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Future of the Local Scout Camp

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Our reservation (Cub and Boy Scout camps) has spent a lot of money on building a state of the art Cub Camp next to the Boy Scout camp. It has a heated/air conditioned mess hall, administration building, health lodge, and more. The camping areas are each based on a theme of sorts. There's a Jamestown type fort, teepees, log cabins, mongolian type round houses, and platforms for normal Scout base camp type tents. There are heaters in most of these facilities, and I don't want to forget the colonial era ship down at the lake and the new pool built next to the castle. Yes, much money was spent. Some of the big buildings were contracted out, but most of this new Cub Camp was built by, you guessed it, Scouter volunteers. For several years, the OA Ordeals (three a year) focused on building this camp. There were also continuous pleas to work out at camp any weekend you want, and bring the Troop, Pack, or Venture team.

So where's the rub, the Boy Scout camp is now in shambles, and Troops and Packs are charged for every facility used on both camps (except for regular Troop tent camping on the Boy Scout side). Everything is used to generate income. It's tough to pay for a the use of a cabin in the winter for training leaders, when I helped build it the past summer. It steams me to no end.

Yes, our resevation (Cub and Boy Scout camps) rents out to almost anyone with the money, all year long.



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I'm sorry sst3rd, I have to disagree with you.

The Council asked for a donation. You donated your time, your skill and your expertize.

Other people lack the skills, the expertize and maybe just are not free to do construction work at the weekends or whenever the work was done. They donated what they could through FOS donations or a direct donation to the project.Does everybody who donated what they could deserve a break when it comes to renting the building? I think not.

I don't know one end of a hammer from the other. I am in the fortunate position that I can donate to the council. So while you provided the hammering I paid for the nail.

When I donate to a charity I do it for the good I think it will do. If the charity is the BSA I hope it will further the work that the BSA does for young people.

If the new facilities are not being kept up, this is poor management and this needs to be corrected.

While I do think that local units should have first "Dibs" on renting Council facilities, I would sooner see these facilities being used by any youth organization then sit idle. Most Councils do allow local units to pay at a preferred rate.

I feel sure that the Order Of The Arrow members look at the work they have done for their Council as Cheerful Service, isn't that a vital part of the Order?


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OK givin that we have not gotten a response from foto I will adress the answer in either of the ways it could go.


Yes the super camps are owned by other councils.

So these camps are a 5 hour drive away from your camp and is getting better attendance. Why? Obviously for what ever reason they are better. is it your plan to ask the other councils to reduce the quality of their program or to reduce the quality of their facilities. Maybe you could get their communities to be less supportive of the scouting program so that the council couldn't spend so much money on their camps?


Speaking of spending money.. how are dare they pay an SE who is able to raise so much money that they can operate such a great camp, and draw scouts from 300 miles away!



OK Lets say its not owned by a council.

Welcome to free enterprise. A private facility 300 miles away is drawing more scouts. How? You have made it quite clear that it isn't the quality of their program.


Imagine the councils in the South East who have that super-camp run by a 5 ft tall mouse. How dare they compete for attendance at the local scout casmps. We are 900 miles awya and had two troops go there this summer instead of our local summer camp.


Competition is everywhere. Quality facilities and program are the onle solution.


Now explain to us how you figure SEs have this conspiracy to profit from spending money on better camps and programs.



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And I disagree with YOU!


Yes, the OA, blah, blah, blah. I'm talking about over and beyond reasonable. I've given to our Council properties for over 35 years. For years, the Council did nothing to upkeep sme of these properties, and if the volunteers didn't get involved, these properties became unusable. Reasonable use of these facilities ought to be free to Council BSA units. If not, then reduced rates. And yes, I paid for the nail too!!!!

I also have no problem with non BSA groups using the facilities.

Our Troop has gone to another Council's summer camp's (they have 7) for years. So, although we work and support our own Council's properties, we go where the Scouts want to go, because the programs available are outragiously better than our own Council's camp. Fees are higher, but they also pay their Staff more. Every year, most of the Staff is back. Talk about summer camp Spirit!!!!



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I don't know how it works in other Councils. In our Council the fees for Summer Camp and the use of camp facilities is set by the Camping Committee and approved by the Board.

All these guys are Volunteers.

I do know that not charging reasonable and realistic fees is not generate any income which might help offset the cost of improvements.

At this time we do allow troops to camp on camp grounds that we own at no cost. However if they require hot water in the shower block turned on there is a fee. If they wish to use the buildings there is a fee. One camp is very primitive. I have for years been pushing to have it upgraded. It has outhouses. All the water is from wells. The cost of bringing in city water is over $240,000.

