By Maria Milligan
Oct 29, 2014

Foundations Change Camps and Scouts for the Better

When I joined the Scofield Scout Camp waterfront staff at Frandsen Scout Ranch two weeks into the 2013 season I fell in love with the camp’s secluded bay. Every day during free time I would stand on the dock with a rescue tube and watch laughing Scouts leap off the Iceberg, swamp each other’s kayaks and learn how to stay upright on a paddle board. The bay with its sandy shoreline and plenty of deep water in the middle is perfect for teaching, swimming, and playing, all of which the Scouts did at every opportunity. Unfortunately, there were always more boys at the waterfront than there were boats or spots on the Iceberg and inevitably some left disappointed that they couldn’t do everything they had wanted to. The location gives Scofield the potential to be the premier water base in the council but I knew without more equipment we would never get there.


A lifeguard waits on the new dock for free time to start at Scofield Scout Camp

When I returned to Scofield this past summer to help train the waterfront staff and set things up, the camp was transformed. Thanks to the Florence Bullock Ragan Family Foundation, we spent part of staff week putting together a beautiful new dock and setting up a wild new water obstacle course. There were more screaming, laughing Scouts on the waterfront than ever before and with all the new obstacles no one sat idle. Plus, the new dock allowed the waterfront staff to teach more Scouts more effectively because there was plenty of room to teach multiple merit badges at the same time.

Thunder Ridge Shooting Range

The NRA-funded Thunder Ridge shooting range has room for more boys and leaders to learn and shoot

Scofield wasn’t the only camp in the council to receive a much-needed makeover thanks to the generous donation from a foundation. Any Scouts who attended Thunder Ridge this year found a beautiful new shooting range and brand new equipment provided by the NRA Foundation. For years Thunder Ridge had been using worn-out equipment in facilities that were too small and crowded for instructors to teach and maneuver around the Scouts effectively. Now with the new range there is room for more Scouts to learn about shooting sports and safety and the instructors can give more individual attention to each Scout because they are better able to see and access them. This summer Scouts at Thunder Ridge were introduced to shooting sports with new equipment.

Eccles Nature Center 2014

The Eccles Nature Center gives Scouts at Maple Dell a closer look at the natural world

Camp is arguably the best place to earn nature-related merit badges. After all, no one is closer to nature than a scout who has dirt in his sleeping bag, bugs in his hair and rocks in his shoes. Unfortunately, many of our camps had outdated or dilapidated nature areas that made it difficult for scouts to learn effectively. Without adequate shelter and a place to store equipment, our nature areas struggled to give Scouts the kind of experience we knew they could. Thanks to a generous donation from the Eccles Foundation, Maple Dell no longer has this problem. The new Eccles Nature Center has a classroom that will house a static display of life in the mountains including murals, taxidermy from the BYU Bean Museum, fur and hoof samples, and a year-round nature display. In addition to the indoor classroom, the center has two pavilions with tables for other classes and activities. This center will allow camp staff to teach six nature-related merit badges and up to three classes simultaneously. Thanks to the Eccles Foundation, every year 2300 Maple Dell Scouts will have the chance to be better conservationists and more knowledgeable of and connected to the natural world.


Maple Dell’s new COPE cube is just one of the high adventure elements the Do Good Foundation has provided

The Nature Center isn’t the only thing that is new at Maple Dell. The Do Good Foundation (part of donated funds and 3600 hours of volunteer time to repair, rebuild, and add to existing camp structures and equipment. Thanks to this tremendous effort Maple Dell is now home to a sandy new beachfront, large dock, inflatable aquatic obstacle course, COPE/ropes course and zip-line. These volunteers also repainted and repaired gates and buildings throughout the camp.

Lord Baden Powell famously said “A week of camp life is worth six months of theoretical teaching in the meeting room.” The camp experience is vital in helping boys become leaders, learn life skills, and gain a love of scouting that will last a lifetime. Thanks to the Reagan, NRA, Eccles, and Do Good Foundations, more Scouts than ever will be able to have this kind of camp experience in facilities that will help shape youth and leaders alike for years to come.

Maria Milligan


Author: Maria Milligan | Grant Writer, Utah National Parks Council, BSA



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One thought on “Foundations Change Camps and Scouts for the Better

  1. AvatarRon Taylor

    Foundations, corporations, and individuals can help make the adventures and experiences at camp so much more memorable and effective. So many lives are blessed and enhanced because of what these people and others like them have done. Thank you. Your gifts will live on for many years through the lives of these young people.


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