Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - June 2017
by Andy Dubill, Council Historian
Many Boy Scout troops camped at Camp BoHoCa over the years. That included Troop 105 and a young Scout named John Modlin. The troop was known for its drum and bugle corps in which Modlin was a drummer. John can recall the troop proudly marching off to the beat of his drum, “Our troop was one of the best in the city. People really took notice when they saw us coming in a parade or just marching along,” he recalled.
John remembers camping at BoHoCa after the local Boy Scout Council took the operations of the camp over in the mid 1930’s. “Our troop was driven to the camp by our fathers in cars,” John said. “When we arrived we set up camp in the open space. There were a number of cabins that were semi-finished and rather rustic. There was also an old stone chapel where evangelists like Billy Sunday used to hold revival services. It was quite a place.”
Scout professional Dr. L. G. Soule lived in a two-bedroom home across from camp and was responsible for watching over the camp property. Soule had become a physician in 1920 and soon became disenchanted with the politics of the medical profession. After leaving the practice of organized medicine, Soule soon discovered that he enjoyed working with youth and decided to become a professional Scouter.
The Boy Scouts were constant users of Camp BoHoCa. They held weekend campouts, district camporees and summer camps on the site. The camp was actually in Jackson County, Missouri so it was much easier for a troop with limited resources to camp there instead of traveling to Noel, Missouri or Camp Osceola.
Camp BoHoCa was leased to the Kansas City Council for one dollar a year in 1935. Scout Executive H. Roe Bartle later renamed the property Camp White in honor of its’ benefactor Mrs. Emma White. The council used it as a site for overnight and weekend camping as well as a site for educational and leadership programs. It continued to be used by the Kansas City Council until Camp Osceola was expanded in the mid-1960’s.
Today the site is still part of the Blue River Parkway—one of the many hiking and biking trails in Jackson County, Missouri. The official park map still lists the area as the “BoHoCa Trail”. The remains of the “White House” and the old camp sign are still there to be seen by hikers and bicyclists who venture into the area where many boys enjoyed Boy Scout activities for many years.
If you have questions about Scouting history that would be good topics for future columns email Andy Dubill at email@example.com.