Wednesday was a morning of big announcements for the Georgia-Carolina Boy Scout Council.
After the Scouts unveiled plans for a $5.2 million capital campaign drive at the Good Scout Breakfast at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta, Thomson Mayor Bob Knox announced that he and members of his family were donating $1 million to help them on their way.
"As best we can tell, this is the first time we've held a capital campaign in this council," said Tom Fuller, the council's commissioner.
The council has been in operation since 1922.
With $5.2 million, the organization plans to upgrade its Camp Robert E. Knox on Lake Thurmond in Lincoln County and Camp Linwood Hayne in south Augusta, construct a new Scout service center and create an endowment fund that will provide for the upkeep of the properties in the coming years.
"We are in the rising part of a wave, and we expect that wave to continue for a while," said Scout Executive Bill Lesshafft.
Membership increased by 12 percent last year, which according to officials is the greatest increase in the council's history.
The Georgia-Carolina chapter serves 16 counties in Georgia and South Carolina. The largest portion of the money, $3 million, is slated to begin improvements to 240-acre Camp Robert E. Knox.
The master plans call for many additions, including an administration building, dining hall, aquatics pavilion, shooting sports complex with archery and trap shooting and a sports complex with a basketball court, soccer field and baseball-softball field. It's estimated it will cost $8 million to complete the project.
"We intend to make Camp Robert E. Knox one of the premier Boy Scout camps in the country -- one which will not only attract our Scouts, but troops from other councils as well," said council President Bud Dent in a prepared statement.
Camp Linwood Hayne would become a Cub Scout camp with several Cub Scout program areas such as a ship, fort and Indian village. The Scout Service Center would provide office space as well as a retail shop stocked with uniforms, books and supplies.
While the donations are expected to come in during the next three years, Scout officials and volunteers want to get all the commitments in by June.
For more information, call the Scout office at 722-9715.
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