Frequently Asked Questions
Can we come to camp earlier than 1:00?
The gates open at 1:00PM after our staff are assembled and the office is prepared to greet our new troops. Arriving prior to 1:00 PM will mean that you will have to wait by your car until that time when the gate opens to let you into camp. This means you will have your hands full of scouts who have been sitting 2 plus hours in a car. Of course, you do not want to arrive too late or you will have wasted a fair bit of time. There are a number of state parks around camp to allow the scouts to get out and stretch their legs if you arrive too early. Best thing to do is plan to arrive between 1:00 and 1:30 PM. If you do arrive early, scouts cannot enter camp until the gate is open.
Can the troop or individual scouts stay over the weekend?
We close camp shortly after the final ceremony on Saturday morning. After that time there are no services or appropriate leadership for any scout or troop that wishes to stay. The staff will stay in residence, but it is their one and only time for prolonged rest after 6 days of providing outstanding program. There are local motels and campsites in the surrounding areas and we can certainly direct you to those resources. Two nearby campsites are Seal Rock or Dosewallips State Park. The Cove RV Park is located on the intersection of Bee Mill Rd and Hwy 101. They have RV hook ups as well as a small store http://www.coverv.com
Can we go to the camp by boat or have friends come by boat?
Camp Parsons has an outstanding waterfront and pier. Scouts can come by boat if the boat is a Sea Scout boat and is scheduled to bring scouts to camp. Private boats can come to camp, however they cannot use the pier or any of our mooring anchors. If private boats come to camp, they must provide their own transportation from their boat to the shore NOT the pier. Small dingys can be left on the shore, but only the visitors arriving by boat may use them. Any scout that goes on a private boat must sign out of camp and be with appropriate two deep adult leadership unless they are with a parent.
Can we drive into camp?
We try to maintain a natural and safe environment in camp, so we do not allow vehicles other than authorized camp vehicles into camp outside of the parking lot. You should plan to carry your equipment to your campsite, and the best recommendation we can give you is to pack like you are going on a hike. If you do have some bigger troop equipment, there are large wheelbarrows available to help move things, and occaisonally the camp truck can move troop equipment for you (not packs or suitcases).
Can visitors come to camp?
We welcome visitors at any time, however we hope they do not interfere with your troop's activities. Visitors must sign in at the camp office and sign out prior to leaving, overnight guests are not permitted unless they are registered Boy Scouts or Scouters and the appropriate fee has been paid. It is important to note that we do not have family camping at Camp Parsons therefore small children, Cub Scouts, Webelos cannot stay overnight in camp, however there are a number of State Parks nearby that are excellent venues for family camping. It is important to note; the dining hall has only so much capacity. We have allowed the number of troops to come to camp based on the number of boys AND adults. If extra adults come later in the week, they may not be able to eat in the dining hall. Prior arrangement (not the day before) is required if we are to accomodate you.
We often receive questions asking about swim checks. Some camps allow troops to perform swim checks in a pool prior to coming to camp, or they have attended another camp and have done swim checks there and have their "buddy tag". Camp Parsons is unique in that we are the only BSA summer camp to actually use its open water/salt water facility for ALL aquatics activities for ALL ages. For health and safety reasons we require all participants (adults and scouts) to take the swim check at camp. We need to know that one can jump into a cold, saltwater environment that has waves and marine life and swim as well as float. The canal is fantastic in the summer, but even the veteran pool swimmer can be intimidated by it.
What is troop time?
Camp Parsons program is a little different than other camps. Our days are divided into merit badge sessions/classes in the morning, and troop program (troop time) and free time in the afternoon and evening. Every night except Sunday, the SPLs in the camp meet together with the Program Director and schedule times for their respective troops to go to an area. So say Troop 1 wants to go to the rifle range, they would sign up and go to that activity as a troop. During free time, individual scouts can go to any area they like. We find that troop time a) strengthens the troop through the patrol method, b) encourages scouts to try something they would not do on their own (a scout is brave and may find a new hobby) c) it is good for the troop to hang out together. Adults actually get to know their scouts better. Troops can take that time off and rest in the campsite, or do any other activity they wish. We are flexible to meet your needs. Troops who have been to other camps or who are out-of-council are always a little worried about this, but have given the program two thumbs up at the end of the week.
What's this about cookout?
