Last December, when the leadership of the Northwest Georgia Cuoncil’s Waguli Lodge met to discuss goals for their 75th anniversary year, they didn’t count on a widespread pandemic. But they’re not letting it slow them down.
“This year we wanted to do something different.” said Lodge Chief Nick “Sid” Gutierrez, “We wanted to commemorate our 75th anniversary by leaving a lasting mark on our council and camp, but most importantly on the Scouts we serve. That’s how we came upon the idea of the Legacy Project, and our vision for 2020, Building a Legacy of Cheerful Service.”
In addition to serving as a tagline for lodge publications, this vision also serves as a call-to-action for the Arrowmen of the lodge to contribute to meaningful service projects for their council and camp.
The Legacy Project is their collective name for multiple projects that they believe will leave an impact for future Scouts. First, creating a 7-mile backpacking trail around their camp. When complete, the trail will serve Scouts in the Northwest Georgia Council by providing a safe option for first-time backpackers, which they hope will promote backpacking in their council. They have also implemented an “Adopt-A-Mile” program where units can “adopt” a stretch of trail and maintain it so Scouts can have a safe and fun backpacking experience. They believe this program will also help foster strong relationships with units in the council by giving them ownership of a specific stretch of trail.
Secondly, they are renovating the OA Lodge at Camp Sidney Dew, which, in addition to being used by Waguli Lodge at their events, will support the council’s handicraft program at summer camp. The upgrades will include bringing running water to the building and installing restrooms.
“This building has been used for woodcarving, pottery, and other handicraft programs for decades,” Nick said, “and these much-needed upgrades will help ensure its use for generations to come.”
Thirdly, they will be renovating and upgrading a currently unoccupied building at camp to support camp operations. The renovations will include reorganizing the interior of the building and repairing the decking around it. Additionally, they will be replacing the current roofing on the building with metal roofing. In the future this building will serve as a space for summer camp programs, and in other seasons will serve as a multi-purpose facility for training seminars and programs.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has provided considerable challenges, and has impacted Scouting programs across the nation. Waguli Lodge has continued to provide service as part of their Legacy Project, but with considerable changes to ensure the health and safety of their participants.
“We’re working very closely with our council and local health officials on how best to continue in this situation,” Nick said, “we’ve been checking temperatures at the gate, requiring masks and enforcing social distancing protocols at all of our service events”.
While these three projects comprise the main scope of their Legacy Project, the lodge’s leadership is not confining work to those projects. In addition to these three main projects, the lodge has also provided assistance with many service projects at camp, most notably the installation of a new water tower to provide a reliable water source for camp operations. While the Legacy Project is intended to commemorate Waguli’s 75th anniversary, Nick stated, “what we hope to accomplish this year is to lay the groundwork for future service to our council’s Scouting programs.”