Driving by the sign that reads “Maubila Boy Scout Reservation” on Highway 43 in the Antioch community north of Jackson, one would never assume the rich history and simplistic fun that is nestled just a few miles from the busy state highway.
Peet Wert has been affiliated with Camp Maubila since the property was purchased by Boy Scouts of America in 1964. Wert is a native and resident of Mobile, but loves serving at Camp Maubila. He says that the most rewarding part of his job is the opportunities he has to invest in the lives of the young men who come to camp.
The sprawling 400-acre reserve now covered with thick pines was once flat farmland and at one point every area of the camp was in plain sight. Shortly after the land was purchased 1,000 longleaf pine trees were planted. Peet Wert remembers assisting with the planting. Now, there are an innumerable number of trees that have grown from pine cones that fell from the original 1,000 pines. The entire camp is encompassed by these trees and one can no longer view the entire acreage from one vantage point.
But underneath these pines, there is a rustic, traditional camping program that is run by volunteers. The waterfront area is one of the first items of notice when driving into Maubila. Scouts are taught swimming and waterfront safety as well as proper techniques for canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. Scouts can also be certified in CPR during their camp experience.
While both campers and staff do have cell phones, these are not their primary focus. Scouts played a variety of outdoor games and were engaged in crafts and in classes. Traditional games like tetherball and ping-pong rank among the Scouts’ favorite free time activities. The rustic rocking chairs that align the outside of the original (and current) camp office provide the perfect place to reflect or to make new friends.
Lodging for the boys is primitive tent camping sites for which the Scouts are responsible for the set-up and up keep. A visit to the camp sites reveals traditional Boy Scout tents, clothes lines, and nearby bathhouses. The American flag, the flag of Alabama, and the Boy Scouts of America flag are all displayed in the campsites.
Above left, Boy Scouts gather for assembly at Camp Maubila. At right, an outdoor classroom setting is popular with the Scouts.
Clarke, Washington, Mobile, and Baldwin counties are served by Camp Maubila. Two week-long camps are hosted in June and students from all four counties attend. During their time at Maubila, scouts attend classes in communication, citizenship, ethics and project planning in addition to traditional camping activities such as swimming, hiking, and kayaking. Merit badges are pursued and many Scouts set their aim to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.
The rank of Eagle Scout is a distinction that requires service, leadership, commitment to the ideals of the Boy Scouts of America. Eagle Scout candidates must complete an extensive service project.
In the heart of the pines, tradition, respect, citizenship, outdoor skills and the importance of a personal value system are shared with young men from four counties and a variety of walks of life. Character, integrity, patriotism, bravery, and faith are taught and exemplified within a 400- acre gem that is passed by each day as we are rushed to get to the next place and accomplish the next task.
But for the approximately 125 young men and leaders who attend the week-long camps, there is no furious hustle, but a quiet resolve to learn, to challenge themselves and to achieve their goals. Founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Robert Baden-Powell stated, “The open-air is the real objective of scouting and the key to its success.”
At Camp Maubila, the open-air experience is topnotch and the enjoyment of it can be seen on the faces of every camper.
Weekly columnist. Feature Writer.