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What are scout summer camps in the USA like?


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#21 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 07:00 AM

I think what surprises me most about American summer camps is the way BSA puts so much emphasis on the patrol system and yet summer camp, the way you describe it, is both very rigid in terms of signing up to do merit badges and the like but also very individual, ie not patrol based. It seems like such a contrast!


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#22 Lurking...

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 07:42 AM

I think what surprises me most about American summer camps is the way BSA puts so much emphasis on the patrol system and yet summer camp, the way you describe it, is both very rigid in terms of signing up to do merit badges and the like but also very individual, ie not patrol based. It seems like such a contrast!

 

BINGO!  You are exactly right.  And if the Patrol Method were to begin to get traction once more in the BSA program, summer camps will suffer even more.  

 

The summer camp I was at last week prided itself in being one of the country's premier BSA camps.  The MB staff was extremely questionable, the food was mess hall marginal, the tents were non-existent, the boys had cabins that slept 4 boys (1/2 a patrol), and to top it off, only one of my boys wanted to go back next year.  They were all first year scouters, they had nothing else to compare the camp to.  Taking a 5 day canoe trip at 1/2 the cost sounds better than 90% of the camps in the US.


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#23 Cambridgeskip

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 08:42 AM

It's the massed catering side of it I find really strange. For our scouts part of the fun of summer camp is that they get the food they like, cooked the way they like it. So they plan the menu in advance and then each patrol cooks breakfast and dinner on an open fire. They love it :) Particularly good this year was the meat balls and garlic bread done from scratch. Although we did discover for our veggie contingent that making meat balls from soy mince is a bit tricky getting it to bind together....

 

The only exception this year was one evening they had all been out hiking during the afternoon and were caught in a downpour that was only just this side of biblical.* While they sorted themselves out, hung wet kit up to dry, took hot showers to warm up etc the adults cooked dinner for them. We need to stop being so nice! Still to their recipe though.

 

*Seriously. Some Girl Guides camped just through the trees from us had a couple of tents washed away when a new stream established itself straight through their camp site.


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#24 Lurking...

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Posted 09 August 2016 - 08:50 AM

As I mentioned, I have first year scouts so we went with the mess hall camp.  It was the first time in many, many years I was at a mess hall camp and the whole time I was there, it reminded me that it's going to be many, many years before I go back.  As a kid of that age, I thought the school cafeteria for lunch was a really bad idea.  Getting the "treatment" 3 times a day was/is horrendous.  I do have to admit that living off salads and walking around camp as much as I did, it dropped me 6#'s.  That's a good thing.


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