Leon J. Carman Cub Scout Day Camp

In 2006, the Cub Scout Day Camp program in the Pioneer Valley Council was named after one of the council’s most longstanding and generous benefactors, Leon J. Carman. Carman, a member of the Council Advisory Board and former member of the Council Executive Board, established Scouting at Shriner's Hospital in Springfield among his many charitable acts. The Western Massachusetts Council continues this tradition by naming our Cub Scout Day Camps in his honor.

"The naming of our camp in Leon's honor is both a testament to his good work and generosity, as well as a clear sign that such dedication to youth that he and others like him have committed will long be remembered," said Day Camp Director Jeffrey LaBroad, in a 2006 press release. "It is fitting that he be honored with the naming of a program much like those he championed throughout his life."

In much the same way that Cub Scout Day Camp is designed to reach out to families in their communities by holding sessions throughout the council, Carman brought Scouting to children who couldn't access it otherwise. As founder of Cub Scout Pack 61 and Boy Scout Troop 61 at Shriner's Hospital, of which he was Scoutmaster for many years, Carman assured that Scouting was accessible to all young men who wanted it.

The December 9, 1951 edition of The Springfield Sunday Republican featured Carman, his colleagues and their work. Of Carman and others, it reports, "Quietly with no fanfare, a group of big hearted citizens have been operating Boy Scout Troop 61 and Cub Scout Pack 61 at Shriner's Hospital for many years. These men conduct troop and pack meetings every week and once a month have a special party to which the entire hospital is invited. [They] have been working from 10-15 years on the project and personally absorb the expenses involved." Carman personally outfitted all the Scouts with uniform hats on several occasions.

Then Scout Executive Larry Bystran said the recognition was a natural fit. "Leon has been incredibly committed to this council for the better part of a century. This dedication is our way of saying 'thank you' for all that Leon has done for us and for the youth of our area."

"This is such an incredible honor for my dad and my entire family," said Tracy Carman, Leon's son and a past council vice president for finance. "He truly loves this program, and having his name attached to something as worthwhile as a camp program means the world to him."

As a youth, Carman was a member of Boy Scout Troop 22, where he achieved the rank of Star Scout (then the rank just before Eagle) in 1929—just weeks before the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression. He went on to become the unit's Scoutmaster before being elected to the Council's Executive Board, a post he held for more than 40 years. A retired estate planner and insurance agent, Carman, is also a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, as well as a founding member of the Council Heritage Society.