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  • dual summer camps

    Can someone advise on how you have handle4d dual summer camps, and how they have worked out. At our plc, the plc decided to offer two summer camps, to two different camps. The camps are not ones which would be exclusive of certain ages. One has more merit badges, and less high adventure, but both camps are typical summer camps, with base camp and a high adventure program. I have indicated i will take one of the camps, and will seek someone else to do the other. But, can someone who has run two summer camps in their troop please advise how this has effected the dynamics of your troop, if at all.

  • #2
    And to try to address the questions that are sure to arrise. The plc could not come to a consensus. Even when prodded, they could not do so. Even when prodded by other leaders, they could not do so. (or would not do so). Even when indicated that logistics may pose a problem, etc., they decided to do their thing and just say lets offer both. My gut says that one summer camp will be attended in greater numbers than the second, and, that this decision may be one to use in the future as a means to illustrate the need for making a definitive decision......

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    • #3
      Two camps has been the norm for as long as I can recall with our current troop.

      First is the "local option" which is typically our council camp, and it is marketed/targeted for the under 14 crowd. That's expanded a bit as our council camp closed for fire/drought the past two summers, but the intent remains the same -- resident camp, close to home, where the aim is camping, merit badges and "low adventure".

      Second is the high adventure option, and is not limited to just the four national HA bases. It's marketed to the 14 and overs due to the age restrictions which show up on HA, but we've had younger scouts go when there's a base camp option to work on merit badges and/or age appropriate activities.

      Some boys attend both, some leaders attend both. We've never seen one poach from the other. I don't recall ever having to cancel one or the other for low attendance.

      Other troops of similar size in our area do the same thing. We have around 50 registered boys, and almost as many leaders.

      My experience as a leader is that it's a good option if you have the ability to make it happen. Boys are busy, and offering just a single resident camp option doesn't always mix with sports, family vacations, and the like. We have one boy base camping and working on MB's at the HA outing because he couldn't attend the low adventure camp. It's a far better option than trying to send him as a provisional.

      It's also good from a leadership development perspective -- when there's a low crossover between the two, that means twice as many boys have the opportunity to be patrol leaders, etc.

      Likewise for your adults. We have twice as much experience to pull from when getting organized for camp as we would otherwise.

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      • #4
        I wish it would be offered more. We could not afford summer camp for our 2 Boy Scouts with their troop. Instead we are saving $500 by sending them to camp with our Venture troop. They actually will have more merit badge opportunities. Their leader and the rest of the troop are fine with it and are actually happy for them that they will not miss out on camp. As for my Venture Scouts, only 1 will participate. The other has school still. I wish there was another opportunity for her. Well, 4 out of 5 going to summer camp still.

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        • #5
          For the past 5 years, our troop has offered two different summer camps. Plus, we always have a group of older scouts, that goes to the council's "Trail to Eagle" camp. The bad news this summer, was that all three camps were back to back to back. Also, the Detroit D-Bar-A camp, which was local for us (45 minutes), close their doors on Boy Scouts Summer Camping. It still does Cub Scouts, training,etc. So, which ever camp was chooses, it was at least a 2 - 3 hour drive. I think we lost some new scouts that did not attend.

          I do think it is great that we offer more options for the scouts. We have the adults to cover both camps, and the scouts have their choice. Some scouts attended both camps.

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          • #6
            MomO5,

            Our council offers a camp experience for venturers http://www.heritagereservation.org/eaglebase/index.php

            Some crews choose it on the same week that the troop is attending their camp on the opposite side of the lake.
            My personal preference is for a crew to make their own summer adventure, but that's just me.

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            • #7
              We have allot of boys who either do several weeks at our council camp (which we attend) or they do a week or two at a different camp, sometimes instead of going with the troop because of scheduling or in addition to the troops week. So I have some questions.

              How big are everyones units? (Scouts? Scouters?)
              Are you splitting the troop between 2 camps on the same week or offering two camps on different weeks so boys good attend both if they wanted?
              What do your camps cost per week?
              Dining hall or Patrol cooking?

              Thanks
              Adam

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              • #8
                We have historically done 2 camps. One for the local council camp and one farther afield. The local option is nice for the guys who can't seem to check out of baseball for a week, as they can just leave for an evening and come back a few hours later. It also lets some of the new boys who may have homesickness issues feel like they aren't so far away. The third reason is that having the council camp close by is a great resource, and I want to support them as much as possible. I really push the first years to do the local camp. If they can afford it and do well at the local camp they could then go to the other one, although no one has lately. If I had a first year who could only make the other camp, I would probably send him as long as I wasn't worried about homesickness.

