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  • Independent Summer Camp

    Our Troop has decided to put on it's own summer camp, instead of attending a "regular" camp. 1. Has anyone else done the same thing & 2. any suggestions?

    Thanks!!

    Tim

  • #2
    We did this two years ago. We had just started the troop, most boys were new to scouting and we couldn't put a week together where even a majority of boys could go to camp. Our goal was to do a first year program to teach scout skills. We rented a camp site at a local scout camp, arranged for the camp Ranger to do a merit badge (first aid) rented the pool two afternoons and did a lot of cool stuff. The scouts had a great time. The five mile hike was memorable. I invited a State Senator to visit one afternoon to speak with the boys about their duties as citizens. She even ate with us and the boys cooked.

    The pool part was really cool because the boys had the opportunity to do the water rescue stuff repeatedly instead of just once.

    I highly recommend doing your own program on occasion.

    As far as food, one of the families lived nearby and brought refrigeraterables out every couple days.

    Comment


    • #3

      Here are some "how to" articles (note the additional links at the top of the first page):

      http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/summer/camp/troop/index.htm

      Yours at 300 feet,

      Kudu
      http://kudu.net

      Comment


      • #4
        While my troop never did it, I know of troops that went to one put on by several troops. From conversations with them, here are the basics.

        1. Three troops sponsored the independent camp, and all units attending had to provide x number of MBCs based upon your unit's attendance.

        2. They had firm deadlines and maximum number allowed to attend.

        3. While some MBs and activities were standard, every year the list of MBC offered varied based upon the MBCs available.

        4. Some standard activities could not be offered, i.e. shooting sports.

        5. Cheaper than council camps, but no frills, just the basics.

        Comment


        • #5
          We've done that before. Many scouts said it was the best camp out of their scouting career.

          - Really think. What do you want to accomplish? What you want to keep like a summer camp? What you want to keep like a normal troop / patrol camp out?
          - Choose specific specific badges to work on. We choose fishing, motor boating, water sports and canoeing.
          - Choose a good location. We choose an issolated state park group camp site that had a nice short walk to a small store that the scouts would visit to buy treats now and then.
          - Variety - Have plenty of activities. We did day trips to local historic and natural attractions.
          - Keep the cost down. We found we were able to do seven days for about $130 including cost of entry into local attractions.
          - Plan the menu well. Scouts initially planed it and then led and did the cooking, etc. But we did handle the acquisition and packing of the foods ... because there was alot of food. 30 people for seven days is alot of food. We cooked as a troop to keep cost and packing down. At a scout council-run summer camp, everyone eats together as a unit. So we did the same for this camp out. SPL created duty rosters and responsibility was shared. Meals were a fun opportunity to everyone to get together and re-sychronize events.


          Low stress. Lots of activities. Lots of fun.

          Comment


          • #6
            We've done that before. Many scouts said it was the best camp out of their scouting career.

            - Really think. What do you want to accomplish? What you want to keep like a summer camp? What you want to keep like a normal troop / patrol camp out?
            - Choose specific specific badges to work on. We choose fishing, motor boating, water sports and canoeing.
            - Choose a good location. We choose an issolated state park group camp site that had a nice short walk to a small store that the scouts would visit to buy treats now and then.
            - Variety - Have plenty of activities. We did day trips to local historic and natural attractions.
            - Keep the cost down. We found we were able to do seven days for about $130 including cost of entry into local attractions.
            - Plan the menu well. Scouts initially planed it and then led and did the cooking, etc. But we did handle the acquisition and packing of the foods ... because there was alot of food. 30 people for seven days is alot of food. We cooked as a troop to keep cost and packing down. At a scout council-run summer camp, everyone eats together as a unit. So we did the same for this camp out. SPL created duty rosters and responsibility was shared. Meals were a fun opportunity to everyone to get together and re-sychronize events.


            Low stress. Lots of activities. Lots of fun.

