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New England Base Camp’s 2015 Top Ten

ice board

2015 has been an incredible year for New England Base Camp. So much has happened that it is near impossible to make a top list for the year. With that being said, here is our top ten moments or events for 2015:

10) We started to host Birthday Parties at Base Camp
This is a new way for us to reach out to families that are involved in Scouting and to families that are potentially interested in Scouting. Families can come and for a low price get 4 hours of program for the group, a room to host their party and a birthday cake. This service is offered every weekend that program is being offered. My favorite moment with the parties was the Sweet 16 party that we hosted.

9) Andrew Kelly
You may not have heard about Andrew Kelly, but you will. He is an 18 year old swimmer from Belmont that trains with our friends at the Shamrock Swim 5 days a week and he made the Olympic Tryouts. This summer he was invited to a special training session where he got to swim with Michael Phelps! This is not a one off with Shamrock. This is the second year in a row where we have had a swimmer be invited to try out for the National Team!

shamrock8) Changes to the Egan Center
If you walk straight to the program areas instead of walking into the Egan Center when you come to Base Camp, you are missing a HUGE difference from last year. When you walk in, you will see our display of famous Massachusetts scouts on the wall. 56 Scouts and former Scouts are being displayed and more are being added on a regular basis. Walk down the hall and you will see kids working on their climbing skills on our bouldering wall. Once you get to the end of the hall, you will walk straight into the STEM Room where you can spend hours building dinosaurs, identifying the animals of the Blue Hills or designing the tree house that we are going to build. Before you walk about the door, take a look to your right. We hope you will never need it, but there is our new 1st Aid Center.

egan center  egan 2

7) Service Projects
Several groups and Scout Units have come out to Base Camp this year and worked on service projects. Companies like Vertex brought a whole crew of volunteers to work on painting the walls, installing the program signs around the camp and getting the cabins ready for renovation. Several units have done service projects at camp. Some of them, like Pack 42’s owl houses, worked on a service project at the Pack level and then installed them on a day outing to camp. Are you or your unit interested in helping out and doing a service project? Contact us today to let us assist you.

birdhouse 2 bird houses

6) Will Bales and HyperShock
Eagle Scout Will Bales has become a huge part of the New England Base Camp experience. Will has been very generous with his time and came out to Day Camp this summer, along with his robot HyperShock, and spent the day talking about robotics. You may know Will from the TV show BattleBots. If you don’t, one of your Scouts will. Equally exciting is that Will has agreed to teach Robots Merit Badge at STEM Camp this April Vacation. I am sure that will make a highlight for 2016 as well!

will

5) Boy’s Life and P.R
New England has been getting lots of exposure for the program that we have been developing and rolling out. If started with an article in the Globe on March 1st about the year round program that we offer (https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2015/03/01/move-boy-scouts-camp-for-all-seasons/yeRbQFNP3vkg5IGkEp29AI/story.html). Not to be outdone, the Patriot Ledger ran an article this fall about Base Camp being open to the public (http://www.patriotledger.com/article/20150918/NEWS/150915802). The biggest press came this December in Boy’s Life. If you missed it, we are featured in the center of the magazine about our amazing winter program.

Boys life

4) STEM Camp
Once again we hosted an amazing STEM Camp at New England Base Camp. This year we hosted Scott Lagasse Jr. at camp along with his NASCAR. Every participant got to spend time talking to Scotty and take a look at his car. Scouts in the Nuclear Science Merit Badge took a field trip to MIT where they took a tour of the Fusion Department.

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3) Peter and Paul Reynolds
Twin brothers Peter (and Eagle Scout) and Paul (a Star Scout) stopped by Pumpkinfest this year where they hosted a little drawing session and a book signing. Not only is an Eagle Scout, but he is also the author and illustrator of “The Dot”. One of the many jobs that Peter and Paul do is the CEO’s of the animation company FableVision. I am always excited to see Peter and Paul, but this time they announced that they, along with FableVision, will be hosting Animation Merit Badge at STEM Camp in 2016. As an added bonus, Peter produced an amazing piece of artwork for the Famous Scout exhibit in the Egan Center

https://www.facebook.com/nebasecamp/videos

peter

2) The Winter Program
in 2014 we started to play with the winter program. In 2015 we expanded what we offered. The big program being offered is our Ice Climbing, but Scouts, groups and families can come and enjoy ice skating, swimming, shooting, sledding and snurfing, how to build a quincy, and much more. The ice climbing is already sold out for 2016, but that does not mean that you can not come and enjoy the other program. Call today, 617-615-0004, to book your winter adventure

