CLAYTOR LAKE — Imagine the excitement among dozens of young boys and men as they spend a week filled with boating, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, water skiing and wake boarding on the waters of Claytor Lake.
With the new Claytor Lake Aquatics Base, this will all continue to be possible.
Tuesday afternoon, representatives from the Blue Ridge Mountains Council (BRMC) of the Boy Scouts of America — along with local leaders, members of the community and the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce — gathered for a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony at this new site.
Guests had the opportunity to tour the Aquatics Base, which features attractions such as an octagonal-shaped dining hall with a 384-person capacity, about half a dozen participant cabins, and a state-of-the-art boat dock.
Other features of the Claytor Lake Aquatics Base include a shower house/bunk house, four ski/wakeboarding boats, six pontoon boats, three large sailboats, eight small sailboats, eight rowing shells, and 10 tandem kayaks.
Plans for this new Aquatic Base have been in the works since 2001, when the BRMC learned that they would no longer be able to continue their long-term lease of Byrd Lodge, which, since 1995, had been the site of the Claytor Lake Aquatics Base.
The BRMC quickly formed a Claytor Lake Committee to begin searching for an alternative location. Fortunately, American Electric Power had another piece of property on Claytor Lake available for the Boy Scouts to use, and the new project grew from there.
Since its beginning, the Claytor Lake Aquatics Base has grown tremendously. In its first season in 1995, there were about 40 participants, two boats and six total staff members. Under the direction of Bob Morgan, who has served as the program director for the past 12 years and has played an integral role in developing the program, staff and solidifying the program as it is today, the Aquatics Base now serves an average of approximately 80 Scouts per week during summer camp.
The process of developing the new and improved Claytor Lake Aquatics Base has required the efforts of many BRMC staff and volunteers. Those who currently serve or have served on the Claytor Lake Aquatics Base committee include Smith Chaney, chairman, Greg Harmon, staff project manager, John Young, council president 2006-07, Gary Armbrister, council president 2007-08, Jim Chapman, Al Croy, Pete Hatcher, Steve Rossi, Tim Timmons, and John Young.
“We’ve been working on this project for a long time, and it has been exciting to see the plan come together,” said Chairman Smith Chaney. “It is a mighty nice facility, and definitely one the Blue Ridge Mountains Council can be proud of for many years to come.”
The following companies have also played a large role in making the Aquatics Base project a reality: G & H Contracting for the construction of the dining hall, Balzer and Associates for engineering and architectural services, Steel Dynamics and Steel Services, Inc. for providing steel, James Hardie Building Products for providing the siding on the buildings, Dublin Developers, LLC for construction of the dock system, Dublin Electrical Contractors for electrical services, Valley Mechanical Contractors for ventilation services for the central building and shower house, and Skyline Door and Ferguson Enterprises, who were vendors.
For more information about the Blue Ridge Mountains Council of the Boy Scouts of America or for directions to the new Aquatics Base, visit www.bsa-brmc.org.