            Comment


            • #7
              Did this in AZ one year:
              Camped in mountains at a Baptist youth camp ($5 per Scout use fee). This gave us use of the pool, some barrel and bungee "bulls" to ride, etc. Went to nearby Army post to use the rifle range and used their stables for horseback riding. Did a trail along the border (Border Patrol dads with us) and cleaned up along the way. Each Patrol did its own cooking but we had one night the ingredients were provided and the NEXT night we judged their cooking. There was one campfire area on site - a small amphitheater type with a stage so we had a campfire there each night with a final campfire program on the last night. The Patrols rotated duty for raising and lowering the flag for the camp. We did two service projects (besides litter clean-up on the trail) that week. It was a great time and the Scouts loved it. The only drawback was having to drive off-site (trail and range) during the camp.

              Comment


              • #8
                Did this in AZ one year:
                Camped in mountains at a Baptist youth camp ($5 per Scout use fee). This gave us use of the pool, some barrel and bungee "bulls" to ride, etc. Went to nearby Army post to use the rifle range and used their stables for horseback riding. Did a trail along the border (Border Patrol dads with us) and cleaned up along the way. Each Patrol did its own cooking but we had one night the ingredients were provided and the NEXT night we judged their cooking. There was one campfire area on site - a small amphitheater type with a stage so we had a campfire there each night with a final campfire program on the last night. The Patrols rotated duty for raising and lowering the flag for the camp. We did two service projects (besides litter clean-up on the trail) that week. It was a great time and the Scouts loved it. The only drawback was having to drive off-site (trail and range) during the camp.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Did this in AZ one year:
                  Camped in mountains at a Baptist youth camp ($5 per Scout use fee). This gave us use of the pool, some barrel and bungee "bulls" to ride, etc. Went to nearby Army post to use the rifle range and used their stables for horseback riding. Did a trail along the border (Border Patrol dads with us) and cleaned up along the way. Each Patrol did its own cooking but we had one night the ingredients were provided and the NEXT night we judged their cooking. There was one campfire area on site - a small amphitheater type with a stage so we had a campfire there each night with a final campfire program on the last night. The Patrols rotated duty for raising and lowering the flag for the camp. We did two service projects (besides litter clean-up on the trail) that week. It was a great time and the Scouts loved it. The only drawback was having to drive off-site (trail and range) during the camp.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My son's troop does this every other summer, and the boys really enjoy it. They take the train, while all patrol/troop gear goes by van, hike to the lodge, camp out in the Alps. Focus is on Scout skills of all kinds, building patrol identity, independence, and along the way they usually earn the First Aide and maybe Pioneering merit badges. They cook by patrol. The older boys can take a one or two day climb to the higher peaks. The boys and adults all have a great time.

                    Some adults do go up a few days early and stay a few days after.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My sons' troop has run its own summer camp for 40 years plus. I have attended nine summers and love going.

                      Here are some things I think are key to making it work:
                      1) We have a stand-alone state group campsite all to ourselves.
                      2) There's a theme (lumberjacks, Robin Hood, etc.) that ties together the activities planned over the course of the week and provides the basis for earning Honor Patrol status.
                      3) There's a craft tent for rainy days, a waterfront for sunny days, and a couple of half-day out-of-camp activities (5 mi hike, forestry site visit, etc.) so nobody goes stir-crazy.
                      4) Scouts cook most of their breakfasts and dinners by patrol while lunch is a simple chow lines of sandwiches, etc. while adults cook and eat their own meals.

                      Some things I think I would change:
                      1) Offer more merit badges that tie directly into the theme, while dropping anything that is not outdoors or theme related - like the three CITs or Communications.
                      2) Go later in the summer so the new scout patrols (we usually have two) will have camped at least three times in advance.
                      3) Add a couple of advanced activities (i.e. two night canoe trips) for the older scouts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My Troop does this every year. Our council has a huge summer camp program that we attended for years but then noticed that the scouts started getting tired of the same thing year after year. About 12 years ago, our Troop started running our own summer camp program and have not looked back.

                        As of now, we have about four different places we camp and use in a rotation. This also includes a rotation to a scout camp in Canada (Haliburton Scout Reserve). Other than the Canada trip, we stay in state park group camping areas. Every once in a while we will throw an out of state BSA camp into the mix.