SnowProgramIMG_3113

 

1) Change of names
There is a big difference between Camp Sayre and New England Base Camp. Camp Sayre is a beautiful place to come and go camping. After all, you are in the middle of the Blue Hills. New England Base Camp is the premiere location to do outdoor activities. With 15 different program areas and over 250 different activities that are offered every weekend, you will find yourself coming over and over. So come and camp at Camp Sayre and enjoy a day that you will not soon forget at New England Base Camp.

NEBC logo

EMPOWERING LEADERS- OUR COMMITMENT TO TRAINING

By Chuck Eaton, Scout Executive and CEO

SCOUTINGHANDSBecause of my Scouting background and my wife’s personal make up, we were eager volunteers when our two daughters where in elementary school. We immediately raised our hands to be Girl Scout leaders, run the PTO family fun nights, run the family church outings or the youth group. So no one had to coax us in, or cultivate our involvement. We were “those parents.”

However, many parents need a little support and a welcoming environment to help them step forward. They WANT what is best for their kids, and they WANT to be involved, but may not be able to see a role for themselves. If the parents are not technical – it’s difficult for them to see themselves serving as the robotics team coach. Or if the parents are not athletic they don’t can’t visualize themselves teaching soccer drills.

Years ago, my younger sister was learning to play softball in a community league. As an older teen, my schedule didn’t permit me to coach but I wanted to help out. A father who was involved in the organization had a conversation with me about my love for the Red Sox, and my years in organized sports. Through that conversation he got a fairly good read on my understanding of the game. He told me a few differences between little league softball rules and baseball rules. Next thing you know he gave me an umpire’s vest and voila – I was a “stand-by ump” ready to be put into the game whenever I was around.

Just like that, I was part of girl’s softball. No training was required – no forms to be filled out, and no criminal background check was performed. That was just the way the world worked back then. It was a simpler time and the path for involvement was shorter. However the basic technique to getting people involved is still valid today. Our most successful packs and troops are really good at doing exactly what that dad did for me by empowering me to help. Our best Troops, Crews and Packs are great at securing that first level of volunteer participation. They begin by talking to the parent and discovering their interests. They find a way to translate to interests into contributions to the program. They start out by finding a small task that the person can do that will ad value to the effort. This is the process of “parent engagement.” It’s a technique that creates enthusiasm in the parent as much as the child. (See the Oreo cookie blog for some great tips on the first steps of volunteering.)

Once the parent is engaged they begin to appreciate and understand the game of Scouting. They are often ready and eager to contribute more.

The challenge with Scouting compared to being a little League umpire is that Scouting is not as widely understood as softball. When I was 17, I knew the baseball rules so it was easy for me to step right in as a “stand by ump.” However, knowing the ins and outs of camping, or the nuances of the BSA advancement program, or having the logistical experience to coordinate a 50 person camping trip requires more in depth knowledge. Although they may be willing to assist, the average mom or dad doesn’t feel comfortable raising their hand and serving as a Den Leader. That’s a bit daunting for even the most willing parent. The BSA’s answer to this problem is adult training. Yet the navigation through the many BSA training programs can be just as daunting- even though in the end it makes volunteering easier.

For a new BSA volunteer they may not understand why they need training. “What training course should I take? When is it offered? Where is it offered? How long is the course? What is a roundtable? How will all this help me control 10 rambunctious 8 year old boys? “

The BSA has done a great job of putting a ton of training on line. However for some things there is no substitute for human interaction. A deeper and more successful training experience allows individuals the ability to raise their hands and as questions. There are significant benefits from interacting with others and practicing the skills hands on. These human to human experiences greatly help build the confidence to feel comfortable at the next den meeting, or the first camping trip.

The Spirit of Adventure Council is committed to supporting the development of adult volunteers. Here are just two examples:

The training search engine – to help people navigate BSA training and find the most appropriate training for their needs we have created a link. This will allow individuals a source to find answers to most of the questions above. Check it out and find the right course for your needs. Click here to try out the training search engine!

