The Scout Cabin was developed by a committee formed by Smith Johnson, Pawling Rotary, the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and West Mountain Mission in 1955 on land donated by Mary Taber, for the express purpose of providing space for Pawling Scouts to gather. In 1980, an additional 17-1/2 acres of meadows were added to its original half acre, and not-for-profit status was conferred as it became known as the Smith-Johnson Scout Reservation, Inc . It has received support over these many years from Pawling’s Rotary, West Mountain Mission, and, of course, the Pawling community.
There are 150 girls involved in scouting in Pawling … that’s 15 Girl Scout troops that regularly use the Scout Cabin for meetings. There are six dens of Cub Scouts with about 40 boys that use the Scout Cabin for their meetings as well. The number of Boy Scouts in our community total 40, and although this blended troop of scouts from Dover and Pawling is too large to use the Scout Cabin for meetings at this time, it has served the Pawling Boy Scouts for many years in many ways.
The Scout Cabin is an amazing resource for our youth, providing a safe, nurturing environment to meet, learn about ecology, civic responsibility, team building, and service. It is also the place where friendships are made, acceptance is practiced, and personal responsibility is taught and learned. At the Scout Cabin, children and young adults participate in activities that benefit our community and many of its charitable causes, such as assistance with our Resource Center, the Triathalon, and Special Olympics. Aside from the usual camping skills that teach self reliance, they learn the leadership skills that will inform their work and family lives into adulthood.
Listening to Nina Muller, who serves on the Board of the Smith-Johnson Scout Reservation, speak at a recent Rotary meeting, I was struck by the many ways in which our local scouts utilize this scouting treasure, located right here in the heart of Pawling. In fact, the cabin is used so often, that a detailed schedule must be maintained in order to assure that all of our scouts and troops can be accommodated with adequate time there.
The scouts take on the responsibility of maintaining the cabin both inside and out. They paint it, decorate it, clean up the campsites, as well as construct and maintain hiking trails. With the addition of a few beavers moving onto the reservation, the scouts have all had the opportunity to study the habitat that the beavers have created and the effect that these critters have had on the reservation wet lands.
With its constant use, the Smith-Johnson Scout Reservation Board has decided to tackle the next much needed improvement of expanding the septic system, and they will be seeking funding for this capital expense. Anyone interested in supporting this endeavor or supporting our scouts in any other way, may contact Nina Muller at 845-855-9142 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tax deductible donations may be made to: Smith-Johnson Scout Reservation, P.O. Box 55, Pawling, NY 12564