Jump to content

When did summercamp change?

Recommended Posts

Was lookng on the WWW for a new summercamp and cannt seem to find one that is in the Texas area and is not a merit badge factory. We want to go somewhere else next summer because at our councils camp, if the boys are not in a merit badge class there is nothing for them to do.


I remember growing up and having plenty to do at camp whether you did merit badges or not. It just doesn''t seem right to charge this amount of money, and give the boys nothing to do.


Please chime in and tell how it is where you go.



Link to post
Share on other sites

I was looking through some of the High Adventures on the main BSA site this evening. Not the official National ones, but the ones offered by some of the councils. OR, TX, WY, and MD seem to have some really interesting ones. They''re about the same cost as the merit badge mill the boys went to this summer (An Eagle-required badge in less than an hour????). Our SM is tossing around doing our own camp this summer rather than have a bored 14-year old "teach" Citizenship.

Link to post
Share on other sites

CM Fred:


If you want a challenging backpacking trail operated by a local Council, I suggest Western Los Angeles Council''s Camp Whitsett (www.whitsett.org) and their Silver Knapsack Trail.


I did it for the first time as a 12 year old!


Beyond that, Starr''s Guide to the John Muir Trail is an excellent way to discover the High Sierra on the Pacific Crest Trail. It should be available at any number of book dealers including all the usual online places.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In our area it seems to me that most of the Council Summer Camps are focused on merit badges.

I''m guessing this is because what sells?

As others have posted there are of course High Adventure Camps, but many of these only allow Scouts over 14 to participate in the HA programs.

The $64,000 question is what does the PLC want to do or get out of a Summer Camp?

They have a lot of options open to them.

A week long hike? Bike hike? Canoe trip?

Back home in the UK, we never had the Council Summer Camp.

About this time of year the PLC would come up with a list of ideas about what they wanted to do. From that list we would make another list of where we could go to do that activity.

Where possible we would visit these places, looking for a place to camp. Either at an established Scout Camp or in the field of a friendly farmer. At Easter the PLC would camp at the site and we would look at and for places to get what we needed, maybe the local swimming pool, the Fish and Chip Shop!!

At times the PLC opted to visit a place just to visit and we would fill in the program from there with different activities.

I do strongly urge you to have a full program worked out and down on paper before you leave. The idea of having a "Restful -Do nothing time" really doesn''t work.

Strange thing is how much and how many Merit Badge requirements can be met on a camp like this without the Scouts even really knowing they are meeting them.

It does mean a lot of hard work for the adults with equipment and feeding problems (Someone has to go to the store for the food!!)


Link to post
Share on other sites

When did it change? We did merit badges when I was a kid in the seventies. Back then it was mostly the outdoors badges. I got swimming, lifesaving, canoeing, rowing, conservation, cooking, ect. Back then it was much more difficult to get a merit badge during the rest of the year because they did not do them in the troop setting. You had to find your counceler yourself. How do you find a conservation guy in a town of 60,000. Most of my badges I got from summer camp. I think we did hiking in the troop, only because we got an ASM who was a Vietnam war vet recently returned home and he liked to do that stuff.


Our summer camp in eastern Oklahome is Hale Scout Reservation. They get college students as camp councelers so they are average 20 years old. It is a mixed bag as far as how well they do the MB''s. The first year I went my sons Indian Lore badge was "taught" by a guy who was more interested in the girl teaching leatherwork nearby than in the course material. In a place like Oklahoma that is a crime. Now they have a college student who is Indian (Creek or Chactaw, I think) do this badge. But my kid learned how to handle every sort of boating activity they offered there, and he learned well.


Summer Camp is ready made for some of the badges that take an extended stay in the outdoors. Environmental Science is a problem to do in the troop, since it takes several days of observation in the same place. Doing it over several campouts was a logistical nightmare.


I do like the idea of taking a summer every once in a while and doing a week long high adventure trek as a troop. Our boys are starting to grumble about going to the same place every summer. I am looking into an alternative to our council summer camp. It is a step away from what I know (I recently took the SM job. Boy, what was I thinking) and am exploring the alternatives.







Link to post
Share on other sites

I gues I should have been clearer. Even when I went as a scout they taught merit badges, but if you wanted to do something else during the day there was plenty to do.

We cannot find one that has things for the boys to do during the day except merit badge classes. I talked to the people at Hale Scout Reservation and they plain told me that free time and open shooting were both in the evening and that htere was nothing to do during the day. I also talked to Buffalo Gap Scout reservation and was told that if they did not take merit badge classes they could stay in the cmapsite.

We would like to find a place that if the boy only wanted to take 1 merit badge, he would still have things to do during the day.

