Thursday, November 3, 2011

Back in the Day...

Tony Waters sent this picture that appeared in the Ventura County Council newsletter in 1993, of Fort Lockwood under construction. Today, the fort is one of our camp's most prominent landmarks, and is home to our handicraft and frontier skills programs.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Three Falls Video

This is a couple of years old but still fun to watch.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Join Our Staff for Summer Camp

Camp Three Falls is looking for a few outstanding individuals to join our staff for Summer Camp in 2012.

Working on summer camp staff gives you the opportunity to learn leadership and improve your own scout skills while spending six weeks in the beautiful Lockwood Valley, at the foot of Mt. Pinos. You’ll work hard, but you’ll also have chances to hike, swim, climb on our fantastic climbing tower, maybe earn a merit badge or two, and get to know a great bunch of people.

Jobs are available in most program areas and range from counselors-in-training (an unpaid training position for younger first-year staffers), to instructors and area directors. Job assignments and pay will depend on your age, experience, and other qualifications. Minimum age for staff is 14 years old.

To get an application, click here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reservation Form Now Available

The reservation form for 2012 Boy Scout Camp and Webelos Resident Camp at Three Falls is now available on the council web site here. The form gives details about pricing, payment schedules, and other important information.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reserve Your Spot Now for Summer 2012

Prices have been set for the 2012 summer camp season at Three Falls.

Boy Scout Camp

Enjoy a week of camping, fun, advancement work, great food, and of course the best camp staff in Southern California. Our camp fees are competitive with and in many cases lower than other SoCal camps, and for most folks we're much closer to home. Our 2012 prices are:

$360 per Scout, with a $20 discount per Scout for Ventura County Council units (that's $340 for VCC Scouts, the same as the 2011 price!). Additional $10 per Scout discount for Wilderness sites (bring your own tents for Wilderness sites)
$200 per adult.

Webelos Resident Camp

Four days and three nights is just right for Webelos-age boys. Remember, those who are Bears during the 2011-2012 school year are eligible to attend camp in summer 2012 too!

$190 per Webelos
$100 per adult

We know how important it is to have adult leadership at camp, and we know how much your leaders sacrifice to make camp possible for the boys. As our way of saying "thank you," a limited number of leaders from each troop and pack signed up for camp can attend at no charge. For 1 to 10 boys, 1 leader attends free; 11 to 20 boys, 2 leaders attend free, and so on. For Webelos, this is the number of boys per pack, not per den. For Boy Scouts, if your group includes youth from a Troop, Varsity Team, and/or Venture Crew that share the same charter organization, they are considered a single unit.

Remember, each pack or troop must have at least two adults in camp at all times.

Reservation Forms are being finalized and should be on the Council Web site in the next few days. We'll post a link here when they are available.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Touring Our 1,000-Acre Backyard

This spring, Ventura County Council entered into an agreement with U.S. Borax, a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Mining Company, under which U.S. Borax has given us permission to use more than 1,000 acres of their property for backpacking, hiking, nature study and low-impact camping.

This property runs across what you might call the Mt. Pinos front country -- a mile-wide strip of land that encompasses the ridge just north of camp, providing the backdrop for Fort Lockwood and our shooting ranges. U.S. Borax owns about 3,500 acres in all, running several miles east from the North Fork of Lockwood Creek. A hundred years ago, there were several good-size mines on the property that produced thousands of tons of colemanite, a borax ore.

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the chance to hike some of this property with Howard Kern, chairman of our council program committee, and Gary Lee, retired camp ranger. Gary's family has a long history with Three Falls -- council bought the camp property from Gary's grandfather in 1933. Gary has lived in Lockwood Valley for most of his life., and probably knows the backcountry better than anyone, so it was a real privilege to have him to guide us.

We left camp at 6:30 a.m. and walked up the fire road west of camp. The council-owned property ends just a short distance west of the parking lot (the dirt road that runs to the rifle range is on the property line). At this point, the road runs through Forest Service land.
Lee Falls
About two-tenths of a mile from the gate, the road crosses a small creek bed, which is dry most of the time. We didn't hike up there this time, but if you walk about half a mile north along this wash, it leads up a canyon that is located on Borax land, and to a small waterfall. Tony Waters, our Fort director and staff hiking maven, led a group of hikers up there during Boy Scout camp this summer, and dubbed this Lee Falls.

The fire road runs roughly west for another quarter mile, crosses North Fork Creek, then curves northward into North Fork Canyon. At about three-quarters of a mile from the camp boundary, it enters U.S. Borax property. There is a small metal marker nailed to a tree if you know where to look. Just past that are the Chumash petroglyphs. A couple of these are fakes, according to Gary, but most of them are genuine. It might be interesting to talk to the Borax folks in the future about what we could do to better preserve this site.

The next mile or so the road is on Borax property. There are a lot of potential outpost campsites along here, and the geology is remarkable -- geologists come from all over the country to study this area. Down at camp the cliffs are a coarse conglomerate, then as you go up canyon there are areas of several different kinds of sandstone and shale. The top of the ridge is capped with a layer of basalt from an ancient lava flow, and farther up toward Pinos everything is granite. There are examples of faults, wind and water erosion, and much more -- an incredible area for Scouts to work on Geology Merit Badge.

