"A lot of people love the more traditional, primitive camps," said Leckie. "Out here, we're in the National Radio Quiet Zone created for the Green Bank observatory. Cell service doesn't work, although we do have wi-fi hot spots, and you can only dial in one radio station. You don't just see stars out here, you can see the Milky Way."
"I think the key to successful scouting is getting the kids connected to nature, and this place really lets you do that," said Blair Taylor, scoutmaster of Charleston's Troop 5, which sent a large contingent of scouts to Dilleys Mill this week.
"In our troop, we try to get our kids out on a camping trip within one month of joining," said Taylor, who in his younger days was himself a camper at the Pocahontas County scout reservation. "If we can do that, they're generally hooked."
It remains to be seen what role the camp will play following the full rollout of the giant new Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve. But the staff at Dilleys Mill is hopeful that a bright future awaits both camps.
In addition to its National Jamboree and High Adventure scouting operation, Summit Bechtel is expected to eventually open a regional summer camping program, which Dilleys Mill now offers.
In the years before that happens, hundreds of thousands of scouts will get their first taste of West Virginia at the new Fayette County complex, and many will decide they like it.
"If they start looking into other scouting programs here, they may discover this camp, and find that it can offer a lot of high adventure activities for a lot less money," said Jonathon Stevens, district executive for Buckskin Council's Elk River District.
"This will be a good place for scouts to stay and stage into the Jamboree after the new facility opens," said Snyder.
"In terms of the number of adventure sports and activities offered, this camp won't be able to compete evenly with the Summit," said Taylor. "But in terms of seclusion and serenity, it can't be beat."
"I love it here," said 13-year-old Taylor Miles of Cornelius, N.C., who was making his first visit to Dilleys Mill this week with his scout troop.
"I like the fishing, the food and the nice people," said Miles, as he helped a younger scout select a plastic grub for use in luring a bluegill to a hook. As Miles spoke, a huge turtle surfaced nearby to take in some air and stare at the shore-bound anglers.
"But I may not go swimming today," he said with a smile.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.