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  • #16
    If Raymond took a more organized method of doing merit badges, they wouldn't be such a merit badge mill. But then 83 badges for 15 scouts wouldn't have been possible, would it? that's a boatload of badges! Not sure if the boys I know working at Raymond should be proud or not

    The camp director told the Lawton people last summer that if they came back he'd make room for them regardless, and supposedly charge them less. Not sure about the charge them less part how that worked out, but he made good on the make room for them.

    I know Geronimo opened up Session 8 for Camp Lawton people and they'd charge just what you'd pay for Lawton but there weren't many takers.

    The dining hall didn't look so bad, but the health dept was out there numerous times for a cold food not kept cold and the hot food kept hot issue in the actual kitchen --it just doesn't have the room to properly prepare and store food for the 800 scouts and staff they fed on week #1. That is the biggest issue with why so many were sick. All the staff have gotten the creeping crud just about, and numerous have needed antibiotics to beat the crud.

    Camp director (who is also council Program Director) didn't tell kitchen staff that he added all the Lawton people until the day before camp started, so the kitchen actually ran out of food week 1 until they could get a delivery and were feeding people still after 7pm.

    Next year they are supposed to work out a deal with CC and Lawton to just plan on boys coming to Raymond and they'll give some kind of kickback from GCC to CC. I've not heard anything about CC merging with GCC--probably part of the big plans like back east.

    Of course they are also thinking of breaking each of the campsites at Raymond into 3 campsites, a, b & c and giving them a picnic table and fire ring to make it look more like you aren't sharing. Some of the units were unhappy to be sharing a campsites with 3 or 4 other troops even though there was enough room for the tents.


    • #17
      We were at the south campsites, and they'd already been divided into A, B, C for our session.

      The decision on Lawton closing came out on June 6th, so there really wasn't a lot of advance notice to give the staff with camp starting June 10th.

      Price-wise, we paid the out of council rate. Lawton runs $220 for early-bird registration (payment by early May), and $265 for late registrations; GCC's rates are $265 for out of council troops, so we had to tell all the boys who thought they'd paid in full that it was now going to be an extra ~$75 or so between the higher rates and higher transportation cost.

      The lesson to be learned by all this... always be ready to implement Plan B, since you may only have a few days to figure things out. Last year, it caught us off guard, and this year, we made sure that everyone knew the risks. It also helped that we were familiar with the backup camp.

      What frosts my glass a bit is that this year, the Council made the decision to close the camp based on the shortage of water on the mountain, not due to the NFS closing it for fire risk. The forest is open. The camp is open for unit use. They just didn't want to deal with the issues of running the dining hall and keeping boys hydrated when the natural water supplies were close to depleted.

      Being closed two summers in a row has cost Catalina around $200K-$250K in lost revenue for the two summers, and some units I spoke to won't even bother registering for Lawton next year... They'll just book Geronimo or Raymond.

      So, Catalina's days are numbered. Unlike a lot of other councils, they don't have assets or land they can sell to stay afloat.

      To add to the issues, both of Catalina's camps are leased (Lawton from NFS, Double-V from BLM), what can be done with and on the property is highly restricted. We can't add buildings to Lawton, and replacement structures have to occupy the same footprint as the structure being replaced. With 110F temps in July, Double-V just isn't suitable for summer use.

      As far as I know, R-C, Heard, Geronimo and Raymond are owned by GCC, so they have a lot more ability to make improvements and can stay open even if the NFS decides to close the adjoining forests. Being at altitude, they also offer year-round use (therefore more revenue generating potential).

      Lots of the units in GCC I spoke with had heard the rumors already. By this time next year, I think we're going to hear something a lot more formal than just what's being discussed around the campfires.(This message has been edited by eolesen)