Oyo alumni to dedicate historical marker

By Frank Lewis

August 27, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The public is being invited to join the Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association for the dedication of a historic marker commemorating the history of the Boy Scout Camp, located on Ohio 125 near Friendship, on Sept. 21.

“Ada Shy sends money to us every year,” Bill Schwamberger, secretary/treasurer of the Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association, said. “She put a note on there one time that she did it in the name of her son who was killed in Vietnam.”

So when the Association decided to put an historical marker at the site, they decided to dedicate it to Lt. Gary Nolan Shy who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1968. State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott), will officiate the marker’s dedication.

The dedication is part of the 19th Annual Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association Reunion and Open House. The gates to the camp will open at 1 p.m. for the public to tour with scout skills, demonstrations and scout memorabilia displays ongoing. A meal will be served at 4 p.m. at no charge, followed by the historical marker dedication and other events.

Camp Oyo was established in 1926 and has served generations of Boy Scouts from Scioto County, as well as other communities in Ohio and Kentucky. Schwamberger said the camp’s seven surviving chestnut log cabin, built during the Great Depression, made Camp Oyo unique among the scout camps located in the Ohio Valley.

“For example, the Old Block House was built in the late thirties by the WPA (Work Project Administration) for a CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp originally,” Schwamberger said. “People had no idea how many kids over the years would be staying in that cabin.”

Taking care of the cabins is what the Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association does.

“We go out there and we keep those things maintained and in service,” Schwamberger said.

In addition to the historical marker dedication, visitors to the reunion will enjoy a meal in the camp’s dining hall, singing, awards presentation, and a new totem will be erected in memory of Tom Leightenheimer.

“Tom actually created the Camp Oyo Alumni Association. He was the one behind it that started it,” Schwamberger said. “That will be followed by a closing flag ceremony.”

The Camp Oyo Staff and Alumni Association is a non-profit organization established by former scouts in 1994 with the mission of keeping Camp Oyo in good condition for future generations to enjoy. Schwamberger said they invite all current and former Boy Scouts and other interested persons to attend. He said there will be handicap transportation from the camp’s front gate to the dining hall and for more information on the reunion and open house, people can call him at 740-876-9748.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.