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Removing summer camp focus from merit badges

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  • #16
    Camp Loud Thunder {Illowa Council}did a pilot program last year introducing pistol shooting for scouts. I believe there was a age level of 14, Each troop received 2 slots to fill. Our council had several volunteers step forward to help with instruction. 1 per 2 boys on the range. From what I understand, this year several more camps are doing it around the country.


    • jblake47
      jblake47 commented
      Editing a comment
      The camp gets around the handgun issue by dual registering the 14 year olds into a Venturing Crew. It costs nothing more for the scout and he can sign his own application. When shooting he is under the auspices of Venturing, not Scouting. Our local council has been doing this for a couple of years as well.

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      That's one way to make the Venturing numbers look better.

    • Eagle92
      Eagle92 commented
      Editing a comment

      We had something similar, 3 MB classes in the morning, 1 after lunch, and then free areas. Only class that was all the time was BSA Lifeguard. Oh and occasionally you had a MB class do something hilarious right before dinner at assembly. Also some classes may have soemthing going on 1 nite, i.e. Indian Lore MB doing a powwow withthe OA, Wilderness Survival folks going out, etc.

      Only MB class at nite was astronomy, gee I wonder why. Also may have a CPR certification class at nite too. But nowadays it seems as if they have classes going on all the time with some camps.

  • #17
    When I was a scout "75-79" merit badge and skill award classes were in the morning slots only. Afternoon and evenings were open camp, or time to work on your badges on your own. We were encouraged to visit every area in camp and at least try every area. Water front, pool, scoutcraft, handycraft, shooting sports, and Eco-con. By doing this we had more chances to try new things, and perhaps taking badges in those area's in the future. If not, just have a more enjoyable camp with doing the fun things you liked.


    • MattR
      MattR commented
      Editing a comment
      How many morning slots are there?

  • #18
    Our Council's camp in Gilmanton, NH is broken up into two parts, Hidden Valley and Camp Bell. HV is a traditional MB scout camp with the classes in the morning troop activities in the afternoon and we eat in the dining hall.

    Camp Bell is a patrol camp with the scouts having to pick up their food and cook it at their site. The camp provides all the necessary kitchen equipment a standard menu is provided and they get a cookbook also. Only three problems occurred when we go and they are 1) The scouts trying to agree on how something is to be prepared, such as French toast or scrambled eggs and toast. 2) The 15 year old scout who's mom does everything for him and doesn't know how to even peal a vegetable. 3) I have to eat whatever they make because at Bell the scouts cook breakfast and dinner for the leaders. The leaders get together for lunch with the camp director and we cook our lunch.

    At a pre-camp meeting the patrol leaders select what they want to do for the whole day. Say they choose waterfront for Tuesday then they spend the whole day at the waterfront

    Our troop alternates camps each year. Some troops do both each year.


    • MattR
      MattR commented
      Editing a comment
      I'd be interested in what the patrol activities are.

    • NH195SM
      NH195SM commented
      Editing a comment
      It's long but here it is

      Base Camp

      The launching point for your next Scouting adventure! Base Camp, at the center of Camp Bell, is where you'll get to meet Scouts from other troops, brush up on your Scouting skills, and take on challenges that will put your skills to the test.

      "LAUNCH!" First Year Camper Program

      Scouts will learn the fundamentals of Scouting, including Patrol Method, Scouting ideals, and all the basic outdoor skills. A great way to complete most advancement requirements from Tenderfoot through First Class.

      Wilderness Engineering

      Pioneering like you've never seen it before! Learn advanced techniques and construct the most impressive project you can imagine.

      Wilderness First Aid

      Learn how to help when something goes wrong in the woods. Work on First Aid Merit Badge or go above and beyond to develop techniques that can make all the difference when help is hours away and there's no easy way out!

      Leave-No-Trace Trekking

      A two-day program with an overnight outpost, you'll learn how to travel responsibly in the backcountry and explore the far-reaches of the reservation. You can even complete requirements for Camping or Environmental Science merit badges or work on the Leave No-Trace Award.

      Search and Rescue

      Learn the basics of how to help when someone gets into trouble in the wilderness and practice all the skills you need to get everyone out safely!

      Challenge Valley

      "Physically fit and mentally awake" - that's what Challenge Valley is all about. Your patrol must work together to get the most out of your outings and to have the most fun. You will need extra clothes and sneakers - that you don't ever want to see again - to take on the extreme obstacle course.