Part of the BSA program is to have troops cook out one day in their campsite. Hey, we're all scouts and should enjoy cooking over an open fire. Troops will cookout on random days, so you may cookout the first day and spend the rest of the week in the dining hall while another troop may eat the first few days in the dining hall then cook out for a day and return to the dining hall for the rest of the week. The dinner rotation is determined after all troops are checked in and the numbers verified. Meals are simple, oatmeal in the AM, Hot Dogs, apples/oranges, chips at lunch and ground beef and veggies (carrots, onions, potatoes, celery) for dinner along with a watermellon or some other such thing. It is smart to bring your own cooking gear than to depend on what you might get at the quartermaster shack. If you are a true cook, bring your own spices because we only have two, salt and pepper.
Did I hear right? Flush toilets in the campsite?
Yup. Each campsite comes with its own bathroom facility with hot showers and flush toilets which work off a septic system. Some of the bathrooms have seen better days (they were built for individual sites and individual troops when the troops usually had 30 plus members) and are on the schedule for renovation, but they do work and are far better than pit toilets.
Is the website up to date?
The website is updated year round, what you see under our program schedule is bascially the same we use every year. The Merit Badge schedule may change, even weekly. This is based on the resources we have which may change every week. Our advice is to check the website weekly. Prior to you coming to camp, we will give you a phone call (that would be the person who is the registered leader for camp, so make sure you have the right name on your reservation at the council office) to go over last minute details as well as remind you of key things. Scoutmasters....if you see things marked as 2012 CALM DOWN.....it is basically the same for 2013. If you have questions please feel free to contact email@example.com
Special Food Needs.
We do our best to accomodate all scouts and scouters that have special dietary needs. We generally prepare for vegetarians and do have some alternatives to meals that may not fit the needs of the scouts that come to camp. However we cannot always guarantee that we can provide for strict dietary/allergy needs, religious diets or specialized vegan meals. It is best that those individuals come with the food they need and we will do our best to store and prepare it for you. We apologize but there is no discount to the camp fee if you bring your own food.
I am a new Scoutmaster, what are the most important things I need to do?
Simply follow these small pieces of advice: 1) Show up on Sunday right at 1:00 PM, not before or after but right at 1:00. 2) Always, always, always personally check that you have each one of your scout's annual health form and the parent's signature is up to date (within 12 months) and the portion of the form filled out by the practitioner IS WITHIN ONE YEAR. Mr. Scoutmaster....do not delegate this responsibility to anyone else as it will be you trying to get a form faxed up to camp if it is forgotten....WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS POINT ENOUGH. Scoutmasters, here is a hint. If you have the permission of your scout's parents and are able to keep physicals in a secure place, make copies for the troop and have the parents keep the original. Then NOTHING ever gets lost. 3) Legible rosters with the boys and adults names attending camp, their address and phone, and the number of your troop insurance. 4) Make sure you know the boys coming with you, particularly the troublemakers and have a plan to deal with them should there be an issue. Too many parents take off on vacation when junior is with you, beware. 5) Make sure the person with all the paperwork required to check in is in the first car. Our experience has been that the Scoutmaster is in the last car that didn't get on the same ferry as the others and then finds his/her troop sitting in the parking lot for an hour waiting for him/her to arrive Finally, 6) relax, we will take care of you.
What are Blue Cards?
Blue cards are the applications for merit badges and are universal throughout scouting, though different councils may use different cards. We have plenty at camp for you to use, or you may wish to fill them out prior to coming to camp. A Blue card is required for a scout to enter a merit badge class as that tells us that you have approved of him doing so as you know he has a good chance of passing the merit badge, or that it does not interfere with other things like rank advancement.
What is the Hullabaloo?
The Hullabaloo occurs on Friday afternoon and consists of the three things; Patrol competition, Troop Relay Race, Octopus Cup (4 troop members canoeing a 2.5 mile course). It is meant to be a fun event and although competition is part of this, it is not the sole purpose. Outside of receiving a home made award, there is no medal, patch or preference for next years campsite involved. It is a chance for troop members to work together for a single purpose. In other words, it is a method to enhance the patrol method and hopefully make your troop stronger. It is not in divisions, it is not handicapped, it is straight on competition. Yes, we know that bigger troops will probably do better in the troop competitions, but the most prestigious award is the TOP PATROL which is usually won by the youngest, most enthusiastic scouts. If you have a young, small troop, well, you can team up with others if you wish or you can encourage those young men to do their best. We see a lot of pride in these young scouts (so adults, do not whine about "fairness", the scouts get it.)
