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Summer Camp Alternative


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If you are looking for a weeklong merit badge factory, then a council camp is your best bet.  If you're looking for adventure, it can best be accomplished elsewhere, and usually for much less.

IMO, the real reason to do a roll your own camp is to do a completely original adventure. - canoe trip -backpacking trip -bike/hike -WW rafting -wilderness survival/bushcraft

Absolutely nothing; as long as you can run a fun and safe program and that is what your scouts choose to do.  As @malrauxstated above it does require a lot of work, both by the youth and the adult vol

2 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Seems like everyone heads to a $300 - $400 a week camp and I am not sure why.  Convenience?

For sure. Plus merit badges and a general program that supports the general BSA program. Girl Scout camps are in the $385-$485 range here. Same for Y camps etc.

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6 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

For sure. Plus merit badges and a general program that supports the general BSA program. Girl Scout camps are in the $385-$485 range here. Same for Y camps etc.

Where I am going with this is...  If we can, and I believe we can, put together enough adults who are MBC to have MB opportunities for the week.  What stops us from find a new pretty place in the United States to travel to.  Find a group camp site.  Cook our own meals.  Plan our own activities.  Use our own stuff.

I was not impressed with the summer camp we went to and I dont think our Boy Troop was over impressed with the camp they went to.  Why spend big bucks if we can do better on our own?

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11 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Is there any reason why Scout Summer Camp has to be at a BSA Camp with a program?

Seems like everyone heads to a $300 - $400 a week camp and I am not sure why.  Convenience?

Its a lot easier to plan summer camp by picking the nearby camp, knowing that there's merit badge programs, meal plans, climbing equipment, atv equipment, paid lifeguards, etc. whereas planning an independent event requires a lot of volunteer work.

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1 minute ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Where I am going with this is...  If we can, and I believe we can, put together enough adults who are MBC to have MB opportunities for the week.  What stops us from find a new pretty place in the United States to travel to.  Find a group camp site.  Cook our own meals.  Plan our own activities.  Use our own stuff.

I was not impressed with the summer camp we went to and I dont think our Boy Troop was over impressed with the camp they went to.  Why spend big bucks if we can do better on our own?

last summer my unit did that. Just rented a cool camp ground site for a week and went and did their own thing. Its a fine plan if you want to take on the extra work to make it happen.

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6 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Where I am going with this is...  If we can, and I believe we can, put together enough adults who are MBC to have MB opportunities for the week.  What stops us from find a new pretty place in the United States to travel to.  Find a group camp site.  Cook our own meals.  Plan our own activities.  Use our own stuff.

Absolutely nothing; as long as you can run a fun and safe program and that is what your scouts choose to do.  As @malrauxstated above it does require a lot of work, both by the youth and the adult volunteers.  My troop has not done this in place of summer camp, but we have done a number of other full week programs.

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23 minutes ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Where I am going with this is...  If we can, and I believe we can, put together enough adults who are MBC to have MB opportunities for the week.  What stops us from find a new pretty place in the United States to travel to.  Find a group camp site.  Cook our own meals.  Plan our own activities.  Use our own stuff.

I was not impressed with the summer camp we went to and I dont think our Boy Troop was over impressed with the camp they went to.  Why spend big bucks if we can do better on our own?

This is a feasible option for you if you have enough like minded, trained, and registered adult volunteers and leaders. During the first summer after Covid, there were many reports of units doing a week long or partial week camp on their own. Frankly, having this option in your wheelhouse is probably going to be critical for many units going forward as more and more traditional scout camps are sold. 

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There is no prohibition on long term camping on your own.  It would sure give your PLC something of consequence to plan!

Caveat...  in many States and Counties (including mine) the Health Department regulations for over X number of youth camping over over X number days or nights is prohibitively difficult for almost all Troops to comply with.

 

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Seems our adults are bound and determined to go to Camp A next summer in spite of the costs.    I really try my best to adhere to "Thrifty", but not everyone sees it that way.  :)

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For our Sea Scouts and Venture Scouts we do mostly roll your own summer adventures.  $300-$400 is a bargain that you get with scout camps.  Having roll your own it is scout run, designed, and led. Not focused on merit badges but on the adventure.  Having a need and requirement for lots of adults to run a variety of merit badges is a huge ordeal.

I love our roll you own adventures, but they are best with older youth. For instance this year our venture crew decided they wanted to do a live aboard sail in Florida.  We connected with units there and the scouts with the leaders their coordinated almost all of it. The adults handled the final details for the drive.

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8 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Seems our adults are bound and determined to go to Camp A next summer in spite of the costs.    I really try my best to adhere to "Thrifty", but not everyone sees it that way.  :)

Thoughts while waiting for town building inspector to show...

Some see just saving money as being Thrifty.

Some see just saving their time,  as in selecting a pre-packaged program requiring little planning and preparation, as being Thrifty

Some see just saving resources,  as in not wasting or duplicating , as being Thrifty,

Scouts strive to save money, time, and resources while getting tasks done. Thrifty.

My $0.01,

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It's a great opportunity that will consume a lot of time setting up. It might not be as much cheaper as you think but will provide more opportunity for scouts to lead and have fun.

If done right, and the troop wants to do it again, it will be a bit easier the next time.

We used to roll our own high adventure trips, and those are less expensive than national's. We did one that was for the entire troop and was a mix of high adventure and summer camp activities and all the scouts could go. It worked really well. But for one guy it was lot of work organizing everything.

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There is value in seeing “the wider world of Scouts” outside of one’s troop. I wouldn’t trade my memories as a Scout or an adult at camp for a reduction in cost. 

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I haven't been to a council camp since my first experience.  I was stuck in the "First Year Camper Program" which meant no merit badges and really, not much fun.  I left it and Scouting shortly after I got home.  A couple of years later, my parents dragged me into a new troop.  That troop owned its own camp in southern Missouri.  It was fantastic.  The camp itself was small - maybe 17 acres.  It served as a home base with a flag pole, cannon, rec hall, shower house, fire ring, etc.  Around it was Clearwater Lake, the Current River, and several state parks.  As a general rule, everyone earned Pioneering, Motorboating, and Water Skiing merit badges.  If you didn't have some of the others, like swimming or first aid, those would get completed too.  We did the Mile Swim, played games, and had a blast.  I then moved to England.  The first troop didn't do a week long trip that I can remember.  The second troop did Philmont the first year I was with them and Kanderstag in Switzerland the second.  I didn't know TAC had a camp until recently.  No merit badges were earned at either camp.  Very few of our Scouts had enough merit badges to get palms.  I can see the value in getting exposure to other troops and the value in having special programs focused on getting merit badges.  However, I wouldn't trade the experiences we had 30 years ago.   Having a council camp is convenient, but I think work required to have great adventures is well worth it. 

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