Utica, NY – Monday, March 1, 2021 – The Leatherstocking Council, Boy Scouts of America is proud to announce that 341 of its supporters have helped Camp Kingsley celebrate its 100th camping anniversary by meeting a challenge pledge from the Barnes Family, made in memory of their father Robert G. “Bob” Barnes, Sr.

The challenge: if the Leatherstocking Council raised $200,000 by March 1, 2021, the Barnes Family would donate $100,000 for Camp Kingsley’s 100th anniversary capital campaign to fund The Robert G. Barnes, Sr. Welcome Center.

Camp Kingsley is located on approximately 400-acres in Ava, NY. This marks the 5th time in over a century that the Leatherstocking Council has received a six-figure donation.

Robert “Bob” Barnes, Sr. of Canastota, NY, was a longtime volunteer at Camp Kingsley and father of three Eagle Scouts. Bob passed away in 2013. He was an electrical technician at General Electric for 35 years and was a very active leader of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. Bob achieved his Eagle Scout rank as a youth and as an adult was a scout master, earning many prestigious awards including the Silver Beaver Award, District Award of Merit and the Wood Badge Award recognizing his leadership.

“It is appropriate we name this welcome center after Bob since I remember that over a decade ago, he was the first to communicate the critical need for a convenient location at Camp Kingsley where our guests may check-in after a long journey,” said Ray Eschenbach, Scout Executive for the Leatherstocking Council. “We are grateful to Steve for making this multi-use facility possible because until now, it was something our volunteers only dreamed about.”

"Building this new welcome center displays our commitment to the scouting program for years to come,” said Leatherstocking Council board president Matthew Dziedzic. “By investing in our camps, programs and community - even in tough times, we are showing our youth that no matter how daunting the challenge, a Scout never gives up and always moves forward."

Cub Scouts come year-round to Camp Kingsley from all over the Northeast. For our nationally recognized Blizzard Camp, Scouts travel from as far away as Florida to see snow for the first time and obtain their winter survival merit badge.

The Robert G. “Bob” Barnes, Sr. Welcome Center will be a warm and inviting space for guests to check into camp, relax in the lounge, use the restroom upon arrival and even take care of their health paperwork. It will be designed as a multi-use facility that non-Scouts can rent when BSA members are not in camp. Groups like Utica College, Thea Bowman House, The United States Army, and others rent campsites and cabins at Camp Kingsley throughout the year.

Campaign supporters just enjoyed a video call with Ray Eschenbach to hear the exciting news firsthand. The building committee has been proceeding for months in anticipation of meeting this goal and the Leatherstocking Council looks forward to thanking everyone for their help while giving them an opportunity to learn more about The Robert Barnes, Sr. Welcome Center!