GORE — Since its first summer in 1944, more than 250,000 scouts have spent more than a million nights at Camp Rock Enon in western Frederick County.
The 840-acre property, located at 292 Rock Enon Springs Road, will celebrate its 75th anniversary on Wednesday, and the public is invited to attend.
“It means a lot to have been this successful for this long,” camp ranger Bill Joyce said about the milestone.
Owned by the Boy Scouts of America-Shenandoah Area Council, about 3,500 youngsters visit Camp Rock Enon each year for fishing, hiking, camping and other outdoor activities. They have learned to swim in Miller Lake, trekked up Pinnacle Rock — the highest point on the property — and practiced tying knots and other survival skills.
The council, which is 90 years old, bought the property three-quarters of a century ago from the Glaize family for $8,000. Scouts from Frederick, Clarke, Warren, Shenandoah, Rappahannock, and Page counties in Virginia and Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties in West Virginia use the facility annually.
“It’s a beautiful camp,” said Winchester resident Gary Chrisman, a former Boy Scout who serves on the council’s history committee and is helping organize a museum in the council’s headquarters at 107 Youth Development Court. “When I go there, these memories are still there. Great memories.”
Chrisman first started going to Rock Enon when he was a Cub Scout in the late 1950s. He said he stays involved in scouting today to pass on its benefits to today’s boys and girls.
Before Camp Rock Enon was established, the Rock Enon Springs Resort & Hotel operated on the site, which is less than 2 miles from the West Virginia border. It was a popular destination for tourists from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, who would take a train to Winchester and then ride a stagecoach the rest of the way to the hotel. But a fire in the 1920s ravaged the resort, which by that time had fallen out of favor as a vacation destination.
After the scouts purchased the property, a lodge and administrative buildings were constructed from materials salvaged from the old hotel, Chrisman said.
Wednesday’s anniversary celebration will be held from 5-9 p.m. People can register in advance online at sac-bsa.org, Chrisman said. Tickets also can be purchased at the door. The $25 fee includes a barbecue dinner, ice cream social, commemorative mug and two scout patches. There also will be games, displays and presentations.
According to Joyce, the anniversary celebration is part of a larger effort to raise money to make improvements to the camp. Donations also can be made through a brick paver project by purchasing a personalized engraved brick for $75 to $250 to pave a new walkway around the camp’s flag poles. People also can support the camp through its Adopt a Project program to help maintain facilities such as roads, pavilions and campsites.
“It’s really for the youth of the community,” Chrisman said. “That’s really the focus of scouting.”
For more information, call 540-662-2551.