Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beaver Weekend: May 7-9, 2010

Beaver weekend at Camp Minsi (May 7-9, 2010) is a unique opportunity for service, fellowship, recreation, and camping! Take the opportunity to bring your unit to check out Camp Minsi and its facilities, meet the staff, participate in some programs, and give back to Scouting through friendly service.

This event is completely free! The camp will provide your unit with a site, tents, and cots. A complimentary lunch on Saturday will be provided by Venturing Crew 940 for all who are participating in the weekend. All we ask is that you give a few hours of service to the camp on Saturday morning. In return, Scouts and leaders will have the opportunity to take advantage of several open program areas on Saturday afternoon run by summer camp staff.

If preferred, your unit can come up and actually camp in the site that you will be staying in for your week at summer camp; and you’re free to make any improvements and preparations to your site. You can help improve your site, or participate in one of the other service projects happening around camp to prepare for the 2010 camping season.

If your unit decides not to make a weekend out of it, you are invited to come up for the day on Saturday to participate in some of the fellowship events, service projects, and other festivities, including a special campfire on Saturday night.

If interested, please register your unit before April 9th by contacting the council office (610-465-8568 or Jane.Chase@scouting.org). More information, including a list of the service projects, will be made available at campminsi.org closer to the event.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Camp Minsi History: The Ice Harvest on Stillwater Lake

Long before modern day refrigeration was available, people relied on ice to store their perishable foods; and from the late 1880s until the 1930s, the ice industry of the Poconos was king!

During this time, ice was harvested from the shallow freshwater of Stillwater Lake by the Pocono Mountain Ice Company. Run by industrialist Samuel Rubel, the Pocono Mountain Ice Company was the leading ice company of the area, supplying ice to New York City, Philadelphia, and many other areas.

During the winter, Stillwater Lake will freeze to a depth of about 8 to 14 inches thick. And so the ice company would glean the lake for its natural ice. The ice harvesting process was labor intensive. Crews of men using teams of horses would clear the ice field of snow. Then men measured and marked grids on the ice (usually at 22" x 32" to 44" square). Then horses would pull a tool that cut a groove along the grid. The next step was to cut through the grooves until the blocks broke off. The men would float these massive blocks of ice down a cleared channel to a chute, where they were hauled up and into an ice house.

Men used one-handed crosscut ice saws to finish cutting the blocks of ice. Each block was moved up chutes with hooks to various levels as the ice house filled with layers of ice separated and surrounded by layers of sawdust supplied by lumber mills. The sawdust helped insulate the ice from thawing. If properly stored, the ice in a fully stocked ice house would last throughout the year. The ice was shipped by train from the ice house to the various cities as needed.

Pennsylvania was the nation's third largest producer of ice, following Maine and New York. Pennsylvania consumed about 1 million tons annually, cut on the state's lakes and rivers. The Pocono Mountain Ice Company employed over 500 men during the height of the harvest. It was reported that the Pocono Mountain Ice Company was harvesting ice for 6 cents per ton. Ice workers out on the lake were paid 30 cents an hour, while those working in the icehouse, where 300-pound ice cakes were being pushed around, were paid 35 cents an hour.

However, with the advent of refrigeration in the 1930s, the harvesting of the ice from the lakes became less and less profitable. Eventually, the ice company folded. In 1949, Samuel Rubel donated the company’s land surrounding Stillwater Lake to the Bethlehem Area Council (now Minsi Trails Council); allowing the Scouts to set up a permanent camp in the Poconos.

In Camp Minsi’s early days, many of the original ice company buildings were used for programs and lodging. It was not until the 1950s that the more permanent camp facilities were constructed for the Scouts on the western side of the lake. Remnants of many of the old ice company facilities can still be seen on the south and eastern side of the lake. The remains of the central ice house are fun to explore (and are only a short hike or canoe trek away from central camp). Relics from the ice harvest operations are displayed in the trading post (many of these were found by Scouts exploring the ruins).

Below is a video of the actual ice harvest operations on Stillwater Lake in 1921.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pre-Camp Leaders Meeting Scheduled for June 19th at Camp Minsi

Camp Minsi will be holding an informational leaders' meeting and luncheon on Saturday, June 19, 2010. The gathering, which will include a complimentary lunch, will start in the Dining Hall at 12:00PM (noon). The purpose of the meeting is to share important information with unit leaders regarding their Troop's week at camp. The meeting gives leaders a chance to ask any questions they may have regarding camp, a place to connect with other leaders, an outlet to give feedback, and an opportunity meet some of our key staff members.