The old Chicago Borax Mine is in the saddle on this ridge.
Several un-named side canyons run off to the left and right. A particularly nice one is on the west side about one mile from camp. The rock formations are awesome, and about a mile up the canyon there is a pretty little three-step waterfall (when I say little, I'm talking 25 or 30 feet total). It was still running in late July when I was up there. I call this one Lost Mine Canyon, because on the south ridge there used to be a small borax mine. Gary says that when he was a kid the mine tunnel was still open and you could find bits of old mining equipment up there, but there's nothing left now, and the tunnel has been blasted shut. Along the road near the mouth of the canyon you can find a few old rotted boards, which are all that's left of an old miner's cabin.

"That's a Really Big Rock!"
Just about a tenth of a mile farther on, a good-size side creekbed crosses the road from the right. This is where we turned off the road and things got really interesting.

Just short of half a mile up this wash is this really big rock. This thing is like the Half Dome of Three Falls. I first noticed it when I was looking at Google Earth earlier this summer, and one of the reasons I wanted to take this hike was because I figured it was going to be an amazing sight -- and I was not disappointed. It's got to be a couple hundred feet tall.

Gary doesn't know that this thing has a name, so for now we have agreed to call it -- drumroll please -- "The Really Big Rock," or "The Rock" for short. Maybe we'll have a contest next summer to come up with a better name for it, but then again, maybe not.
The Rock from half-way up the ridge.

Really Big Rock Creek continues east into the heart of the Borax property, but past The Rock it gets too steep and, well, rocky to be a good hiking path, so we wanted to see how hard it would be to climb up onto the ridge on the south side of this canyon. The answer is, really hard. When I got home and plotted our hike profile in my Topo mapping software, the profile line went nearly vertical at this point. When we start taking hikes up into the back country during summer camp, we'll have to find a better route than this one.

Pine Flat
About 500 vertical feet later, the top of the ridge was easy going. This is where the rock changed from sandstone to basalt, and we found a lot of small pieces of what I'm pretty sure is colemanite. We walked about half a mile east along this ridge, then dropped down a bit to the north into a beautiful, hidden valley. In this area the pinon pines that you see around camp and in the lower part of the canyon are replaced by big, beautiful Jeffery pines, lots of pine duff on the the ground, and very little understory vegetation -- much more of a high country feel. Like most of the features up here, this spot doesn't have a name that I have found so far, so for the sake of conversation I am going to call it Pine Flat. This would make a superb site for outpost camping or a stopover on a backpack -- the only problem is there is no water. We tramped around the area quite a bit hoping to find a spring, but no luck. Looks like Pine Flat campground is going to be a dry camp.

Nice, fresh bear scat.

There were plenty of big trees, though. Some parts of the surrounding mountains were logged, and you don't find really big old-growth Jefferys so much, but Gary doesn't think the loggers ever got to this area.

We did see a lot of bear scat, and other signs of bear activity. Red-tailed hawks, jays, jackrabbits, and Howard thought he spotted a bobcat.

We hiked northeast, down a draw that we though might have some water in it,
View down Middle Fork Canyon, looking southeast. The falls are where the rocks are, just left of the center of the picture. That's Frazier Mountain in the far distance, behind the pine branch on the left.
then over to the south rim of Middle Fork Canyon. At this point we were maybe half a mile northwest of Middle Falls, looking downstream. We could see water in the creek below us, so I assume the falls must still be running.

After a short rest break, we started back, noting that the soil here is decomposed granite. My guess would be that the fault line that divides the sedimentary formations of the lower hills from the granite uplift that forms Mt. Pinos, must run along the south side of the valley. We hiked south back over the ridge we had followed coming in, then down along a different ridge, this one very brushy and hard to navigate, leading us southwest toward camp. From here we could look down on Lockwood Valley, and eventually, camp itself. My wife, Lisa, had stayed back in camp to run the trading post for a group that was doing a family camp that weekend, and she told me afterward that she saw us up there from the parking lot.

Getting down again was not quite as bad as the scramble up, but still very steep. There's kind of a sketchy old trail along the razorback ridge, on the east side of Lee Falls. Gary told us he remembers Scouts from the camp hiking up there when he was growing up, probably in the early 60s. On a pinon toward the bottom of this trail we found a sign that said "Station 1." Obviously it must have been part of some organized activity -- maybe a compass course? If anyone knows, please share the information.

Anyone know what this was used for?
That's about it. We got down to the streambed that leads to Lee Falls, followed that back to the road, and were in camp right about noon.

After taking this hike, I'm very excited to find ways to incorporate the Borax property into our summer camp program.

In the long run, I hope we will be able to develop a multi-day backpacking program, taking groups on a Philmont-style, guided backcountry experience. But that's probably several years away. It will require many more exploratory trips, and probably some challenging trailbuilding to get up onto the ridge -- though once you are up there, I'd probably have people use map and compass or GPS and hike cross-country. Also, if we are going to have people camping up there, we'll have to figure out the water problem.

