Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why Go to Camp - Final Cut

Here is the cut and polished version I actually gave. Thanks for all the advice and support.

Why go to the Trapper Trails Council BSA Summer Camps

1. One day a mother marched into Scout Executive Rulon Skinner’s office, slapped her hand down on his desk and demanded, “What can my son possibly get out of a week of scout camp that is worth $25?” Kind of dates my story doesn’t it. Rulon replied, “Why madam, Scouting develops character.” “My son’s already a character,” she said, “he doesn’t need developing.”

2. I have been asked to speak for 9 minutes. I could not give you all the reasons to go to a Council Camp in 9 hours, it will take six days. If you truly want to know, come to camp and see.

3. How many of you have been to Camp Loll? Here are my witnesses, ask them.

4. One Saturday morning I sat at my desk in the lonely quiet time before the breakfast bell. A big, strong man walked into the camp office. “Who was responsible for retiring that flag last night?” he demanded. I figured someone was in trouble. I said, “I guess that would be me.” “I just wanted to thank you,” he said. He went on to tell me he was a Captain in the Marines. I told him that it would mean a lot to the staff to hear what he had to say. At breakfast he stood to speak to us. He explained that that past year he had lead his men up the Valley of the Euphrates during the liberation of Bagdad. His sergeant had been killed, and several of his men wounded, a terrible cost. They did this to keep America free, to ensure that we could enjoy the wonders of Yellowstone. He then told another story. In 1986, he swam a mile in Lake of the Woods. He told us how difficult it was to be a Marine in training, to be a Marine. “And yet,” he said, “through all those trials I kept reminding myself, that as hard as this is, it isn’t as hard as swimming a mile in Lake of the Woods.”

Trapper Trails Council Camps can be that important in the lives of the scouts they serve, the scouts you love.

5. Scout Masters, Coaches, Advisors, go to camp for you. Camps and Camp Staffs are there to serve you, to make you a better leader, to help you practice the methods of Scouting, to improve your troop, team, or crew.

There is training in Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, Climb on Safely, No Trace Camping, Trek on Safely, and certification in BSA Lifeguard. Most importantly Camp offers the magic of Scouting, a spirit that will fill your soul and motivate your service.

6. Go to Camp because of the Camp Staff:

a. I went to Camp Bartlett as a scout in 1967. There I met Sam Young. He was my Forestry Merit Badge teacher, more importantly he was a hero to my whole troop. When Sam walked into our camp our delight was remarkable. Every one wanted to grow up to be Sam.

b. It has been many years since any scout wanted to be me – 11, 12, & 13 year old boys want to be 14 or 15; 14 & 15 year olds want to be 16 or 17; 16 & 17 year olds want to be 18, and your 18 year olds want to be returned missionaries. Trapper Trails Council Camps have all these heroes to serve you!!!

c. The staff models Scouting, they proudly wear the uniform so that every boy will know that the most fun he every had came while participating in a program that swears to do duty to God and country, to serve others, and to keep oneself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. Your staff will live the scout law; they will model its slogan, and be its motto. They will be with you from the moment you arrive in camp and stay with you for the rest of your lives. Up before first light; they will serve you through the night, keep your boys safe, teach their classes, guide their hikes, and be the role models you want them to be.

Our camp staffs are bound by tradition and practice to the founders of Scouting, to Seton, Powell, and Beard. Camp traditions reach back to the great men of our community who made camps possible, from Dilworth Young and Vern Dunn, Jed Stringham and Bob Wade, to Bill Wangsgard, Dave Rich, and Dave Wadman. In our camps, scouts sing the songs, hear the stories, hike the trails, see the wonders, and live the legends of their fathers.

