For nearly a half-century, Broad Creek has meant camping for Boy Scouts in the greater Baltimore area. Three generations of families have enjoyed the rustic accommodations, the woods and trails, the campfires and the swimming pool in the formative periods of their lives.
Year-round, some 20,000 scouts, parents and other campers use the spacious Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in northeastern Harford County, along the tributary of the Susquehanna River. It hosts scouts from other states and even from foreign countries.
The 2,200 acres include lodges and sports courts, mountain biking trails and boating docks, fishing and swimming facilities. And three large separate areas for tent camping, the essence of traditional scouting.
But Broad Creek is, like many an old scout, badly in need of repair and rejuvenation. The operating budget of $500,000 a year from fees and donations keeps the campgrounds functional, but longer-term needs have not been addressed for over two decades. The water system and roads need replacement; the central feeding hall, the swimming pools and bathhouses require overhaul.
The Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts has launched a campaign to raise $3 million for maintenance and renovation of the aging facility. Donations will be solicited from scouting families as well as corporations and foundations. Half that money will be used for immediate capital improvements, including renovating a lodge for handicapped scouts. The remaining funds will start an endowment for future improvements.
Broad Creek is a special facility that continues to serve the needs of youth in this area. From Cub Scouts to senior Boy Scouts, the outdoors experience on the reservation is one that is long remembered. Families, too, join in the camping programs -- mothers as well as fathers.
Scouting remains an important program of moral, physical and mental development for many young people, even as the movement has changed in its 85 years of existence. As the only Boy Scout camp in the Baltimore area, Broad Creek contributes to that positive goal. The preservation of these campgrounds is one that deserves widespread support. Be prepared to help.