Camp Ottari Review
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET)
Wed, 6 Aug 1997 09:14:14 -0400
A group of 42 Texans just returned from a week at Camp Ottari which is
operated by the Blue Ridge Moutains Council in Roanoke, Virginia. A
troop from Houston accompanied our troop on this trip. Here is a
summary of what our troop members thought about the camp.
>From an overall standpoint, our group thought the camp was one of the
best we've attended, possibly the very best. The camp offers an
outstanding mix of high adventure and regular summer camp opportunities.
Here is how our Scouts and adults rated each of the programs in which we
SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM - We had 6 boys and 1 adult in the regular summer
camp. They gave it a rating of "A" as the camp offered a nice selection
of merit badges and special activities. The camp site, facilities and
food were as good as other camps we've attended. The staff was
excellent and our guys had no problems with any of the staff members.
Overall, an excellent summer camp program.
NEW RIVER ADVENTURE - This is a high adventure activity consisting of
COPE, caving, rappelling, mountain biking, whitewater canoeing and
whitewater rafting. We had 7 Scouts and 4 adults in this program. They
rated it "A+" as it was one of the nicest high adventure activities in
which our troop has participated.
CLAYTER LAKE AQUATICS BASE - This program gave the boys an opportunity
to earn several aquatics badges plus participate in special water-type
activities. We had 1 Scout and 1 adult in this program. They rated it
"A+" and had a great time all week. The participants spent most of the
week "in the water" and the program certainly delivered. They were
especially impressed by the staff who made it a high priority to learn
the names of each participant by the end of the first day of the
MOUNTAIN MAN OUTPOST PROGRAM - This program promised a week in the DEEP
WOODS living like the Mountain Men who once inhabited the Blue Ridge
Moutains. Scouts were told they could earn the Cooking, Rifle Shooting
and Cooking badges. Basically, the program DID NOT deliver as our 5
Scouts gave it a "D" rating. This was due to the fact that the program
was understaffed and that one of the staff members used profanity
thoughout the week, with some of this aimed directly at the boys. Our
Scouts reported that this guy "went crazy" on one occasion when someone
touched his necklace and went off into the moutains for several hours to
"purify" himself. Our guys did not complete or receive partials on any
of the three merit badges promised so the program didn't deliver what it
promised in this area. 4 of our 5 Scouts had taken part in a Philmont
trek during June and they reported that the Mountain Man Program was a
big let-down after Philmont. But they said it could have been a nice
program if it had been adequately staffed. They gave high marks to the
guy "in charge" but stated he just didn't have enough help.
In summary, Camp Ottari needs to improve the Mountain Man Outpost
Program. All the other programs are of the highest quality and we
recommend these without reservation. They also offer a backpaking
program (High Knoll) and our campers heard good reports about this.
Even with the problems with the Mountain Man Outpost, we still feel that
Camp Ottari offers one of the VERY BEST summer camp and high adventure
programs in which our troop has participated. None of the camps in
Texas offer such a wide variety of programs so we'll certainly return to
Camp Ottari at some point in the future.
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City