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Geological and Natural History
History As Part of CCIW
Edited from information compiled by David B. Merrick
Camp Walter Scott is an example of dreams becoming reality in the midst of uncertainty. Early in the region’s history, extensive camp and conference programs were held throughout the state at rented facilities. The programs offered at these facilities were quality programs with high attendance- it is a proud heritage.
In the mid-1950s, there began to be a strong and effective push for the state convention to develop a Disciples of Christ camping facility. Attendance figures indicated that approximately 1,500 campers were involved each year, not including 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade age levels. Plans were made to have at least four facilities located around the state.
In 1961, two properties were purchased: Camp Barton Stone near London Mills and Camp Walter Scott near Effingham. In the mid-1960s, a facility near Waukegan was purchased from the Presbyterians and named the Campbell Conference Center. Each of these facilities was used by and for summer camps and conferences.
The 1960s were a time of initial development at Camp Walter Scott. One of the shower houses and the basement of the dining hall were built. The lake was created and “hogans” were set up on both sides of the lake.
In 1969, the Campbell Conference Center was sold. Two years later, the decision was made to sell Camp Barton Stone. The proceeds from the sale of these two properties were used for upgrading the facility at Camp Walter Scott. In the mid-1970s, the manager’s home made it possible to hire a full-time, year-round camp manager. Keith Summers was the first to hold this position, followed by Ray Bateman, and later, Dale Slifer. In 1996, Reverend Burley Herrin became the camp manager. He left the position in 2002, and Becky Lewis was hired.
In the late 1970s, the camp began providing meal for the senior citizen meal program. This allowed the campground to provide consistent employment for its kitchen staff, as well as revenue for the maintenance of the facility. This program continued until 2001, when the camp was underbid and loss the senior citizen meal program.
Over the years, the facility at Camp Walter Scott has been upgraded and renovated with the help of caring volunteers. In 1999, an addition to the dining hall was completed, consisting of a new conference room in the loft area and new bathrooms. In 2002, work began to renovate the maintenance shed into a small retreat house, and was completed in 2007. The old water treatment building was renovated to house all maintenance equipment and needs.
In September 2007, Camp Walter Scott hosted Miracle Day to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the camp. Volunteers came out in force to help install new roofing and new bathrooms for each cabin.