Re: Quality Unit! Yes or no
Jim Miller Sr. (JJMSR@AOL.COM)
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 12:25:00 -0500
In a message dated 96-03-31 23:08:47 EST, mross@PLIX.COM (Matthew Ross)
>I have been involved for several years with a group of troops that hold
>their own Boy Scout summer camp. It is heald on private property rather than
>at a nationally recognized Camp. In the beginning the purpose was to provide
>a camp experence for boys who could not afford to go to Council camp, and
>attract boys who wern't going to Council camps. Within a few years our
>program reached a maximum size of 120 boys and 30+ adults. The quality of
>our camp in many instances was better than our Council camp. Saftey require
>requirements were followed to the letter, and most advancemrnt and merit
>Badge requirements were were inforced better than Council camps. All of our
>Counclors were regestered adults instead of boys.The total cost of our camp
>has not exceded $40.00 dollars and adults went for free.
> The problem I am addressing is a few years ago the Council began refusing
>to give us Our Quailty Unit patches because we wern,t attending an official
>BSA Camp. The only thing not official was the fact they diden't own the
>property we used, and they coulden't make a profit off of our camp fees. I
>think Councils get too caught up in making money they forget who they are
>trying to serve. Of the 100+ boys that came to our camp less than 10 have or
>Would have attended a Council camp.now 10 times that number have the
>opportunity to participate in a Quality Program but they don't get a Quality
>Unit Patch. I would welcome Comments on this subject.
As a fellow unit scouter, I can sympathize with your concerns. As a council
president, perhaps I can help you understand the position taken by your
Most councils today are faced with the difficult problem of trying to justify
the continued cost of owning and operating a council camp. If they choose to
dispose of a camp and send their units elsewhere, they are castigated and
vilfied by the front line scouters as money grubbing oafs who don't know
anything about the scouting program. At the same time, they are attacked by
well meaning scouters like yourself for refusing to give recognition to your
unit because you run your own camp.
Let's look at reality. A council camp property is used at most approximately
156 days per year. That includes 31 days in July, 31 days in August, and 10
days in June, as well as 2 nights per weekend for the other 42 weekends per
year. Despite that limited use, the council must carry insurance on the
property 365 days a year and (in NJ and PA anyway) pay taxes on the property
365 days a year. In addition they must have someone on the property year
round (a ranger or caretaker) to protect the facility from vandels and
In addition, most councils that operate a summer camp are expected to pay the
staff. They must also pay the costs of having staff properly trained at
national camp school to fill the many roles which require that training.
In most cases, they also provide tents, cots, dining facilities, canoes,
rowboats, rifles, ropes, and all the other equipment required in order to
provide a quality program.
Your unit camp on the other hand uses borrowed property. This allows you to
avoid the costs of taxes and of maintaining the property year round. How
fortunate for you. By the way, who insures the owner of the property against
suits by the parents of boys who might be injured while camping on his/her
property? I'm fairly sure that the BSA insurance would not. Does your unit
pay for an insurance policy to cover this?
I'm fairly sure your unit camp doesn't pay the staff. Do you send them to
national camp school to qualify for their jobs? Do you pay their way?
What about equipment? I imagine that the troops provide their own tents and
I suppose the boys sleep on the ground so I guess you beat those costs, but
what about canoes, sailboats, rowboats, rappelling equipment, etc. Where do
you get those? Or do your boys just miss out on those opportunities?
And if medical help is needed, do you have certified EMT's available or are
the taxpayers picking up that part of the tab because you rely on the local
First Aid Squad? If you go to the emergency room, does BSA insurance pay
your bill or do the boy's parents get socked?
Well enough. I think I've made my point.
We can all do what you do and soon there won't be any BSA camps around. Less
kids will get a long term camping experience, but so what, your boys will be
okey, I hope.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City