Thursday, October 31, 2013

2014 Reservation Forms Available

Make your reservation now for 2014 Boy Scout Summer Camp and Webelos Resident Camp at Three Falls!

We'll once again be offering three sessions of Webelos Resident Camp (four days, three nights) and three sessions of Boy Scout Camp (seven days, six nights). This past summer, many sessions sold out, so you'll want to place your reservation early to be assured of your choice of camp dates.

For 2014 we plan to continue most of the programs we offered in 2013. For Webelos, we'll also be expanding our STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program to include some additional science-oriented activities. For Boy Scouts, we'll continue to offer the popular Welding and Space Exploration Merit Badges that we introduced in 2013, and have several new merit badges under consideration.

Prices and payment deadlines are shown on the reservation form, which you can download from the Ventura County Council web site.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Winter Camp at Three Falls

Bring your troop to Camp Three Falls for our annual Winter Camp in January or February 2014. We'll offer three weekends again this year, as usual.

  • January 10-12
  • January 24-26
  • February 7-9

Three Falls DOES get snow, as you can see from the picture above, but it varies from year to year. If there's no snow at camp, many troops will drive to Mt. Pinos, about 10 miles away, for a few hours of snow play. Each week a host troop will also plan various activities including Klondike-style games on Saturday and a campfire Saturday night.

You will need to bring your own tents and warm sleeping bags -- temperatures drop well below freezing. Meals are provided in the dining hall. The price is $35.

Note that this event is for Boy Scouts and their leaders only (Venturing and Varsity are also okay). Webelos Scouts can't participate.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

2014 Camp Dates Announced

Dates have been set for next year's Boy Scout Summer Camp and Webelos Resident Camp.

Webelos Resident Camp:

  • June 22-25, 2014
  • June 25-28, 2014
  • June 29-July 2, 2014

Boy Scout Camp

  • July 6-12, 2014
  • July 13-19, 2014
  • July 20-26, 2014

 Prices are still to be determined.

Click the image above to view a 2014 camp flyer.

Watch this site for information on new programs, merit badges, and other developments during the coming months.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

See our Facebook page for frequent postings of pictures from this year's summer camp.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Space Added in Merit Badge Classes

At Three Falls, we try to strike a balance between satisfying your desire to see your scouts get the merit badges and activities they want, maintaining quality of instruction, and working within the constraints of time, facilities, and manpower. For that reason (or the qualities and constraints part, anyway) we do set maximum class sizes for most merit badge classes, and in some cases set minimum ages and ranks.

Low water levels in the lake have forced us to cancel Canoeing, Rowing, and other lakefront merit badges, which has increased demand for alternative merit badges. To meet that demand, we have moved some staff around and made other adjustments, and effective immediately have made some minor changes in merit badge availability:
  • Swimming Merit Badge: Added a class during first period, 9 a.m. to 10:10 a.m., all weeks.
  • Lifesaving, Archery, Fire Safety: Added a few additional spaces (larger class sizes) all sessions.
  • Shotgun: Added a couple of spaces each class period, weeks one and two. Week three, this merit badge will be taught on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and we are not able to increase class size or add more classes.
We hope these changes will assist leaders in meeting their boy's merit badge needs.

Also, don't overlook our new Adventure Trek program for older scouts. Campers who have already earned most of the typical summer camp badges will spend their week participating in a series of challenging outdoor activities, starting with Low COPE and including climbing, rendezvous skills, black powder rifles, backpacking and mountain biking. There are still spaces left in the program all weeks, although the week one crew is nearly full. See the Leader Guide for details.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Camp Leader Meetings

Summer Camp Leader Meetings for both Boy Scout and Webelos camp took place today. Thatnks to everyone who came -- we enjoyed meeting you.

