A Cornerstone Of Every Council's
To Provide For A Quality Outdoor Program
by Ed Henderson
With more than 300
Councils chartered across the United States the BSA has become one of the largest
landowners in the nation's history.
Scouting is not only
providing an educational & recreation opportunity for millions of youth but they are
also instilling Scouting's values & character. This is an awesome responsibility, one
that is worthy of every Scouts personal stewardship in order to insure that these
resources are protected for future use. In operating these millions of acres, Scouting is
helping to preserve and protect sensitive environmental areas, providing wildlife habitat,
and benefiting the environment in countless ways.
Council properties range
from multi thousand acre spreads, smaller forested camps dotted with lakes, Mountain top
peaks over 10,000 feet to oceanfront shoreline vistas. Some properties might include a
park like setting in the middle of town as part of an Urban Scoutreach program or a marina
type facility for Sea Scouts and Aquatics activities. The Greater New York Council has
established a camp entirely devoted to the needs of disabled and special needs Scouts.
Many Councils have more
than one camp; some are little more than remote spots of woods with primitive camping and
no facilities. Others are year round Training & Conference Centers with food service
staffs, programs, volunteers and infrastructures worth millions of dollars. Many camps
specialize in certain programs. A particular camp might be designated a "Cub
World" with themed program areas like "Knights of the Roundtable" or
"Pirate Ships." Other facilities are geared for training or High Adventure. Many
camps now have C.O.P.E. courses and some not only operate an organized summer camp but
also have a winter camp (the week after Christmas) in December.
Several Councils do not
outright own their camps but have them on long term lease. Many are located next to
national parks or forests and have established agreements for off camp hiking and other
use by Scouts. Some camps are so remote that the only way in or out is either by boat or
foot. A number of camps are forced to close because of heavy snow fall in the winter.
Camps may be looked after
by a caretaker, or by a full time on-site Ranger who has attended BSA's National Camp
School. Many Councils have a Campmaster Corps with volunteer leaders who come in on the
weekends to aid Troops in check-in and often offer special programs and activities. A few
have a number of staff people and even handle their own bookings. Most bookings for camps
are handled by the local Council's Scout Service Center. Anytime a unit is planning on
using a camp they should verify that the fees are and should travel with a BSA Tour
Permit, especially when visiting the camp or another Council. During summer camp it has
been the policy of the BSA that units attending a week of organized camp obtain a letter
of permission from their local Scout Executive. It is important for a Council to know
every youth that attended camp, even if it was one somewhere else.
Often camp properties may
reside outside Council boundaries, even in other states. The High Adventure camp of Ohio's
Greater Cleveland Council, for example, is in Canada. Many Chicago area Councils have
their camps in Wisconsin. We have listed each Scout camp in the STATE where it is actually
located. We have included in the description the name of the operating Council.
SCOUTER.com users should also make use of our NetRoster service which is our comprehensive
directory of Council, District, Lodge and Unit links. By visiting a Council's homepage
visitors to this site can often find additional information about not only facilities but
also programs being conducted by Councils as well as reservation policies, maps, and user
fees. On our main BSA Camp page we have also linked to several other multi-state Scout
Camp directories. Scout Camps from other nations are listed in the International Sub
Directory under Camping.
In the United States there
are a few dozen Troops that actually own & operate cabins, a few have even built what
by all accounts are full fledged camps complete with cabins, pavilions, and at least some
program areas. Where we have found unit sponsored places to camp we have included them at
the bottom of the state directory in which they reside (check out the two in