Sunday, July 29, 2007


DISCOVERING CAMP DON: A GREAT SUMMER CAMP

By the year 1990, we were weary of our own council camp and nearby councils’ summer camps. I don’t remember how we found out about Camp Don (Golden Spread Council), or even why the boys chose that camp to try.

Golden Spread is a much smaller council than Sam Houston Area. Less than 200 Scouts attended camp. Camp Don Harrington is in the upper part of Palo Duro Canyon, where it is sheltered from the Texas panhandle winds; where cool air settles in as soon as the sun goes down.

Camp Don was the first camp that had YooHoo chocolate drink. They offered some other things I haven’t seen since:

When you checked into camp, they gave you the vinyl patch keeper and a camp patch, pictured above. They came with a small booklet. By meeting the requirements in the booklet, you could earn a number of segments during the week. When the requirements were met for a segment, the trading post would sell you the segment for 5 cents, and there was a stapler there so you could give yourself instant recognition. The segments encouraged you to visit the program areas and participate in everything Camp Don had to offer. Both boys and adults could earn segments. For instance, you could earn the Vespers segment by attending one of the camp’s vesper services and holding one for your own unit. You could earn the one with the flag on it if your unit volunteered for a flag ceremony. Others were more individual, like archery or handicrafts.

Other smart things this camp did included paying 5 cents at the trading post for an aluminum can (to keep litter under control) and renting fishing poles for a dollar a day.

Often summer camp becomes bogged down with tired programs, mundane merit badge classes, and worn-out campfire fare. Sometimes I remember an old program or an old skit that deserves to be born anew for the Scouts of today. Camp Don’s patch segment thing is an idea with merit.

What unique ideas have you seen at summer camps? What camps have impressed you with program and staffing?

4 comments:

Dayle said...

well i haven't been to a lot of summer camps, but i have been to Camp Don in recent years, but they didn't offer that stuff you mentioned. But it does seem nice, and it really makes me wonder why they don't keep doing it.

B C Justice said...

I dunno. I've suggested it on their evaluation forms for years. I think it's because it's someone else's idea. Or maybe just because it's OLD?
-B.C.

cal said...

I've found that a lot of people get in charge of an activity and think they have to have some new "fresh" idea in order for people to like it, but they don't always realize that people like the way it is. Anyways, I have been to Camp Don and its sister camp M.K. Brown. Both camps have had excelent staff, and camp Don had a great program. Camp M.K. Brown would have been good but their schedules were terrible; the classes were two day classes so it was impossible to do all the requirements and a lot of the times overlapped. The staff was flexible though, so you could change classes to make the most of your summer camp, over all, both camps were great.

B C Justice said...

Cal, how about submitting your review of Camp M.K. Brown to be posted on the blog?

-B.C.