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National Summer Camp

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Having been at Philmont earlier this summer and having some very high ranking Texas folks there, here's what we were told. The Summit will be the new Jambo site. It will run a summer camp style program after it's first Jambo (we'll be lucky to have it completed by then). It will also run a high adventure base featuring mountain bikin, whitewater rafting/canoeing, and rock climbing/repelling, backpaking will also probably be available. Facilities (campsites, trails) have to be built in the state/national forest next to the Summit to support the summer programs.


A training center like Philmont will also be built in the future. The Jambo comes first, then high adventure, summer camp of some sort and then the training center.


The point that was driven home over and over again during the discussion of this awesome facility is that the next Jambo WILL NOT BE LIKE ANYTHING IN RECENT HISTORY (caps for emphasis). It will very likely be quite primitive by this year's standards. And potetnially much smaller too.

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Hi Trainerlady -


Were they just setting expectations lower for the next Jamboree (due to the time they have to prepare) or are they going in a new direction with the Jamborees? Perhaps with all future Jamborees being smaller than they've been recently.





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I think they are doing both. They site is being built in the middle of the woods from the ground up vs. an equipped military base. There is NOTHING repeat NOTHING there. The BSA has to build it ALL. That said I wouildn't be surprised to see the focus of the event change too. At least for the next Jambo. More basics and less flash. just my $0.02.


Also with less infrastucture in place I would expect it to have a lower attendence limit too.


One other thing noted at the discussions at Philmont is that rail/Amtrak lines go right by the border of our property. There are hopes that the BSA and Amtrak can team up to provide some sort of transportation services to reduce the number of car/vans and buses coming through the wilderness. This would also decrease the need for road building and extensive engineering projects for the first Jambo. I think it'd be really neat to have the kids come in by rail. Not many kids these days have ridden on a train.

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  • 1 month later...

Why build it from the ground up when they could just buy one of the "abandoned" military bases like what's now called March Air Reserve base in Riverside, CA? The military has closed a number of those bases over the years and it seems like it would be a lot cheaper in the long run and provide a much better level of support to get one of those bases, repaint, fix anything that's broken, etc.


It's like my first programming teacher taught me, the most important thing to remember is to not reinvent the wheel -- you'll get much farther, much faster, by using the libraries and things that others have put together instead of trying to build it all yourself.


I can understand if their point was to encourage and promote troops doing more of those basic things themselves, but wouldn't you at least want to start with someplace that already has the basic sewer and similar infrastructure for thousands of people already put in?

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As UCEagle says, Summit was gifted property, like Philmont was (technically, BSA bought it - but every cost of purchase, all $50 million, was covered by the Bechtel family). That's the prime reason it was taken up, I bet - they were getting it for free.


Additionally, former military bases are a very bad idea these days for a few reasons:


1. Environmental remediation: It's a big problem these days - there isn't a base that's been closed that would not require major measures taken to clean it up. Yes, this would ordinarily be done by the service that's closing the base, but it happens on their timeline with no real reason for them to worry about delays. There are plenty of cases where remediation has taken 10-20 years. BSA may take ages to start operations at Summit, for example, but they can't wait 10-20 years for a property to become usable.


2. Population encroachment: Put simply, the military isn't often closing bases in the middle of nowhere. They're keeping those for the most part - they're as desperate for training land as Scouts are for camping land. If a base is being closed, it's because it often is surrounded by population - which tends to rule it out for Scouting purposes, too.


3. Land value: I could be wrong, but I suspect BSA pays property taxes. Most military bases are in what is now prime real estate. Sure, you might be able to buy the property (for which BSA would be forced to pay fair market value, and no lower - the days of BSA as an organization getting deals from the government are long gone), but how would you pay the property taxes, mortgage, etc.?


This all adds up to: If BSA has any sense, they'll take gifted land - land that's either unspoiled (rare), or cleaned up before it's even offered (what we got in this case, I think).


Military bases would not be gifted - they'd be sold, and to get enough land to do anything with it would, in most cases, cost billions of dollars.

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