Unit leaders are strongly encouraged to attend this meeting. It is important that your unit is represented, so you are prepared for your week at camp with all the latest information. Scoutmasters, Assistant Scoutmasters, Summer Camp Coordinators, and Senior Patrol Leaders are all welcome.

We recommend that you prepare a list of any questions that you or your unit may have regarding camp, so that we can be sure to address them all at the meeting. If you are unable to attend, please contact the Camp Director, Lisa Empfield (CampMinsiCD@yahoo.com), so we can distribute any vital information and answer any questions.

You are invited to come to camp as early as 10:00AM to take a look around camp. This is a great opportunity to check out your camp site, preview the program areas and facilities, or just enjoy the beauty of the Poconos. If you are new to Camp Minsi, you are also invited to remain after the meeting for a tour of the camp.

The Council's Field & Camping Secretary, Jane Chase, will be at camp to settle up any last minute registration or financial transactions for your unit.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Provisional Camping at Camp Minsi

Can't attend the week that your Troop is going to camp this summer? Looking for more time sailing, shooting, swimming, hiking, and doing other Scouting activities? Want to spend more than one week at camp and work on Merit Badges or other advancement opportunities? You can with the provisional camping option at Camp Minsi this summer!

Attending summer camp with your Troop is a great experience for all Boy Scouts. However if you cannot make it to camp with your Troop this summer, or if you would simply like to spend more weeks at camp, we invite you to consider spending a week or more at Camp Minsi this summer as a provisional Scout.

Provisional camping is a regular summer camping experience for an individual Scouts who is attending camp separate from their home Troop. The Scouts will be placed in Troops that are led by experienced and dedicated Scouters that have many years of experience under their belts. The Scout will become an adopted member of the Troop for the week and will be able to participate in all the programs and fun that Camp Minsi has to offer.

Provisional camping is available each week that camp is in operation during the summer. Provisional camping is a great opportunity to meet new friends, take advantage of additional advancement opportunities and special programs, and experience summer camp in a whole new way.

For information on the provisional camping program, and to register, contact Field & Camping Secretary Jane Chase at the Minsi Trails Council office (610-465-8568 or Jane.Chase@scouting.org).

Sign-up your Scout up for a week at Camp Minsi as a provisional Scout today!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Study Reveals Benefits Every Scout Leader Should Know About Summer Camp

What makes an adult choose to become a volunteer leader for the Boy Scouts? Usually, it is found in one of the following reasons:

  • To strengthen my relationship with my son
  • To help boys have the same positive experience I had as a Scout
  • To “give back” to an organization that benefited me in my youth
  • To play a role in the learning and character development of young people

Clearly, these admirable goals cannot be accomplished without an investment of time. Adult volunteers who are willing to invest personal time and resources for youth are the back bone of Scouting. However, it may not be clear to all Scout leaders that Boy Scout summer camp offers a unique opportunity for these desired outcomes to be accomplished.

Harris Interactive of New York designed a study on the impact of summer camp in the lives of Boy Scouts, Scout leaders, and parents of Scouts. The researchers concluded that within the typical six days of a Boy Scout summer camp, boys are in an environment that comprehensively provides them with critical elements of healthy youth development. In addition, the study uncovered several positive outcomes of camp among Scout leaders.

Camps are removed from the hustle and bustle world of mass information, media, and technology. This type of “protected environment” provides a significant opportunity for growth among young men. For boys, time seems to take on a different meaning when the day is not filled with television, radio, video games, and visits to malls. For adults, the same holds true when leaders are able to escape constant phone calls, traffic, and demanding work schedules. This is the starting place for change. Scout camp 3 is a unique place to concentrate on the best part of Scouting (outdoor programs) and to live it not just for a weekend, but for a week!

Scout leaders find that summer camp offers more than fun and adventure for Scouts. The leaders themselves set and meet goals.

Among a variety of benefits, almost all Scout leaders leave the week at camp feeling that they helped young people grow and realize their own abilities.
Scout leaders strongly agree the Scout camp week is beneficial for building relationships with Scouts and other volunteer leaders. They agree that they are among people they respect and they make new friends with youth and leaders. Leaders also learn from one another at camp.

