Kentucky engineers help Boy Scouts with camp improvements

Story by 1st Lt. Levi Henderson, 207th Engineer Company & Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Sgt. Nathan Goff with the 207th Engineer Company works on a drainage ditch at Camp McKee, a Boy Scouts camp in Montgomery County, Ky., April 9, 2014. Guardsmen of the 207th assisted the camp with necessary improvements for access and safety prior to the Boy Scouts’ busy summer season. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ky. — Soldiers of the Kentucky National Guard’s 207th Engineer Company assisted in construction improvement to Camp McKee, a Boy Scout Camp in Montgomery County, Ky., April 5-19, 2014.

The small group of engineers spent their days working with Boy Scout officials to improve several basic needs of the camp.

“The quality of training at this project was right on par with our unit’s current training program,” said 1st Lt. Levi Henderson, officer in charge of the project.

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Sgt. Harold Johnson with the 207th Engineer Company explains the HYEX earthmoving capabilities to Boy Scout troops at Camp McKee in Montgomery County, Ky., April 12, 2014. Soldiers of the 207th worked with the Boy Scouts and several non-government agencies to make improvements to the camp. (Photo by 1st Lt. Levi Henderson))

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Henderson said the smaller scope and adequate time frame to complete the mission allowed younger Soldiers more training time to improve their heavy equipment operation skills, and was beneficial to junior NCOs as it provided the opportunity to improve their construction management and leadership proficiency. The NCOs were given the intent, then given the empowerment to use their Soldiers, equipment, and judgment necessary to complete the task at hand.

“As long as the end result met the design standard, we felt one of our most important job was to get our Soldiers the training, experience, and tools necessary to make future leaders in our unit,” said Henderson.

Heavy equipment was brought in to improve water drainage, stabilize a creek bank, expand a parking area and upgrade a dirt road for better entry into portions of the camp. The project’s intent was to ensure access to and safety within Camp McKee.

“This camp gets a lot of use and we are able to help improve its future, so we are helping change the lives of kids around here,” said Sgt. 1st Class Woodrow Hughes, project noncommissioned officer in charge.

“This was all a voluntary project, all these Soldiers wanted to be out here,” he said. “It is a good morale boost and a prep for our annual training. We are getting everyone in the mindset of doing their job and helping out the community.”

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Pfc. Matthew Joseph with the 207th Engineer Company uses a chainsaw to remove trees to expand a parking area at Camp McKee, a Boy Scout camp in Montgomery County, Ky., April 9, 2014. Leadership of the 207th said the project benefitted the unit as a quality training exercise and also helped out the community. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Camp McKee annually hosts more than 1,500 scouts according to Ken Green, the on-site camp ranger. Boy Scout officials were happy to have the Soldiers helping out. Henderson said the cooperation was a all-around positive experience that benefitted the overall project. The project also involved several local construction companies that donated materials for the improvements.

“This was a unique project in that it allowed our key leaders at the lower level to coordinate and plan with other non-governmental agencies and the actual stakeholder, in a partnership to complete the mission,” said Henderson. “It was a honor to work with the Boy Scouts and hopefully we can return to assist them with other future projects here.”

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