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Eagle74

Haliburton?

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Our troop will be doing two summer camp experiences for the boys this year. All troop members will be able to attend camp at Crooked Creek in KY. 1st Class and 13 y.o. can attend camp at Haliburton in Canada (either; or; or both).

 

Anyone been to Haliburton? Pros? Cons? Likes? Dislikes? Advice? It sounds like a great place for camp, but we have no prior experience and limited references.

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First it tends not to be a good idea to split the Troop in going to camp because the camp experience is to help the Troop build the patrol and troop leadership. I have known Canadian Scouters who have come to our council camps and they have told me that the Canadian camps are not as developed as ours and leave most of the program up to the troop.

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Eagle74,

 

Congratulations on a great decision! I promise you you will not be disapointed by Haliburton. It is by far, the most beautiful place that I have been in Scouting.

 

NWScouter is right. The staff at Haliburton is extremely helpful, but you should be prepared to handle almost all of your program yourself. For instance, as you might be aware, Canadian Scouters are not authorized Merit Badge Counselors for the US program. Therefore, if you plan to work on, say, swimming MB, you'll have to bring your own Counselor. they will provide resources to help teach and test boys, but you'll have to have someone from your Troop run this.

 

Second, your Scouts should be proficient at canoeing. When you arrive, your Troop and all of its gear will be transported via pontoon boat to your site. You'll then be boated back to the main area and be issued canoes for your Troop. To get anywhere in the camp, you'll need to canoe. Most trips to the trading post and "H" dock (where swimiing programs etc. are held) will take 20 - 30 minutes. But by the end of the week, anyone whose skills were weak will definately be proficient.

 

If you have a choice, my suggestion is to try to schedule Bea Crobra Island as your site (the spelling is correct). It truly has the best views, especially in the morning, of all the camp. There are 4 -6 good Patrol campsites on the island, and more than any place I've been, it is easy for Patrols to truly be on their own. If you do, look for the picnic tables on the island. Our Troop donated them and dedicated them to a previous Scoutmast in our Troop who died a few years ago. The boys built them, and I had the dedication plaques etched.

 

The terrain on the island especially, but all over the place, is very rocky. In many places, dirt only is 3 - 6 inches deep. Staking tents and flys can be a problem.

 

There are no latrines in any of the campsites. Each site is provided a clean 55 gallon drum with a lid on it that they are expected to bury. On Bea Crobra, there is one really good place to do this.

 

Pack your food for the week in seperate coolers by day. Use Dry ice to keep things cold, and duct tape them shut until the day before you plan on using the contents. although you can buy ice from the trading post, it is either a 45 minute canoe ride round trip, during which the sun will have had a negetive affect on the ice, or, you'll have to have an adult use a row boat with a motor (which you can rent) go get your ice. However, it just seems to me that motorboating on such a peaceful lake should be a sin. Play it smart, use dry ice.

 

Misquitoes are as part of the experience as are stars and fresh air. Be prepared.

 

Speaking of stars, we always schedule or trip during a new moon. Pick the clearest night, get your guys all out laying on the dock, and watch the sky show. I promise you, if anyone comes back not amazed, you can call me on it.

 

Each campsite has its own swimming hole. the water in the lake is crystal clear. It was just in the last eight years that they started making people purify the water out of the lake before drinking. It problably still doesn't need it, but the point is, that's how clean the water is. You can see the bottom from easlily 8 or 10 feet. But, even in late July, the water is fairly cold. It's very refreshing, but compared to other camp lakes in which I have been, it won't remind you of a bathtub!

 

I can't think of any more right now, but I'm sure you will have a great time. Oh one more thing. Make sure that you have permission slips signed by both parents to take children up to Canada. They will check on that. And have all paperwork (permission slip, birth certificate) divided up by car, not in one binder.

 

Well, so much for my effort to shorten my posts.

 

Have fun!!

 

Mark

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Thanks mk9750.

 

The seed was planted a couple of years back by one of our former committee members who had been to Haliburton with one of his previous troops. He and former troop had nothing but good things to say about the experience. This is the year we make it happen, as the PLC decided last August that there were enough boys interested in putting forth the extra effort needed to make the trip.

 

We are blessed with a number of adults who are well qualified as merit badge counselors. But, as BobWhite mentions in one of the other threads, our aim with Haliburton is more to take in the experience than earn merit badges.

 

NWScouter - One of the reasons we are doing a split program this year is that the older Scouts are burned out on the "typical" summer camp experience. They (and we adult leaders) wanted a week of something new and a little more challenging. Quite a few of them are also attending camp at Crooked Creek.

 

We will have eight to twelve brand new scouts (bridging over the next couple of months) along with about a dozen scouts that will have just over one year of experience (last year's NSP). As you can gather from mk9750's post, Haliburton is a little "less developed" in the comforts dept. than the typical summer camp we have been attending - we had some concern about throwing new scouts into this experience; as did their parents. Nevertheless, we want all boys in the troop to have a summer camp experience available to them every year. We also like the idea of first year and second year scouts having something to look forward to; something to work towards.

