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Camp Josepho History - 1941  

jump to  >  Dedication    Summer Camp
          1941 started off with construction in full swing. Major projects included the Grand Lodge, parade grounds, swimming pool, bridge crossing over Rustic Canyon Creek, water & septic tanks. The access road into camp and upper extension from Casale Road (Sullivan Fire Road), were improved and paved.
          On February 1, 1941, work began on digging and forming the foundation for the Grand Lodge, originally known as Josepho Lodge. Progress was slowed down by an extremely wet month that saw rain on 19 out of 28 days. None-the-less, the footings, foundation and slab were poured on March 1. That project was headed up by cement contractor and Scout Master of  Troop 6, Santa Monica. He assembled a volunteer crew working late into the night to finish the entire job in one day. At that point, it was projected the entire lodge would be framed, wired, plumbed, roofed, sided and completed in 90 days. An army of Crescent Bay Scouters volunteered their time, working tirelessly to finish Camp Josepho before the dedication scheduled for June 7, 1941.
          The Grand Lodge was built in an open-beam and rustic style, having a huge main room with a vaulted ceiling over 24' high. The southern end was dominated by a raised stage, framed by a massive and ornate wooden arch. The stage was designed for theatrical productions and entertainment provided by the camp staff and scout bands.  The eastern wall of the lodge was a two-story affair with upstairs rooms above to house the staff. A long balcony extended over the kitchen and meeting rooms below. The state-of-the art commercial kitchen was capable of feeding over 400 scouts at a time. Midway along the wall was a floor-to-ceiling rock fireplace, large enough to have roaring log camp fires (fire danger during summer months required having evening camp fires in the lodge). The original balcony is believed to have been an open rail and picket design which soon become a safety hazard to roughhousing teenage boys. Folklore has it that during some running around and nonsense, a scout crashed through the railing, falling down to the floor below. The extent of his injuries are not known but sometime after 1944, the balcony railing was removed and replaced with a solid knotty pine panel wall with safety windows laced with wire. Currently, there are no known photographs showing the original open rail in the lodge.
          The large oval pool, located beyond the north end of the parade grounds, was originally surrounded with grass to give the feeling of a Sierra meadow pond.  It measured 60' by 100', ranged from 3' to 14' deep and was said to be the largest pool at any Scout Camp in California. The pool recirculating system moved 250 gallons of water per minute and had an automatic chlorination system. A diving board finished off the design on the deep end. (The grass border was replaced with concrete a few years later when it was realized it wouldn't grow, falling victim to chlorine and the pounding of thousands of bare feet from running and jumping Scouts).
          A flag pole was erected on the west side of the Parade Ground by the Tribe of Temescal, Crescent Bay Council's Scoutmaster Training Key Association. The flag pole would be dedicated to George Bundy, first Silver Beaver Award recipient of Crescent Bay.  
          Eight original campsites were designed to remain primitive, lacking electricity and piped water. A camp stove and pit latrine were the only improvements.  Much of the materials and most of the work were donated by volunteer Crescent Bay Scouters and Scouts, thereby increasing development in the camp well beyond the $30,200 donated by Anatol Josepho. (It is widely believed that Josepho ended up donating much more to the camp than the original amount). Construction of Camp Josepho dominated Council activity and resources the first half of the year. Excitement and anticipation was at an all-time high among the public and scouts alike.

Scouts Begin Using the Unfinished Camp

          To say the Scouts were anxious to begin using Camp Josepho would be an understatement. The pool unofficially opened on April 19, 1941 for weekend use. On Sunday, April 27, 1941, the Council Band held a free concert at Camp Josepho attended by over 400 Scouts and others in addition to the "Scouts camping there", suggesting there were also troops back in the campsites that weekend. The concert was held in front of the flagpole on the parade ground by the newly re-organized Council band led by Dee Fisher, Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 10, Santa Monica. The band, boasting 23 members, was resurrected in January, 1941 by Troop 25, Santa Monica, and was also scheduled to provide music at the Camp dedication on June 7.
          Crescent Bay Council's first Explorer Field Day was held at Josepho the weekend of May 3 &4. Explorer Scouting was just beginning nationally and 1941 was the first year it organized in Crescent Bay on a Council-wide basis. At that time, there were no Posts. Instead, groups of older scouts formed their own patrol within their troop. 65 explorers from 12 troops throughout the Council attended the Field Day at Josepho where 13 athletic Competitions were held. The event was organized by Scouters Theron Patten of Culver City and Clinton Kirk of Santa Monica, Explorer Scout Commissioner and Chairman, respectively, of the Council's newly organized Explorer Committee.
          The Sea Scouts were next, holding their Beach Combers Ball in the lodge on Saturday night, May 24, 1941. Senior and Explorer Scouts were also invited with their dates for an evening of entertainment, refreshments and dancing. The final Council events prior to the dedication Camporal were scheduled by the Council Training committee on Monday evenings  May 26 and June 2, 1941. The two-session training course led by Ralph DeBolt was focused on Troop Camping. Registration was $1 which included dinners each night provided by the Council and cooked in the Camp Josepho kitchen.

