Re: Summer Camp Warning
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM)
Fri, 10 Jul 1998 09:21:51 -0400
> From: Wm. D. McCole <WMcCole@AOL.COM>
> Date: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 6:27 PM
> I visited Firestone Camp at the Resica Falls Scout Reservation(Cradle of
> Liberty Council) last night primarily for the OA ceremonies. When I
> with our Troop leaders they mentioned the Sunday night planning session
> with the Camp Director. When Troops were asking about MBs which were
> on the list of offerings, the Director said "let's see what we can do to
> modify the schedule". If he had qualified people, and some Scout
> put them into the schedule. Our leaders and the Scouts were quite
> (They also report that the food is very good; the Scouts cook their own
> which is furnished by the camp).
Its nice to hear good comments about the "other" part of Resica Falls. I
arrive in Big Springs, their dining hall camp, on the 19th for the first
of my troop's two weeks there. (NOAC staff prevents me from staying for
What you describe illustrates one of the greatest strengths of the "open
programming" aspect of the program at RF as implemented first by Valley
Forge Council and now continued by Cradle of Liberty. Under this program,
with the exception of aquatics, for the most part, there are NO scheduled
merit badge classes. Merit badges are earned very much like they are in
the non-camp environment. That is, early in the week (usually Monday) the
Scouts stop by each area where they wish to complete one or more badges.
The staff go over the requirements (usually there are a number of Scouts
inquiring about any particular badge at the same time) and how they can be
met at camp. Then the Scout goes out and completes the requirements,
getting checked off by the staff on each requirement as he completes it,
in his own time. The staff is generally available in their area all day
and deal with each Scout who wants to pass a requirement, one on one, as
he completes it. They are also there to help any Scout who needs it to
learn any of the skills necessary to meet the requirements.
The camp has various activities scheduled during the week which can be
used to meet certain requirements for the various badges, and it is much
easier to complete the badge if the Scout can make it to those sessions
(most of which are offered more than once during the week), but the staff
has always been willing to work with any Scout who cannot attend a
particular activity to find an alternative method to meet the requirement.
There is no such thing as sitting in a class for an hour a day for four
days and then passing a test in a group to get the badge. This, to me, is
one of the strongest selling points that keeps us going back to RF, now
for the 7th year.
The other thing is, as Bill posts, their willingness to make use of any
additional resources they have in camp for a given week. They welcome the
assistance of any qualified adults who are in camp with their troops to
either assist in providing the merit badges already on the "list" or to
offer additional badges to supplement the camp's offerings.
I am more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have about open
programming, because I personally believe it is the ONLY way merit badges
should be handled at camp.
Bruce E. Cobern
MC, Troop 1, Flushing, NY
Advancement Chairman, Founders District, Queens Council, NY
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City