West Central Florida Council
|West Central Florida Council|
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
|Location||Pinellas County, FL, west Pasco County, FL|
|Scout Executive||William Davis|
West Central Florida Council merged with Gulf Ridge Council to form the Greater Tampa Bay Area Council on May 1, 2016.
West Central Florida Council served Pinellas County and west Pasco County in Florida. Two main Scout camps were Sand Hill Scout Reservation in Spring Hill and Camp Soule in Clearwater. There was also a smaller facility at Bigfoot Wilderness Camp near Dade City. At the time of its merger, over 6,000 youth and 4,000 adult volunteers were served by the West Central Florida Council. More than 100 young men earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2012. The West Central Florida Council earned the prestigious 2008 Centennial Quality Council Award from the Boy Scouts of America.
West Central Florida Council was originally chartered as the Pinellas Council in 1917. Pinellas Area Council changed its name to West Central Florida Council in the late 1970s to recognize that west Pasco County had been a part of the Council for many years.
West Central Florida Council was divided into three distinct geographical Districts to best serve the youth of Pinellas and west Pasco Counties.
- Anclote District (northern Pinellas County and western Pasco County): Is named after the Anclote River and Anclote Key which mark the border between Pinellas and Pasco Counties. More than 65 Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Venturing Crews serving areas including Oldsmar, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs, East Lake, Trinity, New Port Richey, Shady Hills, and Hudson.
- Miccosukee District (central Pinellas County): Is named after the Miccosukee, a Florida Native American tribe. More than 60 Packs, Troops, and Crews serving areas including Clearwater, Belleair, Pinellas Park, Seminole, Safety Harbor, and Largo.
- Skyway District (southern Pinellas County): Is named after the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that crosses the mouth of Tampa Bay. More than 60 Packs, Troops, and Crews serving areas including St. Petersburg, Tierra Verde, South Pasadena, St. Pete Beach, and Treasure Island.
Sand Hill Scout Reservation
Sand Hill Scout Reservation is a Scout camp of over 1,212 acres (4.90 km2) in the west central Florida region, located near Spring Hill, Florida. Sand Hill Scout Reservation belongs to the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Venturers of the West Central Florida Council and Gulf Ridge Council and is intended for their instruction and enjoyment. Sand Hill Scout Reservation offers many different activities including archery, small-bore rifle, shotgun trap and skeet shooting, hiking, camping, Project COPE course, climbing wall, rapelling tower, swimming pool, large athletic fields, 10 improved campsites (complete with shelters, water, latrines, and hot water shower facilities), handicapped accessible campsite and facilities, 2 primitive campsites, chapel, large air-conditioned dining hall, trading post, camp medical center, activities shelters, nature center, 15 staff cabins, and training buildings. This camp is also the residential Boy Scout Summer Camp for the West Central Florida Council. Hundreds of boys from the Greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area and throughout Florida attend camp every summer. Thousands of Scouts, leaders, and outside organizations use Sand Hill Scout Reservation every year for camping, training, and other activities. A full-time Camp Ranger and his family live on the property. Sand Hill Scout Reservation is large enough to host more than 1,500 Scouts at one time. Sand Hill has hosted Scouts and other organizations since the early 1980s. Sand Hill is also home to the Brooksville Raid Civil War battle reenactment every January.
Sand Hill Grace
The "Sand Hill Grace" is customarily said by campers before meals:
Camp Soule serves the West Central Florida Council. It is located on 50 acres (200,000 m2) of pristine wilderness, in the heart of Clearwater, Florida. It offers protected trees, wildlife, and beauty centered in the most populous county of Florida. Camp Soule offers four improved campsites (with Adirondack shelters, latrines, and showers), six primitive campsites, a dining hall, trading post, large activity fields, Olympic-size swimming pool, pool house, BB gun range, Cub Scout and Boy Scout archery ranges, two cabins, Council campfire ring, chapel, and a home occupied by a full-time camp ranger and his family. Camp Soule is constantly utilized for short-term Boy Scout camping, Cub Scout family camping, Cub Scout Summer Day Camp, Tiger Growl, training courses, and various other activities. The dining hall and camp medical building/camp office have recently been renovated. This major rebuild of the dining hall involved installing air conditioning, a new entrance, and a large porch. Camp Soule has served the West Central Florida Council since the 1930s.
Bigfoot Wilderness Camp (BWC) is a hidden gem at Green Swamp, east of Dade City, Florida. It is located within a 30,000-acre (120 km2) wildlife preserve owned by the State of Florida - Southwest Florida Water Management District. The facility includes a 1,200-square-foot (110 m2) cabin with electricity and indoor plumbing on the banks of the Withlacoochee River, two small box stoves for heating, showers both indoor and outdoor, a campfire area, an outhouse latrine and four adjacent primitive patrol campsites. There are 5-mile (8.0 km), 8-mile (13 km), and 10-mile (16 km) hiking loops starting and ending at the cabin. These loops intersect with segments of the Florida National Scenic Trail which extends over 35 miles (56 km) to the north and 10 miles (16 km) to the south. Bigfoot Wilderness Camp provides a great opportunity for camping in a rustic, primitive "Old Florida" setting.
BWC has both Facebook and Twitter accounts that are updated weekly with photos and local conditions. Search for "Bigfoot Wilderness Camp, BSA" or "@BigfootCampBSA". The FB page also has a map of the hiking trails.
The West Central Florida Council's Order of the Arrow Lodge is Timuquan Lodge 340, founded in 1946. The Order of the Arrow is Scouting's National Honor Society that recognizes youth and adult leaders who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Scout Law in their daily lives. The lodge is named in honor of the extinct Timucua Native American tribe of northern and central Florida. Timuquan Lodge hosted the S-4 OA Section Conference at Sand Hill Scout Reservation from April 17–19, 2009. Nearly 1,100 Scouts and leaders from throughout Florida and southern Georgia attended the event.
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