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SagerScout

How to convince parents about summer camp....

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The promotion efforts from the leaders are important, but I think a good camp program sells itself better than anything else, through word-of-mouth from Scouts who were there last year and their parents after hearing the stories over and over. We start apportioned fund-raisers early to get buy-in from the Scouts and their families; that seems to help too.

 

Just a point of clarification, Sager, on Girl Scout camping and 11-year olds being ready to camp. While it's true that young Girl Scouts do camp overnight (I have a Brownie, too), I don't think that compares with a long-term resident camp such as Boy Scout Summer Camp...that sort of camping in Girl Scouts doesn't happen until they're Cadets, right? Also, one 11 year old can be ready for a week away from home and another one may not be. I've seen the situation where parents allowed their son to attend several short term camps before a long-term one...it was a good call. Ultimately, the parents know their kid best and I think we should defer to them.

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Weather a problem? Gee at the National Jamboree it rained so hard my sons tent had a foot of water in it, actually he was lucky, most had 18 inches or more. And he wants to go back next time as an adult leader...And speak about hot???

 

Parents dont want little johnny to go to Summercamp?

 

Wow, I know I am in a large troop, (90) but we will be going in the third week of July and we have 50-52 scouts committed for camp already and 18 adults as well. Its a tradition in our troop to go to camp and the kids who advance are the ones who went to camp. I think we may have a life scout who has earned almost all his merit badges at camp, or at least started them there.

 

Summercamp, the camp fire programs, the running around, the corny continuing themes the staff does, the fellowsip, waking to the sound of a gentle (!!!) rain bouncing off your tent. Having a skunk visit the scouts tent who you warned not have snacks arond. Having deer creep around your camp site. Getting up at 6:30 AM to take the troop contingent down to Frigid Froggy, seeing the fog/steam rise off the lake as the sun peaks over the horizon (Camp Minsi, Pocono Summitt PA) meals cooked and dishes done for you. (do your parents think their kids eat less than $125 per week plus no dirty shoes in the house for a week, etc. The OA campfire program, with the chief being brought by canoe to the campfire location. Doing the mile swim, staying up extra late to do the field work for astronmomy merit badge, watching the big dipper as it wheels across the sky

 

The kids in out troop have a tradition of centering the picnic tables under the dining flys and sleeping out, "in the open" all together. The first year scouts go as kids, and come back as scouts and unified.

 

Homesick? Our camp does have a phone, and scouts have called before, telling parents to come and get them. We tell the parents that before they come, to call and talk to the scoutmaster first. We have had kids call, and by the time the parents arrive, the kids has decided camp is not that bad. We will work with the kids to be sure no one is upset, and work through it with them, usually by having an older scout talk about his first summer camp.

 

And where in South Texas are you Momma?

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Summer Camps are an important part of the program, it gives new scouts a chance to learn and grow. They will meet several hundred scouts from other troops, even many from other parts of the country. As for price, look at private camps in the same area; their price will be 3-7x higher. If the $125 is really a problem, check out camperships at your local council. Often they have funds for low income scouts. These are specific funds that must be used each year or returned to the donor. Buy used uniforms and books but go to summer camp! Our troop went to Death Valley in July (new scouts too) and did just fine. Drink lots of water and use the lake or pool every day everyone well have a good time.

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A comment about the Girl Scouts camping. A friend of mine said both her girls went to week long summer camps the summer after 1st grade! It was their "prize" for selling cookies.

 

About the money issue, some of the boys in my son's troop told me that they are getting summer camp as a birthday present. Perhaps some of the parents could suggest that to grandparents -- at least a contribution of $20 would help them out.

 

Homesickness -- ha, parents often flatter themselves. Two years ago, due to a child care shortage in the area, my son spent the weeks with his grandparents. At first he was coming home every weekend. By the end of the summer, I was doing good to get to talk to him on the phone. The only reason he would talk to me then was to say "I don't think I'm coming home this weekend, Mom. I've got something to do on Saturday."

 

My son does get upset at "Camp Grandma" when Grandma determines it is too hot outside and he must come in. He says he isn't hot and has no clue what she is talking about.

 

Reading all these posts, I'm about convinced to go myself! :)

Nah, think I'll stay at home with the dog and cat.

