Restoring a Scout camp… one hammer strike at a time

Mayflower Council — Nestled amidst the rolling hills and towering pines of forest-covered stretches of Sudbury and Framingham lies Nobscot Scout Reservation, a treasured haven for generations of young campers from New England.

But time, like the relentless march of nature, had taken its toll on the camp, leaving many cabins and facilities in disrepair.

Enter the Nobscot “Hammer Crew,” a dedicated group of volunteers who have taken it upon themselves to revitalize this beloved Scouting ground.

The story of the Hammer Crew begins with Pete Lane, a seasoned Scouting volunteer who stumbled upon the camp’s deteriorating state during a summer stroll in 2015. Witnessing the lone camp ranger struggling to repair a leaky roof single-handedly, Pete, ever the doer, offered a helping hand. This simple act of kindness ignited a spark that would eventually blossom into a full-fledged restoration effort.

Word of Pete’s initiative spread, and soon, he was joined by others who shared his vision of reviving Nobscot. Larry Bearfield, a key figure in the Nobscot Alumni Association (NAA), played a pivotal role in bringing together a team of skilled builders, visionaries, and do-it-yourself enthusiasts. This group, known as the Nobscot Hammer Crew (NHC), embarked on a mission to transform the camp.

The initial picture was bleak.

Most cabins stood boarded up, devoid of windows and doors, their roofs succumbing to the elements. Trees, victims of the gypsy moth infestation, lay sprawled across structures, further obscuring the extent of the damage. Roads were impassable, and the overall infrastructure was in dire need of attention.

Undeterred by the challenges, the NHC, led by the indefatigable Pete Lane, rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Starting with a handful of volunteers, the crew steadily grew, fueled by a shared passion for Scouting and a desire to see Nobscot thrive again.

One of the NHC’s most remarkable feats was restoring Cabin 39. This once-forgotten structure, shrouded in overgrown foliage and leaning precariously, presented a daunting task. But the NHC, with their unwavering determination and expertise, tackled it head-on.

Using cables and “come-alongs,” they painstakingly pulled the warped walls back into alignment, which took over a year. The crew then embarked on a comprehensive renovation, utilizing salvaged wood from trees felled during trail clearing and roof removal. This resourcefulness not only saved costs but also embodied the Scout’s principle of thriftiness.

The transformation of Cabin 39 is a testament to the NHC’s dedication and skill. The once-dilapidated cabin now stands proudly, ready to welcome future generations of campers.

While the NHC takes pride in its accomplishments, its focus remains firmly on the future of Nobscot. Its ultimate goal is to create a vibrant camp that fosters the growth and development of young minds through the timeless principles of Scouting.

The NHC’s unwavering commitment extends beyond mere repairs. They strive to enhance the overall camping experience by providing amenities like picnic tables, fire rings, and readily available firewood. They meticulously maintain the grounds, ensuring that trails are clear and accessible.

The Nobscot Hammer Crew is more than just a group of volunteers; they are a testament to the enduring spirit of Scouting. Their unwavering dedication, resourcefulness, and can-do attitude have breathed new life into Nobscot, transforming it from a forgotten relic into a thriving hub for outdoor adventure and personal growth.

As they continue their tireless efforts, the NHC leaves a lasting legacy – a camp restored, a community strengthened, and a beacon of hope for the future of Scouting.

Rick Riopelle, John Bishop, and the Nobscot Hammer Crew compiled this story.