Summer Camping Since 1967
In late 1966, leaders of the Last Frontier Council explored land that was then known as Slippery Falls Ranch to see if the location was suitable for a Boy Scout camp. Amazed by the beauty of the rock formations and pristine waters of Pennington Creek, the council decided to purchase the land and open it for summer camping in 1967.
The Most High Order of the Donkey
A massive work project was planned for April of 1967. Known as “Donkey Weekend,” the project involved over 400 volunteers and staff working on infrastructure, construction, and campsite building projects to prepare the camp for Scouts. The workers called themselves The Most High Order of the Donkey, and continued the massive work weekends for several years to build the camp.
Much of the work involving heavy machinery was done by the National Guard. In 1970, Lake Payne, built by Guard Companies C and D, was dedicated in honor of William T. Payne, longtime Scouting leader and past president of the Last Frontier Council.
The first campsites at Slippery Falls Scout Ranch were on the east side of Pennington Creek. Campers used a simple bridge to cross the creek just upstream of Slippery Falls. One year the creek flooded, and camp staff used a cable and pulley system to transport food across the creek until the waters subsided.
The first permanent campsites were established in 1970 on the west side of the creek where most of camp is today. The first campsites were named after ranches in Oklahoma.
The council raised $900,000 from 1974-1976 for camp development, and in 1977 the first kitchen was constructed along with shooting ranges, showers, and staff facilities. A junior leader training program called Brownsea Double Two was started in the summer of 1976. The camp was ready for a large increase in camp attendance when the Sasakwa summer camp operation was closed after 1979.
Specialty camp weeks opened in the 1980s included Aquatics Week, Fish Camp, Shooting Camp, and Webelos Camp. A horse program was begun in 1990 and attendance reached over 1,600 campers.
Another round of construction in the mid-1980s resulted in an expanded dining hall and a program building. The Most High Order of the Donkey was recalled in 1991-1992 for improvements to camp for the 25th anniversary.
Merit badge offerings at Boy Scout camp were expanded throughout the 1990s. In 1996, Webelos programs and Brownsea moved to Camp George Thomas, and Boy Scout camp attendance again increased with troops from the Black Beaver Council and four additional campsites.
Kerr Scout Ranch at Slippery Falls
A third capital improvement campaign was launched in 2007 with construction ongoing through 2016. Over $4 million of improvements included new water and electrical infrastructure, staff cabins, dining halls, headquarters buildings, and facilities for aquatics, climbing, and other program areas. The Oklahoma Centennial of 2007 was commemorated by a ranch house and the Chickasaw Nation funded the construction of a Chickasaw Village. The camp name was changed to honor the Kerr family of Oklahoma, instrumental in the capital investments in camp since 1974. Today, Kerr Scout Ranch at Slippery Falls hosts well over 2,000 campers every summer, offering over 70 merit badges and adventure programs.
View a video about the naming and recent construction at Kerr Scout Ranch at Slippery Falls: