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Camp Russell and Cedarlands (NY) to be closed after summer 2015

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Two interesting articles about the closing of two camps Camp Russell in Forestport,NY and the Cedarlands Scout site in Long Lake,NY and the upgrading of another, Camp Kingsley in Ava

 

http://romesentinel.com/county/boys-scouts-to-sell-historic-camp-russell/QBqoaf!3TYUVIfWShcOfYn0pkKaWg/ Plans call for using about 5-10 percent of sale proceeds from Camp Russell and the Cedarlands for immediate improvements at Camp Kingsley, McEwan said.

Other proceeds would be invested in an endowment fund to help with ongoing maintenance and expenses at Camp Kingsley, he added.

...

Camp Kingsley would require an estimated $290,950 investment to be upgraded to a “Camp Facility Evaluation Tool†(??? anyone know about this tool? :confused:) score of “A,†compared to its current “D+†score, documents said. Camp Russell had a current score of “C-†and needed a $322,275 investment for an “A,†while Cedarlands also had a “D+†score but would need a $2.29 million investment for an “A†score.

 

http://www.uticaod.com/article/20150106/News/150109783/?Start=1

For more than 10 years, the council has been watching enrollment decline as more entertainment options emerge for youth. In the early 1960s, McEwan estimated the council’s four districts had a combined enrollment of more than 20,000. Today, it’s closer to 2,000.

 

In other words, running three camps is not sustainable any more.

 

“We’ve put a little into all three camps, but there’s not a whole lot to show for anything,†McEwan said. “If we put everything at one camp, we don’t have to have three kitchens, three shower houses, three of everything.â€Â

 

And while many who are or were affiliated with the council agree with that, they have a different question: Why keep Kingsley  northwest of Rome  open, and not Russell?

 

Orlo Burch, an Ilion resident who is a former Cub Scout Pack leader and whose son is a member of Ilion’s Troop 9, is one of those.

 

Kingsley, he said, doesn’t have access to a body of water as big as White Lake, so Scouts could miss out on opportunities such as small boat sailing they had at Russell.

 

“You can call any troop  they’re all upset,†Burch said. “This is taking away skill development and programs that they won’t (immediately) be able to do at (Camp Kingsley). They’ve punched every Boy Scout in the stomach.â€Â

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RS,

 

In 2012, national decided tho create the National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) to standardize all scout camp across the national. Here are some links about the NCAP

 

Main link to overall program

http://www.scouting.org/Home/OutdoorProgram/CampAccreditation.aspx

 

Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/Outdoor%20Program/pdf/430-085.pdf

 

 

While I do beleive that camps need to be maintained, not every scout camp needs to meet those standards IMHO. My council has some primitive camps that have minimal structures on it. They do not need welcoming centers, dining halls, etc.

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E94, look into the politics of those "primitive camps." In our council they are typically land grants that if the council cedes ownership (i.e., attempts to sell), all proceeds revert to the estate of the original donor.

 

A rule from which my boys benefit greatly, since they love primitive camping!

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Qwazse,

 

THANKFULLY that's the case with our two camps. One reverts back to the family ( who will turn the property into "McMansions" like the ones that are currently being built around the camp). The other camp goes to a local university.

 

But I do know of one instance where the SE talked a trust into donating ownershipof the camp to the council. Within 3-6 months of getting the deed, he had the camp sold off. Sad thing is, the camp that all the money was sunk into ended up getting severely damaged by a hurricane. That camp's damage was so bad, an oil company was able to make the case that the land was no longer of value, and got emminent domain used to install a pipeline smack through the camp. SO that camp is completely useless now. So the scouts lost 2 camps within a year or two.

 

 

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RS,

 

In 2012, national decided tho create the National Camp Accreditation Program (NCAP) to standardize all scout camp across the national. Here are some links about the NCAP

 

Main link to overall program

http://www.scouting.org/Home/Outdoor...editation.aspx

 

Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/Ou...df/430-085.pdf

 

 

While I do beleive that camps need to be maintained, not every scout camp needs to meet those standards IMHO. My council has some primitive camps that have minimal structures on it. They do not need welcoming centers, dining halls, etc.

 

Agreed. Thanks for the link E94. Wow, this appears written by a committee of chucklehead realtors! (further colorful adjectives and punctuation clusters removed). The Evaluation Tool is meant just for facilities and property, Staffing, program, or procedures are addressed in the longer Camp Accreditation document. Okay BUT

 

Reading the A-F grading levels The repeated key points in the Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool states

- reflects well the BSA brand

- it all about appearances, curb appeal eh?

- paint everything whether it needs it or not.

- NO MENTION OF SAFETY until reach grade F

- First Aid has equal importance to a Trading Post!!!! Get real! Cook's and Ranger quarters rated least important. I don't think so.

 

IMO the above should emphasize these unmentioned, minor details

- camp is SAFE, then detail requierments for access roads, fire safety, storm shelters, first aid, evac, I want a Life-flighthelicopter landing spot, waterfront, forest management, camp security (locks, fences, security system), disability access

- drinking water and drainage

- septic management. No mention of number of latrines/bathrooms/showers ...

