Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
shortridge

The real cost of camp

Recommended Posts

As a 15-year old first year staffer in 1992, I made $40/week

Wow!  You can't be serious!?!  I was a 14 year old first year staffer (CIT, they called us) in 1980; I made $10 a week, with a 7 week program, including staff week.  The next year, as a returning staffer, was given a significant raise to $20/week. LOL.

But back to the original topic, I think this example needs to be tempered somewhat.  With many troops going out of council for many of their summer camp experiences, many of those 8-week camps are drawing troops out of the prehaps more run down local camps, which now have fewer and fewer campers.  There are many camps which run only 2-3 weeks with less than 200 campers a week.  Some of these camps, in an effort to draw campers, charge as little as $160 a week (with a dining hall). The kinds of funds you are talking about here are in a completely different category, but these are the camps which are in the greatest danger of disappearing.  With the amount of income they are generating, and property from 500 to 1000 or more acres, it is next to impossible to run, maintain, and prehaps most importantly, improve to make them competitive with many of these larger, better funded camps.

I heard of one (large, well funded) camp which made several (7?) million in upgrades just 2 or 3 years ago.  I would be surprised if our camp's operating budget has cumulatively reached that figure since it was opened in 1961.

Average is a great discussion phrase, but it in cases of summer camps, I would guess that this includes fewer camps than one might imagine.  I am not disagreeing with your figures, only trying to give them some perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Points of comparison:

 

Music Camp, not the most expensive, not the least: $375 a week base. Private lessons and the concert CDs were tack-ons.

 

Future Astronaut Training Program at Kansas Cosmosphere: $695 for 1st year program (7-10 graders)

2d year program $795

3d year program, including trip to Johnson Space Center, Houston... $895.

 

Those are real camps EagleSon attended before college, in addition to Scout Camp. Costs are for 2009 season.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But what on non-camp activiites on Camp Grounds? Capital costs were mentioned. Do you use the COuncil Camp for unit camp outs, for OA events? For other uses, should the Campers at SUmmer Camp subsidise these activities or do all help keep up the Camp?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our council just instigated a new policy regarding non-summer camp facilities usage. If the unit participates in the council popcorn sale, spring fundraiser (coupon books this year) and FOS, then all facilities usage for the unit are waived for the year. This includes camping, building use, and use of the council canoes and trailers.

 

And "participation" is the key word (kind of like a scout's "active" component). This is great, because, while our troop raised $2000 for the council, and over $1200 for our troop account, we also get the use of all facilites for free. We will be camping at least 3x this year, and taking the canoes on a 5 day trip down the Suwannee River, all for free. Works for us, and obviously the council benefitted as well. I call that a win-win.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was talking with one of our directors of camp this past fall. He was telling me that you would be really surprised at how much foor costs are. He said that it cost about $10,000 every 2 weeks when the food truck pulled in. At least I think he said every two weeks. He may have said every week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

" I was a 14 year old first year staffer (CIT, they called us) in 1980; I made $10 a week, with a 7 week program, including staff week."

 

Buffalo Skipper, when I staffed, CITs worked for free, they also didn't work staff week and only the best of them were asked to stay the entire summer camp...they might have been paid for that last week or so, I'm not sure.

 

For some reason, I got to be regular staff without ever being a CIT. I'm not sure if it was an age thing or just my scouting experience resume. I only worked the one summer, as I went out of country on a youth group trip the next year and then held down a real job as a grocery store bagger (I made more in the first 6 days at Publix than 5 weeks at summer camp) for the summer before college.

