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summer camp options?

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  • #16
    Would the summer camp and HA base being on the same scout reservation work? East Carolina Scout Reservation has both Camp Boddie, formerly known as Camp Bonner South, and the Pamlico Sea Base.

    Camp Boddie has your traditional summer camp offerings.

    Pamlico Sea base is on the reservation about 1/4 mile away from Boddie's reception center. Offers a nice program

    http://www.eccbsa.org/Camping/Camp%20Boddie.aspx

    http://www.eccbsa.org/Camping/Pamlico%20Sea%20Base

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    • #17
      I'll chime in and speak for Camp Geronimo near Payson, AZ.

      They do have a decent trail to first class program. They mark each requirement completed so you can transfer the info to books or however you keep your records. It is an all-in-one program as opposed to choose one rank to work on and spend the period working on that alone. Thus we had new Scouts who completed several requirements each for TF, 2nd and 1st Class ranks.

      They have a very good MB program. Aquatics are limited to canoe and rowing on a small lake, plus the pool swimming, lifesaving, lifeguard, mile swims, polar bear, etc). They offer both horsemanship and climbing as well - in all about 35-40 MB's the choose from. Fire Safety was new this year and we had a boy who is also a Fire Explorer earn that one as an extra (offered outside of regular MB sessions).

      The dining hall isn't gourmet but there is always more than enough food. Hot and cold cereal offered as extras, salad and soup for lunch and dinner, variety of cold drinks, milk and juices (and coffee). Toast or bread was available for all meals. These are in addition to the hot food lines (one for each end of the dining hall). The camp divides into 2 meal sessions to make things manageable. If you go during 4th of July week you'll find attendance is likely less than half of the other sessions. More time to sit and digest with shorter lines. :-) I've had better food, I have certainly had worse, and there were camps where I went away somewhat hungry, but I had no real reason to offer more than a general gripe or two regards the food service. Mostly that was limited to the fact that troops take turns serving, and some were slower than others as you might imagine. A professional kitchen staff does the cooking, etc, no worries there.

      Our campsite had a 2-hole flush latrine and a 2-hole forest service-type latrine at opposite ends of the camp site. There are 2 shower houses for the camp and the water is hot! Open dressing area off of individual stalls. Divided between youth and adult with separate entrances, no youth protection problems there. The newer shower house had a separate women's side, the other required a chaperone outside while the ladies were in.

      There is an older Scout program called the Spade Ranch program. It is limited to 12 boys each week, though. Our first year there they had only 4 boys for the week so they earned Horsemanship, Climbing and Wilderness Survival MB's. The next year they were full and were only signed off and requirements completed but didn't aim for any specific MB's. The boys had a blast though, and they get the special steak dinner to end their week. They had an overnight horse ride as part of their activities, something the "regular" campers don't come close to. They stay with the rest of the troop during the week save for any overnighters, but otherwise have their own program and often their own meals away.

      The camp has always been well staffed and they always have a doc in camp for the week. This in addition to the camp nurse and a couple of other health lodge staff. Truthfully I have never seen a better health lodge outside of a Jamboree or Philmont. And I am speaking as a Paramedic/RN.

      The temps can range between 95 days down to 40's at night. We had rain twice this year but nothing real serious. No more rain after Monday. The camp week, BTW, starts on Saturday and ends the following Saturday. They offer Catholic, LDS and Protestant services on Sunday, each with their own chapel. There are Jewish services available on Friday if applicable.

      Each campsite has at least one Adirondack shelter for the leaders, with bunks for 4. Our site this year and 2 years ago - Site 2 - has two such shelters, plus tentage for 40. We shared with another troop each year and had a great time. 28 boys and 9 adults between us.

      We were also the host campsite for the inter-troop campfire on Wed. There are 4 such host sites out of 22 campsites. Basically we had a nice campfire area right in the middle of our campsite. Skits are presented for consideration for the overall campfire program on Friday night at the main arena.