A few important pieces of information:
  • Because of exceptionally low rainfall this winter, the lake is extremely low, and we expect it will be empty by summer. As a result, we have made the decision to cancel all lake activities now, while individual Scouts and units have time to adjust their schedules. Canoeing, Rowing, Small Boat Sailing and Kayaking Merit badges have been cancelled, along with the Cardboard Canoe Race, and all Webelos lake activities.
  • We have added several other merit badges: Photography, Welding, Citizenship in the World and Space Exploration, so Scouts have other advancement options.
  • We're also adding Field Archery as a free-time option for Boy Scouts.
  • Mountain Bikes are available for Boy Scout troops and Webelos dens to check out by making arrangements with the High Adventure Director at camp.
  • Because of the cancelled lake merit badges, we are postponing the start of online merit badge signups until May 11.
The PowerPoint presentations from those meetings can be viewed here:

Three Falls Songbook

In response to a request at the leader meeting, here is the Three Falls Songbook

Cub Day Hiker Patch

Webelos Scouts attending resident camp at Three Falls can easily earn the Cub Day Hiker patch offered by the council High Adventure Team. This award is designed to promote the outdoor program in the Cub Scouting and give recognition to the participants.

1. File a Local Tour Permit one week prior to the hike (covered by your camp tour permit).
2. The hike should take a minimum of two (2) hours to complete.
3. Each Cub Scout should be in uniform (camp activity uniform is okay -- i.e. camp or pack t-shirt) and carry his personal equipment such as lunch, drinking water, and extra clothing (jacket, etc.).
4. Each Cub Scout should bring a pencil and paper to take notes, and each Den is to submit a short hike report to the Pack.
5. At least one adult in the group should carry a first-aid kit and be familiar with basic first-aid (you will be accompanied by a qualified staff member).
6. Carry out your trash and trash left behind by others.
7. On completion of the hike, fill out a hike award application and submit this with the Den Hike Report to your local High Adventure representative for approval (we'll help with this and sign the report for you).

You can take the award application to your local scout shop to purchase the patches. The Ventura County Council shop has them in stock -- other shops may need to order them for you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Frontier Skills at Fort Lockwood

One often-overlooked program option during Boy Scout weeks at Three Falls is the Frontier Skills class, offered every afternoon from 2:50 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Fort Lockwood. Our rendezvous staff will teach participants a variety of primitive skills, including:
  • Flint and Steel and other primitive firebuilding techniques
  • Tomahawk throwing
  • Black powder rifle shooting
  • Tracking and stalking
  • Branding
  • Roping
  • Bullwhips
  • Dutch oven cooking
  • Mountain man crafts
This class is especially suited to older scouts who have already completed most of the usual summer camp merit badges, and are looking for something a little different.

Leaders can sign their scouts up for the class using the BadgeTracker online signup system -- it's listed under Rendezvous.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Summer Camp Leader Meetings

This year's pre-camp meetings for Boy Scout and Webelos unit leaders are coming up soon. The Webelos Leader Meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 4, and the Boy Scout Leader Meeting will follow at 1 p.m. the same day. Both meetings will take place at the Ventura County Council Service Center, 509 E Daily Drive, Camarillo, CA 93010. We'll be in the meeting rooms upstairs above the Trading Post.

Because we usually get more people for the Webelos meetings (multiple leaders and parents from each unit), we'll hold a second Webelos pre-camp meeting on Thursday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m., at the LDS Stake Center, 1201 Paseo Camarillo, Camarillo, CA 93010. Both Webelos meetings will cover the same information, so there is no need to attend both.

For Boy Scout Leaders: We'll give an overview of the summer camp program, with a special emphasis on the new and changed programs we're offering this year. We'll also fill you in on any last-minute schedule changes. And we'll give you a demonstration of the BadgeTracker merit badge signup system. Merit Badge signups using BadgeTracker will "go live" right after the meeting.

For Webelos Leaders: We'll give an overview of the camp program, let you know what to expect and what you need to bring, and update you on any last-minute program changes. This is also a good time to turn in your Program Request Form, which we will use to schedule your activities at camp.