- trash handling (odd they mention rodent feces but not control)

- CAMP FACILITIES are present and in good condition to PROVIDE SAFE YEAR ROUND PROGRAM SUPPORT - proper and secure storage of assets, ventilation

 

My 2 aspirin,

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Oops...

 

The Boy Scout Revolutionary Trail Council will maintain a small parcel of land at Camp Russell. After the news broke that the Boy Scouts were selling 400 acres in White Lake many people expressed concern over whether or not the organization had the right to sell the property.

 

Camp Russell is made up of 8 parcels of land donated to the organization at different times over the past 100 years. Some of those parcels had clauses that stated if the property was no longer going to used as a scout camp, it was to be given back to the Russell family. The clauses came with expiration dates and many of those have expired. The clauses that have not expired have been removed by the family with the exception of one. There is still a 2.5 acre parcel that will not be sold.

...

http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Boy_Scouts_to_retain_small_parcel_of_land_at_Camp_Russell.html

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While I do beleive that camps need to be maintained' date=' not every scout camp needs to meet those standards IMHO. My council has some primitive camps that have minimal structures on it. They do not need welcoming centers, dining halls, etc.[/quote']

The goal of NCAP is not to close camps.

 

Primitive camps, short-term camps, and wilderness camps can still exist (and do still exist) under the NCAP standards. NCAP does not mandate every BSA property has specific facilities or even specific programs in order to operate. (It does have regulations, mainly safety related, on what is needed if you have such programs or facilities... and so the regulations for a Boy Scout Summer Camp program is much more involved than, say, just a weekend camping facility).

 

But the biggest thing that NCAP looks at in terms of if they grant an accreditation to a camp or not (aside from safety) is based on finances or usage. Basically, they want to know if the camp operations are making money (or at least breaking even) for the council or if the property a drain on the council budget (spending more on maintenance, utilities, ect. than it brings in). A lot of councils are holding onto properties for emotional and sentimental reasons when they are killing them financially. NCAP makes the reason to continue or close a camp black-and-white -- while also making sure the camp is safe.

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RS,

 

I too would like to know who wrote it. My personal favorites include the camp museum is more important than the camp fire ring. Out of all of the camps I've been to, only 1 has had a museum that I can remember. And that was Youlbury International Scout Campsite in the U.K. And considering it's the oldest continually used Scout camp in the world, I think it's justified. Another U.K. camp I was at was in the process of building one. I got to look at their collection of WSJ patches they were going to display. They had originals from Arrowpark up to Korea.

 

SM,

 

The issue I have is that no where in the instructions does it say that a camp does not need certain structures. And it has been reported anecdotally that camps have been shut down as a result of the NCAP, irregardless of usage stats.

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Basically, they want to know if the camp operations are making money (or at least breaking even) for the council or if the property a drain on the council budget (spending more on maintenance, utilities, ect. than it brings in). A lot of councils are holding onto properties for emotional and sentimental reasons when they are killing them financially. NCAP makes the reason to continue or close a camp black-and-white --

 

This seems like they are evaluating the wrong thing. A council should be evaluated on how well it manages itself financially. Whether a camp does or does not break even is a component of that fiscal evaluation, but it is a subset of it, not an independent component. If a camp doesn't break even but the council is able to cover that with income from donations, endowments, profits from other properties etc. then the deficit spending on the camp is not a reason in and of itself to close it. Likewise, just because a camp is making money, if the council isn't otherwise able to sustain operations then maybe the camp needs to be sold in order to endow the rest of the program.

 

 

 

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"Follow the money".

Go back to the Owassippe debacle. National backed up the local DE despite the local volunteers proof of connivance in the sidestepping of the corporation requirements and voting out of the "rascals". National, thru the Council leadership continued to push for the sale of all of Chicago's camps , against the vociferous , vocal, legal protests of the local Scout leaders, the County zoning board and the press coverage.

It was not about loss of revenue or lack of desire to use it. It was about a lot of money to be made in it's sale.

 

Camps can be promoted and used, but the PTB must want to use it. For Camping, Nature Study, public school trips, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire , local Museums, emergency preparedness drills, movie sets, even some selective logging. The secret is in the promotion and realization that it doesn't have to be purely BSA stuff. Oversight, security, volunteer Campmaster Corps, lots of stuff needs to be considered and kept track off.

But always, it must be remembered that once SOLD, it can never be brought back. A close in urban natural park is a local asset. A useful camp is a diamond in the rough (!) that cannot be replaced. It all depends on what is considered "VALUABLE", and in what sense.... money? Woods? Quiet? This will always be a problem so long as the tax assessment is predicated on what a property's "best use" is predicted to be, not what it is being used for NOW, or what it might be used for , other than McMansions or industry.

 

My children can never go to camp in the camps I camped in. One is now a Nuclear Power Plant, another is a County Park and religious retreat center, another is subdivision, another is State Park, tho much smaller and not big enough for camping. Way back when, NCAC sold all their local camps to purchase Goshen , a four hour plus drive down in VA. Then, years later, some farseeing folks arranged a deal to trade/buy/exchange land/tax credits/wet lands credits for a close in property (Snyder) which is developing into a real nice close in Cub camp/training center . This they are using as camp, pub school outdoor ed center, convention rentals, etc. Nice place, perhaps they see the necessity now.....

