Re: AAC Summer Camps (LONG!!) 2/2
settummanque, or blackeagle (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 14:42:54 -0500
This is a continuation of my response to Ed Henderson explaining some of the
reasoning behind professionals working at summer camp operations.
*this posting is LONG*
I am putting on my former Paraprofessional's hat to respond to BigEd's
concerns; Judy, you and other current or former pros are welcome to add or
subtract to my comments here based on your experiences.
Remember, Ed, I *don't speak for the BSA*, but I have had a lot of
experiences both professionally and on a volunteer basis that serves as the
basis for my comments.
>* Atlanta and Griffin go about their summer camp operation completely
>differently. The only people at your two camps year round are the Rangers.
> The operations of the AAC camps are directed at the scout office, as just
>two of many programs.
This is the way that *most* Councils operate their summer camp operations.
>From the Council office, miles and several counties away from the "action".
I would LOVE to see Council offices located, as in my mythical "Cardinal
Council", RIGHT ON THE CAMP PROPERTY so that you don't have an excuse NOT to
visit the campgrounds except during camp. Lots of Councils would love to do
this, but the realism is that if you're trying to attract money
and make yourself available to those that have money, you need to be located
in a place in town that they can *get to easily*. They can't get to a
summer camp facility normally during the day.
You were very fortunate to have been a part of a camp operation that was
centered and ran FROM THE CAMP.
You compared Thunder to Camp Woodruff:
>Atlanta's Premier Camp, Woodruff, on the other hand is less than 20 years
>old, in an awesome & spectacular setting. Your camp was laid out with the
>best minds at BSA Engineering Services, you had the capital we lacked to
>build large first rate facilities at the very beginning (and thank goodness
>added a nice Dining Hall). Why is Woodruff not blowing the doors off
>Thunder and every other camp in Georgia?
For the same reason that other "caddy camps" don't do the same thing in
other locations: its the PROGRAM, not the SETTING, that gets Scouts and
Scouters talking about it and having them to return year after year. You
can build the best camp money can buy, but unless the programming is there
to manage the facility and use the best parts of the caddy, nobody wants to
>Sadly, it is not in the Camp Director / DE's interest to push and promote
>Atlanta camps that way! If they do, it is that many more weeks away from
>home, day camp, the district, other responsibilities, etc. All the DE must
>do is have a good year, get past the assignment and move on. There is no
>need to forge a bond with the camp staff so a veteran nucleus of college
>age staffers with years of experience under their belts returns year after
>year because next year someone else will be at the helm. It will be there
>professional assignment. Training also falls short with AAC never sending
>their Chaplains to National Camp School and rarely sending Scoutcraft
>Directors off to a week of training.
And again, a lot of that depends on how their local Council views summer
camp operation and support and in that initiative from the professional
involved. As fas as National Camping School for other directors and support
staff, if the Council can afford it AND the Scouter involved is willing to
attend, those other Scouters can and do attend NCS.
>Jeff I have seen your council's Scouters vote with their feet and
>checkbooks defecting in droves fleeing to other council camp operations.
>Since Atlanta is such a huge council total success in its camp operations
>is not as important to the bottom line.
I would disagree with you but I don't have the financial numbers to back it up.
Summer camp operation is important in EVERY LOCAL COUNCIL, Ed. It's a
part of that Council's evaluation as a National Quality Council and is a major
part of the evaluation of the senior professional staff members. The Director
of Camping, Director of Field Services and Director of Support Services as
well as the Scout Executive all have as "critical acheivements" a certain
percentage of Cubs, Scouts and Explorers attending outdoor camping
facilities and programs of the Atlanta Area Council (as it is in most other
Councils as well)!!
>Why is one of the largest Scout Councils in the nation
>unable to even partially fill up their flagship camp when much smaller,
>less capitalized councils are doing circles around AAC.
For the same reasons that camp operations in "top 25" cities like Louisville,
Indianapolis, Dallas (DALLAS???), Boston, Miami, and Portland are suffering
in the same ways. Smaller camps surrounding their Councils are experiencing
a gain in camperships at the same time they are experiencing some losses.
It's a matter of program, not facility. When people talk about this subject,
I'm always reminded of the little camp owned by the Scioto Area Council in
Portsmouth, Ohio. They have to actually ADD weeks of camp, even though
their camp is smaller than those in Cincinnati, Lexington, and Huntington.
Why?? Their camp is OLD, like "Dan Beard old" *grinning*. Their staffs
keeps turning over and over with each year (they also "circulate" their DEs
as camp director each summer). But yet, Scouts and Scouters keep coming
back year after year. It's the PROGRAM that they are offering and continue
to change and offer!
Your concern for camping operation shows, Ed...and believe me, is very much
appreciated by those outside of the regular camping operation like me.
However, to only place this on the way that the camp's being administered
isn't really fair. There's a LOT more decisions, business and yeah,
professional decisions, that are made before the start of the camping season
which dictates how and why the camp operation is going the way it's going.
It's NOT just the professionals.....its' the volunteers that have to come in
and be willing to spend an additional couple of weeks to get working together.
It's the Scoutmasters, Advisors and Cubmasters that need to get behind their
camping operations and work toward making it better by making those
suggestions and working at the camp and TAKING THEIR SCOUTS AND EXPLORERS TO
YOUR LOCAL SUMMER CAMP FACILITY. It's National, that has to scale back this
idea that Cubs need to be exposed to summer camp
earlier than they should be....leave Summer camp to Scouts and give them
something to look forward to going to!!
And it's the Scouts and Explorers that have to use summer camp not as a
vacation period, but as a way to see and experience firsthand what Scouting
is all about. You can't do that from the Trading post.
(c) 1997 Mike Walton ("no such thing as strong coffee,...") (502) 827-9201
(settummanque, the blackeagle) http://dynasty.net/users/blkeagle
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