History of Camp Scout Woodlands Tepee

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The Camp Woodlands “tepee” was dedicated as Lamb Lodge in tribute to the parents of architect Charles Lamb.  Ruby M. Lamb and Reginald C. Lamb worked together with their son, the Girl Scout Council, and many citizen volunteers to realize this innovative architectural landmark. Ruby was Council Commissioner for the Anne Arundel County Girl Scouts. Reginald was the Senior Civilian Math Professor at the Naval Academy. Aside from their raising four children they were both very involved in community service.

Reginald spent the 1930’s with friends and colleagues founding, building, and maintaining the Calvert Cliffs YMCA boy’s camp, Boy Haven.

By the 1940’s, Ruby along with other members of the Girl Scout Council began conceiving of a new camp to be built on a 32-acre plot of land between Riva Road and Broad Creek in Annapolis Maryland. In 1944 she assisted in a fundraising effort to pay for it, and by 1946 Camp Woodlands was hosting Girl Scout troops.

The property’s former owners, the Pennington family, admired its varied plants, trees, and wildlife, and wanted it to remain natural. So they were glad to sell it to the Girl Scouts, with their mission of respecting the environment. For many years, the Pennington’s had used it as a summer retreat.  An excerpt from a letter  sent to Ruby reveals the depth of their regard for nature. 

Toward the end of the 1940s, the Baby Boom was well under way, creating increased enrollment for the Girls Scouts. Subsequently, a camp expansion was necessary.

In February of 1950, Charles Lamb, twenty-three year old son of Reginald and Ruby, returned from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. He was employed as a designer with Rogers and Taliaferro Architects (later know as RTKL), a firm that had hired him the summer before. Ruby had faith in her recent graduate. She told him about the enthusiastic work the Council was doing and moreover that she wanted him to take on the task designing the lodge for the new camp.

In 1947, the year of the first full summer of scouting at Camp Woodlands, Ruby hired Marilyn Asplin as Waterfront Director. Marilyn had responded to an ad for  employment from Minnesota and one year later, after several staff parties hosted by Ruby, the romantic writing was on the wall.

the Waterfront Director


the tepee architect



in August of 1950.

Tragedy strikes. . .

Sadly, on March 31st 1950, only a month after Charlie had returned from college, and only several months before his wedding in August, Ruby Lamb passed away from a heart attack leaving a great void in her family and on the Girl Scout Council.

Despite the great sadness that surrounded this event, the zeal for getting the lodge built remained intact if not amplified. Charlie, with the help of his employers, Archie Rogers and Frank Taliaferro, was determined to fulfill his mother’s wishes. And Reginald Lamb, who had for years been organizing work crews for the camp, assumed the position of Chairman of the Development Committee.

By 1952, the wheels were in motion. The Girl Scout’s March cookie sale netted 4,500 dollars, and it was decided the lion’s share should go to the lodge, thanks to some help from the Community Chest defraying other costs. And they anticipated another successful sale in 1953. Other innovations were also planned: improving the waterfront, showers and tent platforms, an adjoining kitchen for the lodge, water, electricity, a parking lot, and roads. Camp Scout Woodlands had been operating for several summers, and was now poised for some major improvements.  

Quoting from an August 1954 Baltimore Sun article by Robert G. Breen. . .

“The Girl Scouts knew pretty much what they wanted and told Mr. Lamb that the building should: be large enough to hold 100 campers; have a fireplace that should be visible to the maximum numbers of persons in the building; have design and materials for construction such that the volunteer workers, of the Camp Development Committee, could do the construction work; be an all-purpose building, capable of carrying the scouts around the clock; be suited to Girl Scout rituals; not cost too much.”


“Mr. Lamb brooded over his problem for many weeks before putting any ideas to paper . . . he wanted a building expressive of the ideals and philosophy of the scouting movement.  But he had to give the Scouts what they wanted, too. So he envisioned a building with a conical teepee-like roof. 

