USA, Union Volunteers Build Boy Scouts Camping Platforms

Franklin, Tenn. — Volunteers from Carpenters Union Local 445 teamed with the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) to create industrial-strength camping platforms to help thousands of Boy Scouts across the Northeast rest easy while enjoying the outdoors for decades to come.

Five Union Carpenters donated 75 hours—a labor value of $3,750—while the USA donated more than $900 in materials to help construct 12 heavy-duty, 7 ft. x 9 ft. wooden camping platforms for Goose Pond Scout Reservation, a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) summer camp located near Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Operated by the BSA’s Northeastern Pennsylvania Council, the 542-acre Goose Pond facility annually hosts more than 1,200 scouts from Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and the surrounding area during the mid-June to August camping season. While enjoying the outdoors, campers learn about a variety of subjects including conservation, fishing and shooting sports.

“The platforms serve as a sturdy base for canvas wall tents that provide scouts with comfortable and secure sleeping quarters on Goose Pond’s rough and rocky terrain,” said volunteer Richard Foley, a member of Carpenters Local 445 and council representative for the Keystone Mountain Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters. “The Carpenters Union built similar platforms for the camp about a decade ago. When camp officials asked if we could help replace aging structures in need of repair, we were happy to do it.”

From January through March of 2018, Foley and other volunteers gathered at the Local 445 union hall in Scranton to assemble the platforms, which are built from long-lasting, pressure-treated lumber and feature a modular design for easy deployment and takedown.

“Support from the Carpenters Union volunteers and the USA is a godsend,” said David Srebro, BSA regional camping and program director. “These platforms will likely last 30 years or more. Having folks who know what they’re doing build them allows us to focus on other needs.”

The materials donated by the USA were left over from a USA Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) conservation project completed in late 2017 with a grant from the American Water Charitable Foundation that created a new handicap-accessible fishing pier at Pennsylvania’s Griffin Reservoir.

“The fact that these materials came from a previous project is an example of the USA and union volunteers’ efforts to generate the greatest possible benefits from every single donation and grant,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Scott Vance. “It was an honor to team up with hardworking union volunteers to complete these camping platforms for the Boy Scouts of America, who will use them to introduce thousands of youths to the great outdoors.”

In the end, Foley said the project was a labor of love. “I’ve stayed at Goose Pond with my son and know firsthand the positive experiences campers and their families will enjoy thanks to these platforms,” he explained. “So this was very rewarding. Plus, the value of helping our service organizations and building goodwill with our communities cannot be overstated.”

Foley also said Local 445 plans to build additional platforms for Goose Pond campers in the future.

Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA): The USA is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Work Boots on the Ground (WBG): WBG is the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s WBG program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.