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I have seen numerous post scattered throughout various threads about council scout camps loosing money and thus not being viable and should be sold. 

Scout camps are an important part of BSA's mission. For many long-term camping would be much more difficult if not impossible. Enring merit badges would be more difficult. Learning to swim also (as it is usually a multi day process and difficult to achieve on a weekend campout) More time would need to be spent on week end trips teaching fundamentals of some activities like canoeing.

In the process of fulfilling their mission, non-profits often have program elements that are not self sustaining, yet they are important, even critical. 

Scout camps cover hundreds, sometimes thousands of acres. They require facilities and infrastructure maintenance as well as grounds keeping. 

The fees charged to scouts for the use of the camp could never cover that in most cases. Summer Camp fees are almost entirely dedicated to the event cost (food, activities, staff) and very little, if any,  goes to the camp budget. 

The net operating budget for a Scout camp is almost guaranteed to be in the red if it were not for donations. To even have a chance of being self sustaining the camps would have to fundamentally change in ways that would make them undesirable or even unusable as scout camps. 

We had a second camp (since sold as contribution to bankruptcy) that was our original Summer Camp. It was out grown and replaced by a New Summer camp. For years both were used until a fire in the original made it unusable as a Summer Camp. It was then used by units for weekends and for programs ( I often taught IOLS there), but over time it fell into disrepair. Usage dropped off.

Eventually, some scouters wanted to revive the old camp. A new Ranger was hired, the OA jumped in, service days were held, and money was allocated by the council. The camp was fixed up and began to be used again. In fact utilization went up so far that you the OA and training programs had to reserve dates far in advance. Even then there were some utilization conflicts where multiple groups would be on site at the same time.

As good as utilization became, there was no way to cover the cost of keeping the camp up. We had to rely on donations, which worked fine. 

When I see camps being sold off it appears to be more of an issue of more fiscal management by the council, or lack of fundraising. 

As for utilization, every camp can be listed as under utilized depending on how you determine utilization. Not every camp site is full on most weekends, some weekends have no utilization, depending the weather, what else is going on, the season and other factors. Not to mention one of the great benefits to using Scout camp for unit camping is that you have the camp almost entirely to yourself and a few other units at worst. 

Camps are vital to BSA to achieve its mission. They are not self sustaining in most cases. And over utilization is not a factor that helps in either case. 

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The BSA Camp system was designed and developed for a time when BSA had 3-4 million scouts.

We are now 900,000 (at best) and BSA in its most cheerfully optimistic projections is saying 1 million by 2025 at the earliest.

The NCAP has utilization standards as does BSA itself. And the TCC has its own standards that will be used.

All agree: BSA does not need every camp it has.

Time to cull and turn the proceeds over the victims of child sexual abuse.


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Many camps from the days of higher membership have already be sold. Some have been highlighted and discussed on this site. 

My primary concern is that camps be brought up to the standards BSA uses to make the camps the best possible for the current youth. 

As for ALL agreeing. All agree on nothing. 

If what I have read here about the TCC's standards, they want to close camps all the camps in some councils and force scouts to travel out of council.

The TCC's mission is have concern is for the victims and zero concern for current or future scouts so I don't care what TCC says in terms of utilization or the needs of our current/future scouts. I welcome their input on YP, but not their input on how many camps are needed. 

If a council needs to sell a camp to meet its financial obligations to the bankruptcy, then that is sad but necessary.



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13 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

f what I have read here about the TCC's standards, they want to close camps all the camps in some councils and force scouts to travel out of council.

Do the gross financial mismanagement five years ago my council Lost it’s only camp.

We are still here.

We are still alive.

We are still providing scouting.

it can be done.

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3 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

The TCC determining what camps are needed in order to best serve the current scouts is NOT their job

Except it is.

The BSA and LCs are claiming that certain camps are vital to the mission of Scouting and that they can NOT operate without them. That has legal ramifications as part of a bankruptcy: assets that are deemed essential to the continuing operation of a debtor or in this case third-party non-debtor cannot be touched in a bankruptcy.

The LCs, for example, at one point absolutely insisted there were NUMEROUS properties that were "restricted" and therefore could not be sold. Sure enough, they were. Funny how that worked out.

The TCC is going to make the case, and very well I would imagine, that many/most of these camps are NOT essential to the continued operation of the LCs. And then camp by camp, the utilization rates will be reviewed and the judge will decide if the LCs want to push it that far.

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4 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

This is simply refusing to compensate victims and claiming that EVERY camp is absolutely necessary and EVERYTHING has to be off the table.

Your typical hyperbole. 

BSA is not refusing to compensate victims - there is a compensation plan on the table
They are not claiming EVERY camp is necessary - some have already been sold
EVERYTHING has to be off the table - EVERYTHING Is not off the table, and BSA/Councils are not claiming it should be - though you are claiming EVERYTHING should be. 

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All this depends on what you consider BSA's mission is regarding camps.

If camps are a profit center ... sort of a "shelter" from legal assaults ... to be used to for supporting professional staff, then that's a pretty self-serving mission and LC's could certainly do better by downsizing program and charging fees for other services. This will inevitably put a financial burden on membership, but could make for leaner more efficient LC's.

