Corporate Donations Keeping Scout Camps Alive?

Thinking about that 50 million dollar gift to BSA to build The Summit Bechtel Reserve, I can’t help but wonder if the only way to make significant camp improvements is through the generosity of corporate sponsors?  I’ve been to several of the premier camps in our council (Teton, Steiner and BLAB) and personally experienced the need for ongoing maintenance and upkeep.   …which begs another question for me.  Where does the money go from Friends of Scouting?  I know that’s a question with a big charge at the end of it, so I’ll save that for another day.  In the meantime, do scout camps overcome a run-down reputation only through donations from outside organizations??

Here are some articles I recently stumbled across that seem to support this perspective.

Earlier this year (May 2011), a news headline read:

Donation allows for expansion, improvements at Scout camp

OREM — Camp Tifie, located above Mount Pleasant, is the newest property in the National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts. Now, thanks to a $1 million donation, the camp will be expanding to become one of the nation’s premier Scout camps.

The camp, which sits at an elevation of 8,000 feet in Sanpete County, is slated for some improvements thanks to the large donation from Tifie Humanitarian, a Utah organization committed to teaching individuals and families independence through enterprise.

According to John Gailey, spokesman for the National Parks Council, the improvements will make Camp Tifie unique and already have attracted national attention.

“Our objective is to make it one of the premier Scout camps in the nation,” he said, stressing that the national Boy Scouts of America plans on using it as a model for future camp development in the U.S.”

Last year (April 2010), another headline read:

Large gift will help improve historic Scout camp on Bear Lake

OGDEN — What would you do with a $1.25 million gift?

The Trapper Trails Council of the Boy Scouts of America has received just that and plans on using most of the funds to renovate Camp Hunt, its well-worn 75-year-old adventure camp on the western shore of Bear Lake.

“This is the largest singular gift in the history of our local Scouting program and an amazingly generous gesture from civic-minded people in Utah,” said Michael R. Marchese, Scout executive and chief executive officer of Trapper Trails.

The gift came from T.I.F.I.E. Humanitarian, Goal 0, Provo Craft and Sorenson Capital.

The year before that (August 2009), yet more news about corporate a donation to help a camp in need:

Scouts to open aquatics center

The Great Salt Lake Council of Boy Scouts of America will dedicate its new Larry H. Miller Aquatics Center on Thursday.

Located about five miles north of Laketown, Rich County, the 30,000-square-foot facility is part of the Bear Lake Aquatics Base on the east side of Bear Lake.

According to Kay Godfrey, council spokesman, the facility is one of the largest buildings in Rich County. He said the new center was also one of the final community projects the late Larry H. Miller worked on.

…and again in April 2014 for renovations to the Scout camp at the East Fork of the Bear River:

$3 million from Sorenson Legacy Foundation will add to Hinckley Scout Ranch

A $3 million donation will allow the Great Salt Lake Council of the Boy Scouts to build a new lodge that it is naming in honor of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson.

The council says the 23,000-square-foot lodge will serve as the centerpiece of its Bryant S. Hinckley Scout Ranch, which contains a cluster of four Scout camps in the Uinta Mountains.

The donation comes from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation, established by the James LeVoy Sorenson family for charitable endeavors.

So are large corporate donations the only way for our scout camps to keep pace with maintenance and upkeep?  If so, there’s a lot more demand than supply in this category of needed support that could leave camps in trouble.

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