Girl Scout Camp Latonka

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016I’ve been scanning a lot of Boy Scout stuff recently. Dad, my brothers and I were members of the Anpetu-We lodge of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scout National Honor Society. I liked the Order better than the Boy Scouts because we were older boys, selected by our troops, and dedicated to service. We spent weekends building things and doing repairs at Camp Lewallen, for example; things that we could point to years later and say, “I built that.”

While doing a search, I ran across a note on Facebook saying that “as the Brotherhood of Cheerful Service, we have an opportunity to assist the local Girl Scouts at Camp Latonka again this year.” I hadn’t been on a work day since probably 1967, and I had never been to the Girl Scout camp located on Lake Wappapello in Wayne County. This was going to be a chance to kill two birds with one stone.

The worker bees

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016When I got to the camp, I saw several trucks and cars around the dining hall, but there was no sound of saws, hammers or other activity, so I just roamed around shooting mug shots of the facilities.

I finally ran into the group taking a lunch break before heading down to tear rotted boards off cabins, do some painting and general clean up. I shot this group photo of the Order of the Arrow members and The Friends of Camp Latonka in front of a stack of rotten wood that would be burned in a bonfire later.

A beautiful site

Camp Latonka 04-09-2016Without going into a lot of detail, some of which can be found here, a merger found the Girl Scouts with two camps in Wayne county. The Missouri Heartland board decided to retain Camp Cherokee Ridge at Patterson, and “divest” lands not needed, like Camp Latonka.

If I was cynical, I would say that the Latonka site, with waterfront access to Lake Wappapello and great overlooks of the lake, would be prime pickings for developers, with the proceeds going to support other Heartland activities. Fortunately, there was enough of an outcry that the camp has been given a new lease on life. It still depends heavily on donations and volunteer labor to keep going.

Camp mugshots

Pictures of people can be divided into portraits, which attempt to capture a person’s personality, and mugshots, which are merely records of facial features. Since I had never been to the camp before, I knew nothing of the “soul” of the place. What you see are merely mugshots that I hope will stir some memories for some of the hundreds of girls who have passed through the camp. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move around.