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clemlaw

Family Camp

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The words "family camp" mean a few different things in the BSA, so I should clarify which one I'm talking about.

 

Our council's summer camp has a "family camp" which is intended primarily for families of Scouts and Scouters whose troops are camping there that week. They have programs which appear to be geared for kids 10 and under, the younger siblings of the Scouts. They have both cabins and RV/tent sites. This happens to be the camp where my troop went most summers when I was a Scout.

 

If the spots aren't taken by a certain date, they are then opened up to families of any registered youth or adult member. I noticed that the suggested packing list included Cub Scout uniform and Cub Scout book.

 

It looks like a great program (and very inexpensive--about the same as our state parks). My son is a Tiger this year (I'm not sure if he'll officially be a Wolf over the summer), and my daughter will be 5 years old. So I think we're going to sign up if a spot is available when we're eligible.

 

This seems to be a well kept secret in our council, and I wonder if anyone has ever taken part in this kind of family camp, especially if you're not connected with a troop that's at camp that week.

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Hmmm... I have never found it necessary to family camp at BSA facilities. I always have taken my kids on various high adventure trips and reserved the family camping for more exotic locales.

 

I camp twice as often as my scouts. They go to camp, to camporees, maybe a white-water canoe outing now and then, cabin camp in the winter, occasionally a special trip somewhere, etc. but I generally go where no one else goes and I take my family and friends.

 

Camping on a river sandbar 5 miles from the closest building is far more exciting than some camp's "program" for kids in an open field just off of the summer camp site facility. Eating institutional food from a mess hall or sleeping in a wall tent with cot. Nope not for me.

 

And before anyone starts in with the Tigers having to start some place, well, I did a lot of what today's BSA calls high adventure BEFORE I started Cub Scouts! I had a family that camped! I could get 20 days of camping in before the summer was half over. If I couldn't get 40-50 days of camping in per summer it just wasn't summer! I owned my own pup-tent and sleeping bag BEFORE I started Cub Scouts. No, it wasn't something my parents bought, I bought them with my allowance money.

 

Whereas most boys think shooting .22's at camp is exciting. I received my first .22 for my 12th birthday. I had already been actively hunting squirrel, rabbit and pheasant long before BSA said I could even touch a .22.

 

One would have thought that BSA would have been a natural fit for me. It wasn't. After 4 years I made 2nd class and finally quit.

 

In the BSA program for most people "family camp" is an add-on extra. For me BSA camping even with it's high adventures is the add-on extra.

 

Pulling into an RV site, or renting a cabin and eating at a mess hall just so I could sit around a fire and sing songs with my family? Nope, never happened.

 

Does my family still camp? Mom's passed, Dad's in assisted living, and yet my daughter and I just got back from a nice camping weekend last month. My fiancee and I did a great kayak weekend outing in early November, too. Nothing is greater than quietly drifting into a flock of Tundra Swans as they rest for the night on their migration south.

 

Instead of wanting to share my scout camping with my family, I'm always wanting to share my family camping with my boys. :)

 

Super-8 is not a patrol franchise...

 

Stosh

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Well, they definitely don't have a dining hall, and I'm pretty sure they do not have an "open field" anywhere nearby. The program consists mostly of having the beach staffed for the majority of each day.

 

But we'll be sleeping in a--gasp--tent trailer, and we might even turn on the electric lights while we get ready for bed! And some of our cooking will be over a--gasp--gas stove! (But it's my understanding that Scouts do most of their cooking that way these days.) And I hear they have one of those newfangled "flush toilets", a shower, and a machine you can put your dirty clothes in and have them washed automatically!

 

So I apologize for this camping experience being insufficiently pure. We should probably just do like most other people and stay home. :)

 

But yes, I do want to share with my family what our council has available. It sounds like our council camp is quite a bit better than yours, though, since it's not just open fields, dining halls, etc.

 

Basementdweller, what do you mean the cost goes up? You just mean that it's more expensive this year than it was last year? I think ours went up about $10 over last year, but it still looks like a bargain.

