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I read recently that Bayport Scout Reservation is in danger of being closed.

We have successfully raised $95,000 since July 12th the key here is to expand your offering beyond just Boy Scouts and you need to market your facilities well.   www.BPNorthwoods.org   We have a

Touching piece by a Girl Scout in our area http://www.alleghenyfront.org/please-dont-take-away-my-girl-scout-camp/ regarding five camp closures.

Hello to my fellow Scouters, I am assistant scoutmaster and Eagle Scout (2000) from 3 Harbors. As you have read the council has moved to close our camps. Though their decision will prove disaterous and ultimately lead to the closure of our southern camps as well who are currently running enormous deficits. I invite you to visit our Facebook group you will see unlike so many councils who have been forced to close their camps you will see through our business plan our group has established that their decision was not only flawed but wrong. Please examine our business plan posted on our Facebook page.






Our Plan


It is the mission of Save the Three Harbors Northern Camps Experience to support and promote camping based on youth leadership and the patrol method in the tradition of Lord Robert Baden-Powell. Additionally, we feel that council ownership of a northern camp experience is critical to the long-term success of scouting in the Three Harbors Council.


It is our recommendation to the council that the decision to close one of the northern camps is deferred for two years while we implement our plan, giving us enough time to prove it is viable. We chose LeFeber Northwoods Camps (LNC) as that camp because it has higher usage, larger capacity and more facilities that meet current NCAP standards. We recognize that Robert S. Lyle Scout Reservation is a wonderful place with many happy memories, but we cannot justify keeping two camps.


Our plan has an immediate positive financial impact. According to the new 2017 accounting standards, LNC finished the 2014-year with a $28,216 deficit. This is the smallest camp loss under these standards, as Lyle lost $38,865, Oh-Da-Ko-Ta lost $85,371, and Indian Mound lost $204,907. By combining campers from LNC and Lyle, LNC has the potential to earn significant money based on the 2017 accounting standards. From a survey we conducted, the majority of Lyle troops have indicated a willingness to switch to LNC if the camp offered an open program, which can be implemented immediately. Both our survey and the council’s survey confirmed that distance is not a factor for 90 percent of troops.


Our group will promote all of the Council camps in new ways to Scouts and potential Scouts. We will show parents and their boys exactly what they will do and where they will go when joining a Three Harbors unit. We have plans to start new programs at minimal or no expense to the camp which will retain and attract troops. These programs include fishing, shooting, high adventure and forestry programs, amongst others. LNC is also already equipped to handle a limited dining hall option for some troops.


Our volunteers have already received commitments from donors for camp enhancement and deferred maintenance. We are ready to utilize new funding sources including crowdfunding, and will arrange for volunteers to help with labor. This will be done without diverting any funds from the southern camps, which we would also work for.


Together, we have the knowledge, skills, and willingness to make this happen. Please join us as we make the Three Harbors Northern camp experience a reality for future generations.


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Very well thought out and well done response. Having spent 17 summers at LNC, I only hope it does not fall on deaf ears. Please keep this forum apprised of the progress and outcome.



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Eagle90 and Jtauschmann: That stuff about better promotion and utilization is what is always missing when a Council decides to sell a camp. And that is what you must INSIST on. There are always more, unthought of uses for the camp. Nature study. University bio classes. Forestry preserve. Public School field trips (any "outdoor ed" in your state?). Our church camp found that we had a rare species of orchid growing on our mountain side: Presto! the state gave the camp a VERY respectable cash buy out to protect the site "in perpetuity". Movie location? I know there is a State film promotion office. Where does your OA hold it's Ordeal? Cooperation with state park activities. Any archeological possibilities? History? Mills? Mines? Lumbering? Railroading? Where is IOLS held? Archery Camp Range Safety Officer training? Use the camp grounds! Be creative! Maybe you could sell a cellphone tower site for some continuing income. Civil Air Patrol often looks for training sites. Girl Scouts need a camp site? Got an extra week? Might be a church is looking for a "Retreat Center". Yoga training?

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  • 2 weeks later...

First - when creating a "Save the (insert favorite cause here) Facebook page, never create a page that requires a person to log in to Facebook to view it. Not all of us are on Facebook, nor want to be on Facebook. You've lost the ability to reach out to those people.


