This is the second in a three part series by editor Ken Jacobsen. Read Part 1. Read Part 3.Know Your History
If a BSA Council camp is being sold or threatened with sale, also look for information about where the money or land donation came from for the creation of the threatened camp. Go to the library and have them help you search the local paper for news articles that mention the camp.
One group working to save Will J Reid Scout Camp in California found out that a large endowment had actually been bequeathed for support of the camp by the donor. If you can locate them, contact the donors or their families and get them to contact the BSA Council regarding the sale.
We Don’t Need No Stinking Camps (excuse the Three Amigos movie reference)
Another common argument by critics is that scouts don’t need camps to have effective programs. Of course the packs, troops, and crews will survive without the camps and the volunteer leaders will continue to teach our kids?
However, how easy will it be to provide a summer camp program when the BSA Council doesn’t own the camp? How will gun and archery ranges and other features be built and supported. My experience in Michigan is that many of the cabins, camping areas and facilities are actually being shut down by the state for budgetary reasons.
The camps are an excellent differentiator for BSA to attract new boys into the program. Why else would the BSA be currently raising $100 to establish a new high adventure camp and permanent home for the BSA National Jamboree?
Another thing to keep in mind is that the money from these camp sales often is used to acquire other properties and improve other camp resources. Critics will explain that these are not decisions made emotionally but decisions made knowledgably and based on informed understanding of the council’s finances and long term goals.
As people involved in save camp efforts you must communicate why selling the camp is actually short sighted and not in the long term interests of the BSA council.
It’s All About the Finances
Finances are an important part of BSA council management decisions, but that is also why it is important that the community the council supports, the volunteer leaders that run the programs and the scouts in the program be involved in making these decisions to ensure the council is making decisions that are aligned with the needs of the packs and troops. “Without us, the councils serve no function,” said one save the camps efforts supporter.
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