Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Farewell To Camp Freedom

This summer will be the last year that Transatlantic Council will operate Camp Freedom in Dautphe, Germany. The reasons are rather simple and unfortunate. The military is withdrawing from the nearby city of Giessen making support to maintain Camp Freedom due to its location an extremely difficult feat both from a logistical and maintenance prospective for the Council. I have no doubt that removing equipment and other historical scouting items will be a difficult and perhaps emotional challenge. I do not believe a new location has yet been selected for Camp Freedom's replacement.

Camp Freedom

Camp Freedom is rich with Council history. Camp Freedom is the Transatlantic Council's oldest and largest established camp. Affectionately known as Damp Freezedom due to the frequent rain and cold weather that can occur in July. It was established in 1956. It is located at Dautphe, north of Giessen, in the State of Hessen. The camp is in the foothills of the Westerwald Range. The camp covers one hundred and eighty-two acres.

Dautphe Town Shield Patch

Camp Freedom has hosted many programs for the Council and Black Eagle Lodge 482. Some of those programs have included: Woodbadge, Golden Falcoln (JLT Program), Summer Camp Program, Black Eagle Lodge Spring, Fall, & Winter Fellowships and has provided much more in adventure and memories for anyone that has visited over the decades.

Camp Freedom is where I completed my brotherhood and where I received my Vigil honor. I participated in various ceremonies teams from Ordeal through Vigil Chief at Camp Freedom. I spent three summers on the Transatlantic Council Summer Camp Staff as a Merit Badge Counselor for Handicraft and Nature related subjects. I also served as an assistant cook on my third year of staff.

I have no doubt that the loss of Camp Freedom will fall heavy on those that choose to remember... Many Scouts and Scouters gave their time and love to the camp and in return Camp Freedom left many with everlasting memories of great people and friends.


Greg P. said...


I share your angst over the loss of a summer camp...My heart goes back to Camp Tuscany down in Livorno, IT ... Mostly the Med. District Scouts used it and a lot of friendships were forged there.

I do not know what year or why it ceased to exist but we have great memories of there...One that really stands out is why the aquatics merit badges were the favorites...It took me a few days to find out. I went with some of my Scouts over to the beach and discovered that one or two beaches down from the Camp Darby beach was one of the infamous Italian topless beaches. Another great memory was the one year I took the boys to camp over the Fourth of July holiday and the fireworks display put on by a local company, down at the beach...They launched some of the fireworks from under the water, it was neat to see a bright glow from beneath the surface turn into a skyward bound rocket...Scouting overseas is a unique experience

Greg P.
Former Scoutmaster('83-'85)
Troop 415 Naples, IT

CDR David L. Teska said...

I made several trips to "Damp Freezum" during my family's time in Frankfurt (1978-81) with the OA and Gold Falcon Training (1980 and 1981). I went back with my brother's troop from Vicenza, IT, for Summer Camp (the only time I particiapted in Summer Camp in Europe) as one of the adults (I was in college Stateside by then) and it had changed - dinning hall lodge, etc. I'm sad to see it go as I am with all the sites of the American community in Germany but with the drawdown it was only a matter of time for Camp Freedom would join them.
David T
Troops 90 & 444, 1978-'81
OA Black Eagle Lodge, 1979-'82

Anonymous said...

I share the loss of a great camp! I was a Life Scout in July 1963 and was tapped out for Ordeal, Brotherhood, 1964. Gene Richey was my camp director for three years. He was a fantastic leader who knew how to lead young men to become leaders. I fondly remember standing at attention in our red wool jackets behind the flag poles. I am very thankful for the opportunities given to me at summer camp!

Chuck F. V.
Eagle Scout, 1963, Troop 65
Vice Lodge Chief, 64-66
FAHS, Class of 1966

Anonymous said...

I was at Camp freedom in 1967 and was one of the first Boy Scouts there and alone for one week until all others arrived the people of Dauphne were very good to me while i was all alone

Anonymous said...

I too regret another piece of our collective youth going away. I was at the old Camp Freedom (with Troop 5 from Bremerhaven) when Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the Moon in July, 1969. Some hardy souls from other troops stayed up in the chow hall to watch on TV; the rest of us read about in the Stars & Stripes on the way home. I'm better off than my brother, though; he'd suffered a compound fracture and was in the hospital at Frankfurt at the time.

Even more, I was with the same troop (as a patrol leader) in the summer of 1970 at Camp Mohawk in England. Apparently that was the last summer of operations for that camp as well. We came back stateside in 1971.

Jeff Brown

Stewart Bentley said...

I also have great memories of Camp Freedom. I recently found a walking stick I carved the name and the years I was there into in my parent's basement. It is now my walking stick again. I spent my first summer there in 1975 and then again in 76. I served on the staff for the summer of 76 in addition to doing TLD and being on TLD staff there. I remember swimming in outdoor pool in town, hiking of course, fishing for rainbow trout and dumping each other in the lake while canoeing. I also learned to shoot there too.

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Unknown said...

Camp Freedom rocks.
It was said to see Giessen closing and therefore losing Camp Freedom.
I'm an SA of t 65 myself and went to CF a few times.
However I ask all former scouts and scouters of Troop 65 1953-2008 Darmstadt, GE now 2008-present Wiesbaden, GE to contact us via facebook!/pages/Troop-65-TAC-BSA/80198158114?ref=nf
Please tell us when you were a member of our Troop.
Also Troop 11 Wiesbaden, on 08 May 2010 we will have a special event regarding your time capsule. Please contact us as well.

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op said...

I AM SO SORRY TO HEAR CAMP FREEDOM IS NO MORE! In 1979 lived in England and my troop 184 from Cobham traveled with over 40 boys on busses, trains, and planes to get to camp Freedom. We had an absolute blast. I can remember how great the food was and how well the camp was run. I think I earned more merit badges than any other summer camp I ever attended. I remember standing on the pier at the pond/lake receiving instructions on capsizing the boat for one of my merit badges. I passed out or fell asleep and woke up in the water! Everyone including myself was laughing but then I was the only one laughing once I got back on the dock because they could see that I had several leaches were fixed on to me. Several of the leaders pulled out lighters and burned the leaches so they could come off my skin. About two months later we moved back to the states and the troop I joined had scheduled a swimming event at one of the scout’s houses. When I got there I realized that we would be swimming in a small lake that was very brown. It took about prodding to get me in that water because all I could remember we the leaches at camp freedom