Who Were They?

There are many names associated with both the "old" and the "new" camp. Some of these names are memorialized in various features at camp, while others, prominent or instrumental in the history of Camp Bert Adams, are not. We will try to highlight as many as we can and we ask that members submit any information possible to expand these biographies.

Albert S. "Bert" Adams, namesake of Camp Bert Adams

The man whom Bert Adams Boy Scout Reservation-- the "old" and the "new"-- memorializes was truly a legend in his own time. A beloved leader in the City of Atlanta who's legacy lives on today.

Albert S. "Bert" Adams was born in Mobile, Alabama on January 16, 1879. At the age of 19 he moved to Atlanta and worked his way into the real estate business. Eventually, he took on a partner and formed the Adams-Cates Real Estate Company, which continues to this day under the name of Grubb-Ellis.

He was a charter member of the Atlanta Rotary Club, and in 1919-20 served as the President of Rotary International. At various times he was president of The Atlanta Advertising Club and the Real Estate Board as well as the Atlanta Rotary Club. He was chairman of the committee that raised over a million dollars for the Atlanta Shrine Temple. He was active in the Elks, Knights Templar, and chairman of the ethics committee of the National Real Estate Board.

And of course, he was president of what was then the Atlanta Council of the Boy Scouts.

He was known as a broad minded man with a sense of humor. Lively and intelligent, he was often described as "brilliant." He was a dapper dresser with a penchant for high-collars, rimless glasses, and a yellow cane that tapped as he strode purposefully to his destination.

Prior to this time there had been no permanent Scout camp for the Atlanta Council. Each summer the council would lease whatever property it could find available on which to hold "Camp Friendly," the council summer camp.

Bert Adams made it his job to see that there would be a permanent Scout camp for the Atlanta Council. In one of the many memorials published at his death, one stated:

"We know he visioned a picture of healthy boys dressed in the uniform of Boy Scouts, paddling along quiet streams and heavy-eyed youngsters squatted around a leaping camp fire."

Adams launched his own search for the perfect spot for a camp, and found one in Vinnings overlooking the Chattahoochee River with woods and even it's own mountain. He begin to bring others, mostly fellow Rotarians, in on the project and by the fall of 1926, 80 acres was secured for the new camp at a cost of $25,000. But this was just the property-- it still had to be developed to become a Scout camp.

However, illness had come upon Adams, and he knew it was a terminal situation with only months to live. Due his health, he resigned as Council President and wrote to his friends asking that he remain on the board and urging them to complete the camp project "before I fade out of the picture."

But it was not to be. Death took Bert Adams on the last day of the year 1926. He was only 47 years old.

The Atlanta Journal said:

"His city, even while grieving that he is gone, rejoices that he lived."

Shortly after his death the Atlanta Rotary Club held a memorial service for "Bert." Rotary Magazine reported:

"Surely the spirit of Bert Adams, the best Rotarian of us all, hovered near and smiled the old familiar smile of love and friendship as a benediction on those who had gathered to honor his memory... From this meeting has grown a plan to establish a lasting memorial to Bert Adams in the shape of a Boy Scout reservation, which is to bear the name of Bert Adams. ...  At the conclusion of the meeting the members of the club pledged themselves, individually and collectively, to carry on this plan to a successful conclusion. ...  Certainly the laughs of hundreds of teen-age boys reverberating down the great gorge which divides the site of the memorial will be heard in that Elysium to which Bert Adams has gone.  With us who are left on this side, Bert Adams has not "faded from the picture."

The Rotarians were as good as their word. Two months later, in February 1927 a fund drive was launched by fellow Rotarian and Scouter William Wardlaw. Within two weeks the $75,000 needed for the development of the camp was secured. On April 7, 1927, Albert Adams, Jr. broke ground for the Bert Adams Scout Reservation and June of that year saw the first season of summer camp on the Council's own property.

We, the Bert Adams Boys are the beneficiaries of the generous and lasting spirit of the man who was Bert Adams and the gift he left behind. Like those Rotarians back in 1927, let us pledge ourselves, individually and collectively, to insure that Bert's vision will continue-- of Scouts "quietly paddling" a canoe or "squatting by a leaping campfire."

While the Atlanta Area Council has a fine camp in Woodruff, let us be sure that Bert Adams, the camp and the man, are not forgotten or allowed to fall to the developer's scourge. Let us work to insure that a summer camp experience will always be available at Bert Adams - "The Boy's Paradise."

Click here for an image of the proclamation stating that the scout camp he so diligently worked to create would be named in his honor.   The proclamation is dated January 17, 1927, almost 4 months before the ground breaking for the new camp.

 A. Alan Jameson, First Scout Executive of the Atlanta Area Council

The first Boy Scout Troop started in the City of Atlanta was organized in the early months of 1911. A campaign was held in July of 1916 raising about $4,000 to form a local council. By the end of 1916, the Boy Scouts of America had a chartered local council in Atlanta, Georgia. Negotiations were completed whereby A. Alan Jameson was selected as the first Scout Executive of the Atlanta Council. He was the co-author of the first National Hand Book for Boys.
The new Boy Scouts of America quickly established a national office, developed a temporary handbook, sought out Baden- Powell’s endorsement, and began to work to get a Congressional Charter from the US Congress (which they received in 1916).

O.B. "Country" Gorman, namesake of Camp Gorman

The Following is from an undated bio I received from Kerry Sartain (Bert Adams camper 1958-62, Camp Gorman Staff 1963) who got it from his friend Leon Collins.  I believe the bio was probably written in the 1960's.  See the original by clicking here.

"36 years in Professional Scouting. Prior to entering the Professional Scouting service, served as a Scoutmaster.

O.B. Gorman was born in North Carolina, graduated from Elon College with a B.A. degree, June 1922. After finishing college he worked as a salesman for real estate and insurance company.  It was at this time that he became a Scoutmaster.  Later he was coach and mathematics teacher at Ronda High School.

He has served Scout professionally as  Executive of the Cherokee Council, Reidsville, NC, Blue Ridge Council, Greenville, SC, Wyoming Valley Council, Wilkes Barrie, PA.  In 1946 he joined the Region VI staff and served as a Deputy Regional Executive until January 1948 at which time he became Executive of the Atlanta Area Council, the position he now holds.  At the time he became Executive the boy membership was less than 7,000; today it is over 18,000.  he credits this great growth to the fine team work of the thousands of volunteers and an able staff.  

As a member of the Methodist Church he has served as a member of the Board of Stewards in each church where he has been a member.  He is a member of the Saint Mark Methodist Church of Atlanta.  His rotary Membership has been for a period of 35 years.  He has a wife "Bea" and one son - Bill who was an Eagle Scout and is now serving as Scoutmaster.

Since his college days he has been known to his many friends as "Country".  His success in Scouting has been due to his enthusiatic conviction that 'Scouting builds a better manhood for America.' 

There is a poem (prayer) composed by "Country" Gorman and distributed on November 12, 1957 that can be seen by clicking here. 

C.L. Emerson, namesake of Camp Emerson

Atlanta Area Council President, 1932-1933

E.K. Jamison, namesake of Camp Jamison

Under Construction. If you have information on E.K. Jamison please contact me.