This story was submitted by Bob Higgins, a former staff member at the original Bert Adams Scout Camp in Vinings, GA. The current Atlanta Area Council Volunteer Service Center is now near the original site of the camp.
In 1960, the last year at Bert Adams in Vinings, my pay for being on staff was 50 cents credit per week at the trading post. And there was one pay phone in camp across the road from the trading post. To save money for candy when I called my mom I would hang up after two rings and retrieve my dime. The two rings would signal my mom to call back to the number on the pay phone so I would get to talk to her for free.
The dining hall cook staff was was the same cooks that cooked for the Georgia Tech football team during the school year. The head cook’s name was Luther. The food was good and we ate family-style, eight at a table. One staff member sat at each table. The staff member would give the campers insight into things to do, etc. The participants would rotate around the table at each meal with one position being for the server that would retrieve more food or drinks if needed, then stay for clean-up afterward. We also had announcements and various songs after each meal.
I was on the nature staff, so that’s where I have most of my memories. In 1960, in Vinings, we had a 5 1/2 foot Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake that the Camp Director, Carlos Meyer, would milk once a week.
Every Wednesday we held the “Great Turtle Race” and campers could come to the nature lodge and check out a box turtle. Take it to the athletic field where all turtles were placed in the center of a large circle. The first turtle to crawl outside the circle was the winner. I don’t remember what they won, probably just recognition.
One of my jobs on nature staff was doing the nature hike (troop activity). I learned to identify lots of trees by both their leaves and bark. I still remember most of the tree’s identity after over 55 years.
Bob and some of his fellow staffers were featured in a newspaper article about old Bert Adams’ last operating season, which you can view below (click-to-expand):
Bob Higgins is still an active Scouter and serves at the Unit and Council level throughout the year. He is serving on facilities staff at this year’s Campout 100 celebration on the grounds of the new Bert Adams Scout Camp. He also operates a website on the history of Camp Bert Adams, which includes more historical photos and stories.