New England Base Camp Leadership and Training Center – Almost every Saturday we run 2 or 3 hour long courses, many of these courses are free of charge . These courses include lots of classic Scout training events, as well as recognized trainings from other partner agencies such as CPR, or Lifeguard training. Bring your kids! While your in the training the youth can enjoy the programs at New England Base Camp. Click here to see the list of upcoming trainings.

The Spirit Of Adventure council is committed to providing training to help parents and leaders improve the Scouting experience for children and young adults. You can use the training search engine to find a class near you, or you can stop by the New England Base Camp to sharpen your skills.

[infobox title=’EXPERIENCED LEADERS WANTED! ‘]We are always looking for great people to help. If you have a great skill you’d like to share or you’d like to join the training team, please leave your contact info here.[/infobox]

Outdoor skills not required for this outdoor experience – I’m a Scout Parent!

Submitted by Diane Trubiano, Cub Scout Leader, Pumpkin Fest Chair, and (most importantly) Scout Parent.

It was 10 years ago Paul (my son) and I began our Scouting Adventure. We were off and running, attended everything, had a blast and we were hooked. As we joined in Cub Scout activities over that first summer I noticed something great was happening, not only was I getting to spend quality time with Paul, but I also got to meet a group of dedicated, loving, talented, caring parents.

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It was shortly thereafter I soon realized that there was no going back and Paul’s future of fun was destined to be outdoors, in the woods, at Scout camps, around ponds, hiking trails, and beyond and I wanted to go too.

In the fall I became involved as a Den Leader for his Bear Den. I had no idea what I was doing. No REALLY… I had no experience. You have to know a little bit about me to understand, my definition of outdoors growing up was a paved street, tent in the back yard, and a playground. Not the woods or anything the Scouting outdoor experience offers. I was clueless and needed help!

As I began the adventure as a Den Leader, parents of the Cub Scouts I was trying to teach soon took on the role of teacher to me. They taught me the skills I needed to have as a Den Leader to bring their Cub Scouts outdoors. They taught me to be a better mom by providing opportunities for shared experiences for Paul and me in the outdoors, the real outdoors, not our back yard.

From parents and leaders in the Den and Pack I learned to camp. I learned to build a proper campfire and cook on it. They taught me to explore the woods in the dark without a flash light. I learned to hike trails and what to bring with me. Set up a tent and how to get it back in the bag. I learned to camp in the snow. I learned about trees and trails, scat and tracks, knots – let’s not forget knots! (well I keep forgetting most of them but I tried) – all the while spending time with Paul guided by those parents with their expertise.

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A year passed and I soon found myself leading a Pack of young boys as their Cubmaster. I now had all those Cub Scouts expecting me to know what I was doing.  I learned skills online from parents I have never met most of the time just hours before I would need to teach a Tiger or a Webelos Scout or I learned right alongside my Cub Scouts from their own parents. I attended trainings and learned new skills from Scout Leaders who have been teaching for decades. I am so blessed everyone was willing to share their talents.

Paul and I spent weekends in the woods and, shared firsts with those parents and leaders, first night in a tent, first campfire, first fish caught, and the list goes on. Those parents and I shared lasts and cried tears of joy together as our boys grew up and into Boy Scouts when they crossed that bridge. Laughed at the first moment we could leave our sons with the Scoutmaster and not have to stay and waited anxiously together in the parking lot for their first return home after leaving us behind. How each parent handled these moments and milestones in their son’s life was always a lesson for me.

Beyond the outdoors, these parents taught me to laugh more (you can never take yourself too seriously as a Cubmaster), listen more, and yell less. Sometimes it was the simple joy another parent would put into preparing fruit for breakfast at an overnight that would teach me something about what we have the opportunity to do each day.

People who I respect trusted me to be a role model for their children and have no idea they are my role models. These parents rise to each challenge and continue show me how a community works together to make the difference in the life of a child. They pay the dues for Scout Families in need, they hold hands of children not their own,  camp out even when their own child is not there just so the other Scouts could be there, share generously of their talents, and so much more.