Camporal and Dedication

          Crescent Bay Scout Leaders decided to combine the 1941 annual Camporal with the dedication of Camp Josepho on June 7, 1941. Unfortunately, Camp Josepho was not large enough to accommodate the huge turnout of troops and patrols that previous Camporals attracted. A new plan was devised to create competitive District Camporees to determine the best 80 patrols to be invited to attend the Council Camporal. Three separate camporees were scheduled:
  • Santa Monica and Westwood - May 10-11, 1941 at U.C.L.A. Athletic Field
  • Culver Palms, Mar Vista and Venice - May 10-11, 1941 at the Southwest Kennel Club Dog Track at Washington & Lincoln Boulevards.
  • Beverly Hills - May 24-25 at Beverly Hills High School.

          As a consequence, the new plan meant the majority of Crescent Bay's 2600 Scouts would not be allowed to attend the dedication, a fact that may not have set will with many of the Council's troops. None-the-less, Camporal and Dedication schedules were announced by Milton Mackey Jr. Camporal Director; L. W. Holinger Assistant Director; and Roy Feree Adjunct. On Saturday, June 7, all qualifying patrols were to be in Camp no later than 11 a.m. Then, by 11:45 a.m. all Scouts assembled up at the Camp entrance gate where the new access road joined Sullivan Fire Road. As martial music provided by the Crescent Bay Scout Band blared up the canyon walls from below, all the boys marched down the road and onto the oval parade ground where the dedication ceremony began.
          First up was the dedication of the flag pole donated by the Tribe of Temescal followed by a formal flag raising ceremony. Next, the Camp was blessed by prominent religious leaders in the community, followed by words honoring Mr. and Mrs. Josepho and presentation of a gift purchased with thousands of pennys donated by the Scouts. Speeches were also made by Los Angeles Sherriff xxxBisqual, movie star Leo Carrillo and other local dignitaries. After the ceremony, the Camporal opened with Scouting skill competitions and swimming periods in the new pool.
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                                                                                                 Summer Camp

         The inaugural Crescent Bay Summer Camp at Camp Josepho opened on July 5, 1941. Camp Wolverton in Sequoia also opened the same day as an outpost adventure camp. The Wolverton staff was reduced to two people: new Crescent Bay field executive Alden Barber took over for Mart Bushnell as Camp Director. Carl Helms returned as the Packer. The Council's burros, Pete and Repete, were driven from Camp Josepho to the High Sierra Camp for use by those troops willing to bring their own food and all other supplies. Camp Trefoil opened on July 10, 1941, Senior Scout and Troop 10 Assistant Sccoutmaster Woodi Fisher, was Camp Director and the only staff. Trefoil was a "by request " camp that boasted some improvements since 1940 including a new cabin and concrete decking around the pool. Apparently, a spillway was built flowing directly into the pool. Water flowing and collecting in the spillway was supposed to warm in the sun, thereby warming the frigid pool temperatures from previous summers.

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                                                  First Staff

          The first adult staff for Camp Josepho was announced in the may issue of the Scouting News. "Skipper" Al Miller, Camp Emerald Bay staff since 1925, was picked as the first Josepho Camp Director. Other staff included: Deforest (Dee) Fisher Activities Director; Martin Weinstein assistant Activites Director;  Dean Kennedy Quartermaster; Philip Hutchins Handicraft; and John Wuest Waterfront. In a surprise move, Frank "Pop" Pudney, handicraft director at Camp Emerald Bay through the 1930's, was not initially on the 1941 Josepho staff. Nor was Alden Barber. It is not currently known who made up the youth camp staff  but it is thought that Jack Davies, Dick Rice and John Erhlichman may have been included. 
                                       Schedule & Activities

          The 1941 Camp Josepho summer camp included eight sessions of one week each at a cost of $7.00 per boy. The fee included 3 served meals per day but initially no transportation provided by the Council. Scouts signing up for a full week-long session became eligible to earn the coveted Good Camper badge. For troops prepared too "rough it" by and bringing their own meals, the cost was 10 cents per boy per day.
          The main attraction was the pool. Water Carnivals and swim meets were scheduled each session. Swimming and life saving merit badges were taught and it may have also been possible to work on canoeing and rowing merit badges as well.
          A complete sports activities program was available to campers. Included were baseball, football, basketball, track, volley ball, lawn tennis, badminton, ping pong, soccer and even shuffle board. Evening activities, including campfires (in the lodge fireplace), bull sessions, community singing, amateur nights and entertainment on the Lodge stage, were all scheduled for scouts during each session. Singing was also a regular activity during meal times. Hikes of any distance and duration were also part of the program.
          The last camping period ended  on August 30, 1941, and Camp Josepho closed for the summer. It probably remained open on a limited basis for additional events and weekend troop camping but documentation for that period is lacking. Exactly six months following the dedication of the new camp, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and scout camping would take a very different direction for the next four years.

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