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Why do they call it that? A little taste of wilderness | News

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Why do they call it that? A little taste of wilderness

Camp Brorein is a place that has given countless kids a little taste of wilderness, and there's a moving story behind how it got its name.

Why do they call it Camp Brorein?

All right -- let's start earning some merit badges. Canoeing. Climbing. Archery. You can work on all of them at Camp Owen Brorein.

Is there a badge for just having good fun with your family? If there were, Camp Brorein in Odessa would be the place to get that one, too.

"When it first started back in the '20s, it was a summer camp. And the scouts would come here for a dollar a day. That was their summer," said Frank Marion, the camp ranger.

His sons grew up coming here -- just like he did.

"A lot of kids come back. It makes you feel good because that's another kid who might be the president, an astronaut, or mayor of Tampa or something someday," Marion said.

In the 90 years since this Boy Scout camp opened, hundreds of thousands of visitors have come here -- mostly young men, but also young women and their families. All of it is packed into an area of about one-eighth of a square mile.

And many more boys and girls are coming. The Boy Scouts' Gulf Ridge Council is expanding the camp's mission.

Still a camp for young kids -- Cub Scouts and their families -- on the weekends, it's growing to become an outdoor education center, perfect for visits by school kids during the week.

When the camp opened in the 1920's it was going to be called Rainbow Camp because it sits on Rainbow Lake.

But not really.

The camp's wonderful waterfront is actually on Little Lake Moon.

The plan was to create a canal to connect Little Lake Moon to Rainbow Lake next door -- making lots more room for adventure.

But to open that canal, they had to clear out massive stumps from cypress trees. One was a particular challenge. It had the canal diggers... well, stumped.

"It was a nice, big size -- ten feet in diameter -- it was a big tree. And the only way they could get it up was with dynamite," Marion said.

One of the staff members helping construct the camp was a teenager named Owen Brorein. Owen was a member of a major Tampa family.

The Broreins founded Tampa's first phone companyled the Florida State Fair for decades, and gave their name to a street and bridge in Downtown Tampa.

"Owen was a little bit too close. And when the dynamite charge went off, he was killed at that time," Marion said.

Owen Brorein's name is kept close to the hearts of the scouts who know that story.

And the camp he helped create has built a legacy of family fun that will carry on for generations to come.

Why do they call it that? Now you know.

Tuesday night, Grayson Kamm, a 10 News reporter and proud Eagle Scout, had the honor of being the emcee at an important Boy Scout event.

A special banquet recognized more than 100 young men from the Tampa Bay area who earned the rank of Eagle Scout last year.

A lot of volunteer work goes into earning that rank. We want to congratulate all of those young men on this big achievement.

We feature new "Why do they call it that?" stories each Wednesday on 10 News at 5 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Check out previous editions of the Emmy-nominated series at our "Why do they call it that?" website: wtsp.com/callitthat.


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