If you can do the math then you will know Paul is a college freshman this year. As years past, hikes on hills soon became mountains. He is just 3 mountains away from reaching his personal goal set just a few years ago to hike all 48, 4000 footers in the White Mountain Range.  Like so many Scout adventures over the past 10 years, I plan to be there for #48, taking all those Scout skills and lessons learned with us in this milestone moment of his life. All these years later these wonderful, caring, dedicated parents are still with Paul and me with every mile we hike in the woods.

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So I invite you to join us in meeting parents and families (some will even be those very parents that taught me – because they just love to volunteer too) at Camp Sayre in Milton on October 17, 2015 as we explore the woods of Camp Sayre together at Pumpkin Fest!

Transforming Tomorrow – Operational Update August 19th, 2015

NEW COUNCIL, NEW NAME, NEW WEBPAGE

It has been an extremely busy, challenging, and productive season. Our Council is less than eight weeks old and together, we are preparing for the 2015-16 Scout Year.

Our mission remains to make Scouting Thrive in our communities. Here are a few announcements to help our scout leaders stay up to date with our progress.

ENHANCED WEB COMMUNICATIONS

Council and district events, meetings and training programs are found HERE.

By the end of next week, all the Council programs will be on the front of the scoutSPIRIT.org webpage. Information for Scout leaders will be listed HERE. A new feature will allow you to see calendar events under activities in list format for age appropriate use.

STAFF ADDITIONS AND RE-ORGANIZATION

If you follow us through Facebook or social media you know we have been hiring staff over the summer. We have gone through a reorganization of staff responsibilities over the past 4 – 5 months. The objective of these changes is designed to effectively and efficiently help Scouting thrive in YOUR community. It is a work in progress and will take some time to work out the kinks, and get everybody acclimated to the new council. We anticipate you will see measurable improvements soon, and we expect everyone to experience a higher level of service.

FACILITIES UPDATES

We continue to make progress with Camps, offices, Scout shops and other facilities. The council is working to assure that every facility has a specific purpose that helps deliver and enhances Scout programs.

This summer we began the linking of Wah Tut Ca and Storer Scout Reservations. We are now developing and implementing strategy to combining the two camp through unique camp programs. We are planning on implementation of adding and expanding programs such mountain biking, equestrian, and sailing. We are developing hiking trails to support inter-camp activities. This will include Parker Mountain. This effort will enable thousands of scouts to participate in unique adventures every summer. Winter operations will be consolidated at Wah Tut Ca and open only to Spirit of Adventure Units.

Lone Tree will remain a year round camping facility. It will continue to host Cub summer camping and Cub family programs. We will secure a summer tenant to utilize excess capacity and keep the property full and active throughout the summer months.

Camp Massasoit is currently on the market to be sold – the ideal buyer would meet the market price, keep the camp green, allow camping and provide space specifically for Scouts.

Camp Sayre will become open to the public and provide full service year round weekend adventures for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts youth groups, individuals and families. Currently over 17,000 people use Camp Sayre and we are developing programs and facilities to support significant growth this year.

The properties committee is working to consolidate operations at the Haverhill office, North Andover store, and Woburn Store. The vision is to create one large and prominent retail location in the northern suburbs, (128/93 Belt) as well as satellite locations in the Merrimack Valley.

MARKETING UPDATE- THE NAME GAME

Names used by the council can be confusing, particularly to new volunteers and the general public. Is Yankee Clipper a boat company? Is Boston Minuteman a troupe of colonial re-enactors? As part of our efforts to grow Scouting we are simplifying our names to avoid confusion. Camp Sayre is now identified publicly as the New England Base Camp. It is a full service, year round, and program center. When you call the Milton Office the person answering the phone will greet you with, “Boy Scouts of America, home of New England Base Camp, and can I help you?” If your questions or interests are about joining Scouting, outdoor activities, camp programs, the next adventure for your son, or learning more about leadership for yourself – the New England Base Camp support team will provide you information you need.

If you are a member of a district or council committee and the questions are a little more “Scouting Specific”- such as a policy question about a specific activity, a concern about journey to excellence etc.- the call will be routed to the staff advisor for that interest.

YOUR FEEDBACK MAKES THIS WORK

All these changes the results of feedback we got from our community and leaders. We depend on your feedback and to enhance future programs and improve services.

