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Scouts’ Camp Geiger looking to expand


Facilities could be available for community use
by Marshall White
copied from the St Joseph News-Press
Originally ran - Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ken Baker, right, with the Pony Express Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and Dave Cornell, an architect from the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, talk about improvements for Camp Geiger’s challenging outdoor personal experience program last week.
Photo by Todd Weddle / St. Joseph News-Press

Ken Baker, right, with the Pony Express Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and Dave Cornell, an architect from the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, talk about improvements for Camp Geiger’s challenging outdoor personal experience program last week. Photo by Todd Weddle


 

Local Boy Scout leaders want to continue upgrading Camp Geiger with new and improved programs for Scouts and the community.

“Boys have dramatic video games and other distractions,” said Ken Siemens, a local businessman, Scouting supporter and member of the Pony Express Council. “So Camp Geiger has got to provide dynamic programming that they can’t get in their living room.”

Council members want to include an improved course for its challenging outdoor personal experience, or COPE, program, and a new and dynamic shooting range — for everything from BB guns to shotguns, archery and tomahawks — that would be capable of hosting regional and national events.

Dave Cornell, an architect from the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, came to walk through Camp Geiger and look at proposed sites for these two courses. Camp Geiger is located at 9525 County Road 388, near Interstate 229 and Missouri Route K, northwest of St. Joseph.

Using Mr. Cornell’s services lowers construction costs, since his services are part of what the council receives from the national office, said Alan Franks, the Pony Express Council’s new director.

The cost for these upgrades is expected to run to about $600,000, but the council will have a more precise figure once the plans are completed, Mr. Siemens said. A local trust already promised $70,000, he said.

By using an architect from the national office, the council can have plans ready before construction, accurately forecast costs and raise the necessary funds in advance, Mr. Franks said.

Council members and local business leaders,

including Bob Schilling, Ed Stroud and Mr. Siemens, challenged the architect to develop a course that would be second to none and could include action archery, moving targets and fully automated shooting ranges, meeting the needs of Cub Scouts through Explorers.

While Camp Geiger is primarily a summer camp, the local community and corporations would be able to use the facilities, providing a new income base for the council to support the camp, Mr. Siemens said. Another possibility would be using the shooting ranges as sites for tournaments, bringing Camp Geiger more attention and providing additional dollars to the local tourism industry, he said.

The goal is to begin construction this fall and open in the summer of 2010, said Ken Baker, a local scout leader from Kansas City.

Mr. Cornell indicated the whole project likely would be doable on the sites the council wanted to use. The council expects to start a campaign by summer to fund and maintain the projects.

Marshall White can be reached at marshall@npgco.com.

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