Scout camp also provides personal benefits to adult leaders. Beyond the 91 percent who agree that the week was “fun,” majorities of Scout leaders say the experience helped them “feel close to nature” (84 percent) and “reduced their stress” (65 percent).

At camp, boys have time to consider and reflect on their place in life. Strong personal values and character are shaped as young boys are encouraged to take a part in decisions that impact others (80 percent), contemplate their relationship with God (69 percent), reflect on personal values (56 percent), and participate in patriotic activities regarding American citizenship (68 percent).

Since its beginning in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has believed in personal growth through service. At camp, boys gain a positive sense of self-worth and usefulness through helping clean up campsites (89 percent), helping clean up after meals (87 percent), and serving food (76 percent).

An important finding is that a majority of boys at camp receive praise from others. Compliments are received from adult leaders (76 percent) and peers (72 percent). Another key finding is that 78 percent of boys indicate that they “accomplished something worthwhile” during camp.

Scout camp is a place where caring and nurturing relationships are developed and deepened. Most Scouts (80 percent) make a new friend or become better friends with someone while at camp. In this environment, friendships don’t stop at the peer level. Adult leaders develop respect and trust among Scouts as they mentor skills and share knowledge. A majority of boys (60 percent) mention that they talk with an adult leader for advice during camp.

Learning takes on new meaning at Scout camp! Summer camp is an outdoor classroom in which boys test themselves. They test their skills, as well as their courage to try new things. Almost 90 percent (86 percent) of Scouts at camp try something they had never tried before. Also, majorities of boys feel challenged (69 percent) and test their mental/thinking abilities (71 percent) while at camp.

Scouts are productive and creative at camp. Young boys are motivated by the concept of mastery. When coupled with learning useful life skills, this need results in truly productive outcomes. Almost all Scouts “work with others on a badge or task at camp” (88 percent).

Camps are structured to encourage boys to spend time working and playing socially in ways that may seldom happen outside of camp. Majorities of Scouts collaborate with other youth on accomplishments (73 percent), participate in group decision making and activities (64 percent), and help resolve interpersonal conflicts (53 percent).

If you are an adult volunteer for the Boy Scouts, make sure that you and your troop are a part of Scout summer camp. Whether or not you’ve been to camp before, you will find as 91 percent of other Scout leaders have, that Scout camp will meet or exceed your expectations.

Contact us to get dates and registration information for Camp Minsi. Experience for yourself how a few days at Scout summer camp can remind you of all the reasons you became a Boy Scout volunteer in the first place.

Data source: Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp Outcomes Study

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Boy Scout Summer Camp: The Benefits Every Parent Should Know

Picture this:

  • Boys jumping into a cool lake on a hot day
  • An archery bow stretched tight and aimed at a bull’s-eye 30 feet away
  • Hikers on a brush-laden trail stopping to admire a spider forming its web in a tree
  • Patrols challenging each other to a friendly game of volleyball
  • Scouts cooking a meal over an open campfire
These are the images of Boy Scouts at summer camp. However camp provides much more than just outdoor adventure. Hidden within the camp adventure lie the true benefits of a boy’s week at camp.

Harris Interactive of New York designed a study on the impact of summer camp in the lives of Boy Scouts, Scout leaders, and parents of Scouts. The researchers concluded that within the typical six days of Boy Scout summer camp, boys are in an environment that comprehensively provides them with critical elements of healthy youth development.

Camps are removed from the hustle and bustle world of mass information, media, and technology. This type of “protected environment” provides a significant opportunity for growth among young men. Time seems to take on a different meaning when the day is not filled with television, radio, video games, and visits to malls. This is the starting place for change.

At camp, boys have time to consider and reflect on their place in life. Strong personal values and character are shaped as young boys are encouraged to take a part in decisions that impact others, contemplate their relationship with God, reflect on personal values, and participate in patriotic activities regarding American citizenship.

Since its beginning in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America has believed in personal growth through service.

At camp, boys gain a positive sense of self-worth and usefulness through serving others. Majorities of boys serve their peers at camp through helping clean up campsites, helping clean up after meals, and serving food.

A majority of boys at camp receive praise from others. Compliments are received from adult leaders (76 percent) and peers (72 percent). Another key finding is that 78 percent of boys indicate that they “accomplished something worthwhile” during camp.