      Ultimate Patrol Challenge

      A real "Adventure Race"! Use GPS to get from one obstacle to another and tackle mental and physical challenges with your patrol.

      Extreme Obstacle Course

      The Obstacle Course is intimidating to even the most fit Scouts in your patrol. Scouts will stretch their abilities and their perceived boundaries as they struggle through this grueling course. They'll climb, run, crawl, sprint, and swing through the muck. They'll need to bring some old clothes and shoes to participate in these events!


      To set a goal and overcome obstacles experienced on the way to achieving that goal is one of the most amazing things – and it happens all the time in Scouting! In happens every minute of every day in Camp Bell’s extreme Climbing program! Where you consider yourself a ‘rock monkey’ or as someone who has never even considered confronting a destination higher than six feet in the air, the indoor climbing barn offers challenges of all levels for climbers of all experiences. All you need is the will to do it and the support of your Patrol. Once you have mastered the interior walls, head to the wall made of granite in the GSR backcountry. Or, head straight up into the ropes, towers, trapezes and zip lines of the COPE course. Any way you choose to get there, you will love the view from the top!


      Cowboys of the Wild West were some of the original American heroes. Come to the stables of Camp Bell to become acquainted with some of the skills which made these Cowboys great! A mastery of horsemanship and cattle driving skills which are unmatched today were essential skills for life in the western terrirtories of the 1800s. This experience will challenge Patrols and excite the imagination with the lore of the Wild West. The Camp Bell stables feature twelve well-trained trail riding horses and two dynamic and fun Staff members. When you come to the stables, you will see what caring for horses is all about, and you will see why they make such great companions. Chances are, you will make some new four-legged friends before long!


      The rural towns of the Appalachian mountains are home to rustic, self-reliant communities and hard working men and women. Through the early 19th and 20th centuries, these small-town folks cultivated the skills they needed to survive; from metalworking to lamp-making to storytelling. A few decades ago, a group of journalists from a small school began to chronicle these dying arts in the Foxfire book series and created a set of a dozen books loaded with interviews, instructions and stories. At Camp Bell, Foxfire is our metalworking shop. At the Foxfire area, you will hear real folk tales of the American past and learn how to bend raw metal into something useful. The experiences you will take from Foxfire are the legacy of the days of America’s past.

      Logging Camp


      Experience the challenge of yesteryear! Scouts will meet our Logging Camp foreman and after receiving the camp training course on woods tools they will be given a series of projects to complete. These projects will vary based on the skill and age of the Patrol. Some include:

      ? Make a mallet

      ? Build a rustic bench

      ? Carve a knife, fork and spoon from a branch

      ? Create a three-legged stool

      ? Craft a rocking chair

      Totin’ Chip is quite necessary for work in these parts. But, we can teach it to you if you have forgotten or are starting out new. Woodwork is a Merit Badge the most daring can participate in, if desired. Or, just enjoy the day working with the tools!


      Prove your manly strength as one of the roughest and toughest of characters to wield an ax or a two-man saw! Refresh your skills with woods tools while earning the Totin’ Chip Award and possibly even the Paul Bunyan Woodsman Award for extremely motivated Patrols. Forestry Merit Badge can play a part in this adventure if you want to learn about the types of trees which are best for this kind of work! Together, as a Patrol, you will fell a tree and finish the lumber for a specific task in the campground. Then, you will certainly get into the Lumberjack spirit with some timber sports which include the springboard, speed crosscut and lighting a match with an ax! Leaving the Logging Camp feeling quite accomplished as you journey down the road to Four Corners and back into Main Camp!

      Mountain Man

      Understand how the Mountain Man lived by spending a whole day living and working alongside our very own Mountain Man deep in the woods. While there, he will teach you to hunt, trap and shoot as the real trappers and fur traders did over a century-and-a-half ago. Scouts will try their hand at shooting the black powder musket, throwing tomahawks and hunting along the action archery course. Each Patrol will cook a delicious stew for lunch and lean into one great story after another of the Mountain Man’s adventures down through the ages.

      Special Patrol Challenges:
      • "Man vs. Wild" Wilderness Survival challenge
      • "Buckskin Rendezvous" Leatherworking
      • "Lewis and Clark Expedition" overnight exploration

      Native American

      To fairly understand our place on this continent, we must explore and understand those who have come before us and who still reside among us. The deep lines of heritage are unshakable and provide great lessons in loyalty for us all. Whether through attire or behavior, the Natives have given us a rich history of celebration and sacrifice which denote much compassion and eagerness to live well and as one. Indian Lore Merit Badge will provide a framework to understand and enter into the livelihood of these true Americans in a most unique and fulfilling way.