7. There are many practical advantages in attending an organized Council Camp.

a. Safety rules, learned, modeled, and enforced.

b. Trained Staff – hike guides, life guards, archery and rifle range instructors and insurers of safety, climbing and rappelling experts, merit badge instructors and councilors (all with equipment and materials ready to use), flag ceremonies, camp fire programs, skits, and fun.

c. Equipment – bear boxes, water systems and KYBO’s, garbage disposal, and dining halls, guns and bows, climbing ropes – harnesses - and hardware, (thousands of dollars of the finest equipment), sailboats, rowboats, canoes, complete with life jackets, and safe swimming area and defense program, a camp site, food storage and “delivery”, menus with preparation instruction included, health and safety officers, first aid lodges, emergency communications, and rapid response systems in place.

Yes it does cost money – but, as the Lord said, “Cast your bread upon the water and it will return one hundred fold!!”

8. You get each other; the worldwide brotherhood of Scouting. Scouts sponsored by varying groups and denominations, from all over the country and the world, all striving toward the same values. We will sing together, work and play together; we will share inspiration and face difficult challenges together. We will rejoice in our diversity and in our unity. We will share answers to questions and the solutions to problems. We will draw strength from our ever growing friendship. We will play the games everyone wins: learn sportsmanship and teamwork, sharpen skills and build health that will last a life time.

9. The most important things to be gained at a Council Scout Camp are the values of Scouting. Our Council Camps will fill the lives of scouts and leaders with God and Country, service to others, and duty to self. Council Camps provide real experiences that teach the scouts as they live the adventure. No watching fantasy lives in movies or on TV, no computer generated escapade. Camp is the real thing. There are no false highs from drugs or fake friends in hate driven gangs. We know the battle you are fighting for their futures; we want to give you a week long weapon to defend them for the rest of their lives.

They will meet God as they live in the wilderness that is His art, and learn to love and protect it, to be the stewards of the earth He has told them to be. They will share with their friends the truth of beauty, where a flower or the star-filled sky equally proclaim God’s glory, where service and love are revealed in the person of a Scoutmaster, a staff friend, a SPL, or a scout; where brotherhood speaks of the God in man.

They will feel the joy of freedom that is America as they live, work, and play in wild lands that belong to them. They are richer than kings, because they are American Citizens. All day, every day, they will lead and follow and share. They will thrill with joy as they pledge allegiance to the flag that stands for freedom in ceremonies where their heroes model respect for their country. They will shed tears of gratitude as a ragged old flag is committed to the sacred fire, symbolic of the respect of a grateful nation.

They will be there for each other; serve each other as they gather firewood, cook meals, wash dishes, dispose of garbage, clean KYBOs and scrub the showers. They will participate in meaningful service projects that will beautify their National Forests and their Camps, service that will teach them to care. They will learn to lead as Patrol or Senior Patrol Leaders, and they will learn to follow their peers as well as their adult leaders and camp staff councilors. They will come to know that they can trust leaders who are their friends and learn to be worthy of the trust of those they love.

They will face and overcome physical challenges they would never dare were not you and the camp staff there. They will swim in mountain lakes, climb to mountain tops, and earn the pleasure that comes from pain.

A Council Camp or High Adventure activity will be the crowning event of a boy’s or young man’s scouting experience. He will only have a chance or two to last him forever. I promise you that this great Trapper Trails Council and the 450 plus summer camp staffers, who are now working hard, who have worked for years, to prepare the summer of a lifetime for your boys and develop character will deliver.


Reach Upward said...


Geoffory said...

As I ponder the wisdom that is contained in the words and wisdom of your message it brings feelings of joy and regret. Here in Montana, most of the LDS chartered units are required to attend a specified council camp on a specified week. Why? So adults can be “brought in” to speak to and encourage the scouts to remain faithful to their religious values. Not a bad idea. But I’m grateful for other council camps where my scouts can come and see those same values modeled by the youth staff any week of the summer.

Lysis said...

Thanks Geoffory, that is good to hear. I am greatful to the extra effort you put in to get your crew to camp, and for many other things.

Todd said...

All the more reason to keep boys, for generations to come, going into Yellowstone and returning men!

bathroom design said...

Hi there,
"Why Go to Camp - Final Cut"
Great common sense here! Wish I’d thought of that much earlier. Thank you for the tips.

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