It's official: Camp YeomaltThe park will no longer honor Major Hopkins.
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:45 PM
"Major Hopkins has been demoted.By unanimous vote of the Bainbridge Island Park Board Thursday, the park that has for decades honored a former Boy Scout leader and controversial historical figure is now Camp Yeomalt.Hang onto the 'camp,' and get rid of the controversy, board chair Chris Llewellyn said after the vote.Thus ends the three-acre park's association with Major M.J. Hopkins, a scout leader of the 1930s who later tried to prevent Japanese-Americans from returning to the island from World War II internment camps. The park district formed a citizen committee to consider new names earlier this year, after learning that some in the Japanese-American community still found the Hopkins association offensive.After a round of public input, the committee narrowed the list of possibilities through straw polls. Other names that received high marks included Sunrise Camp, Camp Discovery, Camp Yonder Sky - taken from a speech by Chief Sealth - and Scout Park.In the end, Camp Yeomalt earned the unanimous support of the park board, for its geographical significance and uniqueness.Historical Museum director Joan Piper said the word Yeomalt derives from a Suquamish tribal legend in which the south wind blows in and overcomes the north wind, bringing warmth and weal to the community.I think Yeomalt's a unique name, park board member Dane Spencer said. 'Discovery' is nice, but it can also be seen as generic.Discussion Thursday never turned to the relative merits of the Boy Scouts organization, whose national policy of excluding gay adult leaders and youths has come under fire.Some community members had suggested naming the camp for other scout leaders, but those names were weeded out by the citizen committee and never went before the full board.The board did, though, opt to retain the word camp in the name, rather than calling it Yeomalt Park, to continue the historical association with youth activities there. "