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kbandit

Looking for a camp in Michigan for 2008

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Anyone got some information on summer camps in Michigan for 2008? We have never been to camp in Michigan and would like some information of experience at camps etc. Which would you recommend? Any and all comments appreciated.

Thanks

Kbandit

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There are several of us from MI on this board so hopefully you'll get a range of responses. Feel free to PM me too if you want me to put you in touch with some folks who are NOT on the board, but who have a wealth of info about scout camps in the area. The council I'm from doesn't run its own summer camp so SMs in our area tend to be very familiar with several Michigan BSA camps.

 

Personally the only BSA camp in Michigan that I have been to is Cole Canoe Base, so I'll stick mainly to that (below). But let me mention that I have heard some excellent things about other camps in MI, including:

 

Camp Hiawatha in the Upper Peninsula http://upscouting.org/boyscoutresidentcamp.htm

 

Camp Tapico in North/Central MI (between Kalkaska and Grayling)

http://www.gfn.org/tpc/General/Camps/Tapico/

 

Lost Lake Scout Reservation in Southeastern Michigan (Lower Peninsula)

http://www.cvc-bsa.org/camping/bsSummerCamp.html

 

Lost Lake is "home" for many troops from our council since it isn't far away. So if you want details on Lost Lake I can definitely put you in touch with some folks who have personal experience there.

 

Last summer our troop went to Cole Canoe Base (Detroit Area Council). Cole is located on the Rifle River in Alger MI, about 100 miles from Detroit. It is a beautiful property, very quiet. The river runs through camp and several campsites are right along the banks, which is quite scenic (but bring your bug spray!). They do not have a dining hall or a swimming pool. Cooking is by troop or patrol back at your site. We liked that and the food provided was always sufficient in terms of quality and quantity. Most of the water activities actually take place in a man-made lake rather than on the river, but you can also arrange day trips or longer trips down river with some of your boys during the week. Oh, and they had nice shower houses (individual stalls with locking doors and plenty of hot water).

 

There were some things we didn't like, and for us these outweighed the positives. The quality of the MB program was suspect at best. Part of the problem seemed to be that there were no limits on class sizes. But also in quite a few cases, MBCs would "demonstrate" something and then sign off for all the boys present, instead of having each boy actually do the skill for himself. (For example, my son worked on Fishing MB. The MBC caught, cleaned, and cooked a fish. All the boys watched and tasted a bite of the fish and then got requirement #9 signed off.) In many other cases, boys received sign offs for things they could not possibly have done while at camp, and pre-requisites were never checked (although we'd been told they would be!). This happened too many times to count, including with Eagle-required MBs, and we felt it made the whole MB process a joke. It was so bad that some of our boys actually declined to accept MBs they had "earned" until they could finish the requirements properly on their own. There were also many errors in terms of blue card completion and since we didn't get the blue cards back until Saturday morning just before check-out (after many MBCs had left camp), no time to correct the problems. While some of these were minor errors, some weren't. We actually had one boy scam his way into receiving a completed/signed blue card for a MB he never took.

 

The other big negative for us was the camp director. He has undoubtedly put in many years of work into the camp and that's to be commended. However, he's difficult to deal with, doesn't share information easily, doesn't see the utility in making info easily available on the web in a timely manner. He held a leader's meeting one night where he asked for ideas about improving attendance and loyalty to the camp, but he shot down each and every suggestion no matter how positive in tone. Basically his attitude was that Cole is his show and people should just do it his way or not come back (but then he complained that they don't come back!).

 

Overall, our boys had fun at Cole. The property is nice. The lack of a central dining hall gives troops more flexibility to do their own thing. The river trips might be a good idea for troops with some older boys who want to do something different while the younger scouts are at a traditional camp. The camp director's attitude, lousy record keeping, and exceptionally poor MB program were reasons why we probably would not return to Cole in the future though.

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Other camps in Michigan:

Camp Rotary, Clare, MI LHAC

Paul Bunyan Scout Reservation, Mio, MI Lake Huron Area

www.lhacbsa.org

Camp Gerlick, Traverse City, MI Scenic Trails Council

www.stcbsa.org

Camp Madron, Kalamazoo, MI Southwest Michigan Council

www.bsaswmc.org

Camp Gerber, Grand Rapids, MI Gerald R. Ford Council

www.bsagrfc.org

Camp Munhacke

Camp Teetonkah

Camp Muscootah

Great Sauk Trail Council

www.gstcbsa.org

Hope this helps

Dancin Fox

 

 

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DancinFox, I was hoping you would chime in. Can you offer some detail on LHAC camps? I'm just not familiar with them myself.

 

kbandit, Note that Camps Munhacke, Teetonkah, and Muscootah in Great Sauk Trail Council do not offer boy scout summer camp programs (but they're great places to spend a weekend!)

