Re: Camp Daniel Boone, Camp Thunder etc (long)
Daniel W. Brown (dabrown2@VT.EDU)
Thu, 26 Dec 1996 22:22:35 +0500
Before I get into the same trouble that Ed did, let me disclaim that I do
not speak for my
council (Blue Ridge Mountains), the scout reservation (where I have worked
or the council camping (on which I serve).
Ed Henderson makes a lot of worthwhile observations regarding what makes a
sucessful summer camp. I agree with his assertion that "In Southern Region
there are a lot of councils and camps that are nothing to write home about.
I also agree with most of his comments regarding what makes a successful camp.
However, I disagree when he describes some of the rivalries that exist out there
> 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).
>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.
Therein lies the problem. Those camps that survive will be those that have the
the foresight and werwithal to expand and create new programs. Those that do
not will fall by the wayside or become a financial drain on the council.
well be good old American capitalism but it lacks any long term planning on
For instance, what happens to the camp property that has to close?
I doubt that many councils can afford to maintain a property the is not
income or they would not have closed it in the first place. What happens if
suviving camp with the fantastic program is 400 acres being encircled by suburbs
while the closing camp in another council is 400 acres of wilderness
national forest. If we lose the latter for a lack of foresight and money,
depend on the former to serve our needs forever. If councils close thier
and send thier scouts to some of these new super camps, will other programs such
as cub scouting, weekend camping, and training be affected by the loss of camp
properties? I do not know of a single council that uses its property solely
scout summer camp. There are other questions that could be asked along these
lines but I will leave these to others and get to my point.
BEFORE we go any further down this road, I think we need a long term accessment
at the council and regional level of our needs. Camp properties and
properties are getting scarce. The trend is to close camps and I am aware
of no council
that has the plans or funds to buy a new one. I realize that this
suggestion is an affrount
to the supposed independence of councils, but I fear that the current
approch is a mistake.
I agree that we must close some camps due to financial realities but I don't
think we are
going about the selection process in the right way.
As a disclaimer, let me state that this is not sour grapes and I am not
objecting to any
particular camp closing. On the contrary, my own council reservation
(located in my district) is
one of those that have become super camps. In the last decade, we have
camp attendance seven fold and are drawing troops to Virginia from Florida,
Rhode Island, and
Arizona. This has been accomplished with plenty of space (16000 acres),
plenty of money (from
popcorn), and several excellent new programs. What concerns me is that the
same facility might
have been lost without the money and the program which does not exist in
every local council
in adequate amounts.
Dan Brown (Mimawanachen Wikhetschik) Committee Chairman
Troop 56 Blacksburg VA New River District Tutelo Lodge
Camping Committee Blue Ridge Mountain Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City