Archive for July, 2011

Camp Wilderness: Going Home Again

July 8, 2011

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Anyone who says “You can never go home again” has never been a Scout.

I grew up at Camp Wilderness—literally, I track my youth before, during and after Scout Camp.  Troop 222 spent our week under the trees in the Pawnee campsite at the Northern Lights Council‘s summer camp, just outside Park Rapids, MN.

This year, I was able to share my Scouting Home with my own Scouts in Troop 25 Sioux Council.  After 10 years in a row at our home Council camp, it was time for a change and the Scouts took me up on the offer of Camp Wilderness.

Some things were the same as I remembered.  The clear waters of Bad Axe Lake.  The lonely call of the loon. The undeniable ticks.

Many things were different, some better some maybe not so much.  There were some new campsites, a nice new campfire area built with landscape blocks, and a really cool log shelter by the dining hall.  The grub in that dining hall, however, was no where near as good as I remember.

I would recommend Camp Wilderness to any troop from anywhere.  The Camp Staff was great to work with and they tried hard to work with what is available.  And they offered wi-fi to leaders at the Admin Building, even if it was slow slow satellite internet.  It’s good to unplug for awhile, but it’s good to not have 200 spam back at work to go thru when you get home.  Camp Commissioners were more active than we are used to, and Wilderness offers a full agenda of Adult Leader Training.  Two of our Scouters completed Scoutmaster Training, including IOLS.

More importantly, Camp Staff worked with our Scouts to complete their merit badges as best they can.  Our Scouts jumped right into the lake for their swim test and all of the 2nd year or better Scouts completed Swimming Merit Badge (which we’ve struggled with down on the Missouri River).  The program areas aren’t too far apart so you spend less time hiking and more time doing.  I do prefer to have more group activities (like Troop Shoots) but what we had kept the guys busy without being overwhelmed.

Most importantly, everybody had a good time and wanted to go back.

That, to me, is what home is all about.

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