Monday through Friday mornings we have merit badge sessions (advance registration is not required, classes never fill). These are 1/2 to 1 1/2 hour sessions designed to build the skills necessary for the scout to pass a certain requirement or merit badge. Attendance at classes is not mandatory and not necessary to pass a merit badge. Our counselors can act like those at home. In other words if your scout is ready to pass a requirement he can make an appointment with one of our counselors to demonstrate that requirement, just like they would at home. HOWEVER, this is at the discretion of the counselor as we have other programs underway outside of merit badge time AND there will be no instruction, the scout can either pass the requirement or not pass it. If they do attend MB sessions they can work on a skill over and over with personal instruction. It is our philosophy (which you may disagree with ) that a scout should only take no more than three merit badges OR advance one rank during their week at camp. After all, we are summer camp, not summer school.
Information and Communications?
We are surprised from time to time that some individuals do not feel they have enough information prior to camp or when they get to camp. Most of the key information you need can be found on these web pages, it is the reason why we developed them. Take time to peruse the various pages. There may be questions not answered to the detail you would like, however it is unlikely we will have that information until the week before or the day you arrive. Regardless, there is nothing and I mean nothing that we will throw at you in which any prior information would have been helpful. If you need something.....ask, we seldom say no (unless it is a safety or legal issue). When you are at camp, pull the Program Director aside if something is wrong or you need help, do not wait until the end of the week. We want to make this your best week of your scouting year and we cannot meet your needs if you tell us at the end of the week. Remember, even if you show with nothing but medical forms and a roster, we will guide you through everything.
Equipment List for camp?
Is there a cell phone policy?
No, Camp Parsons does not have a cell phone policy for troops and we leave it up to the troop leadership to decide what they would like. However, a few words of advice. We never allow our staff to carry, let alone use a cell phone while working (unless they are of a profession, such as a physician, that needs it for their work). Scouts will not be allowed to use them during merit badge sessions and if they continue to text messages during the class, it will be taken from them and either returned at the end of that merit badge session or given to the Scoutmaster. We have found that scouts having cell phones only increases the "headaches" for scoutmasters as now your homesick scout has direct access to Mom and you may be getting phone calls at 0200 from a distraught parent....or even worse, they show up at 0200 to take their son home. The other problem is with theft or accidental destruction (off the end of the pier). If I was a Scoutmaster coming to camp with my troop, I would confiscate all cell phones from my scouts and give them back at the end of the week.
Can I get around camp if I have a medical condition?
We do everything to make sure that we do our best that any scout with a disability is able to enjoy camp. Remember, a "Scout" is defined as a registered youth member, not an adult. Almost all of our facilities are wheel chair accessible, and we have had staff and scouts with physical disabilities at camp who have been able to go to all of our facilities. If you are an adult that has a medical condition that limits your mobility this may be more difficult and it may disqualify you to come to camp. We depend on the adult leadership to help us safeguard their scouts. If we ever have an emergency, our first concern is for our youth and we would require the help of the adults in camp. We do not allow vehicles outside of the parking lot and everything is uphill in our camp, so keep that in mind when you plan for camp. Electric or push wheelchairs can use the camp roads, however motorized vehicles/bicycles/etc. are not allowed in camp. The height and weight policy only applies to individuals who are going on a week long High Adventure hike or kyak trek.
What is the Medication Policy?
The standards set forth by National Policy is that medications should be in a safe, locked storage. If the troop coming to camp does not have a "lock box" to store their scout's prescription medications, then we will provide you with one on request. If necessary, we can store the medications in our Health Lodge, but it is important that you know that we DO NOT dispense medication except those prescribed by the resident licensed practitioner if one is on camp property. It is the responsibility of the troop leadership to assure that their scouts on medications are taking their appropriate medications as prescribed.
We have camp T-shirts for sale at Camp Parsons and maintain a good supply throughout the summer, usually leaning more toward the larger sizes. We do not take pre-orders, however if you wish, you can call us anytime after mid-June, give us a list of sizes and we can pull them aside for you to pay when you come to camp, or you can come up to camp prior to your troop's arrival and purchase them at that time.
The only retail activity allowed in camp are those operated by camp. Troops, Adults, or Scouts are not allowed to sell any merchandise to any other scouts except those within their own troop. This does not preclude "trading" such as patch trading activities.
Monday Morning Arrivals
If you are arriving on Monday morning, we ask that you be in the parking lot ready to go at 8:30 AM. Please do not plan on arriving prior to breakfast; the office will not be open and there will not be tables in the dining hall if you arrive earlier. We will get you checked in, the boys off to merit badges and we will catch you up on the information we covered on Sunday. It is extremely important that your paperwork is ready to go as that will make the check in process smoother (camp attendance roster and physicals). If you are a High Adventure crew checking in on Mondays, no problems. Please arrive at 8:30 AM and we will get you going.
WHERE THE MOUNTAINS MEET THE SEA