At present the camp is used mainly by Districts for Camporees. A few years back we did build a house on the camp grounds for the Camp-masters. We had used trailers but the local Vandals were forever getting in and doing damage, till one day they burned it down. A lot of my friends were involved in the construction. I went with them a lot of the time to hold the ladder and do other "important" tasks. My main role was cooking lunch and keeping them watered. I know that the building came in under budget but still the cost was almost $100,000.

I do think that spending all that money to build a building that will house two Camp-masters, two nights a week is a lot. Some weeks there are no campers. In fact a lot of weeks there are no campers, during the summer it is hardly used. Over the holidays it isn't used. When there are campers it is normally just one or two troops. There is another building that I seem to use more then anyone else. I use it for Jamboree Troop meetings, Training's, Big District meetings and when I can I try and get the District Activities Committee to use it. My hope is that if we use it enough maybe we will one day get the water put in. I know that once that happens, I will want a shower house built. My long term goal is that we will move the resident Cub Scout Camp there. While I have not got hard numbers the cost of all this will be something like five or six million dollars. That doesn't include the pool.

There is no way that we will ever be able to recover that amount of money.If we have a camping season of seven weeks with a hundred and fifty Cub Scouts and spread the cost over twenty-five years, we would have to charge each Cub Scout over $190.00 to recover the cost. This of course is never going to happen.

Without doing some type of study it is impossible to know what the operating costs are for any camp or camp ground. We had another very primitive camp that no one used. Looking at the reports there had been one troop camp there in the last three years. It was a fair distance from the Council and I wonder how many of the new Scoutmasters even knew it existed. It could be argued that it wasn't costing us anything. Last year we sold it. Needless to say the hard-core moaners and complainers were up in arms. The money from the sale was split so that half of it went into the endowment fund and half went into another endowment fund that was started to pay for camp maintenance. But still some people were unhappy and the cry went out that the council was selling off the assets of the Council.

While I am all for everyone doing everything that they can to support the Council. I can't fault the Scouts for opting to camp where they want to camp. To do so would go against the PLC.

I would hope that starting at the District level, the District Camping Chair. Would ask why Troop 123 wasn't using the Council camp? He would then take this to the Council Camping Committee. Sad to say what often happens is that we cast aside what we don't want to hear. Very often the blame is put somewhere and no action is taken to fix what isn't working.

Most Councils are very proud of their Summer Camp and the programs that are offered. Change can take a long time.

I really do think that we do need to be far more business like at every level when it comes to Summer Camps. The goal has got to be that we will offer our customers the best summer camp experience. To do this we need to treat each and every Scout a quality product. The product needs to be looked at from every angle. Marketing, value for money,exceeding the expectations of the end user and future improvement. I do not believe that anyone or any group deserves any sort of a break. The cost is the cost. If what is offered is value for money and that doesn't mean cheap!! People will see that and ought to want to buy it. Preferential treatment that is not available to all Packs, Troops and Crews within the Council is unfair and wrong.


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Your campground sounds pretty cool. I'm sure it was designed the way it was in order to teach some history, give the kids a memorable experience and to entice units to use the property. However, you can't just build it and expect it to stay in pristine condition forever. You created overhead with the campground improvements. In order to cover that overhead, you have to charge fees. Since it is going to be used the most by units in your council (the same people who donated to it and put sweat equity into it), the majority of fees are going to be paid by those same units. If you let everyone in your council use it for free and only charge the occasional out of council unit, you won't have enough revenue to maintain the camp. Our council campgrounds are free to our council units. I have never seen anything that spells out a fee for out of council units at our campgrounds. Basically what you get if you come to one of our campgrounds is a site with a latrine, water during the warm seasons, maybe a flagpole and maybe a fire ring. Some of the campgrounds use barrel halves for fires. We have camped in other council's camps and have to pay $1 or $2 per person per day. Even with basic campgrounds like ours, some of the facilities tend to begin looking neglected and run down. There never seems to be enough money to make them look like some of the campgrounds you see in the movies. If you go all out and make a top notch campground, expect to pay top dollar to use it. It won't stay that way without it. Even dedicated scouters have their limits of how many weekends they are going to spend on up keep of the council cmpgrounds. Spend a weekend a month working on them this year......will you do it for the next two, five or ten?

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I checked my private messages and there is nothing there from you. Since you are still looking at this thread perhaps you will answer the question for me and for others. Are these camps owned by other councils or are they privately owned. Your posts are not clear on this.



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They are owned by Councils, not mine. They are not private camps.


I suspect your comment about the mouse refers to Disney World. I am not familiar with any other property in that part of the country run by a mouse. Lets just say that I don't think any Scout Camp is challenged by Disney World. $200.00 per week vs. $1000.00 dollars per week put them in different competitive brackets.


