This year, our troop’s Patrol Leadership Council decided to return to Resica Falls Scout Reservation for summer camp.
Created in 1957, the reservation is located in the Pocono Mountains of eastern Pennsylvania and could easily be described as a 4200+ acre “Scouting Paradise”. Characterized by a seemingly endless track of mountain trails, clear streams, and waterfalls, the reservation provides an amazing array of program of activities for Scouts to enjoy during their summer camp experience.
Each year, a program theme is set to serve as a backdrop to the week-long experience. This year’s theme is “pirates” — this theme will be used for intra-camp games, special activities, campsite gateway construction competition and skits used during the opening and closing campfire programs.
Scouts should be thinking about costume elements and ways to decorate our campsite gateway to celebrate this theme. I’d suggest that scout buddies pick historical figures such as “Black Bart” to research, and then create a poster summarizing his biography. Or, research modern pirate activities and how dangerous modern-day piracy can be. Or investigate historical naval flags used for identification or signaling (creating replica flags, or using flags to create a message, etc.). Additional details can be found in the 2013 Camp Leader’s Guide by clicking this LINK (it will open a new window and download a pdf file).
Besides the suggested activities offered by the camp’s program director, our scouts will participate in various merit badge programs during each morning and can schedule additional independent study options during the afternoons. Various program areas offer additional learning and recreation opportunities: Handicraft lodge for craft projects; Ecology hut for learning about nature; Pool for swimming and lifesaving (and mile swim); Lake Aquatics for boating and fishing; Big Bushkill Creek for fly-fishing and swimming, Shooting ranges for shotguns, rifle and archery (including knife and tomahawk toss) and more.
The reservation was originally intended to be operated as a series of six camps, each hosting about 250 scouts at a time. Three camps were formally created: Firestone, Big Springs and Great Bend. The current camp is called Big Springs, but encompasses the long closed camp Great Bend as well. The combination of the two camps provides “elbow room” to host larger numbers of scouts during each of the scheduled weeks of the summer.
Because the program areas are spread out, it can take some time to walk from one end of the camp to the other. Similarly, getting to the lake is a mile walk uphill and should be factored into scouts planning of activities. The accompanying map (click on it to enlarge it) shows each program area highlighted in yellow and the green insert suggests typical walking times between destinations. Because of the extensive walking (jogging) and the warm weather, it is very important for scouts to stay well hydrated — a refillable water bottle is a must for camp.
For scouts who’ve not been to a week-long scout camp experience, there is a packing guide in the leader’s guidebook (link above).
Ideally, each scout will be thinking about their game plan for merit badge classes and additional activities NOW. Many of the merit badge programs have prerequisites that must be completed prior to arriving at camp, and most badges are much easier to complete when scouts completely read the merit badge booklet and do web-based research and writing assignments at home.
Another helpful exercise for each scout is to write a short story about their expectations for the camping trip, memories of past trips to this camp, and outlining their likes and dislikes about summer camp. This can help them prepare mentally for camp, and surface any concerns that could be addressed before heading to camp.
Parents of scouts attending camp need to complete several critical forms: drug-administration, physical, and early release authorization. We have a precise number of these forms and no extras so it will be important to fill these out very carefully.
We’re expecting to have a great trip — having spent several summers there we know that the staff are very attentive to our scouts, merit badge classes are informative and requirements must be mastered (no “give away” merit badges). The pool-side water slide, swimming holes along Big Bushkill Creek and professionally catered food service all add to the camp’s distinctiveness and appeal.
Here’s looking forward to another great summer camp experience.