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Camps, Modern over Rustic, whats happing to the camps?

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  • Camps, Modern over Rustic, whats happing to the camps?

    Most Rustic scout camps in michigan have been closed in favor of those more appealing and more marketable to the masses. Platform tents are looked upon with disgust. Dining halls have replaced patrol cooking. No high adventure Costs keep going up Whats happining to the camps?

  • #2
    Here in western PA there's an even split between troops who choose patrol cooking to those who choose dining halls. So, Heritage Reservation maintains both (as well as a "street" of model homes for "campers" interested in challenging outdoor activities but not nights under canvas ).

    Supply and demand.

    Plus as more communities rise up near scout reservations, EPA regulations demand better sewage management, so out with latrines and in with flushies.

    Comment


    • #3
      My boys tend to move away from the modern camps and prefer the rustic camps. Our local council is a modern camp and I haven't camped there for over 5 years now. The boys make the decision as to where to go and they unanimously chose not to go to the council camp.

      I don't know if it is the adult-led/boy-led issue, but the boys seem to prefer the rustic camps and adults prefer the more modern camps in that it is far less hassle for the adults to have a mess hall than to rely on the boys doing their own thing in the rustic setting.

      Stosh

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by qwazse View Post
        Here in western PA there's an even split between troops who choose patrol cooking to those who choose dining halls. So, Heritage Reservation maintains both (as well as a "street" of model homes for "campers" interested in challenging outdoor activities but not nights under canvas ).

        Supply and demand.

        Plus as more communities rise up near scout reservations, EPA regulations demand better sewage management, so out with latrines and in with flushies.
        Any camp that is that close to developing communities is way too close to civilization for me. I'm thinking the 300' rule should apply to the residential development area next to the camp as well. One might as well be camping in someone's back yard.

        Stosh

        Comment


        • #5
          Camps have been changing since the 1970's, it's nothing new. Platform tenants require replacement canvas and repairs and replacements to the platforms - much better on the camp budgets to phase out and eliminate the platform tents in favor of units bringing their own tents. A lot of units preferred doing so anyway. Camps have had dining halls in them for decades but most also had the option available to units to get their daily grub from the grub or quartermaster and forego the dining hall. Since the 1970's, the BSA has seen a reduction in the number of Boy Scouts and number of units and this has an affect on Council budgets - it comes to a point where Council's need to start making hard decisions - can they financially support 2 summer camp properties and 1-3 short term, near home, camp properties? Often the answer is no and the first "victim" is likely to be the "primitive" summer camp since the "modern" camp has the infrastucture and the "primitive" activities can still be done at the modern camp.

          Lack of high adventure? Start looking around to other camps - some councils have dropped high adventure programming from their camp programs because other councils with nearby camps have better high adventure programs and some councils are concentrating their camp programs to the first two or three years. Though you still get the occassional professional or scouter wondering why you are going to an out-of-council camp, that's happening less and less. Depending on where you are, the summer camp season may be drastically reduced from what you might remember - when I was a Scout, the camp we went to had 8 weeks of programming in 2 week programming blocks - when I started going there, it was more common for a troop to spend 2 weeks at the camp - you might have 2 or 3 units going there for one week at a time - by the time I was a CIT, it was getting pretty equally mixed between 2 week Troops and 1 week Troops - just a few short years later, there were no 2 week Troops. Now this same camp has a 6 week camp season - other nearby camps that had 8 week programs are down to 6, or 4 week programs. Look around and you'll find Councils that only offer summer camp programs at their camps for 1 or 2 weeks per year. That's a significant change - since a Scout is thrifty, why bother buying surplus tents and lumber for platform repairs when your camp is only open 2 weeks a year.


          And of course there are a lot more health and safety regulations to follow - there have been siginificant changes to state and local laws over the past couple of decades in regards to camp operations - there are less outhouses and more flush toilet facilities. You'll see more swimming pools and less traditional waterfront swimming holes. For better or worse, that's the time we live in now.

          But don't despair - the best part of living in the intertubes age is the ability to do some easy research - it's easier than ever to get information about neighboring council's summer camps or neighboring summer camp's summer camps (I'm thinking of places like Wisconsin which might have summer camps for councils from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota). It's easier than ever to do research on running your own "summer camp" adventure. Better yet, this is something that can easily be assigned to the Scouts to research - some of them are likely to be better at it that we are anyway.

          Comment


          • #6
            It is ironic so many council are finding the need to shut down camps due to financial reasons when the most expensive part of a camp is the infrastructure. eliminate the dining hall and the extra resort style accomodations and activity areas and make the camp a "high adventure" wilderness type area.