Scout camp is a place where caring and nurturing relationships are developed and deepened. According to the study, most Scouts made a new friend or became better friends with someone while at camp. In this environment, friendships don’t stop at the peer level. Adult leaders develop respect and trust among Scouts as they mentor skills and share knowledge. Also, many boys mention that they talk with an adult leader for advice during camp.

Young boys seldom consider “school learning” to be exciting. Learning at Scout camp is a different story! Summer camp is an outdoor classroom in which boys test themselves. They test their skills, as well as their courage to try new things.

Learning alone is not enough to engage young boys. It has to be challenging and fun. Majorities of boys say they feel challenged (69 percent) and test their mental/thinking abilities (71 percent) while at camp.

Scouts are productive and creative at camp. Young boys are motivated by the concept of mastery. It is the basis for what has driven the extreme popularity of video games .When coupled with learning useful life skills, this need results in truly productive outcomes. Almost all Scouts “work with others on a badge or task” (88 percent) or “complete a merit badge” (83 percent) at camp.

Camps are structured to encourage boys to spend time working and playing socially in ways that may seldom happen outside of camp. Majorities of Scouts collaborate with other youth on accomplishments (73 percent), participate in group decision making and activities (64 percent), and help resolve interpersonal conflicts (53 percent).

Parents see the difference Scout camp makes. A clear majority (81 percent) of parents of Scouts who attend camp say the camp experience resulted in a positive change in their sons. They agree their sons have fun, are safe, and learn and test new skills.

Moreover, a clear majority of parents (84 percent) say their son learned personal responsibility while at camp. For these reasons, almost all parents (96 percent) would recommend camp to others.

Make sure your Boy Scout does not miss the opportunities of Scout summer camp. Contact us to get dates and registration information for the summer camp programs at Camp Minsi. The “hidden value” of Scout camp will benefit your son for a lifetime!

Data source: Boy Scouts of America Summer Camp Outcomes Study

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 Program Guide

The 2010 Camp Minsi Program Guide is now available for all Scoutmasters, Scouts, and parents! This detailed guide describes the entire summer camp program including: Merit Badge information, daily program offerings, new Camp Minsi awards, adult leader programs, and special evening programs.

This extensive guide allows you to plan out your entire week at summer camp far in advance in order to make it an overall unforgettable experience! Please, feel free to contact the Program Director, Mike Wiencek (CampMinsiPD@yahoo.com), with any comments or questions.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2010 Merit Badge Schedule

The 2010 Camp Minsi Merit Badge Schedule is now available! Along with the schedule, a brand new Merit Badge Outline has been created to explain the difficulty, pre-reqs, and important information for each merit badge. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Program Director at CampMinsiPD@yahoo.com


2010 Camp Minsi Merit Badge Information
Check back soon for the 2010 Program Guide

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Message from the Directors

This summer Camp Minsi is ready to take summer camp to a whole new level! The 100th Anniversary of Scouting deserves an outstanding celebration and Camp Minsi is prepared to show your unit a summer camp experience that you will never forget.

At Camp Minsi, we pride ourselves on our knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and energetic staff. All of our program area directors are experienced camp staff members and are truly dedicated to the summer camp program. Here at Camp Minsi the scouts come first. Our staff is ready to guide you on the experience of a lifetime. Whether it be sailing a boat, shooting a shotgun, or even hiking through muck over your head, the Camp Minsi Staff does it all!

This summer the Boy Scouts of America celebrates its 100th Anniversary. We are currently forming a program that highlights this momentous occasion including events such as: Olympic Themed Troop Competition, the implementation of the "Silver Turtle" (our 5-year award program), an expansion of our waterfront program, and so much more! A detailed Program Guide will be available by the end of January. This guide will include: merit badge schedules, program schedules, evening activities, and awards.

Our 2010 Leaders Guide is your first resource to answer your summer camp questions. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We are always open to new suggestions and ideas. For more information be sure to continue to check out our website, campminsi.org. We look forward to seeing you for the best camp experience you can imagine!

Yours in Scouting,

Lisa Empfield
Camp Director
CampMinsiCD@yahoo.com
Michael Wiencek
Program Director
CampMinsiPD@yahoo.com

2010 Leaders Guide

Download the 2010 Leaders Guide