We are moving quickly and a lot of good people are hard at work to improve Scouting for our children and young adults. We will continue to provide plenty of updates and information as we make progress. The Spirit of Adventure council is evolving rapidly. Please follow us through Facebook and be sure to forward all Scout messages to your Scouting community.

Thanks.

Everyone is Invited

Baden Powell described Scouting as a game with a purpose. For generations of Americans the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts helped develop character through the game of Scouting. This is not a game that requires dice, a controller, an avatar, cards, or a penalty box.  This game is a metaphorical game of life that prepares young people to make ethical decisions. Our game board is the great outdoors, our video controller is a cast iron skillet, a knife and carabineer, our internet is a shout across the campsite and our avatar is a child’s earned reputation.

Like life the rules of the game are held in the hearts and minds of the participants. How you play (with integrity or without) will have a direct result upon your avatar – your reputation. The referees  or umpires are parents who provide oversight and safety but they DON’T stop the play clock, instead they let the game play out. By letting the game consist of real world skills and real world consequences with umpires sometimes let the players fail. The dinner is burnt, the tent leaks, the fire doesn’t start the bickering slows the group. That is all part of the game. The parents (also known as scout leaders) respond to these direct consequences with love and the best interest of the children.

The skills and activities themselves are wonderfully fun. Because failure can exist, the sense of accomplishment is unrivaled. When the 15 year old learns to lead and the 13 year doesn’t burn the dinner and the 12 year old lights the fire with relative ease – the whole group rejoices and enjoys the meal!

This is the game of Scouting!

Sadly, over the years less and less people have played the game, there are a TON of reasons for that decline – but the short answer is we inadvertently stopped helping people feel welcome. We in  eastern Massachusetts always worked hard to create a welcoming environment but today our local efforts are in the past. We owe the community more – we owe the community our apology. We, Scouting, have this great program and great resources that we allowed to become the best kept secret. We inadvertently held the secret close, when in all honesty; we have a responsibility to share Scouting. During recent decades when Scouting was needed most, yet we weren’t there for enough families. We are sorry. We have collectively learned a lot and we would appreciate a second chance.

Today, we’d like to invite every family to participate in the activities of Scouting – no strings attached. No uniforms, no barriers – just great fun activities for the whole family. We have completely renovated our local camp and Everyone is Invited. Families of all shapes and sizes can enjoy an afternoon, a birthday party, an overnight or an entire weekend. We are located just minutes from Boston and we are excited about the chance to share. This is an outdoor game with a purpose! This is a game that brings families together, a game that challenges teens and a purpose that instills character and leadership.

This fall, join us in the outdoors, invite your friends, and we’ll see you around the campfire! It’s a game with a purpose, #LetsPLAY #outside #NewEnglandBaseCamp

Oh, one last thing for the Scouting Community, we’ve added a name for our collection of activities and skills offered year round at Camp Sayre; it’s called the New England Base Camp at Camp Sayre. During the assent of a significant mountain the Base Camp is the stop before the summit – climbers fuel up, refine any last minute skills and make final preparations for the journey to the top. Let the New England Base Camp be that stop along your skill development and youth development journey.

Check out the new Facebook page too!

[su_button url=”http://newenglandbasecamp.org” background=”#003f87″ size=”10″ center=”yes” icon=”icon: star”]Start Your Adventure at Base Camp[/su_button]

The Merger is Official!

Boston Minuteman and Yankee Clipper Councils have officially merged to become the Spirit of Adventure Council!

It is with gratitude to the many leaders and parents who participated in the merger process over these past six months or so, and with great pride that we would like to announce the official merger of the Boston Minuteman and Yankee Clipper Councils. Our new Spirit of Adventure Council marks a significant change in the way Scouting is going to grow in the next 100+ years. With our focus on finding ways to help Scouting thrive, this process has been extremely successful. In the words of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts:

If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.

This has been our first priority throughout the merger process, and will continue to be the way we operate in the future. Council mergers are typically marked by arguments and hurt feelings, but this merger has been and amazing and wonderful experience that we should all be proud of. This is a really good sign for the future of our Scouting movement, and we look forward to all the amazing things we can accomplish together in our new council.