      Our troop has camped Hi-Sierra in mid-upper CA, Rancho Alegre by Santa Barbara, CA, and Geronimo. We sent boys to Camp Potosi near Las Vegas for NYLT this year and we use Camp Levi Levi near Kingman, AZ for camporees, OA and troop campouts, so we are well familiar with the facilities for our two in-council camps. The boys' hands-down favorite and overwhelming choice is Geronimo.

      As a Scout and a Scouter I have camped at Mitigwa (Boone, IA - Mid-Iowa council), Wakonda, Cedars and Eagle (Griswold, IA and Fremont, NE - Mid-America council. Eagle is now used for Cubs only. Wakonda was closed in the 80's), Camp Cayuna (upper MN), Medicine Mountain Scout Ranch (Black Hills area of SD) and all of the aforementioned camps with this troop. My personal favorites are Geronimo, Cayuna and Medicine Mountain, in that order.

      RR(This message has been edited by Reasonable Rascal)

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      • #18
        My recommendation is Gardner Dam Camp in northern Wisconsin. Although it appears you are from SR, there have been troops from your region before.

        Mornings involve merit badges in 3 periods: 9-10, 10-11, and 11-12, with a few MBs (climbing, lifesaving, canoeing) taking 9-10:30 and 11-12:30. Also, there is a rare whitewater MB program that runs from 9-12:30 or 2-5. Afternoons are devoted to fun, except for a few merit badge offerings (WW, art ind. study, bird study ind. study, backpacking ind. study, hiking ind. study).

        There is a very efficiently-run Eagle Challenge (T-2-1) program in Outdoor Skills from 2-5 every day with a block schedule allowing Scouts to show up for the requirements they need.

        Aquatic offerings include Swimming MB, swimming instruction, Lifesaving MB, Canoeing MB, Rowing MB, Whitewater MB, BSA Snorkeling, Mile Swim, open swims and boating 2-5 daily and 7-8:30 on selected days. Also, Swimming & Water Rescue and Paddle Craft Safety are offered during the week for adult leaders. Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat training are offered on Sunday evening for the SM and SPL during their orientation.

        It is rumored that Geocaching MB may be offered next year.

        After lunch, aquatics, climbing, mountain biking, COPE, shooting sports (rifle, shotgun, archery) are all open. Thursday nights offer Leave No Trace training, black powder muzzleloading, tomahawk throwing, and a trip for climbing MB scouts to a neighboring camp to climb on a natural rock face (Gardner Dam has a 40-ft climbing tower).

        All but two meals are cooked in the unit sites using the PATROL METHOD. The commissary has excellent and very knowledgeable staff, and the food is of good quality. The menu program is variable - there are 3 options for each meal, so if the troop does not like the standard food option for, say, Thursday's dinner, they could instead choose steak as one of the options.

        Order of the Arrow callout ceremony is good, as are the Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies. If you are from an out of council (Bay-Lakes Council) unit, your youth cannot do their ordeal or brotherhood at camp, but those who are OA members can attend ceremonies and the Thursday night cracker barrel.

        There is a Tuesday afternoon youth iron chef competition, and one for the adults on Thursday.

        The staff is very energetic, helpful, and knowledgeable. They are always willing to help.

        For the most one-on-one staff-to-scout work, it is best to come on the 4th of July week, as there are typically only a handful of units in camp.

        Visit www.gardnerdam.org for more information.

        ADDITION: I forgot about HA. The Bay-Lakes Council offers a high adventure program - Wolf River Adventures - which is run out of Gardner Dam. The advanced whitewater program stays in sites with the troops and goes out on local rivers each day for paddling. The Door County adventure goes to Door County (NE of Green Bay) to stay at a council outpost camp (Jax Camp), where many different activities occur, including sea kayaking on Lake Michigan.

