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I decided to spin this off as the thread on camp counselors duties and expectations is going to good to mess with.


Our Council has two camps and both will be getting swimming pools. The reason is simply encroaching civilization. The first Camp to get a pool "used to be" out in the middle of nowhere. but that isn't the case anymore and is now almost completely encircled by sub-division with each house having its own septic system. In the drier months the e.coli count of the lake rises to unacceptable levels, much higher than was ever recorded at the camp. Last year during the last week of Camp, the waterfront was shut down because of e.coli counts.


The other reason is the boys wont swim in the lakes. Now, we can launch into a long discussion of the wimplification of America and how sissy boys are, but if they dont come to Camp because they wont swim in the facilities, then what? I hated to see the Council budget THAT much money on swimming pools, but if its not spent, Camp attendance goes down.

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Where I live, Lake St. Clair and a few others were shut down due to E. Coli today (first beach closings this year). It is only after heavy rains (when the storm drains run directly into the rivers, streams and lakes) that give rise to the E. Coli (not dry months).


Yes, sadly, "swimming holes" have become a thing of the past. However, I think many would be surprised at the bacteria counts in swimming pools! I am very fortunate to belong to a council that owns two camps, both with nice swimming lakes (one with multiple lakes). Yes, they are becoming rare and some kids swim much better in a pool that a lake due to psychological reasons.


My question: Do you use the term "waterfront" at a pool? Is motorboating, canoeing, small boat sailing, etc. still done on the lakes with high E. Coli count?

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's a shame most camps are going to swimming pools over lakes. In my opinion, I think councils should manage their lakes in the off-season to rid them of pollutants and bacteria. I'd much rather see the waterfront down by the lake than down by a blasted pool.

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My son and i prefer camps with lakes, too -


a pool is nice for learning swimming strokes, in water that doesn't have fish nipping your legs or seaweed, that is distracting to begining swimmers. A pool is fresh, clear and clean - and feels 'safe'.


Though we have no problem with swimming in a pool to cool off - there's just something so much more relaxing about a lake....


in a lake, you can wade in the shallows and try to catch minnows in a bucket, find water-striders, frogs or turtles, identify footprints, build castles and dams, or bury your buddy in the sand. You can take in the toys - an innertube or air mattress (usually not allowed in a smaller, crowded pool) & you can swim out to the big float that usually is one corner of the swimmers area and watch your buddies learn to canoe or sail.


And there is nothing to beat doing the 'Mile Swim' in a lake. a pool just can't match it. The distance may be the same in reality - but it 'feels' like much more of an accomplishment when the distance is seen in one shot!


Pools are nice - but we prefer a nice lake with a beach anyday!

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  • 1 month later...

I am an Aquatics Director at a Summer Camp that has both pool and waterfront facilities. Pools have become more popular in camps for multiple reasons. Yes some scouts feel more comfortable in a pool, but there are other safety issues involved. It is much easier for a camp to control the environment of a pool then a lake. Water clarity, temperature, clear bottom, water levels are all things that are extremely difficult or impossible for the camp to control in a lake. BSA has standards for all of these issues and some lakes do not stand up to the test.


I do believe that lakes make for a much more entertaining swimming experience especially for the mile swim but safety is always the first priority at any Summer Camp.


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In case folks have not read the G2SS recently, there are extremely specific requirements to establish a lakeside swimming area. Those requirements include:


- Depth

- Underwater obstacles

- Clarity and turbidity


Since BSAquatics (I assume) has been to NCS, he can cite the various National Camp Standards for a pool and a swimming beach.


Having been an aquatics commissioner this year, the bottom line is SAFETY for the youth. I've noticed they have no problem at all taking care of the FUN.


BTW, in case anyone asks, I've used both. Lake Ida at Camp Whitsett is where I did my Mile Swim BSA



It's also been around almost 60 years, and the hazards are well plotted :)

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