Monday, April 8, 2013

On Borax Ridge

During the Order of the Arrow Willing Work Day this past Saturday, a crew worked on the trail up the ridge to the Borax property north of camp. Gary Lee reports that the trail has been competed almost all of the way up the steep part of route. In the photo, members of the work crew take a break at the future outpost campsite at the top of the ridge. Participants in our Adventure Trek program this summer will be put finishing touches on the trail, and in 2014 we hope to start offering outpost camping on the ridge.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Webelos Resident Camp Program

Webelos Resident Camp at Camp Three Falls offers a great selection of activities for Webelos Dens, including:

Outdoorsman Pin (includes knots and fire safety. Schedule a hike to complete additional requirements)
Whittlin’ Chip

Aquanaut Activity Pin
Open swim

Open paddling - canoes, rowboats, kayaks

Nature Lodge
Forester Activity Pin
Naturalist Activity Pin
Geologist Activity Pin

Fort Lockwood
Indian Lore (Language and Cultures Belt Loop)
Frontier Skills

Handicraft Corral

Shooting Sports
B-B Guns

High Adventure Area
Pinnacles Hike (one period, leave after breakfast)
North Fork Nature/History Hike (two periods, leave after breakfast)
Bouldering Wall
Teambuilding Games
Mountain Bikes (Webelos II only)
Note that these activities are scheduled as a den, not individual scouts/parents -- participating in the program as a group is an important part of the Webelos camp experience. The ideal group size is six to eight boys (not including adults) -- groups of more than ten boys should consider splitting into two smaller groups for program purposes, and should submit separate Program Requests. Very small dens (four or fewer boys) will be paired with another den at most program areas.

Den Leaders can submit their requests using the Program Preference form. Please, only one form per den. The form is in the Leader Guide, or you can download it here.

Online Merit Badge Signups

Over the next few days, we will be entering troop information into the BadgeTracker merit badge signup system. Your primary unit contact person, as listed on your reservation form, will be set up as your unit’s BadgeTracker administrator and will receive an e-mail with his/her user name and password. This e-mail will be sent from the BadgeTracker Welcome Wagon (
If you are the primary contact person for your unit, please watch for that e-mail. If you were listed on the reservation form as the secondary contact, you will not receive an e-mail from BadgeTracker, but you may want to check with the primary contact person to make sure they received the information – just as a backup in case their e-mail address has changed, or we transcribed it incorrectly.
If you do not receive an e-mail with your BadgeTracker information by April 10, please contact us at, providing the correct contact information so that we can add it to the system.
Signups in BadgeTracker will begin on May 4. The system will remain open for you to use until July 1. You can add or remove individual scouts, or change schedules, as many times as you want during that period. After that, signups will be locked down; any further signups or changes will have to be done at camp when you arrive, on a space-available basis. You will still be able to view your information and print schedules and other reports after signups have ended.
The Boy Scout Leader Guide was sent out to primary unit contacts earlier this week and will also be posted on the council web site in the next few days. It includes a schedule of merit badge class times. We recommend that you copy this schedule and distribute it to your scouts this month, and have them make their merit badge selections and return them to you by early May, so you can enter their choices into the online signup system when it opens.
Some classes have limited space. We ask that if a boy changes his mind and decides NOT to take a merit badge, please remove him from that class as soon as possible so the space is available for someone else. Conversely, if a class is full the first time you check, you may want to try again another day to see if someone has dropped. Unfortunately, at this time the system does not allow for waiting lists.
We will assign you BadgeTracker credits based on the number of youth you have signed up for camp. One credit enables you to enter one scout into the system. If your numbers change, e-mail so that we can assign more credits as needed.
Feel free to e-mail us with any questions or concerns.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Three Falls Adventure Trek

New for 2013!

Camp Three Falls is proud to re-introduce the Three Falls Adventure Trek Program.

Designed especially for older scouts looking for a higher level of excitement and challenge, the Adventure Trek takes advantage of the best that Camp Three Falls and the Los Padres National Forest have to offer.  Rather than participate in the traditional merit badge program, “trekkers” will:

· Assemble into crews of 6-8 Scouts
· Build teamwork on the Low COPE course
· Receive mountain bike training and face a challenging ride down Mount Pinos
· Receive climbing instruction and climb the 57-foot tower with  fellow trekkers
· Develop primitive living skills, including black powder rifle shooting, survival skills and more
· Receive leadership skills training while addressing daily leadership challenges.
· Leave camp for two days of backpacking, including camping at remote trail camps in the Chumash Wilderness, while using Philmont-style backpacking techniques.
· Practice the principles of Leave No Trace
· Earn Camping and Geocaching Merit Badges

This exclusive program is available only for Scouts who are at least 13 years old at the beginning of camp, and have completed 8th grade.

