I'm not worried about troops that have been to Three Falls recently -- people who have been to Three Falls, like Three Falls -- and I know they'll be back.
If you haven't been to Three Falls in a while, you really ought to take another look. A lot has been happening in the last couple of years. Here's a sampling of what's new, and what's in the works for 2013:
-- A lot of people didn't like the blue tarps we had been using under the tents for the last several years, and I don't blame them. Those blue tarps are gone now, replaced by proper plywood tent platforms.
-- Last year, we were granted access to 1,000 acres of wilderness land owned by US Borax. This summer, we started building an access trail. The trail will eventually lead to a wilderness campsite that will be used as part of our older boy program (see below).
-- We added a cardboard canoe race to our list of activities in 2012. It was a huge success and will continue in 2013.
-- Our shotgun/black powder range has been completely rebuilt and expanded.
-- We now have a functional, easy-to-use online merit badge signup system that makes it much more convenient for troop leaders to manage their scouts' merit badge registration.
-- We received a grant this year for purchase of additional mountain bikes and will be offering an expanded cycling program in 2013. We have Cycling Merit Badge under review; the current requirements can't be completed in a week of camp, but the merit badge is undergoing revision by BSA and we are hoping that the new requirements will lend themselves better to a camp environment.
-- We are adding kayaking, including the new Kayaking Merit Badge. We've had four kayaks donated so far, and are actively looking for more.
-- Photography Merit Badge will be added in 2013. The class will take photos of camp activities and put together a slide show to share with the camp on Friday night, and a photo CD for troops to take home with them.
-- Leaders who have brought their troops to Three Falls rate our Trail to First Class program as one of the best they have found at any summer camp, and we keep working to make it even better. It's more than a skills class -- it's a fun and exciting introduction to the full summer camp experience for your younger scouts.
-- We're planning an older boy program for 2013 that will include hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, Low COPE, rendezvous skills, and trailbuilding, with part of the week spent out of camp on the Borax property and the Chumash Wilderness. We are finalizing details, but we are excited about this one. If your older scouts opt in to this early, they can help us tailor the program to meet their needs and interests.
-- Next year is Camp Three Falls' 80th anniversary, so naturally there will be a special anniversary patch and other cool souvenirs. A belt buckle is rumored.
We’ve got other new activities and programs in mind, but those are the main ones that are locked-in so far.
Of course, we still have the best staff of any camp you are likely to find; outstanding food, including our legendary Friday night deep-pit barbeque; and a beautiful setting only about 100 miles from the Ventura County Council office in Camarillo.
Bottom line: We may not be the biggest or best-known camp in southern California, but you won't find a more dynamic camp; a camp where management is more focused on continuous improvement; or a staff that will work harder to give your scouts the most memorable summer camp experience they can possibly have.
Let us know if there is anything we can do to be of assistance to you.