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Eagle74,

 

One of the things I have finally allowed to sink into my head while on these forums is that I shouldn't compare other Troops to mine. There is a wide spread of abilities and skills, and just because my Troop does something, it doesn't mean all other Troops can (and visa - versa). But we have taken 1st year Scouts to Haliburton every other year for more than 12 years now (that I know of), and they do very well. It is certainly true that there is no dining hall, latrine structure, or showers, but we've never had a problem with any of the young guys in our Troop going to Canada.

 

I will say your comment about the parents being ready to let their new Scouts go is very astute. This is the one constant problem every year we go. Parents (particularly, but not limited to) moms just can't get comfortable with their little Tommy traveling 500 miles and to a foreign country while being away from home. Quite literally, the hardest task we face every year is convincing parents that their son should go.

 

The payback for this effort once the boy goes? We have NEVER had a kid be home sick at Haliburton. I think there are two reasons for that. The obvious one is that it's such a great place, and everyone in our Troop has blast. But the bigger reason, I think, is that it is 500 miles away from home in another country. When summer camp is close to home, the boys know (as do their parents) that it's only 20 minutes, or an hour, or three hours to go get Tommy and bring him home if he says he's homesick. This just isn't an option for us at Haliburton, and the boys know it. Also, cell phones don't usually get a good signal up there, and the phone at camp is only there for emergencies. So kids don't call home and get worked up about missing stuff. I know it sounds harsh, but putting our Scouts in a position of not knowing they really can't go home has kept homesickness down to zero.

 

If this is your first time up there, possibly your idea of doing the split camps is good. But I'd guess that next time you decide to go, you'll consider taking the entire Troop. I think they all will love it.

 

Bring a good book (or two!), a nice comfortable chair, and enjoy yourself! As much time as there will be to work with, and just plain hang out with your Scouts, there will also be plenty of time to relax.

 

BTW, my son's Patrol won a nice big screened tent at the Klondike auction this past week. They have already dtermined that it will be "cammand central" for their Patrol, with morning breakfast served "on the veranda" and evening card and chess games. these guys are stoled for summer camp at Haliburton 5 months in advance!

 

When are you going? If it's the same week, we should try to get together.

 

Mark

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Our troop will be there the week of July 11, but I'll not be making the trip this year. As the ASM for the NSPs and since my son decided to go to Crooked Creek this year, I'll be doing Crooked Creek the week of June 29. It was also a little too much for me to get two different weeks off work two weeks apart; plus I plan to be in the middle of a major home remodeling project during that time. I think I'd rather be going to Haliburton, but being the martyr !!!??? I'll take the hit this time around.

 

We have given serious thought to either having the entire troop go to Haliburton next year or switching between Haliburton and Crooked Creek (or another camp) from year to year.

 

After last year's summer camp, we thought we'd give Haliburton a spin before including the new scouts. For one reason or another, last year's summer camp experience was a challenge. I'm not sure if it was just the particular group of new scouts last year or if it's a sign of changing times, but we had a notable amount of "homesickness". It was the first time we have ever experienced this. We've had maybe a couple of "sad scouts" over the years, but I can't remember the last time a scout wasn't over it by the middle of the week. This year it was like six - with a couple persisting throughout the week (nobody went home though). It was a trying experience, especially for me since I was the only adult that spent the whole week at camp.

 

At the risk of spinning this thread off into another topic, we have spent hours discussing how many of the boys and parents seem to have changed alot within the past two to three years - especially the parents. It seems for lack of a better phrase "a different breed". Much more intimately involved in every detail of what the boy does, much more apt to do for them instead of letting them do for themselves, much more apt to not "let go", much more apt to wish they could be there for their boys at every moment, but oddly at the same time much less apt to be in tune with what's going on in the troop. At first we thought it might just be last year's group, but we're starting to see the same with the group that just bridged a couple of weeks ago. One interesting observation by one of the other ASMs was "if we could work with just the boys, away from the parents (if they would just let go), I think they would all probably be just fine." As I mentioned above, it made for a new, challenging, and somewhat bewildering summer camp experience. In all honesty, even though overall it was a good year at summer camp for most of the troop, I was kinda relieved when the week was over.

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Eagle74 - I'll be at CCC the same week. We'll have to meet over a cup of coffee in the Scoutmaster's Lounge.

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Eagle74 (I started to contract that to '74, but it just seemed almost a sin),

 

We will be at Haliburton the week after your Troop.

 

We have noticed the same thing about kids crossing now and their parents. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that it is possible my view is different now that my sons are older. I know it takes more and more effort every year to deal happily with the new Scouts until they've acclimated to Troop life. But this might not be their problem, it might be mine. Still, I have noticed exactly what you are talking about...

 

We also alternate every other year. Two very different environments, and we think it's great. Even years are Haliburton, where whatever structure exists we create, and odd years are at a dining hall calp that has a very structured program. I know it's not right to project for everyone, but this sure works well for us.

 

Have fun!

 

Mark

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