            I wonder if there is any council in the US which operates a camp as a "wilderness area" with designated campsites only accessible by foot and/or canoe. Zero amenities except a fire ring and a thunderbox at the well dispersed campsites. The only expensive infrastructure would be a "ranger cabin" at the parking area for check-in, etc...A camp like this would encourage the patrol method as the campsites would be small and unable to accommodate in excess of 10 people. I know some camps in NY use portions of their property for this type of activity, but they seem to be used less and less as the adults do not want to venture too far away from the mess hall and their evening cracker barrels with other adults. Just thinking out loud here.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DuctTape View Post
              It is ironic so many council are finding the need to shut down camps due to financial reasons when the most expensive part of a camp is the infrastructure. eliminate the dining hall and the extra resort style accomodations and activity areas and make the camp a "high adventure" wilderness type area.

              I wonder if there is any council in the US which operates a camp as a "wilderness area" with designated campsites only accessible by foot and/or canoe. Zero amenities except a fire ring and a thunderbox at the well dispersed campsites. The only expensive infrastructure would be a "ranger cabin" at the parking area for check-in, etc...A camp like this would encourage the patrol method as the campsites would be small and unable to accommodate in excess of 10 people. I know some camps in NY use portions of their property for this type of activity, but they seem to be used less and less as the adults do not want to venture too far away from the mess hall and their evening cracker barrels with other adults. Just thinking out loud here.
              I've often thought the same thing, are these camps for the kids to have fun or the adults convenience.

              My ASM assured me that the camp will take in troop gear to the campsite or haul in the trailer, but the kids need to carry their own gear. I told her I would take care of my stuff and the rest is not my problem and other than her stuff, it shouldn't be hers as well.

              Stosh

              Comment


              • #8
                Some leaders have medical issues and cannot use the primitive camps. I and another parent in our pack had to stop attending campouts where no electricity is available for our cpap machines. It isn't always about convenience.

                GeorgiaMom

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
                  ... Some leaders have medical issues and cannot use the primitive camps. I and another parent in our pack had to stop attending campouts where no electricity is available for our cpap machines. It isn't always about convenience. ...
                  More packs are doing resident camp as well, and a higher adult ratio is needed, which means possibly drawing on adults who may need electricity on site for medical reasons.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by qwazse View Post

                    More packs are doing resident camp as well, and a higher adult ratio is needed, which means possibly drawing on adults who may need electricity on site for medical reasons.
                    Well, at 64 years of age, I'm figuring I'm never going to make it back to Philmont. I'm not going to make a stink and demand that handicap accessibility be extended to the Tooth of Time. Yo, people, maybe it's time to pack it in. There's not much adventure at the end of an electric cord nor lay there meadow crashing to the hum of someone's cpap machine.

                    So then this all boils down to the least common denominator. Radisson Ranger Camps for everyone! No cost spared, must meet every and all contingencies and in the game room is just around the corner, both figuratively as well as literally.

                    Sorry, but for the sake of the boy's and their potential for adventure, if my situation doesn't allow for it to happen, I'm going to not stand in their way. People make it sound that the vast majority of adults need medical assistance to get through a camping experience. Are we really all that feeble? If so, why are we in scouting?

                    Stosh

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jblake47 View Post
                      ...There's not much adventure at the end of an electric cord nor lay there meadow crashing to the hum of someone's cpap machine.

                      So then this all boils down to the least common denominator. Radisson Ranger Camps for everyone! No cost spared, must meet every and all contingencies and in the game room is just around the corner, both figuratively as well as literally.

                      Sorry, but for the sake of the boy's and their potential for adventure, if my situation doesn't allow for it to happen, I'm going to not stand in their way. People make it sound that the vast majority of adults need medical assistance to get through a camping experience. Are we really all that feeble? If so, why are we in scouting?

                      Stosh
                      Yes, I have a medical issue. The pack leaders still asked me to do six different jobs last year because they badly needed the help.

                      Why am I in Scouting? Because my autistic son absolutely loves being a Scout, and I want to make that happen for him.

                      Honestly, the sarcasm here has gotten on my last nerve. I have also received some good advice and support here, which I appreciate, but lately it just isn't a friendly environment for anyone who doesn't fit the mountain man/boy mold.

                      GeorgiaMom

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        GM, et al I can appreciate the needs for some accommodations. I don't think anyone is advocating for the complete removal of all scouting situations where cars, electricity, indoor plumbing, etc... are available. I can only speak for myself, my issue is the apparent lack of any of the wilderness type opportunities for the boys. This needs not be an either/or proposition. Instead I advocate for both. Yes, I lean more towards the wilderness mountain man/boy type, and I press for it. But that is only because I see the program is so far out of balance and little/no opportunities exist for the boys to experience the out of doors away from all of the comforts of home or the trailer. The program itself seems to shun it as well. I am all for a continuum of scouting adventures, but that means that some activities won't be available nor desirable to all scouts or scouters. I think that is what Stosh was alluding to in his LCD comment and i agree with it. A wilderness trail ceases to be a wilderness trail when it becomes a paved road, thus paving the trail doesn't give people access to the trail it eliminates it for all.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There are plenty of places for Scout Troops to have wilderness (type) experiences - the question becomes does a Council or the BSA have to own them? Sure, National has some high adventure bases, the Katahdin Council in Maine has some nice wilderness bases, and there may be a few others with wilderness bases, but did the Northwest Suburban Council need to keep Namekagon (their primitive summer camp - they sold it) when it would be just as easy for a Scout Troop to plan a wilderness experience along the St. Croix river or up at the Boundary Waters or in the Porcupine Mountains which are national and state owned lands?