        There are presently 12 campsites with latrines. No canvas tents are provided - units must bring their own, and bringing cooking gear is recommended, as quartermaster supplies are extremely limited as far as stoves are concerned, but dutch ovens are plentiful. There are two shower houses:
        1. the Wolf shower house has 10 individual stalls with private changing and no scheduling. Also there are 2 flush toilets in the shower house, as well as a 4-sink washroom.
        2. the North shower house is older and has private shower stalls with public changing, although there is room enough to change in one's shower stall if desired. There are 2 flush toilets for men and one for women. Separate sides for men and women with 4 showers on each side. Youth shower from 7a-10p, and adults from 10p-7a.

        Each campsite has running water, including a sink and bubbler (drinking fountain). The newer latrines (circa 2000 or later) have enclosed stalls for latrines (two (Kreif), four (Ambush), or seven (Howe) stalls, depending on the site), while the remaining 9 sites have older "open" latrines with two seats and a urinal - a rope with "occupied" sign is provided to indicate that the latrine is in use. The sites come equipped with between 2 and 6 white 10x20 ft white canopies with picnic tables and patrol boxes for eating and food storage respectively. Bulk propane can be requested prior to arrival.

        The unique commissioner system empowers the SPL to run his troop, with daily visits from Commissioners to inspect the site and help the SPL with any difficulties he is having.(This message has been edited by AJR2305GDC)

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        • #19
          I just realized I know you AJR.

          But anyway, been to Gardner Dam and I don't think there's another camp I can recommend for anyone looking for a Patrol Cooking Camp.

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          • #20
            How much "cooler" do you want to go? In my neck of the woods ...

            http://www.heritagereservation.org/ offers a mix of trek activities for older boys (whitewater, mountain biking, caving, rock climbing). We leave it up to the boys if they want to sign up for such things, and a few of them take the initiative to try a challenge. Of course, most of the treks are in our "back yard", so the older boys wind up scheduling them (or tagging along with some venturers) over the course of the year anyway.

            Distance is the rate limiting issue for you (plus there's no comparison to the vistas in CO). But, I'm just putting it out there in case someone of like mind but a little closer to the Mason-Dixon line follows this thread.

            P.S. - Not to sound "condescending", but do make sure you have the "buy-in" of the boys before you explore too many options. It can be perplexing when you pick a site that seems to adress all of their complaints of the previous summer camp, and they decide they don't like that option by voting with their feet! I would give the boys a chance to sift through the info on all of the locations mentioned here.
            P.P.S. - Also, a lot of camps have already booked full for certain weeks, so you may also want to have the boys call ahead to see if your preferred dates for camp are still available.

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            • #21
              Which unit?

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              • #22
                Don't worry about it AJR, anonymity should be valued when online. This makes nonsensical usernames a wiser choice than your initials, crew number, and camp

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                • #23
                  RRascal, thanks for the great essay on Camp Geronimo, brought back good memories. I camped there as a kid once in the '70s (out of council) and returned a couple times as a scouter in the '80s. Glad to hear the camp is doing well.

                  Biggest change was the dining hall. In the '70s all meals were cooked in the campsite. Our challenge: we were there the last week of camp for that summer and firewood was tough to come by. Walked a long ways to find anything, good exercise!

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                  • #24
                    DR, the option of patrol cooking still exists, though unsure of how many exercise it. Unfortunately it is not an option for out-of-council units such as ours.

                    RR

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                    • #25
                      Figured I would follow up on my post from last year about camps. We did go to Gorham Scout Ranch (formerly Camp Frank Rand) this summer.

                      Pluses:
                      - vistas in the hight deser were beautiful
                      - camp sites had new pads and new tents
                      - many camp sites had brand new pavilions
                      - most older Council staff seemed genuinely interested in making the camp better

                      Minuses:
                      - had lost the camp director two weeks into the summer
                      - many of the staff seemed to be just going through the paces
                      - hygiene was an issue in the mess hall
                      - virus spread through camp (origin unknown but thought to hav e originated from latrine overflow near the pool)
                      - food was bad
                      - leader guide contained program offerings they had no intention of having

                      When I compare to where we went last year (CDB) there is a wide gap. CDB was VERY organized and well planned. GSR seemed to be making it up as they went along. Much of that I can attribute to losing their camp director and very poor planning/hiring on her part.

