Non-Trad Camp




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Subject: Re: Non-Trad Summer Camp

From: randy wilson (rwilson@MAIL.NORTHTRAIL.ORG)

Date: 10:16, Jul 15 2003

We did just that this summer. Our scouts (mostly senior boys) were not interested in going to one of the Council camps. We had originally planned to do a high adventure in northern Colorado, but the boys said they were not interested in spending a week hiking in the mountains. So, we planned our own thing.

We took the boys to Lake Ouachita in Arkansas (we are a Dallas troop ... 6 hour drive away) which is near Hot Springs. We stayed at a Corps of Engineers campground (Denby Point) and it was fabulous. Adults, with the help of boys who had the specific merit badge, taught Canoeing, Motorboating, Cooking, Communications and Forestry. Although all of the work for the merit badges was not complete, we did get most of the practical portions done.

The boys had a ball. So did the adults. We even had 2 of the moms come along and stay in a camper in another camp site (same campground). They joined us for dinner and actually taught the Communications merit badge (they are active committee members, wives of ASM's).

And we did some non-traditional things too. We went to the movies in Hot Springs one HOT afternoon. We took the boys on a field trip with a local US Forest agent where she discussed what the Forest Service did in the Ouachita National Forest. And ... NO MESS HALL. The boys cooked their own meals every day ... 20 meals.

We set our own week. We left Dallas on Wednesday and returned on Wednesday. The boys had 6 full days in camp (in a BSA camp they get, at best, 5 days). The Wednesday to Wednesday was to work around everyone's other schedules ... family vacations, other summer camps, work, etc.

Will we do it again? Probably, though next year I would expect to go back to a BSA summer camp for the sake of incoming younger boys. It may not be a camp from our council as we like some others around the country ... most notably Camp Frank Rand in the Chimayo Reservation of New Mexico (I think it is the Albuquerque council's camp). The have a nice high adventure program (like Philmont) for the older boys and a normal base summer camp for the younger ones. And it is in a great climate.

Was it worthwhile? You bet. The boys stayed busy, had fun, and all hung together without any incidents.

Randy Wilson ASM, Troop 729, Dallas







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