                          Does a Council in Montana or Wyoming need to own a "wilderness" camp when there are national wilderness areas all over those states? Does a Massachussets, or Connecticut or New Hampshire council need a "wilderness" camp when one can get a fine wilderness experience in Northern Maine on state and private lands, or on Katahdin Council lands just a few hours drive north? Numbers are down - that's just a reality - we need to utilize our resources better - and that includes utilizing the resources available to us that we don't control.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sure public land is always an option. However will lay out a few reasons why a council owned wilderness camp might be desirable.

                            Often public campsites in the wilderness areas are a first come first served system, which is great. If a council was to promote the idea of the wildnerness summer camp and be successful, this would significantly increase the usage in the public areas and it would be difficult for scout patrols and private citizens to find campsites as they could be overloaded. If the council owned a large tract of "wilderness" and created designated patrol sites scattered throughout, they could manage who is where via a reservation system.

                            A current reality of BSA's use of public lands is of mixed reviews by the public at large. We all know boys can be loud and boisterous at times. They are also learning the ways of the woods and make errors in judgement. Because of these normal, natural attributes of a patrol of boys, when they are encountered by the general public the outcome is not always positive. I have heard many complain about Scouts who use public lands because of these natural behaviors. This is often magnified when there are many such patrols in an area. An increase of scouts using the public lands because of either the closing of BSA wilderness bases and/or via encouragement of BSA to promote more wilderness activities may amplify the public displeasure with scouts and BSA.

                            Lastly, when the council has only a resort style camp it will be all they promote which is what we are seeing in the councils that do not have a wilderness base. The promotion of this style of summer camp at the exclusion of the more primitive does not provide scouts with a continuum of opportunities within the BSA. Yes, they can use public lands but as I already identified, this is a less than optimum solution. Thus the best solution would be for councils who own camps to set aside, and promote wilderness style camping opportunities as much as possible.

                            The biggest issue I see is the lack of promotion by the BSA of this type of scouting adventure to begin with.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
                              .... but lately it just isn't a friendly environment for anyone who doesn't fit the mountain man/boy mold.
                              GeorgiaMom
                              So then this circles back to where we started. Just exactly what is it that BSA stands for if it is not the ADVENTURE FOR BOYS program? I do believe as some have alluded to as something other than that. It used to be that and there are a lot that say we ought to refocus on our original intent before it goes away forever, or passes the reins over to another program that will do that. We have to have MB's on hiking, cooking, wilderness survival, etc. so the boys have a chance to minimally experience this great unknown out there called nature. They get a nice little patch to let the world know they spent the night out in the scary outdoors and survived.

                              Since the dawn of the electronic age, simply getting youth disconnected from electricity is a big issue. The great outdoors is the last refuge where electricity does not control every aspect of creature comforts.

                              But that world keeps creeping in closer and closer. We have as a society taken on a unsubstantiated fear of the "outdoors". This is why scouting spends a large amount of time training, or should I say retraining the old skills where it was common to be in closer contact with nature.

                              The question I have always stated is: is what we do for ourselves or for the boys we are called on to serve. If we don't have that servant leadership as part of our psyche, how will we ever be able to pass it on to the next generation? I grew up in the ME generation that really didn't worry too much about anything other than themselves. Well, the children we have in our units today are their grandchildren. And the young leaders out there are their children.

                              I was doing volunteer work for the United Way and was called upon to do landscaping work. The crew was digging in an old garden plot and redistributing the dirt to other places to fill in low spots. One of the volunteers asked if there was any food in the garden and everyone (except me) said no. I pointed out potatoes, volunteer tomatoes, lamb's quarter, wood sorrel, purslane, and a number of other edible plants. Then I asked them why they would pay more for wild strawberries, wild blueberries, wild rice and they all said because they taste better and haven't had all the flavor cultivated out of them. Well, purslane has the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids and ranks up there with a high Vitamin E level as well as compared to other plants. Works great for both salads and stir-fries, and yet it is one of the most tossed away edible plants because people no longer know it's importance. Our kids are taught that if it doesn't come plastic wrapped on a styrofoam tray from the produce department, it isn't edible.

                              This is not macho mountain man testosterone training, it's basic nutrition and expansion of one's knowledge about the world in which we live.

                              Is it possible to backpack with less weight? Sure, if you forage, you don't need to carry expensive freeze dried foods. You can eat healthy all along the trail, and one doesn't need to eat as much because what you do eat is more nutritious than the plastic wrapped freeze dried "stuff". Woe to the parent who has a kid that will only eat pizza, burgers and fries. Those are the kids that are overweight and malnourished all at the same time.

                              As I stated before, there's a lot more adventure out there beyond the length of any extension cords. Where the cord ends, the adventure begins.

                              Stosh

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