It is spring time, and we are working hard to get ready for the summer camp season while having lots of large camporees and end-of-the-year spring events for troops. It is always a delicate balancing act to get things done and accomplished between weekend visits from girls.
Since I've received a lot of feedback recently about camps, I want to go through some of what is going on at the different camp properties. We are fortunate to have four wonderful camp properties, nicely spaced across the council footprint. Some of our properties are used very heavily, while others are visited less than six times per year. Usage and wear and tear on a property does dictate how much of the council's resources are spent on a property. Please understand that we don't have endless financial resources to put into properties, so we have to be strategic about what we spend and where we spend it.
This is the year of our ACA (American Camp Association) accreditation. This involves a notebook filled with requirements that have to be fulfilled for a camp property to be accredited. We go through this process so parents are assured we hold ourselves to a high standard. We do ACA accreditation on the two camp properties where we hold resident camp, Camp Scoutshire Woods and Kamp Kiwanis. Accreditation automatically triggers certain maintenance and repairs on each of those properties so they are as well maintained as possible.
Just as a reminder, mowing, weed eating, and working on roads with our heavy rains is often where the ranger spends the most time. This is always an ongoing issue and one that requires immediate attention.
Kamp Kiwanis - As you are aware if you have been to this property lately, we have a new ranger, Mike Breshears. He is working to juggle several items that need to be addressed at that property that have accumulated over time. Add to that, due to some bad storms, his first priority was addressing some very large pine trees that came down in the Mariner unit and around the property. Mike has been juggling some items in the kitchen and dining hall that need attention, while getting the camp property in better shape in general. His list includes addressing roof issues in the Ranger bathhouse and the staff house. There are electrical issues he has to attend to, as well. He also is working to make things easier for the sailing girls by finishing the sail loft started at the Pioneer Unit. The Ranger's wood/repair shop (which is not accessible to the girls) needs to be seriously decluttered which will take some to clear. The two-year-old banana boat for that property is not holding air, so we are discussing options, since that is a very expensive item that has not held up with little use.
Camp Scoutshire Woods - Currently, this camp property does not have a full-time ranger. Jesse Malone has been covering this camp, as well as Camp Sid. Scoutshire has had a number of issues that have come about this spring that we are working to get addressed as rapidly as possible. There is a water leak in the line on the path between Echo Lake and the frog pond. This necessitates running a trench to determine where the break is and replacing the line. That work is about to commence. The line is broken in two places, so we have been trying to juggle that with camporees on that property. Recently, the dishwasher felt the need to simply die. We have been nursing that piece of equipment along for many years, so we are discussing the installation of a replacement. But the hot water heater that feeds that dishwasher also isn't functioning well, so it is a combination problem. We need to replace the coils in the air conditioning unit in the dining hall, so that is scheduled. We are working on electrical issues around the camp and doing a lot of scraping showers and bathrooms of the peeling paint and repainting, so lots of work going on there. Yesterday we discovered the camp tractor is not working and in dire need of repair. That is an essential item. We plan to hire a ranger for that property after resident camp is over. We are discussing purchasing a couple of smaller stand up paddleboards for the girls to try at summer camp.
Camp Humming Hills - We have been experiencing a number of issues at this camp, which is a little unusual. The field lines for the septic system have been dug up, and we are working with a contractor to replace the field lines. We had an incident with someone going through a tent floor, so we are working to address that. We aren't using the lake at Humming Hills because of its murkiness, and the unused swim dock was no longer safe, so we had it removed. We dropped loads of rock to stabilize roads. A pipe under the road washed out in the spring rains, so that needs to be stabilized. That camp property is used the least of all the council properties.
Camp Sid Edmonds - Fortunately, we have had few maintenance issues at that property. We installed a new air conditioning unit at the Scott House earlier in the year. We have also done some other maintenance work around that property, but generally it is in good shape. We had some concern about the size and health of the trees on the 69 acres we replanted, so we have been watching those closely.
So, if you ever ask yourself where does all that cookie money go, the list above is a pretty good description of where it goes. Most of these items are expensive and require qualified electricians, HVAC, plumbers, and foresters. The rangers can do many things, but often problems require professionals for at least part of the solution.
Also, we had tried to supply toilet paper and paper towels for our camporees. Sadly, we will no longer do that. When it was clear that more than a case of paper towels was taken recently, it seems more prudent to ask each service unit to provide their own.
Thank you, Jesse Malone, for coming to the rescue to serve as the ranger for two camps for a few months. We appreciate his commitment to the girls of this council.