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Sabattis Adventure Camp Going, Going, ....

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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 02:38 PM

https://www.tapinto....r-our-boy-sco-8

 

...I ( CC Boy Scout Troop 77 in Westfield, NJ) awoke yesterday to rumors that the Patriots Path Council Executive Committee is voting in a week to close Sabattis Adventure Camp, which has been a source of learning and fun for Boy Scouts for 60 years, and sell the 1,250-acre property to developers in the Adirondacks.

 

It’s not clear why they are considering this move. Although many are aware this is happening, there is no official word from the council. There have been no public discussions, no consultations with those most closely affected by the council’s decisions: the troops, the packs, the Scouts and their families.

 

It’s odd that a Boy Scout Executive Committee should behave this way. It runs counter to everything we teach our scouts at every meeting. It runs counter to the Scout Law and the Scout Oath that our boys repeat at the start of every troop meeting, every troop activity and every sunrise at Sabattis.

 

I’ve emailed all members of the Patriots Path Council staff, urging them against the closure of Sabattis Adventure Camp, and I’ve received the exact same canned reply from all but one who’ve responded, even with the same typo:

 

“The council president has called a special executive board meeting to discuss the future of Sabattis Adventure Camp. Until the board meets there is no change with the Sabattis Adventure Camp program. If they are any changes it will be announced on the council website during the week of September 18th.”

 

There is no mention of a Council President on the Patriots Path Council website.

 

It certainly seems the result is already determined.

 

I encourage all those with a stake in the future of the Boy Scout Program – whether your sons are currently Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Eagle Scouts or past Scouts, whether they have attended Sabattis, currently attend or currently volunteer at Sabattis – to attend a protest scheduled to begin just before the Executive Committee meeting. The protest begins at 6 p.m. at the Patriots Path Council Office at 1 Saddle Road, Cedar Knolls, NJ, on Monday, Sept. 18.

 

Sabattis Adventure Camp is located in Long Lake, NY

 


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#2 ItsBrian

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 03:38 PM

Not shocked. Patriots Path is my Council, and everyone I know says the camp is underfunded and horrible. Apparently the Cub Scout day camps get more funding, but can’t confirm that.

Edited by ItsBrian, 10 September 2017 - 03:43 PM.

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#3 RememberSchiff

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 04:37 PM

Those who attended that camp may feel differently. They should have been made aware their Council wants to close it and be given a chance to speak before a decision is made.

 

Or...is it just another lost cause Mr. Paine?


Edited by RememberSchiff, 10 September 2017 - 04:38 PM.

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#4 ItsBrian

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Posted 10 September 2017 - 05:23 PM

Those who attended that camp may feel differently. They should have been made aware their Council wants to close it and be given a chance to speak before a decision is made.

 

Or...is it just another lost cause Mr. Paine?

Thing is, they don't know if it's even true! Only a rumor.


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#5 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:00 AM

I am in Patriot's Path Council.  (I may never have said that before in this forum, but I have probably left enough hints that someone could have figured it out.)  I have never been to Sabattis.  The last time our troop did summer camp there was "before my time" with the troop, probably in the late 90's.  I don't think anyone from that time period has ever mentioned to me why they didn't go back.  It may be as simple as that the troop started going to Ockanickon in Bucks County Pa. (now the Washington Crossing Council) shortly after that time, and the kids have gotten comfortable going back there (a little too comfortable in my opinion) and that has become our every-year summer camp.  Another factor may be that Sabattis is about a 4-hour drive while Ockanickon is about 45 minutes, and our council's own "regular" summer camp (Mt. Allamuchy) is also about 45 minutes.  Sabattis is considered a "wilderness" camp and I am fairly sure it is patrol-cooking whereas Ockanickon has a reasonably nice air-conditioned dining hall (and don't get me started on that either.)

 

My suspicion is that Sabattis has become substantially under-used.  I have heard of only one troop in our area that has been there in the last 10 years.  I am sure they try to get out-of-council troops to go there, but I am not sure what their selling-points would be.  I do know that there is at least one other Boy Scout camp fairly close to Sabattis, about 15 miles as the crow flies (though as the car drives it would be more like 40 miles.) (I am talking about Camp Masawepie, where I went for summer camp twice as a Scout.  From the information I just found, Masawepie is about three times as large as Sabbatis.  I'm guessing that when out-of-council troops are looking for a place to go in that part of the Adirondacks, they are more likely to choose Masawepie.)

