Skip to content

Electricians ‘plug’ local scout camp

The Boy Scouts’ S Bar F Boy Scout Ranch received some much-needed help last weekend to update its aging electrical infrastructure — and it didn’t cost the well-known encampment a single penny.

The ranch is located south of Farmington off U.S. 67.

On Saturday, more than 30 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 (IBEW), along with 10 St. Louis-area electrical contractors that are members of the National Electrical Contractors Association, descended on the more than 50-year-old camp. They spent a good portion of the day correcting a number of wiring issues to prepare the ranch for a busy summer of scouting activities.

Described on the Greater St. Louis Area Council website as “one of the foremost Boy Scout facilities in America,” the ranch features 5,200 wooded acres, including Nim’s Lake — a 270-acre swimming, boating, and fishing facility at the heart of the camp. The Little St. Francis River also runs throughout the entire property.

Prior to the workday, Lee Asher, business agent for the IBEW in southeast Missouri, explained how the volunteer project came about.

“Several of our members have kids that go there, and we had been talking over the last couple of years that it would be good if we went down to the camp and gave them a hand to get some of that stuff straightened out,” he said. “That’s the kind of stuff that we do and the kind of stuff we enjoy doing for the community. A couple of my members that are really involved put things together. I told them I’d get people there and that’s kind of how it started.”

Asher explained that the electricians had a list of projects to complete that included replacing lights, installing attic fans, replacing ceiling fans, and most significantly, adding lighting to the camp’s treehouse area.

IBEW members Ken and Evan Housmann check out the space available for installation of an attic fan in one of the camp buildings.

IBEW members Ken and Evan Housmann check out the space available for installation of an attic fan in one of the camp buildings.

“It gets pretty dark out there at night, so were going to put in some lights out there for that,” he said.

According to Asher, getting members to take a day out of their weekend to work for free wasn’t difficult at all.

“We’ve actually had an amazing response,” he said. “We’re going to have better than 30 people. We know we’re up to 30 and then the last couple of days have been hectic. Guys have been calling.

“There’s three of us who have kind of put things together. The three of us have shot back and forth, ‘Hey, I’ve got another guy. I’ve got another service truck.’ So, I know the last solid count we had was 30. We’re going to be well over that. Looks like we’re going to have eight to 10 service trucks — all the way from local St. Francois County contractors to contractors that work out of St. Louis that also care about scouting.”

Asher noted that this is just one example of projects the IBEW membership takes on to help better the community.




Volunteering at Scout Ranch

“It’s great to give back to the community and back to scouting.” — Jared Snell, IBEW member

“We feel like it’s our civic duty to help out where we can,” he said. “That’s how we earn a paycheck. Electrical work is not something that everybody wants to fool with. So, for charities and stuff we’re glad to lend a hand. We do Habitat For Humanity and a big thing in St. Louis called Rebuild St. Louis. It’s the kind of stuff that we should be out doing as good citizens.”

On the day of the project, the electricians were out early and getting right to work on their list of projects. At the entrance to the camp, electricians Jared Snell and Andrew Ziegler were busy replacing lights on the camp’s sign, just off the highway.

Electrician Jared Snell watches as fellow IBEW member Andrew Ziegler replaces wiring on the S Bar F Scout Ranch sign. More than 30 electricians from around the Parkland and St. Louis volunteered their time and tools last Saturday to help update the camp's aging electrical infrastructure.

Electrician Jared Snell watches as fellow IBEW member Andrew Ziegler replaces wiring on the S Bar F Scout Ranch sign. More than 30 electricians from around the Parkland and St. Louis volunteered their time and tools last Saturday to help update the camp’s aging electrical infrastructure.

Asked why he was willing to give up a part of his weekend to help out the camp, Snell, who earned his Eagle Scout as a youth, said, “The union volunteers time to come out here and do the upkeep for the Scout ranch to make sure everything is running properly before they start turning on everything for the season. It’s great to give back to the community and back to scouting. I came here when I was 14 and it was neat.”

Electrician Jared Snell watches as fellow IBEW member Andrew Ziegler replaces wiring on the S Bar F Scout Ranch sign. More than 30 electricians from around the Parkland and St. Louis volunteered their time and tools last Saturday to help update the camp's aging electrical infrastructure.

Electrician Jared Snell watches as fellow IBEW member Andrew Ziegler replaces wiring on the S Bar F Scout Ranch sign. More than 30 electricians from around the Parkland and St. Louis volunteered their time and tools last Saturday to help update the camp’s aging electrical infrastructure.

IBEW member Bill Clements installs a ceiling fan during a workday held Saturday at S Bar F Boy Scout Ranch.

IBEW member Bill Clements installs a ceiling fan during a workday held Saturday at S Bar F Boy Scout Ranch.

Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or kjenkins@dailyjournalonline.com

Leave a Comment