Boy Scout builds village

Mattanock Town is beginning to look like a village.

Boy Scout builds village

Mattanock Town is beginning to look like a village.

Two new longhouses — single-room, beehive-shaped structures covered with woven reed mats — and a wooden lean-to shelter are the latest additions to the Nansemond Indians’ property, near Lone Star Lakes in Chuckatuck. Hunter Ward, a member of Driver Boy Scout Troop 16, spearheaded construction as his Eagle service project.

Roughly 50 Boy Scouts, members of the Nansemond Indian Tribal Association, and donors and supporters of both organizations turned out to the Mattanock Town site Tuesday to dedicate Ward’s project.

Ward, 15, a Nansemond River High School freshman, said he chose his project because of the tribe’s long-running support for Scouting and to help jumpstart the tribe’s Mattanock Town project, a replica of a 17th-century tribal village.

After years of negotiations, the city in 2013 transferred 70 acres of waterfront property to the tribe to build the proposed $5 million Indian cultural and educational center.

“Honestly, I’m kind of proud of myself,” said Ward. “It was a challenge, especially speaking to groups to raise money.

“And I’m overjoyed that other Scouts want to do their Eagle projects out here,” he said. “Having a role in helping the tribe keep their land, if everything goes well … is one of the most important things I will get out of this project.”

Two other Troop 16 members are doing their Eagle projects at Mattanock Town, said Nansemond Chief Earl Bass. Nolan Long is heading up efforts to build the chief’s longhouse and Keagan DeLong will be erecting a flagpole and helping build a trail, according to Bass.

A couple of other projects are also being discussed, he added.

“Scouting is close to our hearts … and many of us were Boy Scouts,” Bass said. “This wasn’t an easy project.

“It was a challenge … and I’m proud of Hunter for his accomplishment and for getting this ball rolling.”

Under Ward’s direction and with guidance from the tribe, roughly 25 Scouts and leaders spent five weekends between October and March building the longhouses and lean-to.

The group spent one day in an Ivor forest tract, cutting down and hauling 260 donated sweet gum saplings to the property. The boys debarked the trees and shaped the green trees into dome-shaped longhouses, using twine to lash the saplings together. They spent the final weekend covering the structures with sheets of woven reeds made in the Philippines.

While he and fellow Scouts provided the labor, Ward also raised $2,600 to purchase the matting. That involved sending out letters and sharing information about the project with at least one civic group.

Charles and Lynn Rose donated the saplings, Ward said. He received financial contributions from the Bennett Trust, Suffolk Business Women and the North Suffolk Rotary Club and several individuals.

“I want to thank all the donors,” Ward said.

Bass echoed similar sentiments.

“When you support the Scouts, you are supporting us,” Bass said. “We are going to make Mattanock Town a success … and we want to share it with the community.

“When they build something, it’s going to be here for a long, long time. This is going to be here for future generations.”

Article taken from The Suffolk News-Herald –
URL to article:

Share this post