Since my son was a Tiger, we’ve offered him a “second week at camp” every year. We spend a week in-council, and a second week at an out of council camp. It’s been a great way to see how different Scouting is applied by others. We’ve been to RoKiLio, Akela’s World, Indian Trails, and even YMCA camps. I was once told that camp was an amazing experience every boy looks forward to. Experience has taught me otherwise, but I’m very glad that my boys have found a love of the outdoors, learning & nature all through camp. It’s an experience they couldn’t get any other way.

This year, my older son and a buddy joined my brother’s troop from Wauwatosa and spent a week up at Camp Lefeber. With the two councils merging into one another, this is kind of significant. In a way, both camps will be “in council” this year! And that is a good thing. Some of the larger councils we have been to offer Troops multiple camps, either for provisional camping like we do, or so they can rotate to keep the experience fresh and the opportunities diverse.

My younger son, my father and I came up to visit and family camp the last night. I wanted to check out the grounds and program as we continue to make summer camp plans for the future.

What struck me most as an adult was the size of Camp Lefeber, and how well it was being maintained. While not perfect, facilities were generally in pretty good shape. There was a LOT of pride and tradition in this camp! Many hands and the right tools made for light work, while brass plaques around camp showed the dedication to camp that the tens of thousands of former campers have made over the decades back to Lefeber.

For my son, it was all about the program. His favorite area was Iron Springs where he got to work on the forge on Metalwork projects including making a dinner triangle and completed his Basketry MB making a basket and a stool. The Iron Spring’s Trading Post was pretty neat too – complete with gas lamps to light the inside. A mixture of old and new, it was kind of like being on the Streets of Old Milwaukee at MPM, but this time the kids got to touch everything.

Bird Study was completed in a beautiful Nature building with a large windows and a beautiful wrap around deck looking out down the hill and over the lake not far from the lakefront. It was a comfortable, and scholarly setting, and distinct from other buildings in camp in a good way.

Another unique option was to complete Golf at a nearby course. And the staff at Scout Skills / Eagle Quest did their best to help all of our younger Scouts advance. My son was able to make it to First Class, and his buddy now has everything he needs for Second Class!

Neidhoffer Waterfront was the site of the camp-wide games, and what a fantastic event it was. Nearly 260 boys plus staff and adults were fully engaged in everything from canoe races to volleyball tournament. Throw in a little disc golf, and you’ve got a summer camp event right from the movies!

During the week the troop we were with trained two new leaders. What a great idea to keep leadership engaged and fully “Trained” by having an adult program as well.

I think the Council Merger will be hardest on our OA, since we know when everything is done that there can be only one. But I have to give a great deal of respect to both lodges. Mikano for an outstanding campfire & call out ceremony – I spent 5 years living on a Reservation and appreciate the respect that this group of young people has tried to bring to the ceremony through uniform and dialog – and Mascoutens LC Bryan Hoff for coming over from Lyle and visiting and participating. I am always impressed with our young leadership of this organization and what they accomplish serving their fellows.

Here’s a special shout out to all of our Scouts! It doesn’t matter which camp you’re going to – have an amazing time and learn lots. You will remember these experiences for the rest of your lives!