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Lisabob

a brand new summer camp

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Well, not exactly. Actually, the camp facility is an old one, but the summer camp program is brand new. Our council has previously not offered its own BSA summer camp, leaving all of the troops to attend other councils' camps instead. Considering all we hear about other summer camps shutting down and properties being sold, I thought this must be a pretty unusual step!

 

From what little I have seen the program is somewhat limited, at least this first time out. Only 3 sessions, no Eagle-required MBs offered.

 

 

 

 

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Whoa, Nelly!

 

There's a council out there that's opening a camp?

 

Lisabob, aren't you somewhere in Central Region? Michigan or Ohio or somesuch, right?

 

Why would any tom-fool of a council start a camp program in da upper midwest when the numbers aren't supportin' the camps that currently exist, and there are a lot of young families leavin' to find work in other places?

 

On da positive side, at least they held on to the camp property so they had options for kids in the future, but why now? Did they get a super-large donation or bequest to help 'em kick it off or something?

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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Yes I am in Michigan, and no, the economy has not suddenly improved. It is certainly a daring move. I don't recall hearing about any major donations that made this possible. But they have spent quite a bit of money renovating this camp in the last 5 years and in the last couple of years they've run some "trail to Eagle" and T-2-1 summer programs. These were 3-5 day programs that were apparently leading up to the opening of a full-blown summer camp program this year. So I can hope that this is part of a long-term strategy with budgeting to back it.

 

I don't know how many troops will attend this year. To be honest, most troops around here already have a routine that includes other councils' summer camps, and that may take some time to change. Also, I don't think our council got word out early enough for this summer. A lot of troops probably already had plans to attend other council camps this year. My guess is that next summer will see better attendance, as long as the program is still there.

 

But yes. A brand new summer camp program, opening up at a scout camp near me.

 

 

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Our Council has not operated a summer camp in about 5 years. Attendance had been dropping for some time before that. Our camp just couldn't compete with the amenities at other Council camps.

 

This past December we held our first-ever (and expected first-annual) 3-night/4-day winter camp. It was a success, with more than 50 Scouts and 20 staff. Maybe LONG-term (WAY long-term) this will kick start having summer camp again, but that likely won't happen until some major capital improvement occurs. Until then, hopefully winter camp will grow and at least get boys back to our camp.

 

clyde

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My council, Del-Mar-Va, is in the process of opening up a new Cub-centered summer camp. While it's in the preliminary stages now, doing land-use approvals and such, my understanding is that the property will combine the new council HQ and the camp. (It's in a much more central location than the old HQ.) Once the camp is open, the 3.5 weeks of Cub resident camp currently offered at one of the two existing resident camps will end, and it'll shift just to a full season of Boy Scout camp.

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Great camps you guys have in Del-Mar-Va, shortridge.

 

It amazed my unit and I that a council relatively small compared to our own (Cradle of Liberty) can maintain 2 reservations and be building a new one when we can only operate one. What's the secret? We were at Rodney for a weekend this past winter and were really impressed by the camp as well as the campmaster program.

 

 

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I noticed that you said that they are not offereing any eagle MB's. That sounds like they are going to try to get away from the MB Mill.

 

I think it would be interesting to find a camp that offers reduced sessions so that they boys that are there can go through and have more fun activities. Extra Swimming, Extra Hikes. Maybe some open archery time.

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I don't know, Sctdad. True they are not offering Eagle-required MBs (and I'm fine with that, although one or two seem like good outdoor fits - swimming? environmental science?). On the other hand, they have a traditional 5-merit badge-sessions a day kind of schedule. And the MB choices are somewhat limited, and there don't appear to be any more adventurous options for older scouts who have "been there, done that." This isn't a complaint, necessarily. After all this is the first year they will operate and you have to start with something! But I wonder who they are trying to draw? It looks to me like the "audience" may be troops with a lot of young scouts, and/or individual scouts who can't attend their troop's week at some other camp and so want a close-to-home provo option. I guess if a troop were splitting up, so that young scouts went to traditional camp and older scouts went on a high adventure trip, this might also work out.

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PhillyScout - I wish I knew the secret, because then I could market myself as a camp consultant and get rich. ;)

 

One thing that I know is really helpful at both Henson and Rodney is a large group of committed local volunteers - campmasters, camp staff, Venturing crew members, OA leaders, etc. They're intensely loyal to their camp of choice, and put a lot of their time into keeping things running - program and maintenance both.

 

The council also has paid careful attention to the camp leadership. At Henson, the former camp director got promoted a few years back to support services director at the council. They chose a fellow who'd been on staff there for 10+ years to succeed him. So there were no transition issues, no institutional memory lost.

 

The camps also offer complementary programs, so you can get a different experience at each one. Rodney is known for sailing and mountain biking, while Henson has a really good first-year camper program and (until recently) a COPE course.

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I know which camp Lisabob is talking about. it's in our backyard. It's one of the oldest camps in the country and many years ago had Summer camp.

Part of the long term plan is to bring that back. If I remember right there was some cash donated to build a new dining hall(very impressive) and they have made some other improvements. We have several Scouts going because the week we chose for camp doesn't fit their schedule. We also have several older Scouts who are working at the camp this summer. I'm sure it's going to be a "test the waters" kind of year but we are all hoping for the best.

 

BTW lisabob I didn't know we were in the same council.

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cheffy, I didn't realize that, either! I took another look at one of the brochures the other day - and I notice that it is being billed as the "second oldest BSA camp in the country." No idea whether that's objective truth or just local bragging rights (I understand there are heated debates about "oldest" and so on...). But yes, it is a lovely property with major structural improvements in the last few years.

 

Also, I stand corrected - there are some Eagle-required badges offered. First Aid, Camping, and Swimming (I think that was it). I'm glad to see no mention of the citizenship badges, personal management, family life, etc. Those are important but shouldn't have a place at summer camp!

 

cheffy, I hope you'll post some of your impressions once you hear from the fellows who worked staff. I don't think anybody in my son's troop will be going this year, but there could be interest in the future.

 

 

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