Changes are in store for Camp Babcock-Hovey in 2022 that open the facility to an exciting pilot program for family camping.
The Executive Board of the Seneca Waterways Council, at a special meeting on November 9, 2021, voted to suspend the traditional Scouts BSA resident summer camp program at Camp Babcock-Hovey for 2022 and expand the capacity for more members to benefit from the camp’s facilities through family and unit camping. Family and unit camping will be on their own with no formal program activities, staff or dining hall access. Units with current reservations for the summer 2022 camp season have been contacted with options for other summer camp programs.
The challenging decision was made based on a diminishing Scouts BSA membership that makes running two summer resident camps unsustainable. The Seneca Waterways Council membership is currently about 1/3 of the membership we had 10 years ago with nearly half the number of units. The global pandemic’s impact on membership combined with increased costs and a challenging environment to hire short-term staff all contributed to this decision. Our commitment is, and has always been, to serve our youth and families with the best Scouting experience we can through program expansion and development that meet changing needs of our membership.
The suspension of the Scouts BSA 2022 summer resident camp does not mean a lesser than experience. It does, though, afford more Scouts the opportunity to benefit from an outdoor experience at a highly accredited Scout camp facility. The Council is also pursuing the possibility of continuing to offer merit badge and activity programming throughout the summer at Camp Babcock-Hovey as a means for family or unit camping Scouts to be able to fulfill and/or finish merit badge requirements.
“Our mission is about instilling values and training young people to make ethical decisions over their lifetime. Summer camp, while one of the more visible and certainly engaging parts of Scouting, is just one of several methods we use to achieve our goal,” remarked Ted Orr, Seneca Waterways Council Board President. “While suspending summer camp operations at Camp Babcock-Hovey is heartbreaking – especially for those with direct experience or passion for Hovey – we are responsible for making the best decisions as to our limited resources to achieve our mission.”
Camp Babcock-Hovey will be open and available for year-round camping for families, Packs and Troops. There are no plans to sell Camp Babcock-Hovey at this time.
“When you give thought to how we allocate resources to our Scout units it seems odd that during the two best months of the year for units to go camping we do not have a space or facility available for units to camp. Opening up Babcock-Hovey Scout Camp for Scout units to go weekend and extended camping in July and August will help fill that void and in the long run we will serve more youth during the summer than we were able to reach with summer camp alone,” stated Stephen Hoitt, Seneca Waterways Council Scout Executive/CEO. “Ultimately, we are in the youth development business, not the property management business, and our Executive Board is making strategic decisions that will have direct impact on our ability to execute our mission.”
Troops are encouraged to make a reservation with a deposit as early as possible for 2022’s summer camp to secure the best possible week and site at Massawepie Scout Camps.
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