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Just got back from Canada...

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  • Just got back from Canada...

    Arrived home late Saturday from a trip to Tamaracouta Scout Reserve, in Quebec, less than an hour north of Montreal. Had a fantastic week.

    There are so many things to report, I don't think I can do them justice in a short note -- overall, pricing wasn't bad. If we'd gone for "full catering" (dining hall) it would have been close to $400 (CDN) per Scout. Lots of troops, though, do either partial- or self-catering, which brings down the cost. We bought 3 meals in their dining hall (arrival day dinner, evening before departure dinner and departure day breakfast), and the rest was covered with bringing staples and food for the first day, and then shopping trips in a local market. With some management, I think we could have been lower than our projected $300 per Scout cost (I'll have final figures once I see how grocery expenses convert to US$).

    By the way, there is a Scouter local to me that was great assistance in our trip. He's written an "American's Guide to TSR" which was invaluable.

    Co-ed camp, and multiple ages (I think they stabilize revenue with day camp programs and with non-Scout groups). Out of the six major groups in camp last week, only 3 of us were officially Scout groups.

    Program was similar to one of our local camps -- morning "learning periods" some of which related to "challenge badge" (their merit badge) work, and afternoon troop programs. There were many evenings filled with campwide activity.

    One part I really liked: Saturday arrival (setup camp, do the swim test), Sunday morning "Scout's Own" followed by camp opening. Sunday afternoon, troop program time. Monday morning started the real program. Thursday night talent show/campfire, Friday night closing ceremony, Saturday morning departure. Just in time for new groups coming in after 1pm on Saturday.

    By the way, the swim test isn't all that similar to ours. It was just "swim 100 meters, any way you can."

    Friendly, laid-back staff. Co-ed. No tents, platforms or cots. We brought our own troop equipment. We forgot some, and they assisted with scrounging. One outbuilding had a ton of refrigerators and freezers, for our food storage. If camp had been packed, I'm sure we'd have run into difficulties there.

    I originally found this place online -- I thought "hey, there's an entire country north of us that must have a Scouting program" and it didn't take too long to figure out it would be really simple to take a group up to one of their camps. It was about a 7-hour drive for us, which includes the border stop.

    Biggest pain -- our largest group in camp in years. 16 Scouts, 7 adults. Multiple forms, passports, etc. Some families dragged out the paperwork as long as possible, some evening waiting until the morning of departure to provide some critical information (despite multiple pleas from me).

    Guy
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