Boy Scouts hold rededication celebration for Killbuck Lodge in Oakdale
About 10 years ago, a nonprofit organization in Oakdale started to rebuild Killbuck Lodge, which has been home to Boy Scout Troop 248 since 1934.
The organization, called Friends of Killbuck Lodge, planned and raised money for about eight years before receiving its “saving grace,” said president Matt Cochran.
In March 2015, a producer of the DIY Network’s television show “Barnwood Builders” contacted Cochran to help rebuild the cabin for the show.
Almost two years later, on June 24, Killbuck Lodge held a rededication celebration, as the lodge has been rebuilt and used by Troop 248 since the fall.
“The goal was to forge the past with the present and be able to maintain the legacy of scouting here in Oakdale by raising funds in order to rebuild the structure,” Cochran said. “We wanted to make sure we were able to continue that legacy for another 80-100 years...and we’ve achieved that goal.”
After “Barnwood Builders” got the rebuilding process started, it took a year and a half for volunteers in the community and the troop to finish the lodge. Cochran said FOKL and Troop 248 are grateful for the help of “Barnwood Builders” on the project.
“They were able to bring a level of expertise to the building that would have taken us years to do,” he said.
The rededication celebration consisted of several speakers, a ribbon cutting and a tour and open house of the lodge. The walls inside the lodge are covered with different awards the troop has received over the last 85 years: plaques from camps, district events and contests, citations they’ve received, advancement awards, older patrol flags and historian books.
With dozens of flags waving in the lodge’s yard, the troop hosted a knot challenge game and a catapult launcher game, as well as dutch oven cooking of cobbler and other food.
The troop also was preparing a time capsule to be opened in 2032 to celebrate the troop’s 100th year.
The history of scouting in Oakdale and Killbuck Lodge is very rich, Scoutmaster Tom Taylor said.
The building has been used for strawberry festivals and garden clubs. It was even used to teach boxing and ballroom dancing in the 1930s and 1940s, Taylor said.
“It was a scout building, but it was still for the community to use,” he said. “That’s what we still want it to be.”
Taylor, 63, has been a part of Troop 248 for more than 50 years.
He joined Cub Scouts when he was 8 and joined the Boys Scouts troop when he was 11. He earned his Eagle Scout and became an assistant scoutmaster at 18. At 21 years old, Taylor became scoutmaster and has held the position ever since.
“When I received my Eagle (Scout) in 1969, the man that presented (it said) that we now had to give back to scouting,” Taylor said. “Myself and the other men, we have continued to give back to scouting. I don’t feel like I’ve paid back yet, so I’m still paying it back.”
Taylor said the growth of the troop members from kids to young men is why he thinks scouting is important and why he’s grateful for the rededication of Killbuck Lodge.
“It’s really kind of cool when you see the young guys come into the troop that are all wide-eyed and not sure what’s going on and watch them develop into leaders where they’re running the unit,” Taylor said. “When they’re away at college and then they come back, that’s what’s really cool. That’s when you know you’ve made an impact.”
Troop 248’s assistant patrol leader Patrick Gannon, 16, said the work FOKL and the community did to rebuild Killbuck Lodge is “special.”
“It showcases everything we’ve worked for as far as building the cabin just revamping what we’ve been doing for the last (85 years),” Gannon said. “It’s just cool to see how our work has been put together.”
Taylor said at least one volunteer has worked on Killbuck Lodge, where the 54 members of Troop 248 meet every Monday night, almost every weekend for the last two years.
“These guys were all volunteers who were working on this,” he said. “Oakdale is kind of a cool community. Small, but tight knit.”
Cochran agreed about Oakdale’s role in the success of Troop 248.
“A troop is only as good as its community,” he said.