Scouting History

Scouting History in the Heart of America Council - March 2015

by Andy Dubill, Council Historian


The Powell Scout Reservation 

George E. Powell Sr. moved to Kansas City in 1917 where he became a prominent business leader and member of the Kansas City community. Prior to his move to Kansas City he had worked on the family farm. He had learned first hand about the difficulties of farm life – the weather, crop rotation, choice of what to plant and the demanding life that was required for agricultural success. He formed a team that included his son George Powell Jr. to acquire the ownership of Yellow Transit Freight Lines in 1952 and grew the business into one of Kansas City’s most successful companies.

Powell Sr. was a strong proponent in the interests of Missouri because of his roots. His philosophy was that business leaders had a responsibility to be benefactors and stewards to the communities that helped make them successful. In 1948, Mr. Powell acquired the 680 acre plot of land that eventually became the George E. Powell Scout Reservation. His family and friends spent many enjoyable weekends on that family farm in Johnson County, Missouri. In the late 1960’s he and his wife were faced with a major decision – what to do with the family farm? He made the decision to donate the farm to the Kansas City Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and the George E. Powell Scout Reservation was born.

At the ceremony where the transaction was publicized, Powell stated “We had decided to leave the property to a youth organization in our will – but decided not to wait. I am happy the Scouts can use this property in furthering their programs, and I am pleased with the immediate and long term plans that the council has for use of this area.”

The April 1966 edition of the Kansas City Area Council Scout newsletter noted that usage of Powell Scout Reservation “was growing by leaps and bounds throughout the council.”  Camporee, adult training events and troop camping events were being rapidly scheduled as Scouters began to realize the desirability and utility of the camp. A special conservation program was planned for six consecutive Saturdays as troops and posts were invited to participate in a special tree planting project that was designed to return natural cover to many of the hilly areas of the reservation.  The Powell Scout Reservation was enjoyed by Scouts for many years.

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