 

The OA did set-up and break down so the relatively small camp staff didn't have to (read: free labor).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I recall correctly, CIT's in these parts work for free and only work for two weeks. My son staffs Cub Resident camp and the pay ranges from around $75 to $95 per week depending on the job. Considering that they have a staff day on a Saturday in March, April and May leading up to the opening of camp and the number of hours they put in at camp, they probably end up making about $1 per hour. But they all love it and have a tight bond. Last year my son called me from camp and told me that he couldn't go to Philmont because a number of staffers were leaving and they were going to have some over sold sessions at camp and they needed him. I had to bust his bubble and tell him no dice. The camp and program directors deal with this every year and they will make it work. I appreciated that the staff was a family and a team, but the guys in his crew were depending on him too and we had paid almost $1000 for Philmont. A $85 pay check wouldn't quite offset that. But I digress. Bottom line.....staff does it for the love, not for the money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At least in the camps with which I am familiar, the staff gets a number of things not noted. A small clothing allowance at the start, plus usually 2-3 class B shirts, and sometimes neckerchiefs too. Of course the room and board is a factor. Not sure if the state law has something to do with it in California, but they show this as part of their pay. We have one of those "small" camps, and it is true that it is really hard to staff and run, as we cannot compete with the mega-camps most of the time, even though we have a good site and some unique opportunities. We are down to 2 weeks of regular camp, plus an LDS week, and a couple of weeks of Webloes. It is strange how negative issues seem to drag on forever, even when they are fixed. We had a couple of years of really serious dining hall problems, and the camp's rep has been that it seems ever since, even though it has been more or less solved for a number of years. I suspect that being in SCal without a real lake is an issue too; if we were in some parts of the country, perhaps it would not matter as much. Keeping the smaller camps viable perhaps should be one of the National concerns, as they are so important to the base of Scouting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our council is between camps right now. We recently sold our camp to a developer and have been in the process of locating a suitable replacement site for a time. They have recently selected a site and are in the process of due diligence now. This quote is from our 5 year strategic plan:

 

"Recommend a minimum of $9 million be raised to build a complete Scout

resident camp. This does not include the site itself, a separate Cub Scout facility

or facilities for activities beyond Scouting. It is the strong recommendation that

no capital expenses be incurred until the money is in the bank and budgeted. In-kind

donations and volunteer labor are expected to extend the available money."

 

Keep in mind that the council is planning on building and improving the new camp as the funds become available rather than in a build it they will come mindset. But at least that gives you a benchmark to compare against.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1976 I was paid $90 for 1 week setup, 6 weeks of camp and 1 week teardown. I think I got $10 more the next year.

 

YMCA has a week long sleep away camp that runs about 8 weeks during the summer with dining hall, COPE course, archery, horseback riding (extra $75 elective) and variety of other MB type classes available. About $650-750 a week. No parents or SM's, so more staff involved.

 

Local council camp is $220 a week. Council just spent several million in building new dining hall, new bath/shower facilities and general upgrading of camp. In no way can the $220 per camper cover the costs of MAINTAINING a camp. It does not even cover the cost for the week the camper is there.

 

I think even if they raised the cost $100 per camper per week, it would still be a great value. I would not be thrilled that the cost went up but I would happily pay it because I think the return is there.

 

Yeah, BSA camps should raise the cost of camp at least $25 a year every year just to keep up with inflation and move towards becoming self sufficent finacially.

 

Scouts is not a free activity, it is a potentially lower cost activity that some other choices. $40 x 10 campouts = $400. $100 for a uniform every three years. Troop Dues $75. Summer camp $225-$250 a year. Pack, sleeping bag, mess kit, assorted camping gear, boots, etc about $100 a year. So about $850 a year.

 

My son is on a travel sports team. $250 for uniforming every 3 years. $150-$250 a year for cleats. Coaches fees, travel costs, tournament fees, etc. run about $3500-4500 a year. By comparison, scouts is cheap.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know about the camps where you are at, but I know that locally, we have a lot of our work done on the OA Ordeal Weekends and Lodge Work Days. I think that this helps to offset these costs to the council.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our council (NCAC) a lot of the work is done each year by a volunteer group, the Goshen Bears. Their work is not to be scoffed at but it takes a lot more than a few volunteer weekends a year to keep a scout camp, much less a reservation, operational.

 

In the past few years the camp has replaced all latrines, most if not all shower houses and most of the water craft. In the last ten years they added a climbing tower and a COPE course. They have installed an IT infrastructure so that staff and volunteers have access to wi-fi and the camp offices and trading posts are better connected. Trucks have worn out and been replaced, roofs have been replaced. They purchased It is a lot of money and I probably only see the tip of the iceberg.

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×