Camp Seph Mack
1966 South Harmony Road
Penn Runn, PA 15765
Statement of Purpose
To serve as summer, resident camping facility and as a year round use facility for short-term encampments and single day use for Scouting and community groups. Camp Seph Mack will serve as an example of outdoor adventure and hospitality, which represents the Laurel Highlands Council, BSA as a statement of excellent stewardship.
Camp Seph Mack Vision Statement
Camp Seph Mack of the Laurel Highlands Council, Boy Scouts of America, seeks to deliver the promise of outdoor adventure to all youth, Scouters, and the community at large, through a fun, rustic, and aesthetically pleasing facility that is rich in history. The Laurel Highlands Council strives for continual growth and improvement of Camp Seph Mack through fiscal responsibility, professional staffing, and growing attendance.
Camp Seph Mack is located on Yellow Creek Lake near Penn Run, PA, and is one of the council camps of the Laurel Highlands Council, Boy Scouts of America. Laurel Highlands, BSA, is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, and serves approximately 30,000 youth and their families from an twelve-county area in south western Pennsylvania.
Camp Seph Mack encompasses approximately 200 acres within the boundaries of Yellow Creek State Park and lies along the north shore with of almost 4,000 feet of lake frontage.
Camp Seph Mack takes its name from the late J. Sephus Mack of Indiana, the patriarch of the family that originally donated much of this land for youth activities in the 1930’s. The William Penn Council, a predecessor to Laurel Highlands, first operated Seph Mack as a Boy Scout Camp in the late 1940’s. The camp ceased operation in the late 1960’s and was sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as part of the development of Yellow Creek State Park. An organization titled William Penn Inc. was created to administer the investments made with the proceeds of that sale.
In 1970, William Penn, Admiral Peary and Blair-Bedford Councils were merged to form Penn's Woods Council. In 1980, Penn's Woods Council reacquired the camp through a long-term lease agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Parks and the Department of Environmental Resources. In 2011 the Penn's Wood Council merged with the Greater Pittsburgh Council to form the Laurel Highlands Council.
Camp Seph Mack has seen many changes, and additions, over its storied history. Although the camp is open year round for camping and adventure, it is most popular for its summer camp programs. Seph Mack will host more than 1,000 Scouts during the summer in a variety of programs for youth of all ages, from the Cub Scout Day Camp program in mid-June, through the Boy Scout Resident program of late June to early August, and Webelos/Cub Resident Camp the week after. All of the programs are planned and supervised by a Nationally Accredited Camp Staff and provide age-appropriate activities.
The Boy Scout and Webelos/Cub Summer Camps feature traditional camping programs. Sleeping in tents or under the stars, evening campfires and meals in the dining hall comprise the core of the camping experience. But beyond that, the Laurel Highlands Council has worked hard to upgrade and modernize Seph Mack, its facilities and programs, consistent with the interests and the demands of our area’s youth. In addition to the new shower house, the dining hall has been enlarged to provide for an ever-growing number of campers.
Camp Seph Mack is particularly proud of a waterfront and aquatics program. No other Boy Scout camp in the northeast comes close. The waterfront and aquatic area was regraded and improved when the State drew down the water level of the Lake during the winter of 1999-2000. Through a generous contribution of a Scouting supporter, Laurel Highlands was able to purchase of a large pontoon boat, christened the Jolly Roger in honor of our benefactor, which can be used for teaching power boat safety or for taking groups of Scouts to new and different fishing spots around the Lake. Sailboats, rowboats, canoes and kayaks are an integral part of our waterfront. Swimming, snorkeling and lifesaving are just a few of the other activities that are offered on what might be the best waterfront area in the northeast. Few other Scout camps can boast a 600-acre lake for its aquatic program.
Traditional advancement programs are available throughout the camping season. Additionally, Sprint Troop, a specialized program for Scouts working on Second and First Class ranks, and Eagle Patrol, designed to support Star and Life Scouts on the Trail to Eagle, are available to Scouts meeting the program requirements. Camp Seph Mack provides opportunities for lots of merit badges; camping, hiking, wilderness survival, nature, fishing and the shooting sports are available. Seph Mack has programs in astronomy and space exploration, canoeing and small boat sailing, athletics and golf, and handicrafts of all kinds. Computers have been added both to manage the business of camp, and to provide our Scouts with access to the technology and computer merit badges.
Camp Seph Mack also serves as a training facility for adult leaders during the summer season. Training for adult leaders in Health and Safety, Youth Protection, Troop Leadership, Safety Afloat and a number of other topics is made available so that our adults can provide a better year-round program for the youth.
Camp Seph Mack has recently been the host camp for the several regional Scouting programs. In June of 2000, the Order of the Arrow held its Area Conclave at Seph Mack. More than 300 youth members representing O/A Lodges from seven councils in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia gathered at Seph Mack for the conclave. The O/A is an honor fraternity within the Boy Scouts of America that exists to provide cheerful service to its sponsoring councils, and to promote camping and outdoor activities to other youth. In the summer of 1999, Seph Mack hosted the Northeast Regional Wood Badge program. Described as the graduate school of Scouting, Wood Badge is an intense, week-long program for adult Scouters designed to teach advanced Scouting skills. It is the goal of Wood Badge to make Scouters better leaders and provide our youth with a better Scouting program.
But, Camp Seph Mack is open to more than just Scouting groups. In the past few years, Seph Mack has hosted Native American Festivals, SCUBA training programs, fishing and boating clubs, business meetings, military units and family reunions. The camp’s various facilities may be rented or donated, depending on the nature of the event and the length of each program.
In 1999, the Council began to operate an outreach camp with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Indiana County. The Big Brothers/Big Sisters brought 30 children to camp for a four-day/three- night adventure. Many of these children had never had a camping experience before. In 1999, the Penns Manor School District also began utilizing the camp facilities for its pre-season training program for its football team. Fifty players, along with ten coaches and staff members, were on site for six days of training, conditioning and team-building.
The Council has made a number of capital improvements to Camp Seph Mack over the past three years. The Council’s strategic vision will continue the building projects over the next 5-10 years. Some projects currently being developed include a climbing/rappeling tower, a low-elements challenge course, a new office and health services building, a new storage and maintenance building, additional “flush “ restroom facilities, and the renovation of the historic “Lakefront Lodge.” Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930’s, “Lakefront Lodge” served as the camp’s dining hall prior to the construction of Yellow Creek Lake.
The camp is maintained and developed with the leadership and contribution of time, talents and resources of volunteers working in partnership with Laurel Highlands Council staff. The Laurel Highlands Council Board of Directors and the Camping and Properties Committees directly oversee the operation of the camp and solicit support for its maintenance and development.
If you would like more information about Camp Seph Mack, or if you would like to arrange a tour or rent the facility, please contact the Laurel Highlands Council Service Center at (814) 471-1090. To reserve a cabin or tent site for weekend or overnight camping, call the Laurel Highlands Council Service Center.
Seph Mack News
Camp Seph Mack Wish List