The Occoneechee Council of the Boy Scouts of America serves some 20,000 youths and 7,000 adults in central North Carolina, USA. Camp Durant on the Occoneechee Scout Reservation is the location of the sundial. Camp Durant is the main camp facility for Occoneechee Council, Boy Scouts of America and is located in Carthage, NC.
This is a working sundial, made for this exact location. The design is based on the Boy Scout Wood Badge symbol of a log with an axe lodged in it. The axe handle serves as the gnomon. The Dial plate is inscribed with the Boy Scout Creed. It is installed at the front of the Grand Lodge at Camp Durant.
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“Before you is the ax in the log. This is the Wood Badge symbol and represents the old English freeman.
In feudal times, all property was owned by the wealthy nobles. Men who were bound to the land and owned by a nobleman were known as serfs, who were slaves. It was a crime for the serfs to cut wood from the forests owned by the nobles. Serfs could gather the scarce wood only from the floor of the forest.
Warfare was dominated by these kings and lords. Men who served valiantly in their lord’s army were rewarded by being declared freemen. Freemen were given the right of loppage, or permission to cut limbs from the nobleman’s trees as high as they could reach with an ax. An ax carried in a nobleman’s forest became the badge of a freeman, one who had earned the right by service.
The grain of the handle of an ax is straight and true and set square in the eye of the head. The head has the proper temper, not too soft or too hard, and sharpened to a point of usefulness. The ax is well balanced and a very efficient tool in the hands of an experienced ax man.
The ax in the log reminds us that those who wear the symbol have allowed their lives to be placed in the hands of God. They have proven themselves on service to others and walk the straight trail as examples to others. They have committed themselves to strengthen others through service and example. “