Boy Scout Camp Conley, Langley, S. C.
By 1921, the year-old Augusta Council (later Georgia-Carolina Council) saw the need for a local Boy Scout camp. Previously
Augusta area scouts who wanted to attend a longer camp often went to camps in the mountains of North Carolina. The council
had trouble finding a location and when the Aiken Business Menâ€™s League heard about this and offered the use of Hendrickâ
€™s Pond in June, the council accepted in spite of fears it might be too small a location. But on June 26, 1921, just a week
before camp was due to start, it was announced in the Augusta Chronicle that the site of the camp had been moved to Langley
Mill Lake in Langley, SC. The Langly Manufacturing Corporation granted the scouts the right set up a camp on the bluffs
overlooking Langley Pond. The camp was only 8 miles from Augusta â€œopposite the National Highwayâ€� (Highway 1) and
about Â¾ of a mile from Langley itself. The lake was originally created in the 1870s to provide water power for the Langley Mill
and as Langley Pond park is still a popular recreational area today.
The Camp was named for James Hugh Conley (1878-1932), an official with the Georgia-Florida
Railroad and USRA. Hugh Conley was a volunteer scouter and Augustaâ€™s first Scout
Commissioner who helped, through the Rotary Club, to establish the Augusta Council and the
camp. The railroads transferred their personnel frequently and he left Augusta abut the time the
camp named for him was established, but he kept up with the scouting effort in Augusta through
the weekly Boy Scout page in the Augusta Chronicle.
The camp's first year of operation was 1921, and about 100 boys participated. Rudolph (â
€œBudâ€�) Melchoir Scheile (1893-19), Augusta Council Scout Executive, was the Camp
Director through 1923. He resigned as Augustaâ€™s Scout Executive in January 1924 to accept a
position with the Piedmont Council, NC. Bud Scheile went on the establish Schiele Scout
reservation at Tryon, NC. Camp Bud Scheile in Rutherford County, North Carolina, was also
named for him in 1982. In addition he and his wife established the Scheile Museum of Natural
History in Gastonia, NC
Layout of the Camp: The campers lived in canvas tents 8 boys to a tent, on iron
cots and camp served about 100 boys a year. The â€œmess Hallâ€� and â€œcook
shackâ€� comprised heavy wooden frames with canvas stretched overall. In
1923, the council secured permission from Langley Mill to build a permanent
headquarters building and discussed building a permanent mess hall and other
buildings but the latter are not believed to have been built. Camp was in session
for 3 or 4 weeks in July of each year.
Activities: Activities available included canoeing, archery, marksmanship and
work on merit badges in those areas as well as athletics, lifesaving, cooking,
forestry, signaling, pioneering, machinery, public health, bird study, handicraft
and swimming. Apparently there was insect study as well. Troop 6 reported
that returning campers â€œhave become â€˜buggyâ€™ over the science of bug
catchingâ€� as a result of their experience at camp and passed the enthusiams on
to those who could not attend camp.
Swimming was of special attraction to the scouts in the hot summer days had special emphasis, beginning with a high dive tower
in 1921. A spring board â€œwith lots of springâ€� and a diving raft were added in 1922.
Inclement Weather: For the inevitable bouts of liquid sunshine, the council began a library in 1921, which was carried along to
camp and the rained-in campers could spend the enforced idleness with such titles as Tom Swift and his Air Scout, The Cabin in
the Clearing, The Moving Picture Boys on French Battlefields, and With Roberts to Candahar [Kandahar].
EATS! Food then as now seems to foremost in the minds of scout campers, and throughout its history, the quality of quantity
of the food was emphasized. Bud Scheileâ€™s wife, Lily Hobbs Scheile, was the camp nutritionist, assisted by an un-named
African-American chef, said to be nearly 7 feet tall, who had previously cooked for ball teams and restaurants and who would
provide â€œequally tallâ€� eats.
Waning Days of Camp Conley: In January 1924 H. Banks Newsome became Augusta Council Scout Executive and served
until October 1925. Under his direction, Camp Conley held its last session in July 1924. The usual activities were planned as
well as the creation of an honor camp fire organization (perhaps similar to todayâ€™s â€œOrder of the Arrowâ€�) called the â
€œLoyal Order of Pamâ€�. Nonetheless attendance at camp as well as overall council enrollment was said to be down. There
had been a huge burst of enthusiasm and recruiting in 1920 and 1921 but now those scouts were â€œaging out,â€� and there was
little mention of continuous recruiting or scout roundups in the weekly Scout page of the Chronicle. No long term camp was held
in 1925 for the Augusta District. The temporary nature of Camp Conley, located on a working mill pond, whose primary
purpose was to store water and provide power to the Langley millâ€™s machines, may also have been a factor as might the need
to secure permission each year from the Corporation.
Move to Camp Linwood Hayne/Skinner's Mill Pond: Indeed, plans were underway as early as March 1925 to establish a
permanent council-owned camp at Skinner Mill Pond in Richmond County. The County Commissioners approved the
construction of Boy Scout Road from Washington Road to Skinner Mill Road to provide access to the new Camp. By August
1925, the Skinner Mill location would be designated as Camp Linwood Hayne (not to be confused with the later camp of the
same name at McBean, Georgia.) as a result of a gift of $5,000 from the sister of the late Mayor Linwood Hayne.
Memories of Camp Conley: During the glory days, Scouts were encouraged from
1922 to â€œbring their Kodaks,â€� as part of their optional â€œbring to campâ€�
list, and in 1924 just in time for camp Eastman Kodak ran a national Scout Photo
Contest in conjunction with photography merit badge, but unfortunately, so far no
photographs of Camp Conley (or for that matter, the first Camp Linwood Hayne)
have surfaced. Perhaps they still lie waiting in some dusty photo albums. Maybe they
will yet surface to remind us of these first-ever camps of the Georgia-Carolina Council.
Sources: Augusta Chronicle â€œScout pagesâ€� in the years 1921 to 1925, especially
June 12, June 26 1921; June 18, June 25, July 2, July 7, July 16, 1922; April 15,
April 29, Jun 24, July 29, 1923; Jan 6, May 25, 1924; March 11, July 7, Aug 23, Oct
4, 1925. Also History of Scouting in Augusta, Georgia
Map of Langley Pond today. The camp was
located on a bluff on the NW Bank
Bud and Lily Scheile. He was the
Camp Director and she was the Camp
Two Scouts who attended Camp Conley.
Jimmy Dyess on the left helped assemble
the frames of the Mess and Cook tent and
earned Lifesaving Merit badge, which
contributed to his saving two lives at
Sullivan's Island in 1928, for which he
received the Carnegie Medal.
Theo. Pruden deTreville on the right
attended camp in 1922, 1923 and 1924.
His father, a railroad man, had been
transferred to Cradock, VA in 1923, but
Pruden came back to Conley in 1924 to go
to summer camp and visit with his old
friends from Troop 6.
Page updated July 2,