 

It is concerning to me to hear (assuming that this rumor is true) that they are talking about selling it to a developer, because the Adirondacks are one of the last large areas of relatively unspoiled forests in the Northeastern U.S.  It would be nice to preserve something from the chainsaws.  Unfortunately, as they say, money talks.

 

(I just emailed a couple of guys who might know more, we'll see what they have to say.)

 

(Another added note:  One thing that may make this less controversial than some other camp closures and probably less prone to heroic camp-saving efforts (like Glen Gray) is that Sabattis has never been anyone's "home camp."  That is Mt. Allamuchy, and going back before the council merger around 2000, also Camp Winnebago for people who were in the Watchung Hills Council (which my current troop is; my troop as a Scout was in Morris-Sussex Area Council, and those are the two that merged to form Patriots Path.)  Winnebago is now used mostly for Cub Scout camping and programs, for NYLT and for some adult training programs, while Allamuchy is the Boy Scout summer camp.  Sabbatis is kind of "extra" and I have no real sense of how much it is used, but as I said before I strongly suspect that it is under-used.)


Edited by NJCubScouter, 11 September 2017 - 10:45 AM.

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#6 RememberSchiff

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:40 AM

NJ, were you given adequate prior notice of the sale?


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#7 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:52 AM

NJ, were you given adequate prior notice of the sale?

 

Of Sabbatis?  Your post is the first I've heard of it.  I get the council newsletter by email and it has not been in there.  I am not really "in the loop" on council/district matters but one of the guys I emailed this morning is, I will be interested to see if he has heard anything.


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#8 DuctTape

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 10:52 AM

<p>My troop is not part of that council but we go to Sabattis because they do patrol cooking. Our council camp uses a dining hall.</p>
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#9 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:04 AM

<p>My troop is not part of that council but we go to Sabattis because they do patrol cooking. Our council camp uses a dining hall.</p>

 

Well, there you go.  What draws one troop may repel another.  If you don't mind saying, how far is your troop from Sabattis?  I am trying to get a sense of how much the distance may play a role in the use of the camp.  And when you have been there in the past few years, how full (or empty) has the camp been?  And do you know how many weeks of summer camp they run?

 

And I just realized yet another reason why the camp may be under-used.  When they have "extra" camping weeks to try to draw people in - like Trail to Eagle camp (really don't get me started) or ATV camp (or whatever it is) or coed-not-necessarily-BSA-members provisional camp, they never have them at Sabattis.  I believe they are almost all at Winnebago though some may be at Allamuchy.  I suspect this is at least partly because, all other things being equal, people would rather go one hour away than four.  You don't need the Adirondacks to work on Citizenship in the Nation.  (Nor do you need any camp at all, but we don't need to get into that.)


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#10 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:44 AM

I just heard back from the guy who, if anyone in our troop would know about this, he is the guy.  He says:

 

This rumor comes up every now and again. So far it's just a rumor. We need to keep watch though...... even the boy who cried wolf was right once.

 

Interesting perspective from a wise man.

 

Added: And his note suggests that the guy from Westfield (in the article) is not the only Scouter in Patriot's Path who is not willing to let Sabattis go quietly in the night.  Now that I think about it, my friend has been in this council (first the Watchung Area Council, which I mistakenly called Watchung Hills before, and now Patriots Path), for his entire Scouting life - more than 60 years if he was a Cub Scout, and I know he was an Eagle Scout.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 11 September 2017 - 12:25 PM.

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#11 ItsBrian

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 01:42 PM

@NJCubScouter I didn’t know you were in Patriots Path!

Yeah, Glen Gray was basically a heroic save since they made a separate company for the camp. It’s a beautiful camp and I love camping there!

Have you ever been to Alpine scout reservation? My troop is planning on going there this year, I’ve never been there.
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#12 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:56 PM

@NJCubScouter I didn’t know you were in Patriots Path!