      Activity options include:
      • Native Games
      • Dance competition
      • Nature and Weather: "One with the Earth"


      The aquatic program at Camp Bell takes place on beautiful Manning Lake. Each member of the patrol will take his swim check at the beginning of the program day. Morning water sport games help the staff evaluate each patrol member's competence in the water. The activity chosen by the patrol may not be appropriate for all its members, however, each boy will have an opportunity to accomplish a goal of his own and participate in the patrol activity chosen. Camp Bell has terrific sailboats, motorboats, kayaks, and water-skiing.


      Take one of the two patrol-sized, Hunter 170 sailboats for a majestic ride around Manning Lake. Become masters of the high seas and let the wind take you away.

      Swimming and Lifesaving

      Based on the skill of the members of the patrol, these patrol activities will be combined to provide a complex challenge to all the boys in the patrol. A patrol made of learners through advanced swimmers will spend the day practicing strokes and rescue techniques. Each Scout in the patrol will be working toward individual goals while the whole patrol sharpens its skills in teamwork and aquatics. The final result will vary from Scout to Scout and patrol to patrol, but strong swimmers will have the chance to earn a merit badge or two while learners will strengthen their skills with the support of the patrol.

      Kaykaing and Snorkeling

      This is a patrol activity that includes snorkeling and kayaking. Scouts will set anchor in the middle of Manning Lake and then go snorkeling throughout the lake.

      Water-skiing and Tubing

      This patrol activity is fun for the whole patrol but provides a particular challenge for the older boys. The patrol will participate in great activities as part of their time in the boat and all swimmers will have a chance to water-ski.

  • #19
    Our troop likes our summer camp except for the dining hall. They offer a good balance of older and younger scout programs. Lake Front badges, climbing, shooting. They allow a max of 4 badges for the week and have plenty of free time with open areas. They just built it's own welding shop this past year and offered the welding mb as a week long program for older boys and brought in a special instructor for the season for it. Even brought it professionals trained in search and rescue to lead that program. But our troop has a mix between the high adventure lovers and the just hang and have fun boys. So our camp allows this for both.

    I would be against a full patrol being required to do the exact same things all week. We don't use age based patrols so while they do have their patrol time each day they also have their own time to do what they prefer to do.


    • MattR
      MattR commented
      Editing a comment
      I would think you're right. Do you think the PL could decide, along with his patrol, when to do patrol activities and when to do individual activities? Or would it be better to have the camp specify that? Say, patrol activities in the morning and individual in the afternoon.

  • #20
    Our Council has 1 Camp...60 Acres spread out in the Red River basin..Most Unusable because it is River Bed...Dining Hall is Located at Top of Camp ( Non-AC but working on it and Meals are Out Sourced)..a Raised Pool and Shower House..use to be flooded a lot..Someone finally coughed up enough money to raise it up high enough It does not flood anymore..A Pavilion with Adult Restrooms and Trading Post Elevated in case of Floods..Archery and BB Gun Range (very rarely Floods)..A Corral no Stables (Flood Area)..Medic Shake and Quartermaster Shack ( Now Staff Lodging).

    We sold our Camp Horizons which had a Lake...years ago..

    Due to Drought we had to cancel Aquatics because the state park we bused to for aquatic Merit Badges was to low to safely do anything

    Honestly Camp Perkins is suited for Cubs and Webelos (but even they are bored after 2 days) and Day Events.
    If we don't improve facilities I am afraid National will look at Shutting Us Down..and Frankly Most Troops and Crews go elsewhere anyways.
    Shoot out of State Camps send us Flyers because they Know our Camp Sucks So Bad


  • #21
    Take a look at My Photo albums..You can see Camp Perkins in it Glory


    • #22
      I can assure you I have not thought you were joking. I am a little confused however. It seems like a nice weekend campground, but not good for summer camp. What is the issue with not having a "premium" summer camp in council if you have them within a two hour drive ? S-F is at least a 90 minute drive and much longer from many areas in our council. Granted we do have a large camp close in as well but it is not suited for BS summer camp as it has no lake.


      • #23
        Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
        I can assure you I have not thought you were joking. I am a little confused however. It seems like a nice weekend campground, but not good for summer camp. What is the issue with not having a "premium" summer camp in council if you have them within a two hour drive ? S-F is at least a 90 minute drive and much longer from many areas in our council. Granted we do have a large camp close in as well but it is not suited for BS summer camp as it has no lake.
        Well I guess I could always ask whats the issue with not having a Local Council if you have one or more within 2 hour Drive.
        We use to have a Camp with a Lake and Everyone loved it..but it was sold.
        I guess someone could be asking Do we need the expense of a Camp and A Camp Ranger when we have Many that are within a Few Hours drive and offer a much better Program than what we do.