Link to post
Share on other sites



I suspect that you may be hard pressed to find the type of BSA camp that you''re looking for. Certainly the boys who are not doing MB classes can hike the reservation at any time, but beyond this, the resources of most camps are 100% engaged in providing MB classes.


Boy Scout camps are not very flexible. They offer a fixed program that is designed around MB classes. Take swimming for example, all the camps I know of, have one, maybe two 30-45 minute free swim periods per day. My troop went to camp with 25 boys this past summer, 19 of the boys did not take Swimming MB. Not one of those boys was available during either of the free swim periods. Consequently, we spent a week in 90 degree weather and only a very few of our boys got into the water, except for their swim test.


Canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats, all available but only late in the afternoon after MB classes have finished for the day.


I do think that the leather working area was available to anyone who wanted to use the tools.


Frisbee, basketball, horseshoes, a service project, or just hanging out in the campsite are about the only things available to the boys that are not engaged in MB classes


Having said all that, some camps do offer off site trips/treks for older scouts. Check for the camps in your area that have a "High Adventure Base" attached to them, this might be your best bet.



Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...

I hate to admit it, but if it were not for the merit badges offered at summer camps I would not have earned about 80% of the merit badges I have. During the school year, I was active in my Troop, but I did not work on badges because of other interests and extracurricular programs. Needless to say, I was not on the "Eagle Mill" track. I enjoyed my Troop for almost 5 years, but merit badges were not my focus.


The summer camps I attended in the Circle Ten Council in the early to mid-1970's were "merit badge factories". I think this have been going on for long time now.


I remember one summer when I only took 2 merit badge classes. The rest of the time I would go hiking, exploring, and just checking out nature. It was fun and relaxing.


Link to post
Share on other sites



S-F in Missouri has started some new programs with an outdoor program for 14 Yr old & 4th summer camp, also the OA is going to be running a new program not annouced yet. In the past our scouts not working on Merit Badges have hiked and fished at one of the many lakes.

Hope this will help



Doug BUth

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, after reading what fotoscout and the others are saying, I glad we have C.S. Read (upstate NY). We encourage our scouts to limit themselves to one or two MB's at camp.


Rest of the time is used up

Troop Swim

Row Boats


Greased watermelon (at waterfront)

Zip line in to lake

Volley ball

Hoarse back riding

White water rafting


indoor Climbing wall

rappelling (on the rocks)

Two sets of caves

hiking/ berry picking

a few small mountains to climb and sleep on

staff hunt

two camp fires

camp wide games

free shoot (bow, rifle and shotgun)


I will say the best activity is limited to nights only but that's just how star gazing is. And if you insist in spoiling it, you can take astronomy MB.


Please tell me we're not the only ones doing this kind of camping!

No wonder numbers are down if all they get is MB classes.

Link to post
Share on other sites



So are you saying that many of those things are available to the boys during the day at the same time as Merit Badge classes are going on?


My boys have been to three different summer camps, and at all of them, if there was a merit badge "class" going on, you couldn't use the pool, the shooting range, boats etc. etc.



(This message has been edited by cubscoutjo)

Link to post
Share on other sites


I won't say every item is open at all times but I will say my guys come tired and with more partials than completed MB's.

My selling point for camp is I guarantee each scout that they will do or see something new that they have never done or seen in their life each year they go to camp. Not one boy has beat me yet even after they have been to camp 6 years in a row.


White water rafting is off site so you schedule it and check out the camp van to go.

We have a stable on the reservation with 10 horses. The MB class needs them for a two hours a day, the rest of the time they offer them for trail rides (about $10).


COPE, indoor Climbing wall, rappelling (on the rocks) and Zip line are at the other end of the reservation, you reserve staff and hike up when it's your troops turn.


Water front staff have to take care of the MB's first but we get is a troop row boat swamp and a game of Greased watermelon each year.


Troop shoots and free shoots are a bit harder to get but it can be done. Most years we pass on it because NY law limits the ages of shooters.


In most cases if a troop suggest something, the staff will make it happen.


Oh and you can sign one of three hand crank ice cream makers to go with your dutch oven apple pie.

quote from past post------------------


Curtis S. Read Scout reservation is about 30 miles north west of Lake George NY in the town of Brant Lake. It belongs to the Westchester-Putnam Council of NY. It has three camps, Buckskin (traditional dinning hall camp), Waubeeka (patrol cooking) and Summit base (stagging area for treks of all kinds plus rock climbing, indoor climbing walls, COPE (high and low), Zipline into pond and a lot more). The reservation also has a horse barn with 10 horses for use of all the camps.

You can my summer camp phtos on my website http://onmyhonor.com or you can view the camps website at http://www.wpcbsa.org/Read/


Great camp.

(This message has been edited by wingnut)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...