Alton F. Baker Boy Scout Camp
I had met Joe Doyle several years ago, but we hardly spoke, and I never knew much about him. That is, until an icebox from the 1900’s prompted me to get in touch with him.
Joe was born in 1930. He attended school in the McKenzie School District and graduated from high school in Dallas, Oregon. He was a scout in his youth, and his sons also became involved in scouting. Both Joe and his wife Frieda enjoyed participating in scouting activities and programs for their sons. Freida went on to became a member of the Council’s Mother’s Club. In 1969 Joe had the opportunity to be a Ranger at the Boy Scout Camp in Florence. His career had primarily been in the construction industry, and this made him an ideal candidate for the camp’s projects. The family moved to the Alton Baker Boy Scout Camp, and Joe remained a Ranger there until 1996, after 27 years. As a Ranger, he was responsible for maintaining the camp facilities and grounds.
The Boy Scout Camp is a year-round camp. Troops from throughout the Council areas utilize the camp. Scout Master Groups bring their own leaders, as well as organize and manage their own programs. Located on a peninsula in the Siltcoos Lake, it was originally known as Camp Tsiltcoos. In 1963 the camp was renamed Camp Alton F. Baker, to honor the individual whose efforts and vision gave rise to the facility.
For Joe, the best part of being a Ranger at Camp Baker was working with Scout leaders and the young scouts. As few events in life are more memorable than catching your first fish, Joe recalls one particular young scout and his First Fish.
It wasn’t long before the scout returned to camp. The Scoutmaster asked him what happened. Fighting back tears, the young scout replied, “I lost my reel.” The Scoutmaster noticed the tip on his pole was broken as well. He quickly rummaged through his tacklebox and fastened another reel and hook onto the scout’s pole. The scout headed back to the lake, even more determined to catch a fish. However, his pole no sooner broke the surface of the water when alas, he lost his bobber. He returned to camp barely able to control his tears and disappointment. Learning what happened, the scoutmaster immediately picked up a stick from the ground and fashioned a bobber. He handed the pole back to the young scout who returned to the lake for the third time that day. After a short while, the grinning scout returned to camp again – but this time with an 18” bass in tow! He could hardly hold up the fish without it dragging on the ground. Joe recalls, “it was the biggest bass I’d ever seen come out of that lake.”
As for the icebox: A family lived on 5 acres of land at the end of the Peninsula near the Boy’s Camp. They lived in Portland, but would visit and stay in their cabin on holidays and vacations. Joe and Frieda had been friends with the family, and had a written agreement allowing them to acquire the icebox when the property was sold. I recently purchased it from Joe, and the icebox now resides with me.