Our use agreement only covers activities like hiking and camping, but somewhere down the trail, it would also be interesting to talk to Borax about preservation and research at the Chumash rock paintings and the Chicago Mine site -- possibly someday we can work with them and with local historians to use these sites to teach Scouts and others about the history of the area.

In the short run -- as soon as next summer -- we can run day trips to several sites, including Lee Falls, the triple falls in Lost Mine Canyon, and Really Big Rock. Middle Fork Canyon, where we already go on a regular basis, is also mostly on Borax land, and is one of the prettiest hikes in the area. I'd also like to work with our nature staff to run guided forestry and geology hikes up North Fork and some of the side canyons.

For now, that Station 1 sign we saw is kind of symbolic of where we are with the Borax property -- just at the beginning of what could be a very interesting journey. I'll do my best to keep you posted over the coming months as things develop.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Leader Comments

Here are some comments culled from the Webelos and Boy Scout leader evaluations from this summer, plus a couple from our Facebook page:
  • "The high motivated, interactive and upbeat staff made every activity better than the activity itself."
  • "Those kitchen ladies are goddesses. All the food hit the spot.... The friendliness and upbeat attitude of the kitchen staff matters."
  • "The staff was the best. I thought it was amazing that they could remember the scouts names and address them personally."
  • "At the lake, when my boys were quarrelling and not cooperating, one of the aquatics assistants urged them to be friendly and work together. In general the staff set a terrific example of mutual assistance and cheerful productiveness."
  • "The camp experience was great. Our boys enjoyed themselves, accomplished their goals for merit badges and activities, and learned so much about making good choices and working together."
  • "[The staff] demonstrated that you can be cool and a Boy Scout at the same time."
  • "We think highly of this program...Thank you for you commitment to generating strong boys."
  • "Overall, this was a wonderful experience. The boys had a great time and we will be back again."
  • "Beautiful area and very friendly staff."
  • "We heard your vision for the future and it sounds great!"
  • "I think the improvements you have planned for the next five years (frontier) are going to fill the bill perfectly."
And from our Facebook page:
  • "I'm going to be totally upfront and honest about this...Camp 3F Staff, greatest I've ever met :) "
  • "We had a wonderful time, thank you again for the wonderful memories, great food choices, and endless fun. See you in Boy Scouts next year, Momma Daddy I love you, chop it grind it hahaha the song that never endssssssssssssssssssss Good times."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Boy Scout Summer Camp Photos

Some pictures from the first and second weeks of Boy Scout Camp have been posted on our Facebook page. We've been busy with more than 200 campers each week.

The weather has been great, not too hot during the day and comfortable at night. Just a few clouds today (Monday).

Thanks to some late-season rains, there's still plenty of water in the lake, as you can see in this picture. Check out the Facebook shots of the new sailboats in action!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Webelos Session 3 Pictures

Check out the pictures from our third Webelos session on Facebook

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three Falls Receives 2011 Accredation

Our BSA Camp Visitation Team was in camp today to tour our facility and check our compliance with Boy Scout camp standards, and we are happy to report that we passed their scrutiny and received accredation for another year of operation as a Webelos Resident Camp. A second visitation team will be here during Boy Scout Camp to review the Boy Scout part of our program.

We are proud to run one of the oldest and most successful Webelos Resident Camp programs in southern California, serving about 450 Webelos, leaders and parents this summer. We've had dens in camp this summer not only from Ventura County Council, but also from at least four other southern California councils.

We've already set dates for 2012 Webelos Resident Camp: June 24-27; June 27-30, and July 1-4, with the possibility of a fourth session if those fill. Start planning now to attend this fantastic den outdoor experience. See our Facebook page for photos and comments from this year's campers.

More Webelos Camp Pictures

We've got a selection of pictures from Webelos Resident Camp Session 2 on the Facebook page. Lots more photos to sort through when I get a chance. Maybe some Session 3 pictures tomorrow.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Webelos Session 1 Photos

Excellent first week of camp. The staff continues to astound me with their enthusiasm and dedication, and we had great campers -- I especially enjoyed their skits at last night's campfire.

I've uploaded a few pictures from Webelos Session 1 to our Facebook page. I'll add more when I have time -- our Internet connection here has limited bandwidth so uploads are kinda slow.

We're looking forward to seeing the next bunch of campers next week. Actually, that would be tomorrow. Just about 23 hours from now, come to think about it.

I need to get some sleep.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camp Menu

Some folks have expressed an interest in seeing the camp menu. Click here to see the typical weekly menu. This will vary slightly from week to week but should give you a pretty good idea.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Merit Badge Updates

Based on advance merit badge signups, a few classes are full. If you're using the online signup, you'll find that these have been removed from the dropdown menu.

Week 1: Period 1 Rifle Shooting, Period 1 Climbing, and Period 3 Small Boat Sailing
Week 2: Period 3 Small Boat Sailing

We will be adding another Small Boat Sailing class, Period 4 both weeks. I will add these to the dropdown menu on the signup form in the next 24 hours or so. In the mean time, you can use the comments field to request this class.

