and power on a sunny morning or stormy afternoon,” Weaver said via email. “I continue serving by trying to make a difference: helping young people become capable, productive citizens who make their communities better places to live and work.”

Junior Eric Tibbetts — who started as a scout himself, then began working at Camp Naish on the aquatics staff — finds the new opportunities at the camp are one of the most intriguing parts of working there.

“When I go into camp [each year] … I go in with an open mind and I don’t know what I’m expecting,” Tibbetts said. “But I do know that when I come out of it, it’s a good thing for me. I make a lot of friends, have a lot of fun experiences and just [enjoy] being around other Boy Scouts.”

Another notable aspect of Camp Naish is the history associated with it, mainly its involvement with the sinking of the Lusitania during World War I in 1915. Theodore Naish died on the ship, but his wife Belle survived and wanted to honor the death of her husband. She went on to buy the camp’s land and donate the property to the Boy Scouts, as her husband valued the outdoors and exploring. After an agreement was reached, in 1926 the first camp at Camp Naish took place.

That history helps Weaver to gain a greater appreciation for the camp and its ties to the past.

“We are connected to those events of 1914-1918 by all that was born out of it,” Weaver said. “The threads from past to now, and from now to the future, can bend and twist, but they never break. Who and how we are, what our lives are and will be like, are connected to the past.”

Along with the history and his past experiences, Tibbetts values his co-workers and their common goal of impacting the campers.

“The staffers at Camp Naish, they interact with themselves and have a good relationship with each other,” Tibbetts said. “But they also contribute and have relationships with the campers as well, so they have that interaction. I think it’s good for the campers to know that the staffers are there just for them.”

Above all, Weaver looks to uphold the values of Boy Scouting each year at  camp and instills these values into each camper when they come to Camp Naish.

“There’s something special about a Boy Scout camp, or any other place where those who populate it are making the effort to live by a code: A set of ideas that inspire them to be better today than they were yesterday, and to be better still tomorrow,” Weaver said. “Able to do more, be more brave, and accomplish more than they might if they didn’t discover the joy of striving and succeeding in achieving difficult things.”

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