Treks will be led in camp and in the field by specially trained staff members. The program is designed for individual scouts, not as a troop or patrol activity.

Due to the added cost of running this program, there will be a $35 per scout surcharge in addition to the regular camp fee.

Leaders Please Note:
Maximum enrollment will be 16 campers each week.
Unit leaders will receive detailed information on this new  program by email and during the May leaders meeting.
Scoutmasters should use Badgetracker to sign scouts up for the program.  The fee must be paid to the council office by May 31st to hold the Scout's reservation for this exciting program.


Boy Scout Leader Guide

The 2013 Boy Scout Leader Guide has been e-mailed to leaders of units registered for Boy Scout Camp at Three Falls, and will be made available for download from the council web site in the next few days. It includes information on this year's merit badge schedule and our many other exciting programs.

For your convenience, the merit badge schedule can also be viewed here.

We will be using the Badgetracker online merit badge signup system again this year. The site will open after the leader meeting on May 4 for leaders to enter their scouts' merit badge selections. In the next week or so, detailed instructions will be sent to the e-mail address(es) provided on your unit registration form, so watch your e-mail for this information. We'll also demonstrate the process at the leader meeting.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2013 Webelos Leader Guide Is Now Available

The 2013 Webelos Leader Guide is now available on the Council web site on the Summer Camp page. The Boy Scout Leader Guide is undergoing final review and will be posted shortly.

Friday, March 8, 2013

More Snow

Gary Lee sent this picture from camp today. The latest storm had dropped 8 inches of snow in the Mount Pinos area by late Friday morning. Gary notes that the picture above looks a little fuzzy because the show was still falling.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Merits (and Demerits) of Merit Badges

If you talk to the average Scout -- or leader, or parent -- about summer camp, the conversation is invariably going to turn to merit badges.

Most experienced leaders and camp managers will tell you that merit badges are not the only reason for a Scout to go to summer camp, or even the most significant reason. They can be an important part of the program mix, especially if you, as a leader, manage your boys' merit badge work wisely.

First, do not let the boys, their parents, or your fellow leaders become fixated on merit badges as the primary purpose of summer camp.

Summer camp is the best opportunity you have to build a sense of community and comraderie among your Scouts; to get to know them as individuals; to influence their character, values, self-confidence, self-discipline, and self-worth; to develop teamwork and leadership. Merit badges can help with some of those things, but they are just one of the tools at your disposal.

One of the best Scoutmasters we know often points out that he has just 90 minutes a week at troop meetings -- something like 75 hours a year -- to befriend, train, influence, guide, and support his Scouts. At summer camp, he has more than 100 hours -- more time packed into one week than he has all the rest of the year combined.

Don't let that opportunity pass you by while your boys spend all day in merit badge classes.

I've looked at a lot of camp Leader's Guides, both as a Scoutmaster and as a staffer, and nearly every one offers the same recommendation: Scouts should not take more than three or four merit badges at camp. We'd go farther and recommend that boys who are below First Class rank should only take one or two.

Second, help your Scouts set realistic goals and appropriate priorities. A Tenderfoot Scout should be focused on working toward First Class, building a solid base of fundamental skills, before trying to earn a lot of merit badges. And he should be sampling a little of everything camp has to offer, trying new things, and just having fun. That's what will keep them in Scouting and bring them back to camp next year.

Older Scouts should be providing leadership, helping the younger boys with their advancement work, and taking advantage of some of the new experiences that any good camp offers -- climbing, hiking, mountain biking, shooting, COPE -- even if those experiences don't lead to a merit badge.

We see too many boys who by the end of the week are burned out on classes and homework. If they're taking five one-hour merit badges a day all week, how is that different from school? And why would they want to do that again next year?

