05/18/05 — Climbing tower dedicated to Daniels

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Climbing tower dedicated to Daniels

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 18, 2005 1:45 PM

FOUR OAKS -- Boy Scout Camp Tuscarora's climbing tower has a new name.

The scouts have dedicated the structure to Ben Daniels, a long-time volunteer with the Tuscarora Council Boy Scouts of America. Daniels and his son, Cody, built the wall in 1996 when Cody was 11. Hurricane Fran came through that year. Daniels said he worried about his house that night, but he was just as eager to know if the wall was still standing after the storm.

"I was a happy scouter when I turned the corner and saw it still standing," Daniels said. "It's been through two more now."

Daniels' son is 20 now. They attended the dedication ceremony Tuesday at the climbing wall with Daniels' wife, Jo Anne, and Cody's friend, Nikki Barbour.

Joe Eason told the crowd of about 30 people gathered for the ceremony that Ben and Cody Daniels looked at climbing towers in other places and decided to build one 30 feet high.

"I don't think we'd have wanted one 60 feet," he said.

"I've seen boys struggle to get to the top, so it's perfect for what we do with it."

A lot of labor went into building the climbing wall, Eason said. He saluted Daniels' ingenuity in designing and making the cleats himself after finding out they cost $100 each if you buy them.

Daniels has loved scouting ever since he was a small boy.

He and Jo Anne grew up together, dated through school, graduated from Eastern Wayne High School in 1974, went their separate ways, married other people, got unmarried and ended up exchanging vows of their own in March at Daniels Memorial United Methodist Church.

"I thought he was so handsome in his Cub Scout uniform," Mrs. Daniels said.

Daniels, who is 49 now, took his son to a scout meeting in 1985 to get him signed up in scouting. When they left, Cody was a scout and Ben was a scout master.

Daniels gave 20 years service to the Boy Scouts in three councils. He served 16 years with the Tuscarora Council as scout master for Troop 258 in Rosewood.

He has helped at every three-week summer camp since 1996, when the climbing tower opened.

Daniels said he could never buy what he has experienced with the wall.

"We usually get first year campers here -- young boys. They stand at this tower and may as well be looking at the Empire State Building. We get them tied in and up there, and then they realize coming down is the hard part. When they're on the ground, you can see it on their faces, the confidence, the excitement, and enthusiasm."