Camp Tom Wooten


Here is a photo of Boy Scouts lined up to check in at the buddy board at the swimming pool.  Doesn't look like the Scoutmaster is going to get wet on this trip.  The Scouts participated in instructional swim, Swimming and Life Saving Merit Badges, and free swim later in the day.
Checking in on the buddy board prior to entering the swimming pool.

David Bell, who started out as a Counselor-In-Training  in Aquatics at Camp Tom Wooten, has been serving as the Director of the Aquatic Section of the BSA National Camp School in Texas for the last 20 years or so.  His brother also served on the summer camp staff.

The swimming pool was built right next to the river so that water from Bull Creek could be pumped into the pool through sand filters.  You can see the pit for the sand right behind the lifeguard stand at the end of the pool.   The storeroom and chlorinator were located directly under the pool at that end.  The showers and dressing area was located to your right off the shallow end of the pool.

The waterfront staff stayed in tents at the swimming pool in the early days.  That prevented a lot of late night Scout swimmers!

Here you can see Scouts receiving instruction.  One Scout is in the water to your lower right.  He is waiting for the Scout just right of the diving board to toss him the rescue line.

The Life Guard to the left of the lifeguard tower, in the red bathing suit, is watching the Scouts do rowing in Bull Creek.

A swimmer in the pool while the staff (one with the lanyard and whistle) and possibly Scout Life Guard class are loafing.  Photo taken in 1954
Staff member (note lanyard) Joe Lee demonstrating the ring buoy toss for the camera.  Note the "protective fence" around the pool.  That is Bull Creek in the background.

In the spring of 1958, they completed a new recirculation and filtration system and a new floor was poured in the pool itself.

Rowing was another popular merit badge at Camp Tom Wooten.  Bull Creek offered the perfect place to learn how to row a rowboat, scull your rowboat and do a rescue off the end of the boat.
It took long hours of practice to be able to navigate the rowboat to where you wanted it to go.
One night, it rained so hard that Bull Creek flooded over the boat docks.  They had to tie ropes around the aquatic staff so they could wade out into the river, on the docks, to unlock the chains that held the rowboats so the chains would not rip out the seats.  One person held onto the rope to drag the staff member in in case he got swept away from the dock.  Photo taken in 1966.
Here you see the Scouts practicing the correct way to launch a canoe.  Canoeing has always been a popular water activity at Camp Tom Wooten.  The first canoes were canvas and later they went to aluminum canoes. Photo taken in 1966.
Yes, you can see the canoes on Bull Creek if you look hard enough.  They were allowed to practice between the swimming pool and the mouth of Bull Creek where it flows into Lake Austin at the top of your picture.  Canoeing Merit Badges was taught at camp in addition to the Rowing Merit Badge.
On the last day of Canoeing Merit Badge the Scouts were allowed to paddle their canoes up Austin Lake.  This photo was from FM 2222.  You can see Bull Creek on your right where it flows into Austin Lake, now known as Emma Long Metropolitan Park. 

The Lone Star Trail ran along the bluff on your right all the way up to Austin City Park.  The trail was marked with aluminum disks nailed to trees.  You had to have a sharp eye to spot them if the trail had not been use in awhile. This is also the route that the Pack and Paddle group took.  The trail ended at Mansfield Dam.

Nothing like a cool swim in the late afternoon.  This is probably a staff swim just before it gets dark from the looks of the shadows.  Life guards are at this end of the pool not shown in this photo taken in 1966.
We want to thank Joe Lee for the two black and white photos of the staff at the swimming pool.  the photo of the canoes, the one of the row boats taken from the dock, with the buddy board, and the photos at the top and bottom, were provided by John Wittliff.

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