For Boy Scouts in our troop, regular meetings and weekend camp outs are the mainstay of our program, but at week-long summer camp Scouting rises to an entirely different level. Any seasoned Scouter will tell you that about one-third (or more) of the “meat” in the year-long Scout program happens during the seven days spent in a long-term camping experience.

If Scouting were school, summer camp would be the final exam and without this 30%, your son’s grade would be a C- at best. More importantly, the day-after-day interaction between Scouts at summer camp and the opportunity they have to take responsibility for their own advancement, schedule, and activities, is like a sample of what future life will hold. Like living on campus, Scouts get themselves to different merit badge classes and activities. Naturally there are none of the dangerous distractions of college life at summer camp.

Studies show that Scouts who attend long-term summer camp build stronger lifelong friendships and learn the critical developmental lessons about living outside of one’s immediate family that every parent wants for his or her child.

What’s more, our own Orange County Council’s Schoepe Scout Reservation at Lost Valley offering unique programs that few other Boy Scout summer camps can boast, including horses, a full high ropes course aged 13 and out of eighth grade or 14 years of age, a pistol marksmanship and safety program for boys over 14, and – new this year – an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) program.

Yes, ATVs. This new program is being piloted in a few of the country’s top Scout camps, and of course ours is one of them. It will allow Scouts age 14 and older to learn safe methods of four-wheel off-road motorsports, and of course to get covered in mud! Scouts will have the opportunity to learn basic and advanced riding skills, ATV vehicle maintenance and become ATV safety certified. Scouts will also learn about “Tread Lightly” and other conservation techniques. Safety is always a top priority in Scouting programs. Nobody teaches kids better how to get outside their comfort zone and do so in a safe way. More details on these programs can be found at www.ssrlv.org.

I can remember every week of summer camp I spent as a youth. Each was unique and added a special value to my life in Scouting. Now my 12-year-old son feels the same way, and we’re extremely excited about our troop returning to Lost Valley again this summer. I hope to see you there!

 

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Dr. John Hovanesian
Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America, Dr. John Hovanesian, M.D., is a seasoned Scouter and blogger who shares tips and tricks to help your family get the most out of your Scouting experience.

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