Jump to content
LeCastor

What Do You Look For In A Summer Camp?

Recommended Posts

 

Why not allow councils to have go-kart tracks?

 

In the interest of keeping this thread "on track" let's get back to what folks might look for when choosing a summer camp.  

 

Mozart/Badwolf, your question would be a good topic for programming.   :)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the boys is it a full week of being left alone to make their own decisions. That means they take what classes they want to take and participate in the activities they want to participate. Younger scout tend take more fun activities than classes and the older scouts more classes than activities. New scouts have to learn to find their way and old scouts practice more of serving those around them. 

 

For the adults, it is a high impact week of patrol method. The scouts are in total control and really have to learn how to work with each other in accomplishing tasks as patrols and as a troop. That sounds so simple, but getting up late on the troop campout doesn't have the same impact of the whole troop arriving late for camp morning assembly. Summer camp usually polishes our scouts into a lean mean boy run program. It's pretty impressive actually. 

 

It is so much work on our SPL that we pay there way.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My council was the one that piloted the PWC at the Pamilco Sea Base. I honestly do not know all the details, except that it was a long, detailed, paperfilled process that had to go through national to be approved as a pilot program. I think it took over a year to jump through the hoops, but don't quote me on it.

 

Now from one of the participants, when they got to do the PWC, it was a BLAST!  but they had to go through a lot of classroom work before getting there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Summer camp is selected by patrols.  At this point I have only one patrol, but that doesn't mean there couldn't be 2 or 3 different options all taken the same summer.  (whatever it takes to support the boys' decision)

 

Currently my boys are unanimously decided on Camp Freeland-Leslie in south central Wisconsin.  No dining hall, excellent waterfront program, nice OA call out, they like the facilities and MB selection.

 

My vote in the camp selection doesn't count, I'm over 18 years of age.  :)

 

I haven't attended the local council camp for summer camp for over 10 years now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Competent, helpful, friendly, kind staff.

Strong, honest  MB programs focusing on outdoor MBs that are difficult to earn away from council camps.

Program scheduled to reasonably accommodate troop cooking.

Facilities essential to properly running the program.

Lots of fun non-advancement program.

 

Not "too" military.

Close "enough" (relative to value)

Reasonable price (relative to value)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good food and lots of it

Staff willing to accommodate reasonable request in a friendly timely manner

A camp that makes the troop feel welcome

and I'll agree with Tahawk

Reasonable price (relative to value) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a group of Scouts do research on area camps and then present the results to the troop, including the promotional videos that each camp offers (most do have these).  The Scouts put together a matrix of # of merit badges, # of additional offerings (COPE, ATV, etc.), waterfront activities, etc. and then we distribute this to all of the Scouts and they vote on the camp.

 

We are in the Chicago area and we've gone to Camp Tesomas in Rhinelander several times - excellent camp.  We're going to Tomahawk Scout Reservation in 2016, also an excellent camp.

 

Ultimately the Scouts have to decide - as Scoutmaster I do my best to keep the adults out of the decision making process, although I

think about dining halls and amenities for the adults.  In an ideal world, the camp the Scouts pick will offer some of those adult amenities like internet access and decent cell phone coverage.  If so, great.  If not, maybe that adult goes to town for a few hours to take care of work that can't wait for them to take off a week. 

 

I go back and forth on the dining hall issue - you really want to implement the patrol method, cooking every meal at camp is a good way to go about it, although I can see the viewpoint that cooking three meals a day for each patrol can take some time at a camp.  So... we do tend to lean towards those with a dining hall and the Scouts like that.  I could probably push the issue a bit with them, but the Scouts get that dining halls are easier and will probably have better food.

 

As an aside, we have a Scout that can't make our scheduled summer camp and is instead going with another area troop to their camp.  He tells me that he is working on 7 Eagle required merit badges at that camp.  I lol'd a bit and told him that was very unlikely and that he should probably do a little research on the camp to ensure he wasn't disappointed.  He lol'd right back at me and told me, no, he was sure he could work on 7 Eagle required merit badges at that camp.  Guess what? I did some research on the camp and, sure enough, they offer a program where a Scout could work on on 7 merit badges from 6:30a until 5:45p.  Ummmm... I was astounded.  Yes, some of the Eagle required have prerequisites.  But, still, 7? Holy cow.  While I'm not the world's most experienced Scouter, I've typically seen four or five.  I know there are a lot of folks out there that will say "we have a rule that a boy can only do..." and those that try to limit Eagle badges at camp.  I understand the sentiment there, but if the boy does the prereqs and has a MB counselor sign off on them, well, that's what the Guide to Advancement says.  So while I am a little surprised, I'm not planning on getting in the way of it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My current troop is not a Boy Scout troop - yet.  My prior troop regarded Summer Camp as a great opportunity for cooking.  Iron Chef Thursday became a big highlight.   We went to a council camp every other year and usually ate lunch in the dinning hall/tent to: 1) have some contact with the camp culture; and 2) make it easier to make schedule events before and after lunch.  

