For almost 50 years, Boy Scouts have camped and created cherished memories at Bert Adams Scout Camp in Newton County. February 2010 also marks 100 years of Boy Scouts of America.
Members of the Atlanta Area Council are in the midst of planning a centennial celebration and half-century celebration for both milestones May 14-16 at Bert Adams. The celebration will be called "The Campout of the Century."
Tuesday four employees of the Atlanta council met with community leaders to layout their basic wants and needs for the weekend. Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton, Newton County Sheriff Deputy Chief Jerry Carter and Lt. Mark Mitchell, Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director Clara Deemer, Newton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Whatley and area council members and local residents Sam Ramsey and Bill Loeble all met with the BSA representatives.
Jack Langford, who recently had a new nature center at Bert Adams named for him, said the council expects 5,000 Scouts to camp that weekend.
"For about a 40-hour period at Bert Adams Scout Camp," Langford said, "we may have the second largest city in Newton County."
AAC Activities Director Jason M. Eiermann and Director of Support Services Tom Wilson as well as Episcopal District Director Jerry Brewster Jr. also attended the meeting.
The group discussed creating a traffic plan, the use of Alcovy High and Heard-Mixon Elementary schools’ parking lot and a contingency plan for any disaster or inclement weather. Since troops will be able to unload trailers at the camp the weekend before the event, extra patrols also were requested.
"I’d like to use this too as a way to get people to know Covington," said former mayor Sam Ramsey. He hopes to route people through the downtown square, with an increased police presence, and down Ga. Highway 36 to Scout Road. He also mentioned planning a community day for people to tour the new $10.7 million facilities under construction at the camp for sometime late in 2010.
For the actual campout, council members have high hopes for a popular band, military equipment displays, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center programs and a fireworks show. They have invited high profile guests as well as any Scout alumni who attended Bert Adams or the original Bert Adams Camp in Vinings.
"Like Jack says, ‘you’ve got to keep the outing in Scouting,’" Wilson said. "That’s how you keep the kids."