Ticks, They’re Out There

Nature. The great outdoors. The organic world around us is unequivocally a magnificent and wonderful thing. However, just as a coin possesses an intrinsic duality, so too does the environment contain elements which (from the human perspective, particularly that of a citizen from a post-industrial society) can be construed as negative or “bad”. At the very least, we can settle on “icky”. I speak, of course, of ticks and other blood-sucking species indigenous to the forests and woods frequented by the Boy Scouts of America.

There are many types and varieties of ticks. Take the time: educate yourself. It is crucial to know what to expect when you’re out there. The essence is this: ticks bite, suck blood, and potentially spread disease. Lyme disease is pretty serious business, but the good news is there’s something you can do about it.

Prevention is the best cure (some clichés exist because they are extremely appropriate and accurate). When outdoors in the rough (or any grass or foliage of reasonable length), wear long socks. long pants, and everything tucked in. Ticks are jumpers, and baggy clothes provide opportunities for them to latch onto you. Bug sprays and repellents have been known to be effective . Apply the recommended amount to exposed skin. It may also be prudent to get some on or around the openings of your pant legs or sleeves, or on your socks, as a preventative measure against the buggers crawling inside your clothing. Check yourself frequently, and shower as soon as you can.

Above all, the important thing to remember is this: if you are in the right environment, ticks are an inevitability. They are part of nature, it will happen, but that’s okay. Worst case scenario: a tick gets on and bites you, and is a carrier of a disease. We live in an age where medicine and miracle are nigh-interchangeable. Modern treatments are able to completely remove the fangs of illnesses that once were considered inevitably catastrophic. If you get bit, relax. It really is going to be okay.

In the words of Douglas Adams, don’t panic.

Twelve Essential Things to Pack for Summer Camp

Even the most experienced campers sometimes forget things when they pack, so it’s always a good idea to make a list. Each camper will have his or her own lists, which may contain a wide variety of items, but every camper should have a few essentials. Here are ten that we suggest for your summer camping adventures.

Rain gear

If the past few days have been any indication, you’re going to want to bring rain gear to camp. Ponchos and raincoats are great. Umbrellas are less useful in the woods, but they would do in a pinch.

Matches/lighter

There’s nothing better than spending a cool summer night in front of a nice campfire, but you’ll need something to start it with. Matches are great, but you have to keep them dry. A lighter works well until it’s out of fuel.

At least one set of cool weather clothing

Even in the summer, the nights can get pretty chilly. It’s definitely a good idea to have at least one pair of long pants and a fleece pullover or sweatshirt of some kind. You’ll thank me on those brisk August mornings.

Flashlight

Why should the fun stop when the sun goes down? There is a whole other world of flora and fauna at night, and you can explore that world if you can see it. Also, the path to the bathroom is full of rocks.

Close-toed shoes, two pairs

Remember those rocks? Close-toed shoes will make the trail a lot safer. Having two pairs is also essential in case one pair gets wet. Rotate into the dry pair while drying the others in front of the campfire, but not too close! Melted shoes are no good.

Plenty of socks

Right along with the shoes, make sure you have enough socks. Nothing will ruin a good campout faster than walking around with wet feet. We recommend at least 1.5 pairs per day you’ll be in the woods.

Bug spray

‘Tis the season for mosquitoes, ticks, and my least favorite, deer flies. Those little buggers are the worst. I’ve seen some interesting solutions to deal with deer flies, but good old fashioned bug spray still does the trick.

Sleeping bag

This might go without saying, but it’s here just in case. Even though the days are hot, the nights can get a bit cold. Having a good sleeping bag will ensure a good night’s rest so you can enjoy your days.

Water bottle

Having a reusable water bottle is very environmentally friendly. It prevents plastic bottles from joining the Great Pacific garbage patch, and the fuel it takes to transport commercial bottled water around the country. A Scout needs to pay attention to these things and do their part.

Toothbrush

This is more of a stand-in for all of your usual toiletries. It’s the little comforts of home that really make your trip more enjoyable. Double check to make sure you don’t forget anything!

Towel

I’m amazed how often I forget to pack a towel, it’s like I have a mental block about it. You’ll need it for showers, swimming, and drying off after a sudden rainstorm. Of course, a towel is about the most massively useful thing you can bring to camp.

Swim suit

Taking a dip on a hot summer day is so refreshing! Don’t know how to swim? No problem! The camp staff are experts at getting kids into the water and enjoying it. Swimming and summer go together like Fourth of July and fireworks.