        Our Camp currently represents Broken Promises...Promised Climbing Towers..Planned Facilities which never came through..

        Several of Our City owned Parks offer more space, more facilities, More Parking and much more convenient location than way out on the River
        Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 08-19-2013, 12:41 AM.


        • #24
          Originally posted by Eagle92 View Post
          FYI, 13 years old for COPE is a national standard, can't get around it.
          Take Climbing Merit Badge instead.

          Our Troop's vertical ascent record is held by a ten (10) year-old who spent his first summer camp on a tower.

          That's his voice:

          Last edited by Kudu; 08-21-2013, 02:06 PM.


          • #25

            Don't get me started! Some of BSA's Rules do not make any sense. A Cub can climb on a climbing wall, but cannot repel. A scout can take Climbing MB, but not do COPE. And I'm not even touching the new rules and regs on service projects based upon Dept. of Labor laws!

            Wise man once said, "Train them. Trust Them, LET THEM LEAD!"


            • King Ding Dong
              King Ding Dong commented
              Editing a comment
              I quoted Standard M12B. A scout younger than 13 can do COPE at the discretion of the director. Show some maturity and you can do it, horse around and you are off the course. Simple.

          • #26
            I should learn to keep my mouth shut. I went to the meeting about rebuilding the camp and I gave them a synopsis of everything we talked about here, and they loved it. The good news is they want to start off small and slowly change it over a few years. The bad news is I have to figure it all out. Stay tuned.


            • EagleScout441
              EagleScout441 commented
              Editing a comment
              Good job and good luck. -Roy

            • JoeBob
              JoeBob commented
              Editing a comment

              What part of the country are you in? Need help?

              I think you're traveling the right path.

            • MattR
              MattR commented
              Editing a comment

              Of course I need help, at least that's what my wife always tells me.

              Since private messages don't work yet, send email to Then we can use regular email. That address is only good until 9:40PM Tuesday.

          • #27
            MattR, was your wife referring to volunteer help, or more along the lines of professional help? Good luck with you're plans, they sound good and worthwhile. Stosh


            • MattR
              MattR commented
              Editing a comment
              Strictly professional

              I've been asking around for the volunteer type and this seems to have struck a chord.

          • #28
            Well Good Luck Matt. I have been trying to get my Council to Add Stuff for years. They don't want to change Much at Our Camp. The AC is Going in the Dining Hall and Should be Completed by the End of this Month. We Should have a New Shotgun Range this Summer Thanks to $4000 Dollar National OA Grant and Wichita Lodge 35 $6000 Pledge..Other Than that....Just more promises and "Future" un-named projects. Really wanting To get the Nature Center going asap but it keeps getting Sideline due to Funding and I ain't allowed to raise funds. As it might "interfere" with FOS and Certain Family Donations


            • #29
              You have to be careful that you still sell the parents on the program. Way too many are hung up on little Johnny Scout getting his Eagle Scout than the "other" stuff that Scouting offers.


              • Horizon
                Horizon commented
                Editing a comment
                That is because that is how they are sold the program - getting to Eagle. If you sell a camping club, you don't get full buy-in from the parents. Our job is to use the pitch of the Eagle to get the parent's support, and then build a program that is best for the boys.

            • #30
              Unfortunately Tokala is spot on. I've been told by many that the reason why summer camps are more MB focused is because of the parents. I know that the program I HA program I developed was a miss because A) it wasn't promoted, and B) the brand spanking new COPE COURSE that was promoted caught everyone's attention. But the Scouts I talked to were for it , and wanted to come to camp the next year for it.

              But one parent/leader did ask me what MBs would the folks get who did the program. Very disappointed when I said none.


              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                It's kinda sick when you think about it. Most MB's that kids do get at camp they could earn with a local counselor for free.

                Anyway, I think by way of promoting, you give campers their district's list of MBC's (or maybe a select few who are willing to work with kids who attend your HA) for topics where that your program would partially cover. It would be on the youth to contact and report to the MBC before and after the camp. The blue card never comes to your base at all!

                Still a tough sell, but it makes it clear to folks that the boys can still be using the week for advancement, just not for administrative busy work that distracts from skills acquisition.