Important: Camp Winnebago 2014 email #1
- This is first in a series of emails this week about our upcoming week at Camp Winnebago (aka WSR). Please make sure that both scouts and parents read this entire email, because it contains very important information. If you and your scout are not attending WSR next week, you can hit the delete button now! (I know we are heading to Sabattis tomorrow, but it's only 2 weeks until we leave for Winnebago!)
Mr. Okell, Mr. Thal, Mr. Wernsing and I are all very excited and ready for a great, fun (and possibly relaxing) week.
Here is the link to the WSR Leader's Guide:
and here are some very important issues:
1) Drop Off Time. Our registration and tour will begin at 1:30pm sharp on SUNDAY, 7/27. That means you should plan to have your scout at the camp with all their gear ready by 1pm. If your scout is not present at 1:30pm they will either delay the entire troop (perhaps several hours, since we'll be moved to the end of the line), or miss important things. Consider this 1pm drop off time like the bus going to Sabattis. I would plan to be in the Rockaway area before lunch, eat lunch somewhere nearby and then get to camp early.
We will meet in the main parking lot of WSR. Directions to the camp are here:
Feel free to car pool. Parents do not need to be present to drop off your scout, so you can send them with another family.
All boys should arrive in their class A uniforms (with bathing suit under).
2) Medicine. All medicine that comes to camp, either prescription or over the counter (OTC) must be listed on your BSA Medical Form A, and handed over to me in the parking lot. Medicine not listed on the form will not be accepted, period. If you neglected to list a medicine your scout needs on the Form A, please submit a new Form A to me by Wednesday.
Please have all your medicines in a single gallon-size Ziplock bag, with your scout's name boldly written in black marker. Medicines will not be accepted in any other form. Even if you are bringing one little bottle of Aspirin, please have it in a single gallon-size bag with the scout's name. We learned at Sabattis this year that managing medicines is a real time waster for us, so we need to make the rules and procedures simpler and clearer.
Your scout MAY NOT have any medicines (OTC or prescription) in their packs or anywhere else. Everything must be in the single ziplock baggie. If they need to keep something with them (perhaps an Epipen), the medical officer will handle that during the medical checks on Sunday. Do not have the scout carry anything themselves to camp. Every single medicine your scout might take needs to be listed on Form A (including Tylenol, OTC allergy pills, etc).
3) Swim Check. During our tour Sunday afternoon, we will all take the BSA swim test. Please have your scout wear his swimsuit under his uniform, and have a towel (and perhaps dry socks) in his day pack that he brings with him on tour. If he needs goggles or anything else to swim, make sure they are in the daypack. There will be no opportunity to get anything from their gear before the check.
If your scout is not a strong swimmer and you suspect they will not pass the BSA swim test, please let me know on Sunday and we'll let the aquatics staff know. Your scout does not have to bear the anxiety of this worry. Most of our scouts pass easily, but if your scout needs more swim instruction, let me know in advance so we can give a heads up to the aquatics staff.
4) Merit Badge Schedule. We have not received information that the merit badge class schedule has changed, so assume for now it's the same as listed in the Leader's Handbook on pages 44-49.
The prerequisites for the MBs are listed in the Leaders Guide on pages 42-43. Note for some badges they require that you bring the official MB book, so check that and head to the scout shop early this week if necessary.
5) Packing List. The packing list we use for Sabattis is probably a good start. There is also a good packing list on page 8 of the Winnebago Leader's Guide. Your scout does not need to bring a mess kit, but I'd have them bring a camp cup or mug for drinking water, etc.
At WSR we sleep on cots in canvas tents setup on wooden platforms. They may want to bring a pad to cover the cot and add comfort. The cots are outside all the time, so having something to put your face on is nice.
We will bring 25 wire coat hangers so the scouts can hang their Class A uniforms in their tents, since we'll be wearing them at least once each day.
Our campsite at Cherokee was almost completely bug-free last year. It is much less buggy than Sabattis. We discovered last year that leaving the flaps on our canvas tents open pretty much prevented bugs from worrying about us at all. Nighttime was not buggy. If your scout really wanted mosquito net, I know the scout shops and all camping stores sell netting designed for cots. Last year only one or two scouts had nets, and those that did not have them did not mind.
6) Smellables. We will never have any food at all in the campsite (except for a meal we cook as a troop Wednesday night). Your scout can have NO FOOD in their gear at all. If for some reason your scout has some special diet need that requires special food, we will drop that off at the dining hall on Sunday and not have it in camp at all. No snacks, nothing.