 

And by the way, I'm naturally grumpy, so I don't sing while sitting around a fire, anyway. :)(This message has been edited by clemlaw)

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I'm just curious, why would parents and sibling want to follow their sons to camp? I for one can't wait until my three can be at summer camp for a week by themselves. But what I really can't wait for is when the youngest turns 15 and all three can work summer camp. I bet my food,electric, water and other bills go way down for 2 months ;)

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Our two long term Boy Scout camps both have a "family camp" area. (I'm in the same council as clemlaw). They have historically been available so the spouse (aka wife) of the Scoutmaster and the younger siblings in the family could camp while the troop is at summer camp. They were intended as a way for the whole family to go on "vacation" at the same time. Some of the program features of the camp are available to the family camp staff. Horseback riding, for instance is available during times when the horses are not in use by the Boy Scouts. There is a craft area, with programming for the siblings.

 

My family went one year and enjoyed it immensely.

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My family went one year and enjoyed it immensely.

 

Thanks for the firsthand information. Was it Many Point where you went? We now live in what used to be Indianhead Council, but I grew up in Minneapolis, so my experience with a youth was with Many Point.

 

Uh, oh, now I have that song stuck in my head again...."Many Point Scout Camp, that's the place to be....." :)

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I'm just curious, why would parents and sibling want to follow their sons to camp?

 

I'm also counting the days until Clemlaw, Jr., goes to Scout camp for the first time. I have this nagging suspicion that I'll get my arm twisted into being an ASM. But if not, what a peaceful week that will be. :)

 

If I do get my arm twisted into going along, then it will definitely be a peaceful week for Mrs. Clemlaw, and I doubt if she will want to tag along. As I mentioned above, I'm naturally grumpy, so she'll be free of both of us for a week. :)

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jblake- For those whose families don't camp, it is a great way to expose them to camping. Or at least their definition of camping. While it won't count as camping to a grizzled outdoorsman such as yourself, it could open a new world to city kid who may have never had the oppurtunity to cut their teeth in the wild as you did.

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My son's tiger year we went to day camp and resident camp.....he wanted to share the experience with his sister and mom. Our council puts on a 3 day family resident camp for cub families.

 

It was fun, son and daughter had a great time.

 

We ate in the dining hall, they swam shot bb guns together.

 

I am lucky in that my children enjoy each other and get along.

 

the cost goes up because it was $40 x 4 people.

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Oh, I get it.

 

In our case, it will be one price, no matter how many kids, but we're on our own for food.

 

But yes, the day camps we've been to sometimes get a little bit pricey when we bring the whole family.

 

I do have a correction to my post above. It turns out there is a dining hall, and it looks like we can eat there if we want to. It's only four miles away, so maybe we'll hike over there for lunch. :) I don't think there's an open field, though.

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Since you are posting from St. Paul I assume you are talking about Many Points. MP and our camp Owasippe have a common thread by the name of Wint Hartman. Once he developed Many Points to a Troop type camp with family camp he camp to work for chicago area council and help develop Owasippe scout reservation to the troop model with a family camp.

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>>>Since you are posting from St. Paul I assume you are talking about Many Points.some camp's "program" for kids in an open field just off of the summer camp site facility. Eating institutional food from a mess hall or sleeping in a wall tent with cot.

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Like any program, it is always less expensive to do your own thing than pay someone to do it for you.

 

This is why my family was a camping family. It was and still is, cheaper to camp than get a hotel room. It's cheaper to eat out of a Coleman cooler than an restaurant. The money we saved meant we could go that much further afield.

 

If one's first experience in camping consists of a high priced fancy program of all bells and whistles, one might as well "camp" at the nearest waterpark/amusement park because the kids are going to enjoy that a lot more.

 

And if parents haven't camped before, what makes anyone think it's going to inspire them to all of a sudden become outdoors people that camp a dozen times a year just because they showed up at Boy Scout camp for the weekend and put up with the bugs and left over programming, i.e. Dad's doing the SM thingy and Mom's got the kids and trying to find something for them to stay out of trouble for awhile?

 

I think the gesture is honorable, but not very feasible for cost or effective for inspiration. I'm thinking the BSA program would be better served finding the nearest hotel to the camp, getting a discount and having mom and the rest of the family hang out at the pool.

 

Just my opinion.... :)

 

Stosh

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I'm still not sure which one you're talking about.

 

If you're referring to the $100 per Cub Scout weekend program, then I agree that it's not a very good bargain.

 

If you're talking about the family camp at the council summer camp, then it certainly appears to be a very nice, very cheap, campground that happens to be located on council property (a few miles from where the troops are staying).

 

You're right, it's probably not a great spot for the SM's wife if she would rather be staying at the Hilton.

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