To be updated soon......As of 1996:
Two years ago the Captain John T. Lesley Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans was meeting in libraries and was very lucky to have 15 folks attend any meeting. Our camp was about 55 strong and was held together by the tenacious will and iron devotion of our present leader, Commander James B. Hayward. All the credit in the world is due this gentleman for saving this camp in 1991 from complete disorder and insolvency. That the John T. Lesley Camp did not have to be re-chartered in 1994 is due to no person other than Commander Hayward.
What happened in 1994 that led to the spurt of growth and caused the new and awakened energy of this camp? First of all, the climate for change was around in 1994. If you will remember, that was the year that the Hillsborough County Commission, after a long and vicious fight, voted to scrap the Hillsborough County Seal (the one that contained our flag) and voted to adopt a politically correct county logo. Boy, did alot of us ever fight that change and of course we lost. But, out of that struggle was laid the seedbed of growth for this SCV camp.
Another factor that played a most definite role in this awakening was the leadership of the Lesley Camp. Commander Hayward, through his single minded dedication, not only had the camp stable in 1994 but he exercised true leadership. He had the wisdom to recognize and to test talent and gauge the leadership ability of the men of the camp. Scrupulously fair but a discerning mind is perhaps the manner to describe this man. The commander found an adjutant who would do the job. He created the role of quartermaster and filled it with an individual who had a vision. The Lt Commander at the time was chosen for his extreme dedication and good judgment.
Here was a commander that had the ability and the humble nature to delegate responsibility and authority away from his grasp. And once the system starts to work there is a saying that applies; that is, success begets success.
Today, there is an almost sweet spirit within our camp. Alike in mind, there is no internal disunity. Driven by the knowledge of the purest Heritage and by a Christian assurance we are evangelical in our drive to recruit the men of the South into our fraternity. Our meetings are experiences of fellowship and our work days are days we relish. We are told over and over by those who experience our camp and our fellowship that they are amazed at the camaraderie and excitement that we exhibit.
This year the John T. Lesley Camp was awarded the Nathan Bedford Forrest Award from National for being the fastest growing camp in the Confederation. Simply put, we recruited more physical bodies than any other camp that there is, anywhere. But that is not even the best of our accomplishments. One cant take one credit or even the sum total of the credits of the camp and create the accurate image of the John T. Lesley Camp. To create that picture one would have to experience the energy and the passion of the camp, combined with our credits(what we do). To finish this article, following is a list of the things we have been involved with this year of 1996. Mind you, these are only the things and in no way reveals the spirit that drives our camp.
1 Ordered over 200 VA grave markers
2 Assisted in the installation & dedication of the Lesley Plaque
3 Participated in the Adopt-a-Road program
4 Created a John T. Lesley Camp 1282 Web Page
5 Installed a 24 hour camp telephone hotline
6 Participated in the Brandon 4th of July Parade(Best Marching Unit)
7 Surveyed 15 cemeteries in Hillsborough County
8 Completely restored the family plot of our camp namesake
9 Hosted a joint meeting with the local Sons of Union Veterans
10 Participated in a computer training program for black inner city single mothers
11 Presented a program by Mr. Doug Knapp of the Museum of the Confederacy
12 Secured a Southern Heritage Month Proclamation from the Hillsborough County Commission
13 Overseeing and participating in all stages of the $70,000.00 renovation of the Confederate War
Memorial in Tampa
14 Co-sponsored the largest Confederate Ball in states history
15 Built a working relationship with a very active reenacting company (rewarded the company with
$122.00 of pizza)
16 Served as color guard for several events of the Tampa Historical Society
17 Held two well attended genealogical workshops at the main library in Tampa
18 Presented 4-5 living history displays at various schools (public and private)
19 Honored our Confederate ancestors on Confederate Memorial Day by conducting proper services
20 Posted Honor Guards for 12 straight hours at the Confederate War Memorial on Confederate Memorial Day
21 Hosted two very well attended Brigade wide fishfries
22 Presented wreath with accompanying honor guard at Veterans Service at historic Oaklawn Cemetery
23 Purchased an SCV logo sign for a Little League Baseball field
24 Held four well attended Confederate gravestone dedication services
25 Placed over 30 flower wreaths at the Confederate War Memorial on Confederate Memorial Day
26 Made a $100.00 contribution to the Florida Flag Fund
27 Created a Legionnaire Certificate that satisfies and fulfills a critical need
28 Gave a program to the local Sertoma Club
29 Sent flowers in April 1996 to Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham from the Lesley Camp
30 Spoke at six other SCV camps and UDC chapters
31 Produced a professional video of a large graveside ceremony
32 Received the Chairman of the Hillsborough County Commission at a regular Lesley Camp meeting
33 Marched in Brandon Christmas Parade
34 Marched in Strawberry Festival Parade
35 Participated in the Zepyrhills Senior Day Parade
36 Marched in Plant City Christmas Parade
37 Produced a video on Compatriot Lamberts talk on Blacks in the Confederacy
38 Participated in the march of Dimes Walk-a-Thon
39 Presented a program by author Harris Mullen on Gettysburg
40 Invited to participate on local TV talk show
41 Purchased a quality podium with brass plaque of the SCV logo
42 Purchased a camp wreath, a replica of the Battle Flag
43 Was a member of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
Again, what these items dont reflect is the energy and total enthusiasm that this camp manifests. But, there are several items that need to be mentioned that bond our camp into a unit. One is this newsletter. We believe that a first rate and quality newsletter is essential for an On Fire camp. Good communication is a must. Second is the matter of Southern Heritage Defense. We believe that defending our blood soaked Heritage is a proper duty of the SCV and of our camp. That defense is embodied in the Charge of General S. D. Lee and should be a leg of the modern SCV. Third is the present nature of our meetings. We average 75 folks at a meeting with a range of 55 to 135. Thanks to the mindset of our officer corp our meetings are well oiled. Most important, we conduct no boring camp business at regular meetings. We leave such business for Camp Officer Calls.
To sum up, the John T. Lesley Camp is ON FIRE and as we approach the 21st Century we have a vision. To accomplish that vision is our goal and we pray that God will be with us.