Third, make sure your Scouts select merit badges and other activities that are appropriately challenging. A younger boy should probably be limited to a handicraft badge or one of the easier nature badges, rather than the more difficult ones. He will enjoy the challenging badges more, and get more out of them, if he waits until he is ready. For example, I used to be a Scoutcraft Director, and in my opinion, none of the Scoutcraft badges are really suitable for first-year campers because first-year scouts generally don't have the basic skills -- knots and lashings for Pioneering, map and compass fundamentals for Orienteering, and so on. If you know a boy is a poor swimmer, don't set him up for a frustrating week by letting him take Swimming Merit Badge.

On the flip side, there's little value for your older Scouts in earning a lot of easy, non-Eagle-required merit badges just for the sake of numbers. Encourage them to try something more challenging instead -- maybe BSA Lifeguard, Mile Swim, an NRA marksmanship award, or our Frontier Survivor program.

Fourth, ecourage them to prepare for the merit badges they intend to take. Make sure they get a copy of the merit badge book and read it before camp. Check prerequisites in the camp Leader's Guide (We are revising on ours now and hope to have the 2013 edition available in the next couple of weeks; meanwhile, most of the information in the 2012 guide is still accurate). But also look at the requirements yourself. Many, if not most, merit badges include reports and other "homework" that your Scouts could do more easily at home before leaving for camp. Many of the nature badges, for example, require writing a report about an animal. How much easier is that going to be at home, where they have access to a computer, the Internet, and their school or public library for research?

Yes, merit badges are important. They're so important that we want to make sure that Scouts to them at the right time, in the right way, so they can get the most out of the experience. We'll do all we can to help, but it starts with you.

Agree, or disagree, we'd love to hear what you think. Use the "Comments" box below.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Space Still Available for Summer 2013

For those of you who are planning to attend Camp Three Falls in Summer 2013, be aware that some sessions are sold out (as of February 5). Webelos Session 2, and Boy Scout Weeks 1 and 2, are at or near capacity and we are no longer accepting new units for those sessions, though we will make every effort to accommodate units that already have a reservation and need to add a few more people.

Webelos Sessions 1 and 3, and Boy Scout Week 3, have varying amounts of space available. Based on past experiece, we expect that those sessions will also be full or close to full by the time camp starts, making this the best-attended summer camp season at Three Falls in many years.

UPDATE: As of March 29, we are approaching a full camp but still have room for a couple of units in Webelos Sessions 2 and 3. Boy Scout Weeks 2 and 3 also have room for one or two units each week, depending on unit size.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Three Falls Snow

Gary Lee sent this picture from camp this morning. Gary writes: "I wish I had a snow picture with deeper snow, but this is the best so far this winter. The temperature was 15 degrees last night and expected to be colder tonight."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Summer Camp To-Do List For January

With the new year, it's time to start preparations for 2013 Summer Camp for both Boy Scouts and Webelos. Here's what unit leaders should be working on in January.
  • If you haven't already done it, select camp dates and place a reservation for space at camp. Webelos Session 2, and Boy Scout Sessions 1 and 2, are close to full; there's ample space available in all other sessions.
  • Inform your Scouts and their parents of camp dates, cost, payment schedule, and other details. It may be helpful to download the Boy Scout Summer Camp flyer or the Webelos Resident Camp flyer from the right-hand column on this page and distribute it to parents.
  • Begin taking camp signups and collecting camp fees from your unit members. Experience shows that collecting a deposit from each boy early increases the likelihood that he and his parents really buy-in to the idea of going to camp, and will plan their summer schedules accordingly.
  • It may be helpful to meet with New Scouts and their parents soon after they join, to emphasize the importance of attending summer camp their first year. Boys who attend camp with the troop their first year are far more likely to stay in Scouting and have a positive, long-term Scouting experience.
  • Download and review the 2012 Boy Scout or Webelos Camp Leader Guide from this site, especially if you have not been to Three Falls recently. The Guide was extensively rewritten for the 2012 season to reflect new programs and activities, and most of it remains correct for this year. The 2013 Guide will be available soon.
  • Your $350 deposit is due at the council office by February 28. After that date, you will need to pay half the camp fee to secure a reservation.
  • Pay your fees in full by March 31 to receive the early-bird discount.