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Camp Ross Dining Hall Renovation

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On Sunday, June 26, 2016, Webelos Scouts and leaders arrived for Week 1 of summer camp at Camp Ross, Goshen Scout Reservation, and were greeted by a newly expanded and renovated dining hall.  With six sets of french doors facing the parade ground, rustic light fixtures, quiet ceiling fans, polished floors, new tables and chairs, and more than 50% more space, the Camp Ross dining hall is lighter, brighter, cooler, and more comfortable than it has ever been.  And with an extensively updated kitchen, happy cooks will be sending out tasty, satisfying meals to hungry campers!

The effort to carry out these long-awaited improvements was led by National Capital Area Council Vice President for Outdoor Adventure Scott Gray and Scout Executive/CEO Les Baron.  The Camp Ross dining hall was one of the original Goshen log cabin-style buildings, serving as a commissary and quartermaster food and equipment storage building when Goshen Scout Reservation opened in 1967.  Originally, all Goshen camps were patrol cooking; there were no dining halls.  Some years later, three of the camps (Camp Ross, Camp PMI, and Camp Olmsted) were designated as dining hall camps.  At Camp Ross, this was done by converting the commissary/QM building into a dining hall.  However, as a dining hall, the building was dark, cramped, and hot, and the rough concrete floor was hard to clean.  No more!  And as an added bonus, the renovation included sanding and finishing the walls and ceilings, bringing the rich wood of this rustic log cabin to life and preserving its beauty and history for generations of Scouts to come.

Gray’s Lodge

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Goshen Scout Reservation is wonder of natural beauty, with mountains on each side forming a natural bowl with forests lining the sides, sloping down to the shores of  gorgeous Lake Merriweather.  Nowhere is the beauty of this Scouting Eden more evident than looking out from the hill at Camp Post.  Sitting up on that hill, overlooking the lake at the most scenic point of Camp Post, is one of the very first buildings constructed at Goshen Scout Reservation.  Formerly known as Post Lodge or Memorial Hall, this building has served many purposes over the years, including summer camp headquarters, staff kitchen, meeting room, staff lounge, and trading post.  The years had taken a toll on this building, but it never lost its ability to serve a variety of useful functions.

In recent years, it became evident that the National Capital Area Council needed a multipurpose building at Goshen Scout Reservation that could be used all year ’round for meetings, training, activities, weekend camping, and special events.  It would need a kitchen that could feed dozens of people, bathrooms with showers, heating and air conditioning, comfortable meeting space, and room for a large group of overnight guests.  Construction of such a facility would also provide the opportunity to upgrade and modernize the Camp Post septic system — a long-needed improvement. Discussing the options for meeting these needs, NCAC Scout Executive/CEO and NCAC Vice President for Outdoor Adventure Scott Gray settled on a renovation of the Lodge as the best option.

Those renovations were completed in spring 2016, and the newly-renamed Gray’s Lodge (in honor of Mr. Gray) now complements the natural beauty of Goshen.  With new floors, refinished timber walls, a renovated kitchen, four bathrooms (each with a shower), heat and A/C, and a new patio with a fireplace, Gray’s Lodge is the new model for the beautiful but rustic and practical style of Goshen Scout Reservation buildings. Most strikingly, the renovation brought back to life two architectural features that the original builders of Goshen gave to this building: beautiful high wooden arches that support the cathedral ceilings in the Great Room and Multipurpose Room, and the immense stone fireplace that forms the focal point of the Great Room.  NCAC now has a rugged, practical, and attractive facility to draw users to Goshen Scout Reservation throughout the year.