As Scouting units across our Council are determining what their young people will experience this summer, most will return their Cubs, Scouts and Venturers to the joys of a full week of adventure at a BSA camp. After a year of COVID-caused physical isolation from their friends, our young people in Troop 248 are delighting with the anticipation of returning for a week of experiencing the mysteries of camp friendships – many for the first time. Our Troop members live and meet in the urban core of our great capital city, so traveling to our splendid Goshen Scout Reservation for a week of aquatics, Scoutcraft, nature, shooting sports, hiking and the silly pleasures of campfire entertainment takes on heightened importance.
This year we are sending 32 Scouts and eight adults to Camp Olmsted and later in the summer, 15 more–advanced Scouts and adults to the high adventure backpacking program known as Lenhok’sin. Those of us who attended as Scouts or served as staff at camps of our youth know the facts: we own one of the Nation’s finest camp properties operated at the highest possible level of program excellence. Our Troop Committee and Scoutmaster Staff believe it is a central duty to make these summer experiences available. Our Scouts, including several who are experiencing the gift of a Council campership, are grateful to anyone who has helped make the pleasures of Goshen Scout Reservation possible. That would include all of you who support our Council through contributions or bringing your own units to camp.
We are a new unit – just 28 months old. We are now a strong group of 50 Scouts and 27 adults for having centered our efforts for 15 months on successfully overcoming the impacts of COVID on the life experiences of our Scouts. We largely achieved this by continuing our live meetings and monthly weekend events outside in the sun, rain and cold (with appropriate precautions). In just six weeks, the young people of Troop 248 will exchange any remaining trepidations from pandemic fear for the confidence and joy that a week in the woods will bring. Decades from now, they will look back on the experiences we will provide them through our camp and know Scouting provided just what was needed at the precise time.
For those of you who excluded live outdoor activities from your unit’s program, I strongly urge you to add a week of summer camp to your agenda. Your unit can still do it now and your Council will happily provide the advice, flexibility and direct staffing assistance to make this happen for your youth members. This is your time to renew the spirit and purpose of your Scouting unit. This is your time to provide your children the relief and renewal they need. This is our collective time as believers in Scouting to rise to this challenge.
All we really need to do right now is simply get back to camp. I’ll be looking for you. Camp Olmsted. First period. The guy wearing the smoky-the-bear hat.