Re: Camp Daniel Boone, Camp Thunder & other really good camps
Ed Henderson (BigEdBSA@AOL.COM)
Sun, 15 Dec 1996 14:25:47 -0500
In Southern Region there are a lot of councils and camps that are nothing to
write home about. Unimagenative councils with 3 - 5 week spots of land where
basic camping occurs and DE Camp Directors are hard pressed to keep their
districts and day camps afloat back home while dutifiully "serving their
summer camp duty" that they have been assigned to. I will be kind and not
mention names of councils and camps but one of the largest councils in the
nation (the one just above mine, Flint River Council ) is a perfect example
of a council with no interest in operating successful summer camps.
There are a number of good camps where you find a lot of drive and energy,
either from a really good program director, a very active group of volunteers
like a legitmimate council camping committee, or even a professional scouter
who has his (or her) act together. Some of these up and coming camps are in
places like Western Tennessee Council's Camp Mack Morris (Camden TN), South
Carolina's Palmetto & Charleston Area Council (Camps Bob Harden &
Ho-Non-Wah). There are many more. These camps, while not at their fullest
potential, are never the less very good camps to spend a week at and where
the council does a lot more than the minimum to just get by.
Finally you have some councils that are interested in making their camps the
best they can be. You have forward thinking Scout Executives, Camping
Committees, and a can do staff that makes it all happen. Ashville's Camp
Daniel Boone and Flint River Council's Camp Thunder are too such camps. Both
are from small councils who have a different outlook on their camps. Both
camps run the entire nine weeks of summer and have stuff going on nearly
every weekend in the spring & fall. Both camps fuill up months in advance
and have waiting lists of troops from around the nation that want to go
there. It is true, Thunder & Daniel Boone have problems, each year they both
try very hard to not overbook their camps (but it sometimes happen when
volunteers bring more scouts than they said they would - at Thunder we have
even had troops that were able to book in sneak in a neighbouring troop).
What few complaints there abre about Daniel Boone ususally focus on cold
water for swimming and a nagging problem in past years with the food. At
Thunder problems with the septic tanks and development of new camp sites is
being dealt with.
Neither Camp Thunder of Daniel Boone pay a lot of attention to the Dog & Pony
show that Supply Division tried to peddle to council summer camps. On our
own we both showed up at the same South Carolina fishing warehouse within
hours of each other last summer to stock thousand dollar inventories of
fishing geat for our Camp Trading Posts (other camps justy get BSA Officially
overpriced Yellow Marshmellos and think they are meeting the needs of any
angler in camp that summer). There is a healthy rivalry between the two
camps (and a few other heavy hitters like Blue Ridge Scout Reservation, Kia
Kima, Roy C. Manchester, and Brady Saunders).
Never the less dark clouds can emerge on even the best of camps. Last year
Camp Thunder had dozens of troops flee Cerntral Florida Council & Camp
La-No-Che from 300 mies away in Orlando. Now our new Scout Executive is the
former Field Director of that very same council. I hope Thunder will have a
successful 1997 but already eight of nine area directors have indicated they
are not returning for the new year, and the food service manager, business
manager, Camp Director, and other key people have already left.
If you go to Thunder or Daniel Boone, if you look hard enough you will find
problems (heck visit any camp the opening week and you will see some
problems) but both camps have a solid history of program excellence, year
after year the scouts of troops states away vote to return to these camps
because they find so much exciting and new to do each year.
Over the next few years scouters are going to continue to see a trend.
Councils are eiother going to beef up their camps so they can attract
enough scouts to stay open at least five weeks or they are going to get out
of the summer camp business. It is just too expensive for a council to try
and operate a 2 - 4 week camp by the time you get staff on board (including
such hard to find people as a camp nurse), send everyone off to training, and
maintain a complete camp facility infrastructure.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City