                        Just about all of the adults involved are merit badge councilors. Each day we have time blocked off for this. We also plan mini trips away from our camp to visit. This can include visits to historical sites, zoos, caves, etc. We have also teamed up with local organizations who invited us to their group such has trap shooting and sailing. We even had a bass fishing club run an entire contest where each boat took a scout out for the day.

                        Any camp we go to has a lake so we also have a waterfront program that usually includes swimming, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rowing and motor boating.

                        A few years ago, our council was questioning why we were not using the council run camp. A few new parents also jumped into the mix. We decided that since we had not been there for a while we would give it a shot. By Tuesday night, we literally had a scout run mutiny. Our scouts told us that if we ever went there again they simply would not go. Needless to say, we have not been back.

                        Another thing that our troop tries to do is keep the costs down. A week at our council camp is usually a little over $300. Our 2013 summer camp budget will not be finished until the end of the month but right now I think it will be $170 per scout. This includes admission to three out of camp day outings.

                        I truly think more troops should give this a try.

                        (This message has been edited by Bart614)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We went to a Canadian camp (Tamaracouta Scout Reserve, in Quebec) this last summer. Through hints from others who have been there, we learned you can do a "mix and match" thing with their "catering" (dining hall) service. So we purchased 3 meals from them (arrival dinner, dinner the night before departure, and breakfast before departure). In addition to that, we had brought our first couple of days of food from home, and then shopped at a local market (about 20 minutes' drive).

                          We could have scrimped more on the food we purchased, but without doing so, our food cost for the week turned out to be about $110 per person -- without using the catering service, we would have been closer to $80. Lower, if we hadn't bought some higher-end food.

                          Guy

                          Comment


                          • #14

                            It takes dedication, determination and a large amount of cooperation among the Troop parents. And Scouts.

                            The Troop of my youth went to Council camps AND a Troop camp. Somebody's uncle's brother's family owned some wooded property and the Troop would go up there to hike and camp on weekends. Someone noted that it had a year round natural spring. This was capped and plumbed (plumber dad)and tested. The creek thru the property was mapped for the Surveying MB (another dad).
                            When the long term camp was suggested, the Troop started in September of the year before. Telephone company dad got old utility poles. Contractor/carpenter dads hauled in the logs with tractors and old Jeeps. Scouts helped build a three side shelter,( Carpentry MB) which served as the Qmaster shack..
                            We dug a ten foot deep privy, and the shack over it (sack of lime beside it). The creek was dammed about 6 feet deep by a hundred feet long for splashing. Campsites (four Patrols) were cleared , two on each side of the creek. Fire places of loose rock were built. A campfire ring was cleared. Trails established.
                            Patrols built lashed up tables and shelves for supplies (Pioneering MB) at their sites. Tents were bought by Patrol, so they all looked alike. I think they were called "Baker" tents.(canvas!).
                            Each Patrol was expected to create a "Gateway" and gussy up the Patrol site, like a small town. Trails were named for "streets". Flagpoles were raised.
                            Since the Patrols were across the creek from each other, we would try out our Morse code with flags and at night with flashlights.
                            The site was laid out, as I remember, more than a mile in from the nearest dirt road. Everything had to be walked in.
                            We hauled most of our firewood in from an area we called the "Dead Forest", because of the large amount of down and dead trees, mostly American Chestnut(!!), which burned with a blue hot flame. Even the Patrols that were furthest from this area made the trek for the Chestnut, as it was great for cooking coals.
                            The older Scouts ( I eventually became one of these) laid out a compass course and tracking trails. We had to hike out some distance to find an open field to see sky at night to learn about the North Star and astronomy (another MB).
                            Out of Camp trips to sites and places were rare.
                            "Camp Freedom" was our camp. Looking back, I don't emember any other group using it, but I could be wrong.
                            I still have the "CF" dangles (made ourselves) of burned wood cookies.

                            I say go for it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well as most of the suggestions have already been put up so it would be better to carry only that luggage for camping which is actually useful to avoid getting messed up in handling the inventory. Also whatever place is selected for camping must be in reach of medical facilities.

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