It's good to see strong interest in this merit badge, since we are getting four additional sailboats and have a staff member specifically trained to teach this merit badge. And there plenty of water in the lake this year.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Getting Ready for Camp

Our Three Falls staff has been hard at work for the past week preparing the camp and themselves for a great summer season. With the first session of Webelos Resident Camp just days away, we are very nearly ready to receive our first campers.
  • We have relocated Scoutcraft and Pathfinders (Trail to First Class) from the central corral to the former Sitting Bull campsite, which is much closer to most of the other program areas -- above the lake and half way between the pool and the Fort. The Scoutcraft staff has constructed a couple of large scale pioneering projects, with more to be built over the course of the summer.
  • We're almost done setting up Louella's Cantina, also located at Sitting Bull. It's a kind of whimsical recreation of an old-time western watering hole, complete with swinging doors, a bar, and atmospheric lighting. It will be a great spot for campers to hang out in the evening for a cup of lemonaide, a game of checkers, and some music.
  • We've moved the camp office upstairs where there is more room for the staff to work, brought in more computers, and even have a good enough internet connection that I can add posts to this blog from camp. Not enough bandwidth for camper use yet, but hopefully that will happen next year. Unfortunately our copier died on us -- if anyone can help with donation or loan of a robust office-quality copy machine it would be a lifesaver.
  • We're remodeling the Trading Post to accommodate more stock and let us serve customers more efficiently. (As I write this at 11:30 p.m. Tom and Gordie are still down there putting on a few finishing touches. I need to send them to bed soon.)
  • The T-shirts, mugs, hats, and Three Falls logo knives that I have been telling you about are here, and they look great. The Scout Store also has a few of the knives -- check them out when you are there.
  • The pool house has been painted, thanks to the Order of the Arrow and Gary Lee.
  • The dock at the lake has been rebuilt with new decking and we have four new Sabot sailboats arriving tomorrow to join our canoes and rowboats, thanks to the efforts of Skip Johnson.
  • Just today, our High Adventure staff set out caches to be used in teaching the new Geocaching Merit Badge.
  • Nate, our Frontier Skills instructor, has added a bunch of new activities for Webelos and Boy Scouts, including gold panning, tinsmithing, candlemaking, roping, as well as the traditional tomahawks, branding, trap setting and flint and steel firebuilding.
  • We have a great opening campfire planned for you, with lots of new and original songs and skits, again tied together with our frontier theme.
We're all excited to start camp and we look forward to seeing you soon at Camp Three Falls!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Online Merit Badge Signups

Three Falls has entered the 21st century by providing online merit badge signups for Boy Scout units. We have sent information on the process to the e-mails units provided on their reservation forms. If no one from your troop received this information, e-mail us at and let us know where to send the info, and we'll get it right out to you.

Please submit your scouts' merit badge requests electronically at least a week before coming to camp so we have time to collate the data and distribute it to area directors. Boys can make last-minute changes when they get to camp, but bear in mind that some popular classes may fill up by then. With advance registration, we have time to deploy extra resources to meet demand; we may not be able to do that at the last minute.

Also, please make ONE leader from your unit responsible for entering the information online, not individual scouts or their parents. This is to avoid potential abuse of the system.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gotta Have Souvenirs

Dianna at the council scout store worked with a knife vendor and came up with this nice lockback knife with graphics that match our camp t-shirt, patch, and mug. We'll be selling them in the camp trading post. Remember, Scouts need their Totin' Chip to buy one. Webelos need their Whittlin' Chip and must bring a parent or den leader to the trading post to buy a knife.

I spent some time this weekend going through our trading post stock, and there's a lot of cool stuff, including all kinds of handicraft kits, walking sticks, pocketknives, cups, patches, and of course camp t-shirts. We also have a bunch of different kinds of hats, including coonskin hats, Civil War kepi caps, straw cowboy hats, boonie hats and more -- whatever your style, we've got something to keep your head warm, keep the sun out of your eyes, and most importantly, make you look good. I tried on one of the coonskins, and have to say, it made me look even more ruggedly handsome than usual. I definitely have to have one of those for my hat collection.

That's Some Pioneering

A Vietnamese Buddhist youth group held a training weekend at camp this past weekend and built a pretty impressive gateway in front of the Trading Post. They very generously left it for us to use. We had to disassemble the sign and the left side of the structure so our food delivery truck could get through, but the tower is still intact and we plan to move it up to one of the program areas next week as part of our frontier village. Water tower for the gold panning activity, maybe?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Forms Posted

See the downloads menu in the right column of this page for some new forms:
  • Unit Roster Form: Fill this out and print a copy to bring to camp with you. You can also e-mail the form before coming to camp to
  • Trading Post Order Form: Use this to collect advance orders from your Scouts and parents. For your convenience, you can take or send the form to the council trading post and prepay for your purchases. Please do so at least seven days before coming to camp so that we receive your request before you arrive -- the Pony Express takes some time to get to us out here. Advance orders help us to ensure that we have exactly what you need. If you don't wish to order in advance, you can still use the form to aggregate your Scouts' requests into a single purchase and hand it in when you arrive at camp -- we'll pull all your items and box them up for you to pick up on Sunday evening.
  • Special Needs Form: Fill out one of these for each person in your group who has special dietary, mobility, or other needs. This form needs to be turned in to the council office or e-mailed to us at least two weeks before you come to camp so that we have time to make needed preparations.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Camp T-Shirt

I'm really excited about this year's camp t-shirt -- it's a real departure from the usual camp shirt and I think will be very popular with Scout-age boys.

