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Multiple Summer camps?

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I thought I would take a quick poll. How many troops plan to attend more than one camp each summer? (or the same camp more than once)


If you do attend more than one camp, what is your reasoning? To include scouts who might miss one camp? To offer a different price tiered camp? To give two levels of experience? Too big to go as a single group?


Please provide as many details as you can for the reasoning.

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The troop I work with has always gone to two camps - one in early June, and the other in mid July. The troop is about 70 registered scouts. About 50 go to the first camp, and about 25 to the second. Some scouts go to both, some go to one, some the other. One is in council, the other out of council. There's ususally 1 or 2, sometimes 3 high adventure trips during the summer. Some scouts do everything, others just high adventure. There are enough active adults around to support all this. This gives scouts that can't make one camp the chance to go to the other - or scouts that want to work on merit badges different opportunities

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We go to three.


The troop hosts its own camp, originally meant to teach basic scouts skills. All the T21 skills are taught. This will be our third summer of doing this and as the scouts want to continue to come to this we will be adding a few merit badges. This is much less expensive than the other camps. We budget $150 for the 5 nights, so it is also popular with scouts on a tight budget. Attendance is between 1/3 and 1/2 of the troop. It may be higher this year, registration starts after crossover. We've more quality control on these skills then at a council camp, we've also found that we retain about > 90% of the scouts that go to it. Since almost all new scouts go, it has made a big difference on retention.


We also go to an instate camp. There are three in the state (actually there are four, but we've not been to the other one), two in council. We rotate between them. Most scouts go to these to work on merit badges and do things we don't at the troop's camp (aquatics, shooting sports, COPE, etc.) Coat generally runs about $300 for 6 nights. Typically about half the troop does this, but not this year. We started rotating because scouters got bored going to the same camp every year.


We also do a high adventure camp out of state. Often this is associated with a nearby merit badge camp. Originally this started out as just a high adventure trip, but if you are going anyway you might as well take a contingent to the merit badge camp as well. Attendance is highly variable. This year we are going to Emerald Bay and most of the scouts that can afford it are going. IIRC, about 1/3 of the troop is going there for $500-600 (I don't think we have anyone in Rugged S this year though).


Overall, between 85-90% of the scouts will go to at least one camp this summer. My guess is that if we only went to one this would drop to about 50%.

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The scouts in this troop have settled into scheduling a fairly consistent 3-year plan of:

- Either Seabase or Philmont in June for 12 days.

- One week at council summer camp in mid-July.

- Scout-planned high adventure in August - mountain backpacking for a week or canoeing for 4 days. This flipflops each year to counter the sailing or backpacking of Seabase or Philmont.


Some scouts that miss the troop summer camp or want to complete another round of merit badges attend "All-Star Camp" at the council camp. This pulls individual scouts from various troops into a single camping group. They always love it.

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Our troop attends 2 camps each summer, one in June, one in July. One explanation for June AND July is that the church (CO) has Bible School in July so we can't use the troop meeting place that week anyway.


There are probably 35-40 boys in the troop. We usually have about 15 boys at each camp. Of those, there are maybe 2 or 3 boys who attend both. For most boys, they choose which they want to attend based on several factors: how long since we've been to that particular camp, family summer obligations, facilities at the camp, and program offerings. Costs are usually comparable at the 2 camps, so that's not much of a factor. Our council does not offer summer camp at all (long story), so we have to go out of council, no matter what. Our SM decides the 2 camps, but the boys choose which they will attend (either, both, or neither).


Most camps seem to offer roughly the same basic merit badges, with a few added programs to keep interest high. Our boys have generally not taken advantage of special opportunities, like high adventure jaunts for older Scouts, although that should be a real draw. They also do not participate in New Scout / T-2-1 programs that many camps offer, so that's not a consideration either. There are a couple of camps that we have returned to, after having a good experience, but with going to 2 each summer, we have a chance to visit many different camps in the South.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Our troop has been doing 2 summer camps (plus a High Adventure trip) for several years now. It started after the year that we took 60+ boys to one summer camp. Talk about crowd control! We learned very quickly that many scouts makes it very difficult to get organized or anywhere as a troop on time.


From that point on, we have offered two camp options each year. One is in-state (Colorado) and we basically tell all new cross-overs that they must go to that camp if they go to summer camp with the troop. Scouts who have been with the troop for more than a year are free to choose either the in-state or out-of-state camp. The PLC choose both which in-state camp and which out-of-state camps to go to and the out-of-state camp is usually chosen for the unique program offerings at that camp. We are blessed with several good choices for in-state camps between 4 different councils plus a Kansas council who's camp is in Colorado. The in-state camps tend to get rotated with our in-council camp getting chosen more often than the rest but not overwhelmingly so.


We are a fairly large troop although we're not above 100 scouts as we were the year we took 60+ to camp, our registrations now hover around 70+ and we'll typically see 20-30 scouts at each of the summer camp choices.


One of our ASMs is a big fan of the boundary waters so he'll organize a high adventure trip there about every other year with some other high adventure choice the other years.

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Before I got involved in the Council, I was a leader in a rather large troop in our town. Our troop regularly did three camps each year.


We have a nice local council camp, with a great younger scout program. It's older scout program is lacking. So we encouraged our first and maybe even our second year scouts to attend locally. This helped the council, and helped our guys get ready for more adventures. Many of those first year boys just bridged out of Webelos, so they needed a little more help. We ran aged based patrols, so it was just easy to send these 1 or 2 patrols to our local camp. We also found that our Troop Guides were very willing to go to this camp as it was less money than the other options. We'd send one experience Assistant Scoutmaster with a couple of new ASMs (usually newer dad's wanting to be involved) to go and see the troop pattern.


We also have access to some very nice camps in California, and we'd go to a different "main camp" each summer. We would make it plain that any boy that wanted to go the "main camp" was welcomed, but encouraged to stay local that first year. This also gave us some more time to help them raise the money they'd need for these higher expenses.


We had a rotation of Philmont, Northern Tier, Sea Base & Jamboree as our older boy program. Again, this was easy since patrols were aged based. It also gave the boys time to earn the money they'd need to make these trips. Most of the guys would be able to attend more than one of these, but few got all four. It worked for us, and helped us keep older boys involved. Not only in leadership but active with camping, fund raising, and preparing for that next big trip.

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