"follow the money".....

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If a camp doesn't break even but the council is able to cover that with income from donations, endowments, profits from other properties etc. then the deficit spending on the camp is not a reason in and of itself to close it. Likewise, just because a camp is making money, if the council isn't otherwise able to sustain operations then maybe the camp needs to be sold in order to endow the rest of the program.

Oh, absolutely, and NCAP does look at the "big picture" (including multiple years worth of data, and the council's overall finances, size, revenue sources, etc.). The key is to make sure camps (and councils) are sustainable. There are many councils that struggle to scrape together enough money each year to cover their multiple properties (or worse, they take on debt or neglect other programs as a result of their properties).

 

NCAP strives to make sure that council properties are not liabilities to the council (i.e. they are safe and they are financially sustainable). The money doesn't have to come from just camper fees and rental revenue; but there has to be reliable and adequate sources for financially supporting a camp.

 

Sadly there are too many councils that have emotional connections to specific properties or feel obligated to keep a council camp (often the question is never raised because people think "well, our council can't not have a camp") or they're in denial thinking "things will turn around", and they hold onto a property at a detriment to their overall program or mission.

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Sadly there are too many councils that have emotional connections to specific properties or feel obligated to keep a council camp (often the question is never raised because people think "well, our council can't not have a camp") or they're in denial thinking "things will turn around", and they hold onto a property at a detriment to their overall program or mission.

 

As shown, the Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool (CFET) has little or no honest analytical value in evaluating a camp. It is a means to an end. If you want to see the end of a particular camp for whatever reason then that is the means to justify it. The Summit might only score a C with my subjective use of this tool.

 

If council has no local camp, there is no need for that council. Resistance is futile.

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The Camp Facilities Evaluation Tool looks at the physical property assets, and, yes, it can become subjective or biased and also manipulated (if you really want to see the end of particular camp for whatever reason... or if you really want to keep a stinking camp open)... but NCAP's Intent to Operate and Declaration of Readiness require much more analytical data from the council (especially in regards to financial sustainability).

 

Overall, sure, a council could play games to make a property look better on paper than it really it and thus keep it accredited (and open) a bit longer, but they would have to be intentfullying doing that (and a Scout is trustworthy). So if a council is hanging on to a property that is a liability, they are doing so because they are choosing to be willfully delusional or negligent about the decision (whereas before they may have been doing it out of an unexamined or unknown ignorance of the bigger picture and impact).

 

NCAP was not developed with a goal of shutting camps down or closing properties, but rather it was developed to be a tool to help councils evaluate and understand their decisions and make sure all BSA properties as assets to Scouting and not liabilities (both physically and financially).

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Update from last night's meeting, etc.

http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Scout...roperties.html

 

Steven McEwan is the Scout Executive for the council. He says the plan is to use money from the sale (Russell and Cedarlands) to make many improvements to the 400 acre Camp Kingsley in Ava."The board voted that 5-10% of the initial sale will go immediately to help the development of Camp Kingsley. The rest will be put in an endowment where we will take a 5% draw every year for ongoing maintenance and programs at camp."

 

The plan is to build cabins at Kingsley and install plumbing. McEwan also wants to incorporate STEM programs, even robotics and computer design in the future. Officials also hope to be more active in the neighboring Fish Creek for kayaking and fishing. They'll even have the means to add new programs with ATV's and snowmobiles.

...

 

Officials don't anticipate the property will take long to sell, how it will be sold though is still undecided. The committee will meet Wednesday night to iron out those details.

 

While the property will be up for sale immediately, plans for summer camp will go on as scheduled for 2015.

 

No mention of the Camp Russell 2.5 acre parcel that cannot be sold (the NCAP process did not undercover this, rather the outside-the-loop scouting community) or further qualification about the endowment fund. IMO STEM programs, ATV's, and snowmobiles (on just a 400 acres Camp KIngsley?) and the required training, maintenance, insurance, and staffing will deplete that endowment quickly. Selling the primitive camp Cedarlands (over 4,300 acres with two lakes and three mountains) is not a good move, but apparently council/BSA now has an emotional connection to mimicking school STEM programs and turning away from our core outdoor program. :(

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A group of scouters and camp alumni are not going quietly into the night - the Save Camp Russell campaign

 

http://watertown.twcnews.com/content/news/all_news/801988/residents-fight-to-save-boy-scout-camp/

 

Some interesting points are made

"They (Council ) didn't go about notifying the proper people for financial assistance," said Stephens. "There's many scouters out there that are willing to donate or willing to help financially, but they just haven't bothered to contact them."

 

"Considering they're selling two camps, Cedarlands and Russell, maybe only get rid of one of the camps and see how that goes," said Tomm Meininger, a former camper. "And maybe see how it goes and if they need to get rid of the other one in the future."

 

Seems some holes in the process used to close/sell camp.

 

I wonder how many former scout camps have been sold/taken over by alumni associations?

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