 

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Sctmom is right about the little ones going to summer camp - Girl Scout camp has weeklong summer camps for brownies (1-3 grade). The difference is that they are usually cabin camps, and girls register as individuals or buddy pairs, not usually as a whole troop. There's lots of staff to help out with the little ones. They are armed with homesickness medicines and sprays to keep away the monsters, and there's not usually much problem with either.

 

Troop camping begins in about 3rd grade for most, for some in cabins but some in tents. By the time they are 5th or 6th grade they should be pretty good at making a menu, shopping list, kaper chart and so on for a weekend campout.

 

By the time they are Cadettes (usually 7-9 grade) they are Program Aides for camp and may have responsibility as unit leaders for the Brownies. Adults are around, of course, in ample supply, but we mostly sit in our lawn chairs and knit. By this age they are expected to get up and lay the fire and make the coffee for their lazy leaders, and some of them actually do!

 

A good Cadette or Senior GS troop may take on the responsibility for planning and executing a wide game or service unit campout for a couple hundred people, again with adult assistance.

 

By the way, I think the reason this works at all is that there is a very big emphasis from the start of the program on giving girls a little responsibility at a time. The boy scout "Transition of power" seems much more abrupt: in cubs and webelos, the adults run it; in boy scouts, the boys run it. Or don't, as the case may be. In Girl Scouts, we constantly offer the girls a little more, little more, little more control. First graders choose the Kool-aid and whether to have grilled cheese or hot dogs; third graders write the whole menu for lunch; fifth graders read the dutch oven cookbook and choose something... and so on. It seems to be a smoother transition.

 

So, yeah, I was pretty amazed at parents who would worry over little Johny going to camp at an age where I was encouraging my girls to not only go to camp but prepare to run one.

 

Julia

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OOps, I should have said where in south Texas SagerScout,

 

I have been to McAllen, Edinburg and Rio Grande City as well as Eagle Pass, Corpus Christi and Angleton.

 

Was I ever close?

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I've been all those places myself - home is currently San Antonio, but we're looking at summer camp at Lake Corpus Christi. I visit Corpus Christi several times a month on business, and on rare occasions am lucky enough to be able to slip a windsurfer in my van and spend an afternoon at Bird Island Basin.

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Der Schlitterbahn is the best water park I've ever been to, and I've been to them in four states including Disney's. It's about an hour from my driveway, and they offer Scout Days every year. Another good reason to be a SCout!

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I'm wondering about all the comments regardign camps that cost $150/week. Our local scout camp is $212 this year. Now, relative to other non-scout camps this is cheap, but are most scout camps less than this?

 

Also, when I meet with our 5th grade Webelso to promote camp, I find that older scouts are the best salesman, and their comments about all the fun they have does more to convince parents than anything I can say. I try to focus on the organization and safety during the week, and let the experienced scouts tell them about the fun stuff. Last year we had 40 scouts from our troop attend camp and 18 of them were 1st time campers. Of that 18, 17 will be back this year.

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Three of the four older scouts in our troop have been to asthma camp but never to BS summer camp. Their experience after their first Freezaree involved all 3 of them being admitted to the hospital for nearly 30 days. So they are not the best salespeople for camp, although are willing to try again. As you might guess, it took a little doing to convince their parents to try this again at all although it's been a couple of years and they have been under better control....

 

MY son has been to two summer camps and loved them both so he's the one we're counting on for the sales to the boys. HE's also severely asthmatic, BTW, but has been a bit more fortunate with his health.

 

Julia

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Your $212 a week is about what our girl scout camp runs. The boy scout camps around here are less expensive, but also do not have quite as posh accomodations. (BYOT) The average income around here isn't very high.

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We live in southern CA, here beach camps can cost up to $400 per week, mountain camps are under $250. We can often go to Pacific Northwest camps for the same price including the transportation.(book airfare well in advance) Yes the beach camps fill up a year in advance but you can book high adventure camps in ID & MT less than one month before you arrive. ($160 week)

 

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One of the best promotional items we have is our poster collection. I make sure we have a camera on every outing and when we get back I take 10 or 12 of the pictures and make a poster. I include the dates and name of the activity. Whenever we visit a pack or have a special activity the first thing we do is throw the posters up on the walls. The cubs are usually impressed with the activities as are most of the adults. It's a great recruiting tool. And it lets the parents and cubs know that if they come to our troop they are going to be doing some serious scouting. The boys who come to us are hiped about camping and summer camp. If that's not their thing they go to other troops.

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Oh, I like that idea! We'll start work on that poster collection right away - if I can get them to go at all!

 

 

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