WSR has a significant bear problem, much worse than Sabattis. There are bears in every campsite every night, and a single granola bar could spoil all our fun. Once the bear finds no food the first night, we won't see them again. Please check all packs, daypacks and pockets for food, candy or even wrappers left over from other trips. Not a single smellable other than what we have in our smellable jars can enter our campsite.
Your smellables should be in the same single 2.5 lb "nut jar" as we used at Sabattis. They look like this:
Wash them thoroughly in the dishwasher and all trace of nuts are gone. Each scout and leader will have a single one of these. Please do not bring your smellables in anything else. If you bring your smellables in another container (a different size jar, or a ziplock, etc), we will keep them out of the campsite in the trailer, which will be a major inconvenience.
Please have your scout write his name in permanent black marker (or another color if the lid is black) so that he can quickly find his own.
If your scout's nut allergy is so severe that you are worried about using a "nut jar" even after multiple dishwashings, note that there are other things sold in the same jars (candy). We have a few extra nut jars available, but you need to ask early this week so we can pull one out for you. Note that we have scouts with nut allergies using these jars all the time.
My bug spray fits in the jars, along with everything else I need. If you feel compelled to bring some giant bottle of bug spray that does not fit in your nut jar, we will keep them up in the trailer. My favorite bug spray comes in a small pump bottle and contains 30% DEET (the highest level that still feels OK on my skin):
You can buy this everywhere. Ben's also has 100% DEET in the same bottle, but I personally don't recommend it. 100% DEET eats through plastic, melts labels and dissolves ink. It doesn't feel good on the skin.
Note that WSR prohibits aerosol cans so you need a pump bottle of bug spray (and sun protection).
Your scout doesn't need body spray or anything else like that. We're in the woods, everyone stinks a little, and there aren't any girls for them to smell good for. There is also a great shower house, and I personally plan to take a shower most days. Make sure your scout has a towel, soap (I use liquid soap in a little squirt bottle) and shampoo (I put some shampoo in another small squirt bottle; no reason to bring giant bottles with you) so they can shower too.
7) Money. Your scout only needs money for the trading post. My son tends to spend $3-$5 a day (maybe one ice cream bar, one candy and one soda). Also, think about craft kits (woodworking, leather and baskets), ammunition (shotgun and rifle), patches, t-shirts, etc. The MB prerequisites chart in the Leader's Handbook gives some indication of how much things cost.
Unlike Sabattis, we won't offer the "wallet management" service. Your scout should have either a wallet (with their name), or a ziplock with their money for the week. This can stay in their daypack. Make sure their name, troop and campsite (Cherokee) is in the wallet or ziplock bag. I found two ziplock bags of money at Sabattis last week, both without any name (fortunately, the trading post staff was able to locate the owners of both, but having labels would have made things easier).
8) Uniforms. We will wear our Class A uniforms every day. We wear Class A uniforms when we arrive, to closing colors and dinner each night and the opening and closing campfires.
If your scout does not have BSA shorts, please have them bring some shorts that look roughly like scout shorts (or even cargo shorts in tan, brown, blue or gray), and have belt loops for their BSA belt. Please try not to have their Class A uniform combined with bright orange shorts and socks. You may also want to bring scout-like long pants, since it can get pretty buggy at the late evening campfires.
We'll wear our neckerchiefs with our Class A uniforms. If you have lost your T104 neckerchief, please contact Mr Bumiller when he returns from Sabattis to get a replacement.
In a perfect world, we'd require everyone to have BSA shorts and socks, but we'll just ask that you get as close as possible. Both are available in our local scout shop.
Please also bring your Class B t-shirts, as we'll wear those multiple times over the week as well.
9) Mail. The address for incoming mail is:
Scout Name, Troop 104, Cherokee
Winnebago Scout Reservation
102 Timberbrook Rd
Rockway, NJ 07866
Rockaway is probably only a day away for regular US Mail, so I wouldn't mail anything before the Saturday before camp. Please only send letters, not packages of food.
10) Visiting. Although we're only 30 minutes away in Rockaway, parent visits are strongly discouraged. Please pretend like we're 6 hours away in the Adirondacks. The only scout that had severe homesickness last year was a scout who hid a cell phone in his pack and called home all the time. Calling home makes things worse 100% of the time. Your scout does not need a cell phone.
11) Pickup. Pickup will be the following Saturday before 10am. I'll send out a more set time later in the week, but it will probably be in the 9am to 10am time frame.
Please let me know if there are any questions I didn't address, and I'll include the answers in my next bulk email.
Mr. Thal, Mr. Okell, Mr. Wernsing and I are all looking forward to two weeks from now!