 

And yes, dan, the Merit Badge Mills grind shamefully on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally don't "look for anything" in a summer camp.  I don't select it, the boys do.  Every year they can go to any summer camp they wish.  Last year the boys went to Camp Freeland Leslie and had a great time so I was told.  I was unable to attend.  Where they are going next year, I don't know.  They haven't told me yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our troop, the adults currently decide where the boys will camp, and they go to the same place every year.  I would like to suggest that the boys be given some choices and a voice in these decisions, but, as our family is newer to the troop and committee, we don't have a lot of influence in helping these ideas along just yet.   Right now, I am strongly suggesting that the Troop  survey families and consider moving the camping week one week later to help out baseball families who have to make a decision between championship games and Boy Scout camp, and but that has had some resistance from more traditionalist adults. It seems that some sort of input will be sought out, but I'm not sure how it's going to go down. 

 

Until recently the Troop camped at Lefeber in Wisconsin and now they go to Gardner Dam. 

 

ETA:  I could suggest at our December meeting that the boys have a choice in camps, but I'm afraid it would not go over well. 

 

Stosh thanks for mentioning Camp Freeland Leslie, I will at least read up on it. :) 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if it will get any traction in your troop, but BSA is traditionally boy-led.  Maybe it's time to follow BSA policy and this is a simple way to start it out.  When my boys were disenchanted with our local council, I simply stated, pick out any camp in the United States you would like to go to.  They did an internet search of the internet and came up with Freeland Leslie.  At the time I didn't even know it existed.  They wanted to go there and we went there, it was only an hour and a half drive away.  It was an easy choice for me as SM, because the boys took ownership of the process from registering to MB selection.  We packed up and headed out.  The #1 issue I skirted around was that if it was NOT something the boys enjoyed, it wasn't my fault, I didn't pick the camp.

 

Well, it turned out that they loved it and went back every year during my tenure with the unit.  I did suggest it to my new troop and they, too, make it their new "tradition".  I don't have a problem with the process, because there never was, nor will there ever be any blow-back on the quality of their experience because no adult is involved in the process.  Maybe it's not a win-win in the long run, but I don't care as long as it's a win for the adults.  :)  "You don't like what happened in summer camp last summer?  Well, then pick a different camp anywhere in the United States."  I'm not the one that's going to get caught holding the ball on a bad decision and that's all that counts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love it if our Troop did likewise, but they are not there yet.  Right now we have a committee Scouter who is on his way to retiring from Scouts, but who has had what feels like an iron grip on the Troop and Troop adults in the past for years. This person is for me, one of those rare,very difficult people and I'm trying to have some grace and patience with it. Change can't come fast enough, IMO.  But there is also a culture among all the adults that needs to change and that takes time.  The pluses for my sons are that the boys and adults in the troop are kind, it's our home troop, and the boys seem to enjoy it.  I think that in time, I (or my husband) can make some suggestions through the Scoutmaster to give the boys more freedom and be a little more patrol led.  However, it's going to take time.  When I read here about patrols going on hikes by themselves, I ran it by a troop parent and my husband and it feels like we are a long way from that sort of thing.  One step at a time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm confused, how is ONE committee member running the whole show?  Where's the CC in this formula?  And why is the Committee running the program? That's the SM's job!   Maybe it's time for a visit with the COR and educate that person on what a BSA program is supposed to be.  Sounds like someone needs an early retirement. 

 

Oh, yes, too, the committee needs to be properly trained in the BSA program.

Edited by Stosh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The person with the loud voice was the committee chair until last month, and our new cc is a very, very nice person that has a lot of respect for the retiring cc chair.  Very agreeable.  The new cc also served as Scoutmaster under the retiring cc. Because the Troop was strongly adult led for many years, they have a smooth program and I'm sure a lot of people who have been around for a while appreciate how well organized everything feels. Right now the retiring cc is serving as Treasurer until a new one is found.  I've made some recommendations for parents of current Scouts who might step in.  If a new Treasurer is not recruited soon, I'm going to ask my husband to volunteer (he's an ASM now) to move things along. Except my husband kind of likes a little bit of authoritarianism too. And when the future retiree speaks as if he's the expert on everything forever, some people find it hard to resist. LOL.  But the group will change, everything changes, time is on my side of things.

 

When he was cc, he called a very strange meeting with my husband and I to complain about our son with ADHD, and wanted us to helicopter our son more because he was uncomfortable with our kid being in Scouts.  We resisted.  When I gave him some articles about working with Scouts with ADHD, he pushed them back at me and said, I'm not interested.  Not my problem. (Nevermind that the CC shouldn't be interacting with my son to begin with. He said that he was going to not interact with the boys anymore, but then he went back on that and personally worked with my son on some 2nd class requirements at camp so my son could advance.  And while that may have been a kind gesture that my husband appreciates, the guy didn't stick to the plan he laid out with us.)  Whenever I have connected with him with a question, comment or suggestion about Scouting, the responses have been very negative and he said to me something like -- I resent it when anyone tries to tell me about how Scouting works. (aka, he knows it all and takes no input)  I am not a fan, but my husband is still respectful because this man's style is one where he demands and commands respect and authority. 

 

I have to be careful not to come across as too anti-retiring-cc, because he is popular.  It's challenging.

 

ETA: I think the route to progress and greater boy involvement is through the Scoutmaster.  Everyone in the current leadership group is close with the retiring cc (or so it seems, everyone except me!), of course the cc placed the Scoutmaster and they are also neighbors.  But our Scoutmaster is reasonable and I think everyone will be more receptive to suggestion after the former cc leaves for good. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×