Medical form

You did remember your medical form, right? You can’t stay at camp without it.

Five Great Places to Camp This Summer

Massachusetts has no shortage of beautiful and exciting outdoor spaces, but we’re going to highlight five of them for you to try with your family or Scout unit this summer, in no particular order.

Harold Parker State Forest – Andover

3,000 acres located nearby in Andover, Harold Parker State Forest is a great place to go camping. The large campsites are spread out, so you can have a peaceful experience. It has 11 ponds and fishing and canoeing are allowed. Visit the website.

Nickerson State Park – Brewster

Consistently listed as one of the best camping spots in Massachusetts, this 1900 acre park features yurt camping, an amphitheater, and convenient access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail. A Cape Cod campground with the feel of an interior wooded forrest, you get the best of both. Visit the website.

Mohawk Trail State Park – Charlemont

The Mohawk Trail is one of the most beautiful spots in the Commonwealth, and a weekend in this state park will be sure to recharge your batteries. Now offering car-free camping for a more rustic experience.Visit the website.

Tully Lake Campground – Royalston

This campground is in the North Quabbin Region, and its central feature is the lovely 200 acre Tully Lake. Paddle your canoe out to the cool islands, or hike out to tranquil overlooks and roaring waterfalls. Don’t be surprised if you see some bald eagles soaring overhead. Visit the website.

Myles Standish State Forest – South Carver

This park has a great example of New England ecology. The pine barrens and cranberry bogs make this a real treasure. A large park, it offers five different camping areas and 16 ponds. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this coastal wilderness. Visit the website.

Top Ten Items To Send With Your Child To Camp

10. Water bottle with name written on it

Spring for one of those BPF free ones and write their name in either sharpie or fabric marker. Seriously, that stuff never comes off!  In fact, just write their name on everything!

9. Rain Gear

Pick up a cheap plastic poncho at Target and put it in the bottom of their backpack in case of rain.  It takes up almost no space, is super light weight, and if a sudden storm pops up they will stay dry and you can just air it out and re-pack it once you’re home.

8. Peanut Free lunch that does not need to be refrigerated

A lot of camps advertise refrigerators for keeping lunches cold but trust us, kids forget to hand the lunches in, fridges get overfull and don’t keep items uniformly cold because of the way they’re stacked, all sorts of crazy stuff can happen at any camp.  Be safe and pack a lunch that doesn’t need to be refrigerated.  As for the peanut free thing, that’s pretty much standard everywhere now.

7. Closed Toe Shoes

They’re going to go tromping through the woods and we can guarantee they will stub their toes, trip on roots, or drop that cool looking rock they collected.  Closed toe shoes can keep that Oh! from becoming an OW!

6. Bug Spray and Sunscreen

Yes! Put it on before they even get to camp. Yes! Put their name on the can and put it in their backpack.  Yes! They will end up getting bitten anyway and might come home with red noses.  It’s all part of camp life.

5. Hat with their name written inside

This will help them stay cool and prevent possible sunstroke.  Just for kicks write their name backwards on the front.  If they sweat during the day there’s a chance the ink will transfer and they will come home with their name emblazoned across their forehead.  (We don’t know if that last bit will actually work but it would make a wicked funny childhood photo for you)

4. Snack

An apple and some goldfish crackers can make any day great.

3. A Gallon sized Ziploc bag

Remember that wet poncho from tip #9?  How about the wet swimsuit and towel that you just know are coming home every day? Write their name on the front in sharpie and tell them to put anything wet in the Ziploc.  You can thank us later.

2.  An emergency kit

Take a little Ziploc or plastic Tupperware.  Put inside 2-3 different sized fun band aids, a small role of gauze, an alcohol wipe, and a couple of stickers.  It will help them feel that they can take care of themselves like grown-ups and if anyone in their group gets hurt they will feel like a hero.

1. A note from you

You don’t need to do this every day and it doesn’t need to be a big deal but every once in awhile write a quick note and put it somewhere they will find it later in the day. You can reference a goal that they have for camp like “Good luck in archery today, I know you can get a bulls eye! –Love Mom” or even just say “Have a great adventure today –Love Dad.”  They will get it, read it, roll their eyes and act embarrassed in front of their friends, and love you right back.