Scout Camp Sales

Published: October 12, 2004

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Scouts Canada wants to sell a truckload of Scout camps in Ontario. Your local camp could be next. Here are some justifications they have offered and our response.

"Some camps are of little or no value."

Says who? If these camps are of no value, Scouters wouldn't be fighting to keep them. Provincial-level Scouters (who have probably never been to the camp) are in no position to claim otherwise.

"It will cost too much to upgrade the camp to meet modern standards."

Poor water supply? Bring water from home. Pool needs paint? Close it. Cabin worn out? Stay in a tent. It is better to have a camp without fancy facilities then no camp at all. Besides, a clever property manager can get much of the repair work donated by local businesses.

"Many camps are not operating at capacity."

What does "operating at capacity" mean in the context of a Scout camp? Every site in use? A wilderness experience requires an almost-empty camp.

"There are over 260 properties in Ontario."

And many of these are offices, shops, and other non-camp properties. An extensive search by SCOUT eh! found just 95 Scouts Canada camps in Ontario. They plan to sell about one-third of them.

"Scouts will continue to have access to the outdoors within close proximity of their homes."

With the closings, many groups will have to drive hours to get to a camp. Still more will have only one camp close by, meaning repeated visits to the same place.

"Scouts can use parks and privately owned facilities."

Non-Scouting facilities usually do not allow many important Scouting activities, such as gathering fire wood, building shelters, and noisy wide games. There is no substitute for a Scout camp.

"The property review process included extensive consultation."

The process included threatening letters sent to camp committees, poorly written surveys with minimal participation, and meetings with unelected "senior volunteers". Key parts of the process, such as the list of camps to be sold and the criteria for decision-making, have not been released by Scouts Canada.

"Proceeds from the sales will remain in the community."

No plan has been presented which shows how the money will be used to improve Scouting. No evidence has been presented which show that Scouting will benefit more from the money then it does from owning the camps. Will the money end up as salaries or office furniture?

A democratic Scouts Canada would put responsibility for camp management and decision-making where it belongs: with local Scouting. Help make a democratic Scouts Canada: Join SCOUT eh!

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