If camps are a community service and conservation resource, then selling them off would undermine BSA's public responsibility. I've seen multiple organizations use ours ... they are sometimes preferred to state and county parks. Some of the reasons for (scouts and outside organizations) choosing our camps include better protections from abuse. This is all perception. I'm sure no studies have been done to determine the locations of a victim's grooming and abuse. But, should they succeed in their negotiations, victims would be hard pressed to pool their awards to build camps where CSA would  be reported publicly and found to occur at a much lower rate than general population.

More importantly, every hour that a youth spends on the road to summer camp is one more hour at risk for their life.

So, giving up camps is not merely lost revenue, or one less "back-roads promotion opportunity." It's a sense (valid or not) that doing so will harm nation's youth on multiple levels.

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Ok, I moved a bunch of comments to the general bankruptcy thread here: https://www.scouter.com/topic/32769-bankruptcy-everything-but-the-legalese/

I also hid a few comments from all sides that just resulted in some generic back and forth arguments.  Those didn't really fit in this thread nor the other one.

I left in the back and forth that was specific about camps.  Camps are a major source of assets for the bankruptcy settlement and also a major aspect of scouting.  So, I think it is fair to have a camp specific discussion.  I understand all of this ties together, so once this specific topic seems to have drifted again, we can just lock it and move on.


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Not too long ago our camps all made a profit. Management used that to fund other council activities and the camps fell into disrepair.

I think there is a need for the camps. It's much easier for troops to put on a full program with healthy camps. Furthermore, when we have gone to public campsites we have to deal with drunks, idiots with guns and other things where the sheriff is called. Besides, the scouts can play night games and not worry about bothering neighbors. 

The question seems to be how many camps are needed. The qualitative arguments are worthless. Until someone can define how many acres are needed to support a scout without stressing people and property, this will just be a way for both sides to get angry.

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Since at this point I have no idea what threads we are or are not allowed to talk about the bankruptcy and the council camps, I'll post here.

This is what Stang had to say


We have done an in-depth financial analysis of every local council. People think I’m being alittle smartass when I say I think we know more about them than they know about themselves. It is, John will correct me, at least 15 or 20 pages on each local council, ranging from an analysis of the claims that are against them, the cash and investments they have, the real estate they have, identified by camp, the camps that they don’t need because of underutilization, their membership trends, their operating expenses, our assessment of how much cash they need to have on hand to continue performing the scouting mission.



These proposals do not seek to liquidate local councils. The other thing we did was we looked at camp utilization. There underutilized. So, we mapped out the location of every camp in the country, every scout store in the country, and we drew a circle around each camp to see what other camps were nearby. What was the utilization of those camps, ‘cause, frankly, while we hear every camp is essential, if you take away a single camp it’ll destroy our local council, the fact of the matter is, in lots of parts of the country, there are so many camps so close to one another that if you were efficiently using them, there’s probably about 40 percent or 50 percent of the camps that you could dispose of and not affect a kid’s ability to go camping.


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I also think camps near your higher concentrations of scouts is important.  Asking a Troop to drive 3+ hours for summer camp is perfectly reasonable.  Asking a pack to drive 3 hours for a weekend overnight is tough.  Asking a parent to drive (or bus a kid) 3 hours each way for a day camp is not feasible.

I could be convinced that there may be plenty of camps in certain areas (for example, one could argue that in Wisconsin, there are an abundance of camps).  However, in many cases these camps are far from population centers to the point where they are only useful as summer camps.

BSA needs a combination of properties.  Some close to population centers that could be used for cub scout day camp, weekend campouts and camporees ... perhaps these can be smaller & simpler (for example, no need for a shotgun range or advanced waterfront).  Then, some larger camps that could be far from population centers (for residendent day camp & summer camps).  

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At least in my neck of the woods, because of COVID folks are getting OUSTIDE!   Demand for camping has skyrocketed. One annual event done at a nearby state park had to be moved to to the local Scout Camp because they were all booked up. After talking to parents, we limited activities to a 1 hour drive one way. For camping purposes only 3 camps are in that circle. 2 of them are state parks and booked solid. The other is the local Scout Camp. That scout camp has been well used by us, including 2020 summer camp. Since June, we have gone back to normal trips, but finding camps is tough. August did not happen as the Scouts did not want to go to the local camp for the 6th time and all camps were booked up. We had to drive 4 hours to the September camp out because none closer had openings. 

And apparently we are not the only ones having camping issues. The district camporee this month has 5 units from outside the district coming, which is unheard of. We had one unit contact us about tagging along because they could not find anyplace to camp. We opened it up to any troop. Now we have concerns on where we are going to put everyone.


10 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

 It is, John will correct me, at least 15 or 20 pages on each local council, ranging from an analysis of the claims that are against them, the cash and investments they have, the real estate they have, identified by camp, the camps that they don’t need because of underutilization, their membership trends, their operating expenses, our assessment of how much cash they need to have on hand to continue performing the scouting mission.

I wonder where they are going to get the stats for that? I know the local camp, which is normally the most used, took a major hit in 2019 due to the road being washed out and the camp being closed for 9 months while it was repaired. And 2020 hurt as well due to COVID.


12 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

 Asking a parent to drive (or bus a kid) 3 hours each way for a day camp is not feasible.

Heck asking a parent do drive a kid 45 minutes round trip to a day camp can not be feasible for some parents. We had  to encourage packs to carpool to drop off Cubs.

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