                      Would I recommend GSR? Jury is still out. I would give it a year or two to fix their problems. They need a very good director to build a program and staff it like CDB before we would go back.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Our troop near Fort Worth had a great time at the following camps:

                        -- BTSR (near Fort Davis, TX), hotter than blazes but the kids were used to heat...
                        -- Frank Rand/GSR (north of Santa Fe, NM) but that was 10 years ago...
                        -- Camp Orr (near Harrison, AR) -- that was the one my son liked the most. Canoeing and camping for those who can't get up to Northern Tier...
                        -- Chisolm at SR2 / Sid Richardson Scout Reservation ( near Bridgeport, TX)

                        There's also a camp I drove thru near Kerrville next to the Guadeloupe River that looked promising, but we never saw their program info. Lots of shade, but still hot.....

                        In AZ:

                        -- Geronimo (near Payson, AZ)
                        -- Raymond (near Flagstaff, AZ)

                        Both are probably a bit too far from TX, but not if you have a bus. Add in a stop or two at the Grand Canyon; on the way, both Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, and Walnut Canyon are quick exits off I-40.

                        The bus option worked well for us going to GSR -- all our footlockers, chairs, and sleeping bags fit underneath with room for stoves, lantern trees, and propane tanks (bus company may or may not allow that...).

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                        • #27
                          dennis99ss,

                          I know that Basementdweller might have turned you off to his blunt comments/questions, but they hold a lot of merit.

                          We had a problem with summer camp with the boys not "getting what they want" out of the program and complained a lot after camp finished. So much for our local council camp.

                          Anyway, I basically dumped it back into their laps and told them there are hundreds of camps all over the U.S. Get on the internet and find one you like and we'll go there next year.

                          Well, they did. They found the camp that promised them exactly what they wanted and it was only an hour and a half away being run by a council from out-of-state. I had never heard of it before, but the boys signed up, did all the paperwork and we went there. The camp came through with what they promised. They loved it and as far as I know they are still going back there every year.

                          As an adult I was genuinely concerned that this was pretty much out of my hands because I let them have free reins. The little voice in the back of my head kept telling me that if things went awry, at least I could tell the parents it was the boy's fault.

                          Basement is right, get the boys involved, let them get ownership of the process, and stand in the wings in case some stumbles so you can pick them up, dust them off and toss them back into the mix.

                          Stosh

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                          • #28
                            I grew up in Buffalo Trail Council and you'd be surprised just what a quality camp they have in the Davis Mountains. Its hot but a unique and beautiful place. Just my plug for BTSR.

                            Lot's of quality camps in Colorado and New Mexico. Been to Tres Ritos, Wehinahpay, Alexander, PV and obviously Philmont. In the end, let the boys choose but I'd suggest not going to the same place more than once every 2-3 years.

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                            • #29
                              Would be interested in "cooler" options less than 10 hours of North Texas. We typically go out of Council simply because we cannot find many Scouters (or parents) willing to give up a week's vacation time to go sweat-off thier extra poundage at the local/regional camps. A few years of doing the Texas heat may make you a 170 lbs triathlete, but it does not get you many tent mates to share the burden. :-)

                              Have heard nice things about some AR camps in the mountain areas in the NW but cannot recall the names...saw the reference to Camp Orr above so will check that our. Tres Ritos we have heard is good but is a bit outside the >10 hr window. I have heard the OK camps are just as hot as Texas, which I assume is generally true.

                              As always, any input is greatly appreciated and is passed along to our PLC to make the final (or near final) decision.

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                              • #30
                                Has anyone been to Camp Orr or Camp Pioneer recently (in the last 3-5 years)? Looking for an option for 2013 for our troop that does not require a bus. We have three treks going to Philmont next summer and think our summer camp numbers may be smaller than usual...ergo looking for a closer camp to keep costs down.

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