This is the first year I haven’t been to camp with my boys. Both have moved up from Cub Scout to Boy Scout and no longer require their parents at camp.
The program run by the Greater Niagara Frontier Council is amazing. Through out the summer, they mentor and guide youngsters to be the best they can. The leaders and counselors work gruelling hours out in the rough, week after week, all through July and into August. Parents and leaders only see a brief 4 day window of camp life. The staff lives it for weeks to make it all possible.
I already miss our 4 day camps. One of my favorite people at Camp Scouthaven is Digger, the camp Ranger.
He is always “on”, he is the face of the camp from sun up to sun down. He works tirelessly to make sure the camp is an amazing experience for young and old alike.
To put a point on it, I went to camp as a child and don’t really have a clear recollection of it. No one really stood out. My daughter dropped in for a closing dinner raves about Digger and his antics. If she remembers from a brief encounter over dinner, my boys are going to have wonderful memories of their time in camp.
Earlier this month, my boys and I spent four days at Scout Haven Cub Scout camp in Freedom, NY. I haven’t posted on the camp itself, but the staff are really the heart and soul of this camp.
Our guide, Barbara was participating in a worldwide scout exchange program. Barbara was visiting from Slovakia, a region with a long history of scouting. She spent hours talking with the boys about the differences between US and Slovakian scouting. We also received a brief linguistics review. “Lighting a match/fire” is a concept that did not compute to Barbara, but “strike a match” and “start a fire” did make sense.
Not much is all that different, but when it is different it is wildly so. In Slovakia, tepee’s are used by leaders and camp staff while at Scout Haven the staff use cabins. Written materials are largely absent in Slovakia, with an oral tradition taking its place. Food is about the same except for lunch, but the quantities in the US are not surprising larger. Lunches tend to be soups and/or finger foods.
Barbara spent several hours with our pack as our guide/VIP, and enriched our understanding of scouting with her perspective. She and the other staff made our summer vacation absolutely wonderful, with camp wide events.