Thanks to local Scouter and graphic artist John Chinn for helping us create the design.

And here's the patch:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Camp Improvements Under Way

Camp staff, friends of Three Falls, and the Order of the Arrow are working on several camp improvement projects for this summer.

  • The dock at Lake Wood has been rebuilt with new Trex decking thanks to the efforts of Glenn Clough, John Clough, Rich Pisor, Tom Sisolak, and Gary Lee.
  • An improvement you won't see -- or smell -- and you'll be glad you didn't: Glenn Clough and Gary Lee have installed a new septic leach field for the staff/adult showers.
  • After that, Glenn and Gary, along with Roy Hales and other volunteers, are finishing up re-wiring the staff cabins, benefitting not only the summer camp staff (which we surely do appreciate!) but also everyone else who rents the cabins throughout the year.
  • At their Spring Ordeals, the Order of the Arrow scraped paint and made light repairs at the pool house, in preparation for a much-needed repainting.
  • OA work crews also did campsite setup, dug up the grease trap and the septic diverter box for repairs, sanded and sealed the cabin porches and the bridge, and hauled brush and firewood.
  • The Scoutcraft/Trail to First Class staff, with assistance from other staff members, has begun moving the Scoutcraft and Trail to First Class areas from the large corral near the center of camp, to a new home on the back side of the lake, near the other program areas. We're going to be building some impressive pioneering structures during staff week -- pictures to come.
  • The High Adventure staff laid out a new orienteering course, worked on improvements to the Cat Eye Trail (which will probably get a new name), and located sites for geocaches. They're also working on new, improved camp maps.
  • The Aquatics staff did a thorough cleaning of the boathouse and began assessing needed repairs for several of our watercraft.
  • The Frontier Skills staff has begun work on improvements and expansion of our Frontier Skills area.
We've got more physical plant improvements planned, and we'll keep you informed as they progress.


Staff Gets into the Frontier Spirit

Singing Round the Campfire: Alex, Day, Zach, Steven, and Rich

Those of you who have been to Camp Three Falls the last couple of years know that our talented and enthusiastic staff puts on great, memorable campfires. This year promises to be even better, with a new, frontier-themed opening campfire and even better closing campfire.

Connor - Shooting Sports
 At our staff work weekend, the staff got into the frontier spirit, dressing up in period attire and gathering at the campfire bowl (after a long, hard day of work setting up their program areas) to practice some of our favorite camp songs and learn some new ones. Here are a few pictures.

Steven - High Adventure Director,
and Arielle - Trading Post

We want to thank all the staff members who gave up their weekend to help prepare camp; thanks also to Gary Lee for his assistance, advice, and support; and thanks to the Order of the Arrow Topa Topa Lodge not only for all the work they accomplished at camp during their ordeal weekend, but also for letting the staff join them at camp during this important event.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Webelos Leader Presentation

About 20 Webelos leaders attended a Webelos Resident Camp informational meeting at the council office on Saturday, May 7. If you missed it, you can view or download the PowerPoint slides here: Webelos Leader Presentation

You can also view video of the presentation by following this link:

The leaders who attended this weekend's meeting were excited to hear about some of the changes and enhancements we're planning for this summer:
  • Frontier theme activities
  • Bouldering wall open for Webelos Camp
  • High Adventure awards, including Cub Day Hiker, Webelos Hiker, and Webelos Under the Stars
  • Advance sign-up for activities, including more program choices
For more information, check out the PowerPoint and download the Webelos Leader Guide.

An additional Webelos Leader Meeting, as well as a Boy Scout Leader Meeting, will take place on June 4 at the council office.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

BSA Medical Forms Required For Summer Camp

Like every Boy Scout Camp, Three Falls is required to have a current BSA Annual Health and Medical Record form on file for every person attending Boy Scout Summer Camp and Webelos Resident Camp. This includes both youth and adults, and applies to everyone staying overnight at camp, even if it is only for one night.

Parts A, B, and C are required, including the physician's signature. Part D is used for those attending BSA High Adventure bases like Philmont, Jamborees, and a few other special circumstances.

If you have questions about this policy, e-mail us or contact your local District Executive.

For your convenience, we've added a link to this form in the "Downloads" list on the right side of this page.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Webelos Adventure Awards You Can Earn At Resident Camp

When you come to Webelos Resident Camp at Three Falls, you can earn several special Webelos Adventure Awards. A couple of these are National awards; others are offered by the High Adventure Teams of various councils to encourage Webelos Scouts to get outdoors and enjoy camping, hiking, and other avtivities.

You can complete most or all of the requirements for the following patches while attending resident camp:

Webelos Under the Stars

Cub Day Hiker

Webelos Hiker

Outdoor Activity Award

Enthusiastic hikers can also get started on the Webelos Scout Hiker award, then finish by taking some additional hikes after camp.

