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GNYC Seeks to Sell Camp Pouch

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In the past two weeks, it came out that the Greater New York Councils (GNYC) has decided to try and sell off Camp Pouch, located in the New York City borough of Staten Island. The Council Executive Board voted in favor of the measure 11/24, and it made the local Staten Island papers 11/25. The catch: no other borough found out until 11/29 (at the earliest). Pouch, being the only BSA camp located within NYC, serves as a highly valuable opportunity for our urban Troops to be able to experience the great outdoors without completely breaking the bank. Though Council expresses that they would prefer to sell to the State or the City, so that the land is preserved as part of the governmentally-run woodland "The Greenbelt", this is deemed unlikely, as the State borders on bankruptcy and the City is drastically cutting its budget (NYS, you see, goes marauding through NYC's treasury whenever the State starts slipping into the red). As such, this means that the likely potential buyer of the camp land would be a private developer, which GNYC has quietly admitted is a possibility.


As there are often two sides to every story, I'm going to do my best to be fair.


Here's GNYC's press release:




Here's the popular opposition:





A lot of us outside of the Council offices object to this on several grounds:


1) Pouch is the only BSA camp in NYC. This enables countless numbers of Troops to go camping while staying within their transportation means (Many NYers don't have cars, or at the very least big cars)

2) Council could save a lot of money by moving out of the Empire State Building, with its reputed rent of $1.4 million per floor (GNYC operates two floors)

3) Staten Island residents object to the overdevelopment of their borough

4) And last, but certainly not least, just about everybody objects to the cloak-and-dagger nature of the whole deal; Late night meetings to vote on the issue, minimal public information, etc.


Anyway, that's the state of Scouting in NYC.

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Gah! My troop camped there a number of years when we had people in the 5 Boro Bike Ride, its a very nice camp. It was also nice to be able to camp there for cheap, then take the ferry into NYC for the ride/to visit the Statue of Liberty/etc. How can they get rid of the only Scout camp in the city?

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This is more than a council loss. It's a loss to the entire Northeast. Our unit stayed there when visiting the city last spring. It is one of the few camps located in close proximity to NYC attractions that allow an out of town unit to come in and stay and be able to enjoy the city without having to commute an hour or more in an out of the city.


Really sad.


I hope a better way is found than selling to developers. National Park Service?



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How about National springing for it as an east coast urban center? With proper development, it could become a gem in their National camping possibilities. Imagine being able to develop a tour of the surrounding area for your troop while not spending a small fortune for a place to stay in the city. This could be offered for international units too. Depending on size, the council trying to sell could also instead, build their own office there with the cost of rent in the Empire State Building. If they already have the land, the cost of construction would be absorbed by the money saved on rent. Of course, lots of things I have no knowledge of regarding access and so on.

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Many years ago I did summer camp there while a scout and living in South Beach


Its a sad state when councils have to sell off properties for what ever reason.


The council folks probably had a bunch of reasons for this action. The local council where I now live has been going through hard times, layoffs of staff have occurred and so forth.


It would be nice to figure out how to get more youth in scouting again.

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JerseyScout and scoutingagain:


You're absolutely right; Pouch also serves the purpose of providing a convenient base for any out-of-town Troop that's visiting New York. I can only hope that you, and others who feel like you do, make use of the petition found on the SavePouch site, and express those opinions.


Additionally, I find scoutingagain's suggestion of NPS taking it over to be an interesting one; the Parkies already have the rather large Gateway system spread throughout the greater NY area. I wonder, though, if the Honorary President of the BSA would sign off on it?


skeptic has a good idea too, about National taking it and developing it into an East Coast Urban Center, with marketing possibilities for out-of-town and international Troops. It makes a great deal of sense, given that NYC is a fairly big tourist destination, so being able to offer a Scouting-convenient opportunity could, in theory, be a big draw. Unfortunately, Irving and GNYC have spent the past several years in a Propulsion of Liquious Human Waste Contest, so I don't know if they'd be willing to arrange it.

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