Re: DESIGN A CAMP! (Part 1)
Ed Henderson (biged@SCOUTER.COM)
Wed, 26 Aug 1998 23:59:33 -0500
Douglas E. Wyatt (Tasgola@AOL.COM) shared with us on Scouts-L the good news
of the Georgia - Carolina Council's plans for upgrading their summer camp
As someone who has spent 15 years on Camp Staffs in Georgia let me say
congratulations on the interest and excitement your council has built
towards moving in that direction. I have been to Camp Lynwood Hayne which
is very close to the main population center of the council in Augusta.
While having the camp so close to town is a great asset for Cub Scout
events (your council even came up with the innovative plan to allow for
"Day Provisional Campers" for individual scouts who wanted to come out
daily for a second week of camp to individually work on more badges), the
camp smells terrible when that loud paper plant towering over the camp
spews out all of that smoke. The location and physical condition of the
camp are strong factors in the camp only operating three weeks. After a
year or two scouts have "been there, done that" and are off to Thunder,
Barstow, Ho-Non-Wa, Old Indian, or Daniel Boone.
For those on Scouts-L that are always fretting about the BSA closing off
all of their camp properties around the United States you need to walk a
mike in the shoes of the Executive Board of this council. No less than
FIVE councils surrounding the Georgia-Carolina Council have either
developed new camps or done major renovations of existing properties in the
past 15 years.
To the South, Coastal Empire Council in Savannah closed their own Camp
Schran which, like Lynwood Hayne, became a small camp enveloped by urban
sprawl. Savannah built Blue Heron, a nice state of the art facility in
1983. Since then they have tried to exploit their location on the Atlantic
Ocean with High Adventure Sailing programs. Great facilities, right off
I-95 and only a days drive to the Florida Sea Base, but they have having
problems going beyond three weeks right now.
To the East the Indian Waters Council in Columbia just relocated and
unveiled their new and updated Camp Barstow, which by all accounts is a
great facility. This new camp is only three years old.
To the West Flint River Council in Griffin Georgia developed the Gerald I.
Lawhorn Canoe Base on the Flint River. Last month they celebrated the 10
year anniversary on this High Adventure Base that now attracts troops from
all over the nation. They have also sunk millions into Thunder Scout
Reservation. Over the past 20 years they transformed a once sleepy camp
that ran three weeks into a powerhouse of Southern Region camping. Getting
your out of council troop into a week of Camp Thunder can be harder than
getting a slot at Philmont for a summer trek! Thunder is a perfect example
of how a small council (like yours) with an can do winning attitude and
novel ideas about summer camp management can run circles around the huge
corporation of the Atlanta Area Council which still flounders and lurches
from camp year to camp year.
Just beyond Flint River Council the Chattahoochee Council is turning to its
strengths as it will complete its brand new summer camp in 1999 on West
Point Lake. If your council is looking at creative a new lake front camp
here is your best case study.
The Chattahoochee Council, saddled with five camps from two earlier mergers
had no money to maintain any of them. Their original camp, McKenzie, was
old and decrepit. BSA Engineering Services came in during the late 1970's
and convinced the council to sink a lot of money on a new camp across the
road from their old one called Camp Calloway. It was a foolish investment
for the council and the new property became an expensive boondoggle that
never got off the ground. Expensive new buildings were dry rotting five
years after installation. This was also the time when BSA Engineering
Services was preaching the gospel of Summer Camps with no dining halls.
The idea flopped and three times a day the old would trudge nearly a mile
across the road to the old McKenzie dining hall to eat.
The council finally give up on upgrades to their two white elephant camps
that were attracting no one for the summer and has held their 2 - 3 week
summer camp at the old George L. Lanier Council's Camp Pine Mountain near
West Point Georgia. Old Pine Mountain is a truly unique camp with a World
War II era CCC Olympic Size Swimming pool and wonderful cabins for a great
weekend stay. At 27 acres however this was hardly a summer camp for anyone
other than first year scouts.
The break for the council came from the real estate value of their two
"white elephant" camps which just happened to be just over the county line
from the consolidated Muskogee County / Columbus Georgia united government.
Property taxes were much lower in Harris County and an affluent building
boom was on all around Calloway/McKenzie.
In short order the council dumps the property to a developer for a small
fortune and now the suddenly cash flush council acquires a long term lease
on a state part that was partly built but never opened on one of Georgia's
biggest lakes....West Point. Roads paid, water lines laid, but the state
then shelved the plans to complete their new state park during some lean
years of state government. Good land going to waste, until the BSA was
able to secure a long term lease agreement and give the park a new life.
Here, on Georgia's West Point Lake they will be able to offer a serious
Motorboating & Water Skiing program that no other camp in Georgia will be
able to match. Once on-line, it will be the first serious competition for
the Thunder Scout Reservation juggernaut that has snatched troops away from
every other Georgia Council for the past ten years.
Even the Atlanta Area Council continues to develop their new Woodruff Scout
Reservation in the North Georgia Mountains. Less than 20 years old,
Woodruff - if it were operated correctly - could be one of the finest camps
in the Southeast. Their big camp marketing plan for 1999 summer camp? Ban
Camp Thunder and other councils from coming to their huge Scout Show with
booths promoting rival high adventure bases. If only AAC could put the
blinders on their unit leaders and make them think there are no camps
beyond their council borders perhaps they will finally be able to fill up
half a summer at their camps. Read more about the AAC and their camps at..
So Douglas, you now have many case studies on the many camps & councils
around you. Without the offsetting sell of Linwood Hayne, and the huge
layoffs at your number one Augusta / Aiken regional employer, the Savannah
River Nuclear Power site, your small class 53 council could be hard pressed
to raise the capital to build a camp that will not only bring your home
units back but also become a magnet for troops from neighboring areas.
Look to the north, it will take real bucks to compete with Daniel Boone,
Bob Harden & Old Indian. They are in the cooler Appalachian mountains too.
MORE IN PART TWO......
Ed Henderson (Speaking only for myself)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City