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.