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  • Out of Council Camps

    We have two Boy Scout camps in our council, but our Troop is fairly adventurous and likes to try new things. We have been to the Camps owned by the council, but have also been to Camp Meriwether and Camp Melita Island (which is the best camp I’ve been to so far; I strongly recommend to everyone with a hankering to try a camp in Montana Council.) Tonight the boys will be deciding on which camp to attend in 2014. (They are looking at Pioneer, Cooper, and Parsons.)

    The trouble is that we catch a lot of flak at District and council events for not attending the camps in council. Many of the scouts, leaders, and district committee members who snub us for going out of council have never been to an out of council camp (Phillmont aside) and so have no idea what they are missing.

    Any pointers we can give our scouts (and scout leaders) on how to handle “council-centric” hecklers?

    Also--anyone have an awsome camp to recomend? (We'd like to stay west of the Mississippi and if you can keep us with in 1000 miles of the Idaho boarder all the better!)

  • #2
    who cares what district or council thinks??? Especially with the way they have treated you.

    there was a district that had all the SM's write on a white board where they were going to summer camp.......When it was a council owned camp there was applause and attaboys. out of council was met with boos and hisses.......

    Our troop never goes to in council camps. cheaper and better program elsewhere.


    • #3
      Our troop generally does not attend the council camp. Nice enough camp with a lot of new very expensive facilities added. ust happens to be in a very hot dry part of the state. Troop culture is to rotate through about 5-6 camps across the state and neighboring state. Each camp has its pros and cons. One is up in the mountains so a little bit cooler weather. Lots of up and down walking everywhere. Another camp is at the coast so very flat and all the areas are close to one another. One is a little smaller so less crowds. One has a good program but the food is lousy. You get the idea.

      The issues we have most often are A) we have little or no history with the camp so staff doesn't do little extra things for us to make things work out. B) we often get a campsite that is far away from everything or has some major flaw. C) We don't know about the events/stuff that regulars do and the camp assumes everyone knows about so we occasionally miss out or are not prepared to take advantage of a useful event. extra merit badge sessions, free swim periods, special foods/treats, access to camp facilities, etc.

      The advantages include that the scouts are not bored by the same thing as last summer. Different water front, different nature lodge, different trading post, different troops/boys to meet, different songs/skits, etc. After you have been to 2 or more camps, you learn they are all pretty similar but each have a few quirks that make that camp more enjoyable or challenging. All of them we have adults audit the MB sessions so we know if the troop needs to hold "reveiw" sessions regarding the material. Every camp has a few staffers that are poor instructors.

      One camp, the culture was troops trailered in golf carts for the week. The adults were constantly zipping around in golf carts. The scouts had to continually move off the roads while walking to events to allow the lazy adults to zoom by and stir up dust. The camp even had a 6 seater they used as kind of a taxi service to move the pot-bellied adults around the camp. They werent used for camp purposes, just so the adults would not have to walk all the way from their campsite to the chow hall or trading post canteen and back again. Rather annoying. Also set a poor example for the scouts. Walking is only for the lowely scouts.


      • #4
        I blame the boys . "We'd like to come to your camp but the PLC chose to go to Camp X instead because they like it better."


        • #5
          Don't have the problem with summer camp, but we used to get grief about not "supporting" district camporees. DC is on the right track. My Level I response is like his: "We're Scout led, so the boys decide where they camp." For the more persistent, Level II "We've found the program really doesn't meet our needs. When you change the program to better suit our interests, we'll take another look." And for the really annoying, buttinsky twits, Level III: "You should stop by the troop meeting and submit an application to be the new Scoutmaster. You can run the troop the way you like." (I've only had to pull the trigger on that on once.)


          • #6
            <<Our troop never goes to in council camps. cheaper and better program elsewhere. >>

            I volunteered for a while with a troop that advertized that they did their own long term camp. That would have been fine but they lacked the volunteers to actually do it, so boys didn't have a summer camp experience.

            So Basement, where have you found that better and cheaper alternative?


            • Khaliela
              Khaliela commented
              Editing a comment
              Every Camp has a differnt price tag.
              Parsons: $310/scout
              Pioneer: $285/scout
              Melita: $235/scout (AND was totally AWESOME!)

          • #7
            <<They are looking at Pioneer, Cooper, and Parsons.)


            My brother attended Camp Parsons in the 1960s. It's on Hood Canal, which is an inlet of the Pacifi Ocean like Puget Sound. The troop went to Camp Parson on a Sea Scout ship, which was a cruise that took six hours or so. I thought that was pretty nifty.


            • Khaliela
              Khaliela commented
              Editing a comment
              They choose Pioneer for 2014, but are keeping an eye on Parsons for the future.
              Seeing as our Council just logged one of the camps they boys aren't interested in ever attending camp in council again so we will be looking for camps in 2015 as well. One Scout brought a picture of the logged portion of camp and said that since our council can't manage their resources we shouldn't be wasting time there.

          • #8
            Our SE pointed out a few years ago, "venturers (and many troops) look in the back of Scouter and Boys Life for camps outside their own council, let our reservation be one of those camps."

            Now, our boys love going to their council camp. Never could get them to think differently. Fine. But they know I'd slap them silly if they disrespected a boy who went out-of-council to summer camp.


            • #9
              Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
              who cares what district or council thinks??? Especially with the way they have treated you.
              Agreed. We haven't gone to summer camp in-council in decades. No one has ever been nasty about it, but it has come up a lot in the past few years. I simply reply that we do support the council: We go to camporees, and we go to winter camp, and we beat our FoS goal every year.


              • #10
                It doesn't meet your criteria, but we go to a patrol-oriented camp in New Hampshire, and I love it. At this point, our Scouts don't even remember the old in-council "advancement-oriented" camp, loaded with all-day merit badge classes, that we are missing.

                I mentioned this to a D.E. once, and his reply was "our local camp has patrol cooking". I said, "the camp we're going to has way more to it than just patrol cooking -- activities are all patrol-based too" (and even though they don't have the same emphasis on advancement, a motivated patrol can earn several different merit badges). I asked the DE if he'd ever visited the camp, but he said no. I was left wondering why a guy in his position (he was staff adviser to the council's summer camp) wouldn't know what the competition in an adjacent council was offering.

                Last summer, a couple of DE's did decide to visit me at camp, and I took them on a tour. They were amazed at how different the camp is.

                I've talked about it on this forum: Camp Bell, Daniel Webster Council. Great place. So far, it's my favorite, out of the six or so council summer camps where I've spent a week.

                "it's way more than just patrol cooking"



                • Khaliela
                  Khaliela commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Our council doesn't even offer patrol cooking; everything is served cafeteria style.
                  I think camp directors should be required to visit other camps; but alas, they are so sure that theirs is best they don't see the need.

              • #11
                We have been attending an out-of-council camp for 16 years now, and did receive the cold shoulder from our own people when we made the change. Now I just point out that by attending out of counci, with almost 50 scouts and 15 adults attending, l we are saving our families over $8,000.00 in camp fees. And its a better program. That usually shuts up the critics quickly!