Thursday, April 29, 2010

Been There, Done That .... Oh, Really?

I was chatting with a local scoutmaster the other day about his plans to run an advancement-oriented weekend campout to help his younger scouts complete their Trail to First Class Requirements, and I suggested that Three Falls would be a great place to do something like that.

“Nah,” he said. “Our boys were just there for winter camp, and most of them went there for Webelos Resident Camp. They wouldn’t want to go there again.”

“Balderdash,” says I – or words to that effect.

My belief, based on 11 years as a scoutmaster, is that for the most part, the boys don’t much care where you go, they only care what you do when you get there.

Let me give you a couple of examples. When I was scoutmaster (not all that long ago) our troop was in the habit of going on a shooting outing every December. We always went to the same shooting range, which had nothing in particular going for it in terms of scenery or amenities, and no place to camp if you wanted to – but it did have rifles and targets. No one ever protested, “Oh, we don’t want to go there again.” Never even came up.

Every year for more than 30 years, our troop has gone to Joshua Tree for rock climbing. Same spot, same rocks. A few times someone (always an adult) has brought up the possibility of going somewhere else, but that idea has never gone beyond the idle suggestion stage.

Every couple of years, the troop goes rocket shooting. Our usual spot is a dry lake bed out near Cantil in the Mojave Desert. It’s about as unappealing a location as you could imagine, but no kid ever came to me and said, “Aw gosh, if you’re going there again, I’m skipping that outing.”

I could go on, but you get the point. In none of these cases are the kids going for the place; they’re going for the program.

Three Falls offers facilities for a pretty comprehensive range of scouting activities. Just ask, and we can set it up for you, including providing expert instructors if you need them:

* New Scout advancement work – from nature study to pioneering, map and compass to swimming.
* Pre-Camporee
* Aquatics Merit Badges
* Rifle and Shotgun shooting – recreational or merit badge work
* Climbing on one of the tallest climbing towers in Southern California
* Leadership development – Troop Leader Training, program planning conferences, adult leader retreats. Fremlin Hall is available for weekend rental at a very modest price, and includes comfortable furniture, white boards, and a big screen TV with DVD player.
* Run your own theme weekend – Mountain Man Rendezvous (see the slide show in the right column), Old West, Relief of Mafeking. If you don’t know what the Relief of Mafeking is, click here.
* Weekend family camp for Troops or Cub Scout Packs.

We’ve got the facilities for you to run the kind of program that will get your kids excited and make them want more – and if you’re in Ventura County or the San Fernando Valley, it’s probably closer to home than any comparable camp.

“The kids won’t want to go there”? Give them a little more credit – the kids know a good time when they see it – all you have to do is offer it to them.