It was a secret until now. :)

Yeah, Glen Gray was basically a heroic save since they made a separate company for the camp. It’s a beautiful camp and I love camping there!


I think the real master-stroke was getting Bergen County to buy the land and make it part of their park system. But you are also correct, forming the organization made up mostly of Scouters who had been there, to run the place under contract with the county, was a good move too.

Have you ever been to Alpine scout reservation? My troop is planning on going there this year, I’ve never been there.


I've never been there. Hope you have a great time!
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#13 DuctTape

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 03:51 AM

@NJCubScouter We are about 5 hrs away. I know the camp has decreased the number of weeks the camp is operational recently.
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#14 eagle90

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:05 AM

All I see is another patrol method camp going by the wayside.  They are getting rarer and rarer.  Pity.


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#15 NJCubScouter

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:11 AM

@NJCubScouter We are about 5 hrs away. I know the camp has decreased the number of weeks the camp is operational recently.


Interesting, so you are actually going further to get there than our troop would be, and you are coming from out of council. So there must be something there that some troops find attractive (including patrol cooking.) I am not surprised to hear that the summer has been getting shorter there; that's usually the point at which councils start talking about closing an "extra" camp, especially when there is a developer waving piles of cash at them.
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#16 ItsBrian

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:40 PM

Interesting, so you are actually going further to get there than our troop would be, and you are coming from out of council. So there must be something there that some troops find attractive (including patrol cooking.) I am not surprised to hear that the summer has been getting shorter there; that's usually the point at which councils start talking about closing an "extra" camp, especially when there is a developer waving piles of cash at them.



@NJCubScouter
I talked to a friend today about this! He works at Allamuchy, so he’s pretty reliable not just a random guy. Apparently the director for sabattis was promoted to run all the summer camps, so therefore I guess they can’t find a good enough replacement or something.
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#17 NJCubScouter

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:59 PM

@NJCubScouter
I talked to a friend today about this! He works at Allamuchy, so he’s pretty reliable not just a random guy. Apparently the director for sabattis was promoted to run all the summer camps, so therefore I guess they can’t find a good enough replacement or something.

 

Well... I don't think they would close a camp due to difficulty in finding a director.  If they want to fill the position, they can find someone to fill the position.  Or to put it another way, if the camp was meeting the financial "bottom line" set by the council and/or National, the camp would remain open and they would hire a new director.  There are promotions and personnel shifts and people coming and going from the professional staff all the time. I think the financial issue is the real motivating factor in considering closing the camp.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 12 September 2017 - 01:05 PM.

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#18 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:09 PM

Follow-up:  At last week's troop meeting I spoke with the Scouter I mentioned above, who has actually been to Sabattis, unlike every other active adult (or Scout) in the troop.  He doesn't think there is much chance of that property being developed. He said it is located in the middle of a state park and that there is really no "infrastructure" that would support any kind of development.  He said it is "in the middle of nowhere", which I guess is a relative term, but as I said, he is my best available source of information about the camp.

 

He also said that rumors about closing Sabattis come up every 3-5 years and this is probably more of the same.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 18 September 2017 - 12:26 PM.

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#19 ItsBrian

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 02:59 PM

Follow-up:  At last week's troop meeting I spoke with the Scouter I mentioned above, who has actually been to Sabattis, unlike every other active adult (or Scout) in the troop.  He doesn't think there is much chance of that property being developed. He said it is located in the middle of a state park and that there is really no "infrastructure" that would support any kind of development.  He said it is "in the middle of nowhere", which I guess is a relative term, but as I said, he is my best available source of information about the camp.
 
He also said that rumors about closing Sabattis come up every 3-5 years and this is probably more of the same.


@NJCubScouter
Another follow up from me as well, I went to Allamuchy for a hike this weekend and the reservation director said (who was just at sabattis recently)that it’s a beautiful camp and that’s it’s a shame that it may be closed... aren’t they voting today?
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#20 NJCubScouter

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:50 PM

The article isn't clear on exactly when the meeting is, but it does say there will be a protest at council hq on Sept. 18 at 6 p.m., which is about 10 minutes from now, and is about 10 minutes from where I sit at the moment.  (But I'm not going.) I guess that implies that the council executive board meeting is at the same time.


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