For kids looking for a summer experience, Camp Blanton is offering a day camp for children aged 8 to 14. Boys and girls learn swimming, boating, hiking, archery and life saving skills, along with participating in arts and crafts, fields games and contests.
“The four-day camp enables kids to learn boating safety from a U.S. Army Corp of Engineers representative, bear safety from Harlan County Extension Agent Jeremy Williams, a one and one-half mile hike to Knobby Rock, sack races, egg races and canoe races and so much more,” said volunteer archery instructor Sidney Douglass. “Dr. Murphy Green is the camp director and swimming instructor and my wife, Diana, is teaching arts and crafts. The kids really have a great time and enjoy canoeing on the lake, swimming in the pool and shooting bows and arrows. It’s all great fun.”
Camp Blanton and Blanton Forest was originally owned by Grover and Oxie Blanton, and Jesse M. and Francis Blanton, of Wallins. On Aug. 13, 1933, the Blanton family gave the property to Will Ward Duffield and O.M. Hoskins, trustees of the Harlan County Boy Scouts of America, for the purpose of a Boy Scout camp.
In 1934, ownership of the camp was temporarily transferred to the Harlan County Fiscal Court. As a government entity, the camp became eligible for federal government assistance through President Roosevelt’s Emergency Conservation Work Act, part of the president’s New Deal. The newly created Civilian Conservation Corps worked to battle the destruction and erosion of natural resources including Camp Blanton, where they constructed a dam and small lake, as well as Duffield Lodge, named after Will Ward Duffield.
From that time, Camp Blanton served as a Boy Scout Camp for the BSA Cumberland Council for many years. On Sept. 7, 1963, redistricting of the Boy Scouts councils led to a transfer of the camp to the Bluegrass Council #204. However, in 1988 the relationship ended between the camp and the Bluegrass Council, although several Harlan County Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops still use the camp regularly.
On June 30, 1988, several Harlan Countians and former Scouts formed a non-profit corporation, Camp Blanton Trust, for the purpose of maintaining the camp for the use of the youth of Harlan County and surrounding counties.
Original founding members were Vernon Ackley, Dr. Murphy H. Green, Duane Bennett, Phillip Disney, Sidney B. Douglass, Randy Head, Linda Helton, Daniel E. Howard, Tim Howard and Robin Osborne. Since that time, Camp Blanton Trust has remained dedicated to operating the camp and expanding the facilities.
The camp will continue for the week of July 7-10. Registration for this week will be Sunday from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. at the camp. The cost is $35 for the week and includes lunch and a T-shirt. The camp is limited to 50 children.
For more information about the day camp you may call 606-573-6811 or 573-5351.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-909-4147 or on Twitter @Nola_hde