For full requirements, click here: Webelos Adventure Awards

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2011 Leader Guide is Now Online

You can access the 2011 Boy Scout Camp Leader Guide by clicking on the link below:

2011 Three Falls Boy Scout Leader Guide

For the 2011 Webelos Leader Guide, click this link:

2011 Three Falls Webelos Leader Guide

Check back periodically for updates.

Getting Your New Scouts Started on the Right Path

Trail to First Class has always been one of the most popular parts of our camp program, and certainly one of the most important. Learning basic Scout skills and making progress toward First Class rank makes first-year campers feel good about themselves and about their Scouting experience -- and greatly improves the chances that they'll stay in Scouting and return to camp the following year.

After studying successful programs at other camps and talking to experienced leaders, this year we're making our Trail to First Class program even better, and to call attention to the change we're renamed it Pathfinders.

First, we've increased the staff. Lisa Tuck, who ran our TTFC program last year, is back as director. She is joined by three instructors, who are already working with her to plan lessons and other activities.

We're changing the schedule, with a period each day devoted to each of the first three ranks. A boy who is already Second Class can just come to Third Period, which will focus on First Class requirements; a new Scout can come to all three periods if he wants to, or just to the one that focuses on Tenderfoot. That lets the instructors focus on a more focused set of skills each period, and lets you and your Scouts plan to use their time more productively.

We're adding an optional cooking activity that will fulfill the Second Class cooking requirement, which is sometimes difficult for boys to complete. And we're offering boys who participate in Pathfinders the opportunity to participate in a special outpost camping activity at the end of the week.

Of course, your younger Scouts will still have period or two free to take merit badges, and they can also participate in nearly all of the troop, patrol, and individual acitivities that camp has to offer.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Merit Badge Planning Worksheet

The Merit Badge Planning Worksheet for 2011 is now ready for you to download here:

Merit Badge Planning Worksheet

You can print and copy this sheet as an aid for your Scouts to plan their daily schedules for camp. It shows what merit badges are available and when, and also includes difficulty ratings and prerequisites. Other activities like Pathfinders (Trail to First Class) are also listed.

In response to many requests, we're developing a system to let you sign your Scouts up for merit badges before they come to camp. We'll fill you in on the details as we finalize that system.

The Leader Guide is getting a final proofreading now, and after a few last corrections will be available in the next couple of days. Sorry it's taken so long, but we're making a lot of improvements to our program this year, and we wanted to be sure the Leader Guide accurately reflects those changes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Camp Staff Prepares for a Super Summer

Most of the summer camp staff was up at Three Falls this weekend for our second staff development session. By the time you arrive in camp this summer, our staff will have completed a total of more than two weeks of training and development time, plus many more hours of individual study and planning, to Be Prepared to deliver the best possible camp experience for you and your Scouts.

We worked on inventorying equipment and supplies in the program areas, continued with lesson planning, and did some cleanup work -- the recent round of storms left a lot of downed tree limbs and other minor damage around camp. You can see a large downed limb in front of the trading post in the picture below, along with a little residual snow from last week.

The high point of our weekend was a visit from Bonnie Kane, a local historian who has written several books about the Ventura County mountain communities. Bonnie helped staff members work on creating profiles for the historical characters they will be portraying as part of our Frontier theme emphasis this summer.

With the smart, dedicated, and hard-working staff we've put together, I'm excited about this camp season -- it's going to be an incredible summer. At the same time, registration numbers are very good -- the head count for our scout weeks is about 50 percent above last year. If your troop or pack hasn't already commited to a summer camp, or if you have overflow or provisional scouts, contact the Council office to sign up now!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Snow

Gary Lee, our retired ranger who still lives next door to camp, sent the following message and pictures after last weekend's big storm:

"Here's some snow pictures from Monday and today. I couldn't find any damage at camp other than a lot of broken limbs. I was able to plow the snow as far as the parking lot but no further. We had 38" of snow with more on the  way. In one of the pictures there is still 30" on the kitchen porch. The picture with snow coming down is this morning. We have power and phone now, which is nice."

Gary goes on to report that power was out for three days. He is hoping to have camp reopened for visitors by next week (including our planned staff training the first weekend in April).


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pioneering Projects for Your Troop

We encourage Scout units at camp to build a pioneering project at their campsites. If you are looking for ideas, here's a great resource, compliled by Andrew Miller, Scoutcraft Director at the Bert Adams Scout Reservation in Georgia:

Pioneering Projects Big & Small

I haven't counted, but there have to be several dozen projects here, from small camp gadgets to giant signal towers. Really cool stuff.
I'd love to be able to provide poles and rope for every troop at camp, but unfortunately we don't have adequate quantities of these supplies. If you or your troop or other organization would like to donate some pioneering poles to camp (the 8-foot stree stake poles will work), get in touch; we'd love to have them.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Orienteering Practice Games

Our topic at Roundtable tonight was Orienteering, and I promised to post links to a couple of map and compass games. Here they are:

Beginner Compass Game

Baseline Compass Game

These are great for troop meetings -- quick to set up and they can be done on a lawn or even in a parking lot. Good practice for your new Scouts, or guys who will be doing Orienteering Merit Badge at camp this summer.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


1. Have a Serious Planning Session with Yourself
A veteran Scoutmaster we know once observed that a year’s worth of troop meetings gives him about 70 hours of Scouting time to teach, guide, and influence the boys in his troop, while a single week of summer camp gives him more than 100 hours (allowing for sleep time), and without the distractions of home.