 

 

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Thanks for the responses. I will definately start looking at the offerings. Any more comments on specific camps would be appreciated.

Thanks again

Kbandit

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Camp Rotary is a modern camp 9 miles north of Clare. It features a dining hall and quite a full program. I was just up there on Thursday for the Camp Inspection. It has a COPE course, Low, High, and Ropes. The food is great and a real treat if your not looking for rustic camping. PBSR is more of a rustic camp about 7 miles north of Mio, MI. When you get to camp, the troop set up their tents and tear them down at the end of the week. Dining is in an open pavillon and one night during the week, you cook in your campsite. It to has a great program but is quite hilly.

Dancin

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Camp Tapico in Kalkaska, Michigan is a patrol cooking camp. There is no dining hall. They offer the usual camp programs, a cope course, and tons of mosquitoes. Sometimes, its a race between the deer flies and the mosquitoes to see which are more annoying.

 

ccjj

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A friend of mine saw my post here and reminded me that White Hall MIchigan is practically on the WEST shore of Lake Michigan. 10 miles east would make for a mighty soggy camp! Owasippe lies to the WEST of White Hall. Actually I should say Camps becasue we have more than one on the reservation. Camp Black Hawk is a dinning hall camp with swimming in Big Blue Lake. Camp Wolverine the meals are delivered to your site three times a day so it's troop camping without the cooking and cleaning. Swimming is in a pool. I believe a troop can still arrange to use Camp Hiawatha Beach which is lone troop and requires the troop to buy food and do the whole lone troop thing. Aquatics would be in Big Blue Lake. Camp Carlen offers program for senior scouts and Venturing Crews. Swimming in a pool. Camp Robert Crown offers high adventure treks in backpacking and canoeing.

LongHaul

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I would be remiss if I did not chime in and note Camp Tamarack, on the Wood Lake Scout Reservation near Jones Michigan, is a good choice. This camp is ran by the LaSalle Council based in South Bend, IN and has excellent facilities, a great lake for swimming and other water related activities, a great wooded location, and a great staff. The price isn't too high, at least the last time I looked.(This message has been edited by NIscouter)

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Ignor any posts I may make that reference directions, map reading, orienteering or the like. I'm still somewhere out in the woods of upper Wisconsin which is on the WEST side of lake Michigan, unlike the state of MIchigan which is on the EAST side of lake MIchigan.

Sorry just dazed and confused right now

LongHaul:)

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There is one more camp in Michigan which has yet to be mentioned. D Bar A Scout Ranch. I have not spent a week of summer camp there (yet), but I am looking forward to it. We just started a new Troop from what was a Webelos 2 den.

 

However, I have camped at D Bar A many times over the past 5 years with Cubs and OA and I can assure you it is an outstanding camp. At 1,700 acres, with three lakes, it is huge. D Bar A is one of only a handful of working Scout ranches in the country, offering several riding and ranch hand programs. Where else can a boy learn how to manage a herd of longhorn cattle?

 

Programs for summer seem to be outstanding with the full complement of swimming, boating, rifle ranges, and climbing facilities. Detroit Area Council offers a very popular and well run Trail to Eagle program each summer.

 

Many troops from surrounding councils choose to use D Bar A for their summer camp experience because of the facility and how well the programs are run.

 

Give it a try!

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I would echo Lisabob's comments about Cole Canoe Base. I really love that place. In my experience, that staff has always been great, though I do agree that some of the MB sessions we're that great. FYI, they are going through some trouble, both financially and personnel wise, and some of the camp director and other senior staff is retiring, so that might help to explain some of the logistical problems. I would like to add that their river/high adventure program is EXCELLENT. The staff is very flexible with that program, and can put together a canoe trip of just a few hours, up to a week-long trip. The camp's property is beautiful, and is located near a couple small towns, in case you find yourself needing to run to the store or something. The food service is all troop or patrol cooking, and the food tends to be very good. Their commissary staff has always been very flexible with altering menus and food issues, sometimes on very short notice. They had different camp wide programs every night, including a cooking contest, and festivities surrounding the Ecology area, Outdoor Skills area and waterfront, and an icecream social, movie night, popcorn/pretzel sale, dance night, etc - never a dull moment. Their closing campfire on Friday night is spectacular.

 

Unfortunately, their merit badge program does have some problems, and I really hope they can address that, as it does put a big black mark on an otherwise "perfect" camp, in my opinion.

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Being from Michigan we have been to a number of summer camps around the State.

We had a bad time at Coleand the boys swore to never go back

We did Tapico this year. Great sites, T21 program was good. Excellent metal working MB if you can get the boys signed up very early(and double check to make sure they get in) Camp director is very "customer service" kind of guy. We will go back

 

We have heard Great things about Rotary and are going to give it a try in 08. We go in the winter for a ice fishing,snowshoeing,snow tubing campout. The boys love the place.

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