                The reason for the second camp is that many of my boys have gone to the local camp every year since they were tigers. And we end up at a couple of things a year out there anyway. They would rather stay home than do another summer camp at the local camp. Plus they need to spread their wings a bit.

                This year we have 3 boys doing both. Mostly we end up with first years and a handful of others local, and the rest go out of council.

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                • #9
                  This is our second year of two camps -- but let me back up 3+ years ago --

                  The troop had lapsed into a mode where a kid would attend summer camp with the troop for two summers, then they'd go to "Eagle Week" at the local camp, for one or two years. After that, they'd have all the merit badges they needed, so they didn't go to camp any more.

                  You know those complaints where every Scout only has the merit badges earned in a summer camp? Well, that's kind of like what we had.

                  Along the way, our guys forgot how to have fun at camp. They only went to summer camp to earn merit badges.

                  In those years, attendance went from 16 to 12 to 8 Scouts (out of a troop of about 26 to 28).

                  So drastic steps were needed :-). I pushed for a change of venue. We found a true patrol-oriented camp in an adjacent council. First year, we had 6 go. I didn't feel bad about it, because other than my two sons, the future-SM's son, we only had 3 others go, and to them it didn't matter where, really. We still had older Scouts go to "Eagle Week" on their own.

                  Then last year was step 2 of the master plan -- we returned to the patrol-oriented camp, with 8 Scouts. I then pushed for a second week at a camp on the same reservation, a regular program-oriented camp. I billed it as a replacement for "Eagle Week" because the camp offered most of those same Eagle-required merit badges. Scouts were still free to go to the other "Eagle Week" on their own, but most didn't. They just went with us to this second camp. Eight more Scouts, but in reality, we had twelve Scouts go to at least one of the camps, and I think six went to both.

                  Turns out they hated the program-oriented camp.

                  So two weeks ago, we returned to the same patrol-oriented camp (this time with 15 Scouts), and next month we're heading to a camp in Quebec, with 16 Scouts. I think we have 12 that are attending both, but 22 that are attending at least one week of camp. Not bad, considering that we were down to 6 or 8 attending each summer. Broke the cycle out of "Eagle Week" too.

                  I dislike everything about "Eagle Week". I don't like the idea that they offer *all* of the E/R merit badges, and I am certain many of them are watered down. I don't like the idea that summer camp becomes synonymous with advancement. I think there should be a nice blend of everything. Summer camp shouldn't be about the classroom, unless you consider the great outdoors to be a natural classroom.

                  Guy

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                  • #10
                    Our troop goes to our local council camp each year, and we normally get most of our boys to go. The leaders have shown them several options to try instead of the local one, but each year, the boys choose the local one. We do have kids who leave camp to attend baseball or band functions, so they like the local choice. Also, our older scouts really bond with the staff members who come back each year, so they don't want to miss out on seeing their older friends.

                    Another troop in our town is on a 3 year rotation of local council camp, followed by 2 farther away camps. I posed the option of them sending us their younger scouts, and us sending them some of our older boys. We haven't heard anything back from them, but you could try that if you have other troops in your area that you could swap with.

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                    • #11
                      This is a little different than a troop attending two camps with two different programs. In my opinion, the PLC is not being very respectful of its resources. Real life is tough and they need to learn how to make tough decisions. They arent making a tough decision here, it is more like trying to decide between two different chocolate cake desserts. I would tell the PLC that there arent enough adults to pull off their request. They need suck it up and pick a camp. I'm here if they need some advice.

                      As for the dynamics part of the question, we dont do two camps because summer camp is where our scouts practice intense Patrol Method skills. Some of our scouts plan two years a head to try and be elected the SPL this time of year with summer camp because that SPL runs the troop during the week from filling out the tour permit to checking all the vehicles making sure we arent leaving a scout. It is such and intense week for the SPL that the troop pays his camp fees.

                      Honestly I have never understood troops that send their first year scouts to a different camp. Summer camp is where the new scouts get very close to the older scouts and learn how our boy run program really works because they get seven days of total patrol method. Summer Camp is where all the scouts learn how to work as a team and the youth leaders sharpen their leadership skills. Summer camp is a bonding for everyone. It usually such a positive expereince that many of the older scouts are attending their forth or fifth summer camp even while they are heading out again on a High Adventure trek in a couple more weeks.

                      For us, summer camp is too important for the troop dynamics to split it up. If nothing else, save your adult resources for the high adventure trips.

                      Barry
                      (This message has been edited by eagledad)(This message has been edited by eagledad)

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