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...Do you really want to send your child to Camp Onteora

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"my youngest, who is a second class scout decided to volunteer five weeks of his summer vacation to be a CIT at Camp Onteora."


I just went back and reread this post. And I have a couple of questions about the above statement.


Our Council requires all CIT's to be a minimum of 14 and 1st Class. Junior staff must be 15 and Life or higher and Junior Leadership Training. Every scout camp I have dealt with for the past 35+ years has had basically the same requirements. So I am wondering how a boy who has been in scouts "since he was little is still only 2nd Class. I also know that boys can't to long term summer camp until they have crossed over into a troop. So I have guess that your council has different rules for CIT.




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Looking on the camp's web page about CIT's it does say 14 and older but does not mention minimum rank.


As a Scout I went to CIT trianing week at 13 but only because I turned 14 before my weeks of service started. I was first class.


You are right though the more you re-read this post the more things don't jive. It would be interesting to hear form the staff side of the situation. Maybe I'll email them since it is posted on the camp web site. :)



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Our camp also has strict rules about visitors. For the first time this year, we ALL had to wear those silicone wristbands (e.g. LIVESTRONG). Campers and unit leaders wore red. Staff wore green. Anyone without a band was shot on sight (just kidding). ALL visitors had to check in at the office and had to provide a picture ID (which they Xeroxed) and a unit leader to vouch that this person had the legal right to take custody of the scout, if leaving early. Must be a new National policy to prevent non-custodial parents from taking kids.


In this case, the staff was correct, you were technically trespassing. I would have handled it a little more diplomatically, however. But considering what your attitude may have been, maybe not.

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First off, welcome to the forums! I can understand your frustration. I don't understand your anger or your intent at posting the letter here. It seems somewhat vindictive. I assume you did it as a warning to other folks. There is little we can do except comment. After wading thru the letter, here is what I took from it. You made arrangements to pick your son up early at the camp office which required someone picking your son up and delivering him there for you to pick up. That didn't happen the way you wanted it to. Much of the rest of the letter dealt with things such as the road conditions and didn't really have much to do with anything.


Again, I understand your frustration. I too have looked at the camp's website and thought it looked like a decent camp. Trust me, our troop just did a review of every camp in the states that border Oklahoma to see if where we want to go next year, so I'm familiar with what camps offer. This camp looks pretty standard. Having been to camp a time or two, I can tell you that the job most of the adult staff does are thankless jobs with little to no pay. They have to deal with EVERY problem that comes down the pike and there are many of them. If you think you were cranky when things didn't pan out the way you wanted, consider being responsible for the feeding and security of 400 scouts and staff and taking care of maintenance problems, health problems, etc. for 6 weeks. A person can get pretty cranky when there is someone there everytime you turn around wanting you to deal with their individual problem.


I'd say you had a bad experience and for you to steer your sons clear of there and never worry about it again. I'd also suggest that you give the folks running the camp a break and consider that maybe their day wasn't going so grand either. To run 6 weeks of camp with 400 scouts per week and offer the program their website says they do is a pretty big accomplishment. Word travels pretty quickly by word of mouth in the scouting world. If it were truely a bad camp, they wouldn't be providing as many weeks to as many scouts as they do.

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The more I read your posts - the more i like you. ( As if that matters) You always present a well thought voice of reason.


Maybe we'll meet up someday since we're neighbors.



Joplin, MO


Whose troop as a kid was 540!

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Being a CIT can be pretty thankless, and you are doing it for free. I assumed that the father going up on Saturday, was the boys planned day off. When our son was a CIT, he had one day off a week, and since it was only 30 miles we'd pick him up for the day. It was clear from my reading that everything was arranged ahead of time with the right people, and that no one at the camp had any problem with it until the parents showed up, and they had not done what they promised.


Having been to both of our local camps several times this summer, I know that child protection has been increased over the last several years. I've had two sons work on camp staff at both our local camps. For beginning of the season and end of the summer, driving to the staff site is routinely done, either by the parent or a staff vehicle. In between, the kids lugged their stuff back and forth from the parking lot. The staff areas in both camps are fairly close to the parking lot so it isn't a big deal, besides there are wheelbarrows. If they locked the first entrance gate, you are talking a 3 & 5 mile walk, which is a lot with gear. They usually only lock them during the off season, and when there are escaped convicts roaming around (no joke).


Looking at a map of Camp Onteora the staff area seems to be at the far end of the Camp from the Administration area. It was interesting to see that the camp was closed for 5-6 years in the the 1990's, and has major renovation work that they are trying to raise money for. Obviously this camp needs more work.


I also looked at the listing for the staff of the camp. The only one that I felt had the kind of background that I'd be thrilled to see in the camp was the Ranger, Mr. Gabbard, since 1978. The others had around 5-8 years of varied background, which isn't a whole lot. They aren't bragging about how long people have been in the positions they are in, just about other positions they have held. Yes the background is similiar to what many people at all camps have, but usually there is some depth of leadership somewhere, you don't have everyone with about the same time on the job. It would be interesting to know how long they have held their current positions.

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A closer reading of the original post will reveal that they went to pick him up on Friday, not Saturday. Since you have worked camps, you know what a Friday is like trying to wind everything up for the big exodus the next morning.

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Sorry, I've missed a few days...gone (where else?) camping. Anyway, belated welcome to the forums.


I'm still unclear about a couple of things. I looked at the map and I see a large parking area next to the admin building. This appears to be your initial stopping point. Correct? In my experience with other camps, you would not be allowed (for safety reasons) to take your vehicle beyond that location. And in that same experience, the boys (and staff) are responsible for getting themselves and their gear to the parking area if making an unusual departure, regardless of weather. Also, in my experience, all arrivals and departures are supposed to record such at the admin building or health lodge. I can't judge the situation for rudeness factors (I'd be a poor judge anyway, I've been told).

But the basics seem similar to other camps. If a camp director allowed travel beyond this limit I personally would consider that a one-time permission, and not a blanket pass. I think it would be incorrect to assume anything else. That said, I don't understand the evident anger when your transgression was discovered but there might actually have been a good explanation, just a bad situation.

My advice, try to see the situation through the eyes of the director. Find out if your sons dislike the place. If still not satisfied, vote with your feet and checkbook. Find a better situation.

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