In 1926, the Scouts in the Panama City and Marianna areas were organized into the Choctawhatchee Council with headquarters in Dothan, Alabama, which was already serving a number of other counties in southeast Alabama. The annual report of the National Council for 1926 listed 39 Scout Troops with 766 Scouts in the Choctawhatchee Council. An interesting note shown in the cost per Scout reported $9.24 each, which would have made the Council's budget for that year, $7,077.
Mr. W. L. Sprouse was named as the first Scout Executive of the Choctawhatchee Council with offices in Dothan. Mr. Sprouse wrote with admiration of the early days in that area, telling of Camp Cheerful in the Bear Creek section of Bay County, which at that time was the BSA Camp directed for 15 counties in Alabama and Florida. It was a "real wilderness camp". Today's maps show no trace of Camp Cheerful, however Bear Creek runs northeast of Saint Andrews Bay towards the Youngstown, Florida area.
Mr. Sprouse also said, "we used to ramble over Walton, Holmes, Jackson, Bay, Calhoun, and Washington counties on the Scouting Trail. The pioneer days passed all too soon. Even now I can see and hear the old gang gathered around the campfire at Camp Cheerful on beautiful Bear Creek where we held our summer camps".
Beginning in 1961, the Spanish Trail Scout Reservation was founded just west of Defuniak Springs. It offers full camping facilities at two main camps; Camp Euchee and Camp Jambo. Featuring a 40 acre lake for swimming, canoeing, and fishing, there is also a large dining hall, shooting and archery ranges, and outdoor ampitheatre.
Part of the Choctawhatchee Council was incorporated into the present day Gulf Coast Council headquartered in Pensacola and currently serves over 15,000 youth in 11 counties. The Council encompasses four Districts: Pensacola Bay (Escambia and Santa Rosa counties in Florida), Long Leaf Pine (Conecuh, Escambia, and Monroe counties in southwest Alabama), Choctawhatchee (Okaloosa and Walton counties in Florida), and Lake Sands (Bay, Gulf, Holmes, and Washington counties in Florida).
Camping has certainly come a long way from primitive camping, surplus canvas tents, cooking over open campfires, and dim flashlights of the 1920's. Today's camper has a wide variety of lightweight and watertight tents, warm sleeping bags, long lasting and very bright led lanterns and flashlights, and propane or liquid fueled stoves. Let Bass Pro Shops outfit your Scout or Troop with the very best in camping gear.
Destin Bass Pro Shops continues to support Scouting and wishes them another 100 years of success on the Gulf Coast.