Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Re: Merit Badges and Summer Camp Offerings (and an added question)
Re: Merit Badges and Summer Camp Offerings (and an added question)
Mon, 9 Aug 1999 15:34:30 -0500
David has done a good job of summarizing summer camp from a historical
perspective but I think one must be careful of too much generalization.
As I remember the 50s and 60s, there was a lot of emphasis on merit badges.
There was also a lot of emphasis on program areas such as axe yard and rope
yard, especially in the early to mid 50s. We didn't do these things as a
troop but as individuals (although we did sign up for a space). In the mid
50s, earning two or three merit badges at camp was good, four was
outstanding; by the mid 60s, most scouts expected to earn five or six.
Activity periods were shortened and, at our camp, we had six activity
sessions a day instead of four.
Another thing I remember from the early to mid-50s was "provisional"
camping. The Korean Conflict reduced the number of adult males available
to take troops to camp and many camps developed provisional programs for
scouts whose unit could not provide leadership at camp. By the late 50s,
very few councils operated regular provisional programs. In recent years,
I've seen some resurgence of provisional camping--to provide scouts an
opportunity to attend a second week of camp and/or to provide an
opportunity for scouts whose unit was not attending summer camp.
In the 60s I remember an emphasis on patrol cooking. Many dining hall
camps opted for units to cook several meals a week in their campsites.
This might take the form of all meals on one day or of one meal a day. I
suspect this may have related more to limiting a cook's work day to eight
hours than to a desire to increase patrol cooking! Not all areas followed
this practice but it was an item in the national standard rating system.
Because my memories differ from David's summary, I'm wondering how many
camps have published some sort of history of the camp experience. I'm
aware of at least one that was done.
Kepayshowink, the history of Camp Rotary (then Saginaw Bay Area Council)
was published, probably in the early to mid 60s. I don't know if it has
If you are aware of similar publications, please let me know about them.