Summer camp is probably the best chance you will have all year to influence your Scouts by applying the Eight Methods of Scouting. Careful planning will help you to make the most of this opportunity. If at all possible, the Scoutmaster should personally lead the troop at camp. If that’s not feasible, the Scoutmaster should select the best alternates available, train and prepare them carefully, and appoint one person to be Acting Scoutmaster for the week.

2. Find out What Your Scouts Want to Do
Work with your Patrol Leaders Council, guiding them as they set goals and select activities for the week. Ask the Patrol Leaders to discuss with their patrol members what they would like to do at camp. Three Falls provides a 90-minute period Monday through Thursday afternoon for troops to participate in group activities like Low COPE, mountain biking, hikes, swimming, troop shoots, inter-troop activities, patrol challenges, etc., as well as a variety of skills, games and activities at our Frontier Living area near Fort Lockwood. Whether you choose skills-based activities or strictly recreational ones, these are great opportunities for your Scouts to get to know one another better and become a stronger team. There are also many morning and evening activities to choose from.

3. Prepare your Junior Leaders
Summer camp can be a great opportunity for your Senior Patrol Leader, Patrol Leaders, and other troop officers to put leadership skills to work in a real-world setting. Plan ahead to give them meaningful responsibilities in camp, and train them in advance so they can be successful in carrying out those responsibilities. Make sure that the Patrol Leaders have their Patrol Flags, patrol yells, skits and skills ready for camp, and consider scheduling time to work on campsite improvements or service projects.

4. Prepare your Adult Leaders
Make sure all adults attending camp understand their roles. Assign each adult specific responsibilities in advance – troop first aider, banker, advancement record-keeper, chaplain, New Scout mentor, and so on. All adults attending camp need to be aware of and support the advancement and activity goals set by your Patrol Leaders’ Council. All adult leaders who will be staying in camp need a BSA medical form and Youth Protection training. The Acting Scoutmaster should be fully trained.

5. Manage Parents’ Expectations
Parents whose sons have never been to camp before (and some whose sons have been to camp before) will have many questions about facilities, equipment needs, food, and their son’s schedule for the week. New parents in particular may have concerns about their sons’ health, safety, and happiness in camp, or unrealistic expectations about how often their sons will be able to call home or how much advancement work they can accomplish. You can copy the parent information sheet in the back of this Guide and distribute it to parents, or incorporate the information into your own handout. Also, give parents the National medical forms early so that they can schedule doctor appointments. Please note all medical forms need to be signed by authorized medical practitioner dated with one year of the end of camp and have the tetanus immunization within 10 years.

6. Prepare Your Scouts
Work with your Scouts to help them plan realistic goals for themselves at camp. You can copy the merit badge planning sheet in the back of this Guide and have Scouts use it to plan their advancement time. It’s best if an experienced leader can meet individually with each Scout to review their advancement plans and other activities. Left to their own devices, Scouts will often try to do more than they can successfully accomplish, or conversely, plan too little and end up being bored.

Whether you're coming to Three Falls this summer, or going to another camp, thoughtful planning and preparation will help ensure that this is your troop's most successful summer camp experience ever!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Counselors in Training Needed

Three Falls still has openings for a few more Counselors in Training for next summer. Working as a CIT is a great opportunity to learn new skills, make friends, gain a little job experience, and have an awesome time at camp!

CITs are first-year staff members, at least 14 years old (older scouts can also apply). They receive training in leadership and instructional techniques, as well as a variety of Scout skills, and spend time working in several different program areas over the course of the summer, so they can get an overview of the different parts of camp.

CITs are expected to be in camp for staff week, June 26-July 1, and then for all sessions of summer camp, though there is some flexibility for CITs who have plans to attend camp with their troop. We provide room and board and a small honorarium, but CITs are not paid. Most CITs move up to paid camp staff jobs the following year.

If you are interested, download the staff application (see the link at right), fill it out and send it in to the council office. We will get back to you in the next few weeks to discuss the next steps.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


A Webelos leader e-mailed me yesterday to ask if space was still available for Webelos resident camp. The answer is "YES!"

As of today, Boy Scout sessions are about 75% of capacity. We have room remaining for about 40 campers Session 1, and 70 campers Session 2. I can see the possibility that we could reach capacity, and we are looking into the feasibility of adding another session if that happens.

Webelos dens usually register a little later, and we still have ample space in all three sessions of Webelos resident camp. But if you're thinking about it, don't wait too long. Our Webelos camp is very popular and some sessions are likely to sell out.

Our first staff training day takes place this weekend, and we're looking forward to a highly successful year.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting into the Frontier Spirit

As part of our Frontier theme emphasis this year, our staff is going to be portraying characters from Western history (and Lockwood Valley in particular). That will include wearing appropriate costumes during many activities. Campers are welcome to join us by wearing Frontier clothing as well. We encourage both Boy Scouts and Webelos to wear period clothing for Campwide Games on Friday (Tuesday for Webelos Session 2) and for the barbeque dinner and closing campfire.

