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Roy259

Alternatives to summer camp

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In 1998, our boys expressed how board they were with going to summer camp. So we planned a 9-day touring road trip. Thanks to fund raisers, it didn't cost the boys any more money than summer camp. In 1999, we spent 9 days going to the Grand Canyon and back. In 2001, we spent 9 days going to Denver, Colorado and back. I can't tell you the life these trips have breathed into our troop. We have started a tradition of summer camp one year, road trip the next year. We are looking forward to summer road trip 2003. I would be happy to share any information with anyone wanting to try this with their troop.

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Roy

How many boys go on these trips? What type of itinerary do you all make? Different place every night? these trips sound interesting.

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Paul, we took 8 boys/3 adults in '99, and 10 boys/3 adults in '01. In '99, our itenerary was set to be in a different place each day, with the exception on a 3 day stay in Durango, CO. In '01, we traveled to Denver in 2 days, and stayed 5 full days in Denver, and 2 days driving back. All of our events were in Denver. We raft, tour museums, visit natural attractions, and just have a great time. Last time, we even visited another troop's scout meeting. In '01, we paid nothing for lodging, staying in Army barracks, and 6 nights at an Air Force Base. I found that all you have to do is look around in the area(s) that you wish to visit, and "just ask!" I would be glad to share more information with anyone. But these trips ARE possible for a troop of ANY size, and are well worth it!

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In our troop we try to have one or two "high adventure" events each summer in addition to doing summer camp. We try to make one of these other outings something that all the boys can do, and it often involves a multi day road trip. There is nothing wrong with road trips, but the program should not be limited to that sort of thing.

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Last summer we ran an independent camp rather that attend a regular summer camp. A number of our scouts had completed their junior year in high school and they had attended every camp in the area at least once. This allowed them a new experience for their final summer camp. We camped for a week on an island in the Columbia River, and emphasized boating activities. We had canoes, motorboats and a number of sailboats, from small to large and a Hobie Cat. Merit badges were the boating MBs, plus camping, wilderness survival, etc. The boys earned fewer badges than at a regular summer camp, but those they earned gave them experiences at a much higher level than at summer camp. Motor boating on the Columbia River is an entirely different experience from a twelve-foot, 3 hp on a small lake. The same with sail boats on the Columbia, when the winds come up. We plan on repeating this type of activity in a few years, to give the next group of scouts the same experience. Another plus is that many more adults want to attend. Because parents had all the boats, and the island is free, the cost was probably half a regular summer camp.

 

This camp was in addition to our other summer events, such as a backpack trip on the Oregon Coast Trail, whitewater rafting, etc.

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Next year the troop I belong to may actually attend out local scout camp. We have been blessed with the chance to go camping in the Black Hills every summer and this year we are going to Croker Creek Tn. for a jamboree sponsored by our CO. Scout camp isnt the end all of camping we have never been to the local scout camp and enjoy our summers. Some of the stuff we have done is White Waater Rafting, Horseback riding, Cave Exploration, Mountain Climbing, Watching fireworks over MT. Rushmore, and so on and so on

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One idea my troop has toyed with is the idea of going on an across-the-state bicycle trip. We have been blessed with two leaders who are avid bike tourers and a state (Wisconsin) that is just the right size. It takes a week, going thirty to fifty miles a day over easy terrain, a set itinerary including meals, all for about the cost of summer camp, in one week. Maybe next year.

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Hi. I would encourage you to thumb through "Scout Camps USA" a soft bound 81/2 by 11 publication you can get online at same name.com. We also had problem with guys getting bored with the local summer camp. So we started looking around. I doubt we'll be back to our local camp anytime in the next decade!

 

We first went to Camp Buffalo Bill, which sits outside the east gate of Yellowstone Nat'l Park. Talk about a summer camp! Got the best of all worlds. The camp lets you stay there before or after your week for extra days at a nominal fee. So we had a week of BSA summer camp, got our MB's, and then spent 5 days hiking and touring in Yellowstone, while staying really cheap!

 

We next tried Camp Medicine Mountain, which is across the Highway from Crazy Horse Memorial and down the road from Mt. Rushmore at Custer, S.D. This camp was GREAT. Had some of the best facilities we had ever had in camp, and we had a ball. We went to Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore on our "day off" on Wednesday, and about half our 34 boys stayed for what we now call "after camp adventure" and we toured the area, from Wind Cave, to Custer State park, to the water park, etc. AGain stayed at the camp itself for a nominal fee. Had a ball. ONce again the best of both worlds, advancement done and MB's earned and a great time had by all.

 

Next year we are going to Camp K Bar M, Lewistown, MT. We'll be taking older guys (13 and over) for a 5 day, 70 mile canoe trip on the Missouri where Lewis & Clark traveled, while the rest of the Troop stays in camp and does the regular summer camp thing. The camp runs the canoe trip (and also a 5 day Mountain Bike Trek as well).

 

So, take a look at vacationing through summer camps!

 

yis, jim

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