Bob, you seem have missed the point entirely. Perhaps you're in a part of the country that has not experienced this problem. Maybe soon these camps will be supplying free transportation from your area. Then you'll understand the issue.


I don't expect anyone to lower the quality of their program. It's terrific that they have been able to build these programs. But the bigger issue is the local camps. And yes I would expect someone to come forward and put their job on the line to support the basic premise that Scouting is a community based program. By a policy of avoidance, the regional and maybe national people have watched these big camps devour the smaller local camps. So do I expect the large camps to anything about it, NO! What I would like to see is for an instruction to be issued to these camps identifying a cap on the number of out of council scouts that they can host each year.



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Let me see if I understand what you are saying and please correct any errors I make here.


Other councils own camps three hundred miles away from your councils camp and they are having greater success at drawing participants.


You do not believe this is caused by program quality differences, but feel it is in some way connected to higher salaries for professionals.


Is that correct?



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No Bob, not at all. I suggest that you go back and reread my posts with a more open mind.


As for the professional and salaries, this is not an original thought on my part. I'm just echoing something that I've heard quite a few times in the last few weeks.


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Okay help me out where am I off on the understanding specifically.


1) These are scout camps owned by other councils.


2) You said they are three hundred miles away.


3) Tou feel your program and facilities are just are fine.


4) What is a Super-camp?


5) you believe these superior camps are being done to increase salararies for pros.


Remember an echo is a reflection of the original sounds that degrades with each repetition.(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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With regard to some sort of cap, I don't see it happening.

Each Council is a corporation /business. While our Council is not one of the big Councils, we do have a fair amount of out of Council troops come and camp with us. The money that they bring in is looked on as some sort of a bonus.

It is strange that while we welcome out of Council campers, we frown upon units that want to camp out of Council.

Here in Southwestern Pennsylvania, we still have a lot of small Councils and the programs offered are very similar. A friend of mine served on a Wood Badge Course this year hosted by one of these small Councils. He came back very excited saying that the camp has less then 750 campers a year. The pool is only open part time and he was really impressed that the Scout Exec. Was mowing the grass. When I said that with only 750 campers a summer, that they couldn't be making any money. He said that they have it worked out that they do. I know for a fact that the fee that they charge is the lowest in the area. I also know that when it comes to membership this Council is really hurting. I didn't say anything but I couldn't help thinking that if the Scout Exec. Spent more time working on membership and less on mowing the grass that membership would go up and along with that attendance at the camp would increase.

When I look at these "Huge mega camps" I can't help thinking of how much it must cost to maintain these camps and how much it costs during the "Down Time." Sure the Metro Council next door has motor power boats and we have canoes and row boats, the cost of maintaining the canoes and row boats is far less then the power boats. The insurance issues with the canoes and row boats are less then the power boats. They have a super nice Cub World, with forts and pirate ships. That sit unused all winter. They even have a row of houses that Ryan Homes donated. I have used them while at Camp School. I don't know what they are used for the rest of the year - Summer camp staff accommodation's? They have two dinning halls. I bet that one of them sits idle for 40 weeks a year.

They need the out of council campers to help offset the cost of all this.

Scout camps do generate a lot of emotion. I have very deep feelings for our camp and the camp grounds. The camp was what brought me to the USA,in the first place. The camp was where I met Her Who Must Be Obeyed. The camp offers me a lot of really important and grand memories. Sure I love it and would hate to see it come to harm.

In a different thread I asked how much should we pay camp staff? A lot of the replies pointed out that the money shouldn't be a consideration. Emotion, love, history are very important and are a reason why we still have as many small camps as we do have. I visited a camp that is owned and operated by a Council smaller then ours, which has a lot less summer campers then we have. They have over the past few years built a lot of really nice buildings. That are very user friendly and can be used year round. The plan is to move the Council Service Center on to the camp grounds.I was amazed when I seen all that they have done. It turns out that they have a very wealthy family that are also architects, who love Scouting and love that camp. Sad to say they also have a problem with membership which is declining. They are aware of this and are steps to change this around.It would be a shame if all that has been done would be lost.

Much as some people don't want to hear it, money is a very strong driving force. Love and loyalty are fine qualities, but they don't attract the best staff, or buy a new camp truck.

Long term planning, with realistic goals and careful use of resources will ensure that the local Scout camp will be around for a long time. While the grass always seems greener in the other Council's camp ground. How many Scouts we can get to attend our Summer camp is closely tied to everything that we do in the other eleven months of the year and how the Scouts that did attend camp last year feel they were treated.


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