Lockwood Valley has a rich history, from the Chumash and other native American people who lived and visited here for thousands of years; the Spanish explorers and rancheros, mountain men (yes, they did pass through here); American soldiers from Fort Tejon; loggers and miners (there were sawmills and mines within a few miles of camp); homesteaders and farmers. Our staff willl be representing all these groups.

Here are a few links to youth-friendly sites that will provide more information about reenacting some of these periods, including suggestions for dressing in period clothing:

Mountain Men: Site for a Rendezvous program at Mataguay Scout Reservation with lots of information on clothing and frontier skills:

Early Settlers: State of Missouri educational site on early settler crafts and skills. Includes a pattern for a frontier style shirt:

Civil War Reenactment for kids:

Fort Tejon Historical Association: Click the Student Living History link and look at the Teacher Handbook for ideason teaching frontier skills to your Scouts:

Ridge Route Communities Historical Society: Lots of information on the history of the mountains of northern Ventura County and southern Kern County, including Lockwood Valley. A visit to their museum in Frazier Park would be a good stop on your way to or from camp:

Participation in living history activities, and visits to historic sites like Fort Tejon and the Ridge Route Museum, may count toward the Boy Scout American Heritage Merit Badge, the Webelos Home Town Historic Sites adventure award, or the Venturing Outdoor Living History elective toward the Ranger award.

Summer Camp Update

Sorry for the long silence, but it's been a busy few weeks. Here's a quick overview of what we've been up to:
  • We conducted staff interviews early this month and most staff members got preliminary offers by phone or e-mail last week. Many of our staff from last year are returning, a few from earlier years are coming back, and we have a lot of enthusiastic new faces as well. I'm excited about the quality of our 2011 staff. We've set an extensive schedule of staff training and camp preparation for them starting next month and continuing until camp opens.
  • The Leader Guide has been almost completely re-written to be better-organized and more informative. It's close to finished and will be available shortly.
  • We've been working with council staff on improving billing systems. Registered units are receiving invoices that will make it easier for you to keep track of what you owe for camp and when it is due.
  • We are developing an online signup system for merit badges and other activities. This will help unit leaders when it comes time for them to work with their scouts to plan schedules and set goals for camp. We will keep you informed about the details.
  • Staff and unit leaders we've talked to are enthusiastic about our Frontier theme. We're adding a number of new activities that reflect the theme -- I'll be blogging about that in more detail in the future.
  • In keeping with our Frontier theme, we're going to call our Trail to First Class program the "Pathfinders". We're beefing up the Pathfinder staff and planning new activities that will make this program even more fun and productive for your younger Scouts -- the older boys are going to be jealous.
  • Of course, registrations for camp are coming in. We're well ahead of last year's numbers. Boy Scout Week 1 is getting close to capacity and Week 2 is filling up nicely, and we have a solid start for all the Webelos Sessions.
  • Maybe the most gratifying thing has been the many offers of help and support we've been getting from individuals and units across the council, and for that matter, from folks outside our council. 
It's going to be a great year for Camp Three Falls!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Leader Guide Status Update

I had promised that the 2011 Leader Guide would be available in January, but we're not going to make it. The revisions it needed were too extensive, and most of us have a real jobs in the off season (and families, houses, dogs, etc.) that sometimes get in the way of camp stuff. So we're looking at February. Meanwhile, here are a few things you can expect to see:
  • Renewed emphasis on our frontier theme, including a revival of our Rendezvous program and other theme-related activities.
  • Greater emphasis on troop and patrol activities for fun, teambuilding, and leadership development.
  • Adjustments to the program schedule (Boy Scouts) to allow more time for troop-selected activities.
  • New merit badges (Boy Scouts), belt loops (Cub Scouts), and other awards.
  • Streamlined system to let you sign up early for merit badges and other activities.
I'll be posting bits of the new Leader Guide on this blog in the Very Near Future, and the complete guide will be sent out in the next few weeks to units that have signed up for camp.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Get Your Webelos Den Ready for Summer Camp

Webelos Resident Camp at Three Falls is open to boys who will be Webelos Scouts in Fall 2011 – those who are currently Bears and first-year Webelos.

Learn what you need to know to prepare your den, their parents, and yourself for a successful camp experience by attending our Webelos Summer Camp session at Ventura County Council's Cub Scout Leader Pow-Wow, Saturday, January 29, 2011, at Camarillo High School.

UNFORTUNATELY, POW WOW HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL FALL. If you want to receive copies of our handouts and other information, send an e-mail to

This informative class will cover:

  • Available activities 
  • Advancement and awards
  • Camp schedules
  • Eating and sleeping arrangements
  • What you and your scouts need to bring 
  • and much more
The session will be conducted by Three Falls Camp Director Tom Sisolak, and Program Director Larry Tuck.

For registration information, see the council Web site at or call the council office at (805) 482-8938.

NOTE: This session does not replace the camp leaders' meeting that will be held in June. The Pow Wow session is intended to provide early information on camp planning and preparation for leaders who are considering taking their dens to camp.