Second - making financial claims based on 2017 revenue accounting standards that are not required until 2017 leads cynical people like me to be suspicious of the motives for using those standards - especially if there is no discussion on how it differs from current standards. I've taken a look at the 2017 standards and I'm not sure how much those standards will change current accounting for a summer camp that is open 4 weeks a year. There isn't a whole lot of future revenues or multi-period contracts that will likely affect reporting requirements. What is the deficit under current standards - is it significantly different? If so, in what way. If not, why make claims in 2015 based on 2017 requirements?


Third - have you dug into the Trust issue at all? Both camps are owned by Trusts, not by the Council. Who controls those trusts? What do they say happens when the camps stop operating? LeFebre has a 4-week summer camp season. Lyle a 2-week summer camp season. Is there a cost/benefit analysis of pouring a lot of money into one of these properties to bring it up to minimal standards if the property is not owned by the Council? Do we know if the Trust(s) even allow for the kind of improvements that need to be made?


Fourth - What happens 5 years from now, or 10 years from now, or even 2 years from now when the Save the Three Harbors Camp Experience starts to fade away and no longer is actively involved in promoting the camps - what happens when it becomes a one-person operation and that person leaves?


I'm not trying to be negative here, I understand the emotional aspects of this - my Council went through this same kind of issue way back in the late 70's early 80's when it closed one of it's summer camps. It's not fun to lose those traditions, but from experience, about 6 years from now, those traditions will have been forgotten in most Troops when the Scouts that attended those camps age out and new Scouts attending other camps form their own traditions. When I was a Scout, my Troop always attended MaKaJaWan. Since the 1990's the Troop has attended Napowan. The Troop's traditions have changed - and you know what? I have a lot of fun chatting with the Scouts in the Troop now and listening to their stories, their traditions, and comparing it to the stories and traditions from my time - if we shared the same traditions, our conversations might be more along the lines of "Yeah, we did that too" - sorry, I think that's boring.


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That one in New York sounds nice.  You know, if I had $4.5M laying around.  But then there's this part: 


"The easement was also enacted to limit future development opportunities to the base camp area and to allow for limited public recreational access to portions of the property. Contact Fountains for more information."


Now I have no idea what that property is really "worth" - but having that kind of easement on it? Pfffttttt.  There goes the opportunity to build your dream house on the land you just paid $4.5M for.  And, hey, who are those guys down there in my lake? Oh, right, right, there's a public access easement.  Pffffftttt again.

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  • 2 months later...

Half the troops are already camping at out of council camps, there is a large number of camps in the general area, and there is at least $1 million in maintenance required at these two non-council owned properties in order to just maintain accreditation. As sad as it is to lose camps - I can sympathize with the Council on making these decisions. If these properties were owned by the Council, that would be a whole different kettle of hawks. Yes, it will be sad to see them go, but changing demographics is hard to fight against.

The 1 million dollars in deferred maintenance is for all four camps.  LeFeber requires the least maintenance of all four.  Visit our Link at www.BPNorthwoods.org

Edited by Jaron Tauschmann
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  • 5 weeks later...

I find the Save ___ Camp an interesting goal. Why? Let's look why the camp(s) are closing in the first place. Most, because of lack of participation. Troops are not going to the camp. Lefeber was probably open 8-10 weeks in the past. It was reduced to 4 weeks. What was the number of paid campers? I suspect 4 weeks was probably overkill and the camp could have functioned for 3 weeks. Lyle is another camp that was open for 8-10 weeks but was reduced to 2 weeks. Again it is attendance.

Ask the Troops why they are going out of council. Dining Hall seems to be a recurring theme. Not every Troop goes OOC because of the Dining Hall. Now ask why you left in the first place. Most answers come down to "we had a bad experience with the Staff or _____."

So if neither camp has a Dining Hall, how do you plan on bringing those Troops back?

If the reason the Troop left was bad experience, how do you reassure them it won't happen again?

Unfortunately these are the reasons Troops go OOC.

If you want to have a nice comparison on the Wisconsin camps look at this Market Analysis study that was done in 2013.




22 camps are listed for comparison. If the camps are getting graded C, D, or F, is there a wonder attendance is down. Rustic camps have a place, but some parents are afraid to undo the apron strings and let little Johnny get dirty for a week. For those of us who have survived rustic summer camps we can only tell stories about our adventures and hope parents will let their boys experience it.


Yes it is sad that camps are closing but look at the big picture.

Edited by John-in-KC
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