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Boy Scouting in the North Carolina Foothills, 1909-1958

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Author Dr. Henry Hamrick’s relationship with Bud Schiele was established in the late 1950s and 60s at the Piedmont Boy Scout Camp on Lake Lanier near Tryon. Schiele was the chief scout executive for the Piedmont Council and directed the camp during those years.

Hamrick made his first trip to Lake Lanier when he was 9 years old, and after spending a few summers there as a camper, he returned for several more as a counselor. It added up to eight consecutive years of his life that he would never forget, as he helped scouts earn merit badges by teaching skills such as swimming, lifesaving and woodworking.

Schiele, a native of Philadelphia, was a self-styled naturalist and botanist who amassed an impressive collection of wildlife, rocks and minerals in the decades after he moved to Gastonia in 1924. He was 67 years old in 1961 when he used that trove to found the Gaston County Museum of Natural History, which was renamed in his honor four years later. Its opening was a culmination of a lifetime devoted to studying, cataloging and preserving nature.

“A lot of my book focuses on how he came to Gastonia, how he got started, the odds he faced, and how he recruited a lot of leaders in churches and businesses to support scouting,” said Hamrick.

Dr. Henry Hamrick’s book also delves into the important role that Lily Hobbs Schiele had in supporting and enhancing her husband’s endeavors, particularly with respect to honoring Native American cultures.

“I think people will find that Mr. Schiele was a true leader, an organizer, and a man of great principal, and that he truly believed the Boy Scout movement was something that would help the youth of the country to become better adults,” said Hamrick. “And Mrs. Schiele was right there and on board with all of that.”

“Boy Scouting in the North Carolina Foothills, 1909-1958” spans 140 pages and should be available later this month or in November. It is being distributed by Itasca Books, and interested readers can obtain a copy by calling the company at 1-800-901-3480.

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