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To kick off the day the Black Swamp Area Council formally broke ground for Cooper Lodge with Keith Hubbard Dining Hall.  This is a project the council has been actively working on for the last 10 years. 

The existing Meecheway Lodge has served Camp Lakota well as the main dining and gathering facility since 1948.  As the camp has expanded to the south the Black Swamp Area Council has identified the need to build a larger structure to house a dining hall and kitchen located in the center of camp.  Improving camp is critical to keeping the Scouting programs appealing to young people, keeping them in Scouting longer, and increasing the benefits they receive from the Boy Scouts’ proven methods.  The Cooper Lodge complex will be a premier facility housing the Keith Hubbard Dining Hall, kitchen, and training space.  The existing Meecheway Lodge will be repurposed for program activities.

Included with the Cooper Lodge with Keith Hubbard Dining Hall will be the Armed Forces Memorial Prade Field.  This new parade field will serve as the location of morning and evening flag ceremonies during summer camp as well as other events. 

On the south side of Copper Lodge, it is planned to construct the Charlie Duerk Memorial Pavilion as an outside gathering space.  Charlie Duerk spent more than 55 years as Scoutmaster of Troop 75 in Defiance, Ohio chartered by St. John Lutheran Church. Under his leadership more thaan100 youth reached the rank of Eagle Scout and many more benefitted from his passion and guidance following the Scout Oath and Law.

The Cooper Lodge will serve as the only four-season building for large gatherings at the 640-acre camp, allowing Scouting to host volunteer and youth training programs all year round, including STEM and climbing programs.  The new Cooper Lodge with Keith Hubbard Dining Hall will exceed10,000 sq feet. 

The Black Swamp Area Council has raised more than $2.5 million for construction of Cooper Lodge with Keith Hubbard Dining Hall.  There are still limited naming opportunities available as well as the council is conducting a Brick Paver program.  For more information about naming opportunities, please contact Scout Executive, Marc Kogan at (567) 208-5012.  For information on the Brick Paver program, where you can have your name inscribed on the legacy of Camp Lakota, visit www.BlackSwampBSA.org

RCM Architects from Findlay is serving as the project architect and Mel Lanzer Company from Napoleon was selected as the General Contractor. 

Right after the groundbreaking, the 2024 Klondike Derby kicked off.  The traditional first council event of the calendar year kicked off Saturday at Camp Lakota. More than 350 Scouts BSA members and adult volunteers attended this year’s event.   This annual event pits groups of 5-8 Scouts in individual Patrols in a test of skills, agility, and endurance during a daylong event. With local Scout Troops from Northwest and West Central Ohio descending on the camp, there were 29 sleds competing.

Each winter, the Klondike is a reminder Scouting skills do not take a backseat when the weather changes.

Patrols competed in 6 stations called “cities” scattered across camp.  Finally, this year there was an abundance of snow and cold. Scouts navigated their sleds and raced against each other and the clock as with the number of participants, there were multiple waves of sleds released on to the property. At each city there is a host for an event focused on a skill. These range from use of a two-person saw, first aid, knot tying, tree ID’ing, nature tracking, team building, and compass course. Each group was awarded points based on their proficiency at each station.

This year’s top 3 placing patrols are:

1st Place Patriots Patrol from Troop 777 Shawnee Alliance Church, Lima

2nd Place Pink Fluffy Unicorns Patrol from Troop 216 The Trinity United Methodist, Hicksville

3rd Place Coneheads from Troop 499 Clinton Twp Volunteer Fire Dept, Tiffin

Camp Lakota is located at 2180 Ginter Rd, Defiance, OH 43512

Rendering of the new Cooper Lodge with Keith Hubbard Dining Hall

Groundbreaking Ceremony from left to right, Marc Kogan, Scout Executive, Black Swamp Area Council; Dr. Phil Havens, Council Vice President of Properties; Irvin Reinhart, RCM Architects; Mayor Mike McCann; Greg Cooper; Eric Ludwig; Jan Hubbard; Tom Hubbard; Lyndsey Lucas, Mel Lanzer Company; Matt Black, Council President.

The Scouts from Troop 777 from the wining sled

Sleds and Scouts at the starting line.

More Photos available at: https://photos.app.goo.gl/UHyX7eBoVegqJVhD6

Scouting in the Black Swamp Area Council began in 1915 when the Scouting program was introduced to the young people of West Central and Northwestern Ohio. The council serves the counties of Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Fulton, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Van Wert and Williams. The Black Swamp Area Council has two unique and outstanding outdoor leadership centers, Camp Lakota in Defiance and County Camp Berry in Hancock County.

Scouting provides the adventure of camping, hiking, and outdoor fun while using these outdoor educational programs to teach personal responsibility, citizenship, character development, achievement of specific goals and service to others. The Scout Oath and Law provide the foundation of the Scouting movement.

More than 5,000 individuals are participating in the local programs of Cub Scout, Scouts BSA, Venturing, Explorers and/or adult volunteers. They are served by the Black Swamp Area Council living out the Scout Oath and Scout Law one Scout at a time.  For more information about finding Scouting near you, visit www.BeAscout.org or call (419) 422-4356.


Black Swamp Area Council
2100 Broad Avenue, Findlay Ohio
(419) 422-4356