He had gotten this idea from the Girl Scout’s custom of singing grace before meals, and taps in the evening. At those times they gather in a circle, holding hands and singing. The fireplace was placed in the center, the hearth flush with the floor, thus giving 360 degrees of visibility. The fireplace flu and chimney, a long metal tube, can be raised by means of counter balances, when the fireplace is not in use.  Dining tables were planned. Twelve of them (the building is a twelve-sided polygon) more or less pie-shaped, all radiating from the fireplace, like the spokes of a wheel. This made for ideal serving of meals without any cross traffic.”  


In February 1953 a specific site was chosen and the groundbreaking was held. 

In an article in the Baltimore Sun, a call went out for volunteers. The headline read: “Fathers, Mothers Needed to Help Girl Scouts Build New Teepee Lodge, Get Ready For Season’s Opening.” Gordon Beard then wrote, “Ever think you’d like to recapture a bit of the pioneer spirit that made America great? Well neighbor, I have just the spot for you. And while you’re at it, you’ll have the time of your life.”

By month’s end some 115 weekend-warriors had graced the property, felling trees, clearing brush, landscaping, and more. The building of the lodge projected to be a five-month endeavor was now under way.

Tragedy strikes again. . .

No one could have predicted the construction would ultimately stretch into eighteen months; building the lodge was labor-intensive and most of the helpers had only weekends free. Consequently, the effort provided by members of the Council, parents of campers, and the Navy Math Department, became slower as the summer months wore on.

Then, only five months into the project, in July, tragedy again befell the Lambs. Reginald, who had been diagnosed some months earlier with cancer, succumbed to his illness. As a result, the family commitment  of community activism that had stretched over some two decades reached a new level of meaning.

In May of 1953, the Council established that the tepee, upon its completion, should be dedicated as Lamb Lodge in tribute to Ruby and Reginald Lamb’s years of service to the Girl Scouts.

End in sight. . .

By the spring of 1954, things were shaping up. The finish line was in sight, and the Girl Scouts decided it would be best to hold the dedication of the Tepee during the time of the May Scout rallies.

For the Brownie Scouts, it would be May 1st and for the intermediates and seniors, May 15th. Part of the event would include songs and skits performed by the troops in conjunction with gifts collected from their various support drives: brooms, mops, buckets, rakes, dishes, eating utensils, etc. One counselor was inspired to write a tribute that ended with the following paragraph:

‘  . . . the tepee is more than a building. It is a home—a real personality. It symbolizes the months of hard work and planning, the combined effort that went into its building. Its full value can best be realized when sitting around a burning fire, singing and watching the shadow of the flames playing on the redwood beams. As one camper evaluates it, “I just can’t wait ‘til next summer!”’


A program was  printed to commemorate the proceedings and acknowledge individuals and groups who were instrumental in its creation.

In August of 1954, the King Williams Players from St. Johns College staged the Shakespeare play Much Ado About Nothing at the tepee - in the round, of course. Noted artist and illustrator, Merle Shore, who was attending St John’s College at the time, created a painting (image above) depicting the evening. Merle offered the ‘tepee’ painting to Charlie as a keepsake and went on to become Art Director of the jazz label at Verve Records.

Lamb Lodge  ‘tepee’ interior - girl scout fire circle 1954 (courtesy of RTKL and M. E. Warren Photography, LLC )http://www.rtkl.com/http://mewarrenphotography.com/shapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1
Marilyn Asplin - Waterfront Director 1947 &  swim class
Mr & Mrs R.C. Lamb
Charles Lamb, camp lodge  architect
Camp Boy Haven • Calvert Cliffs
     Lamb Lodge interior - Girl Scout meal 1954 (courtesy of RTKL & M. E. Warren Photography, LLC)
Lamb Lodge  “tepee” painting by Merle Shore


      or write check to:

   Girl Scouts of Central Maryland

   subject line: “Lamb Lodge“ and send to:

      ATTN: Lamb Lodge
      Girl Scouts of Central Maryland 
      4806 Seton Drive 
      Baltimore, MD 21215
to restore the Tepee
make your tax deductible donation at the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland website
• click here •http://www.gscm.org/about/facilities/camp-woodlands/lambs-lodge/