Troop 868 in Action

Summer Camp @ Camp Russell (July, 2003)

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A week of summer resident camping is a highlight of any troop's annual program and an essential part of each scout's advancement.  For those reasons, Troop 868 seeks out camps that offer first rate programs.  For the summer of 2003, our Patrol Leaders' Council selected Camp Russell in Woodgate, NY.  The camp was recommended to us by another troop in our council as being a very "traditional" Boy Scout camp.  That description and their endorsement of the camp's program both proved accurate.

The camp itself was relatively small and the dining hall was crowded to capacity with roughly 300 campers the week we attended.  Campsites (called villages) were clustered close together on one side of the camp with program areas on the other and the usual administrative buildings (Health Lodge, Trading Post, Commissary, Admin Lodge) in the center of camp.  Despite the close proximity and the fact that all but the largest troops had to share a village with another unit, the arrangement still provided adequate privacy and made travel between different program areas quick and convenient.

The dining hall food was outstanding.  Absolutely excellent.  Really!  The camp chef was a former Navy cook who served healthy, balanced meals that appealed to teenage boys; and plenty of it.  Seconds, thirds, fourths were readily available for the asking and fresh fruit was available at every meal.  If a boy left Camp Russell's dining hall hungry it was his own fault!

But the real measure of any camp is not its food or its facilities, but its staff.  And Camp Russell earned a solid "A" in that department, too.  A typical staff member would be an Eagle Scout about 19 years old.  Not too many younger teens in this camp; and those that were there worked primarily in support positions rather than as counselors.  The area directors all had several years experience.  Without exception, all staff members were polite, mature, helpful, and demonstrated tremendous pride in their camp.  The "Russell hustle" was everywhere evident.  The camp director ran a tight ship --- fair, but firm --- and the whole operation hummed like a well-oiled machine.

Our week there flew by and when it came time to pack up and leave, our group would have been perfectly content to stay.  From the totem poles on the parade field to a real bugler at flag ceremonies, Camp Russell certainly qualified as a "traditional" Boy Scout camp.  B-P would have been proud of this camp!

Having been on the road for a week, many boys had mail waiting for them upon our arrival at camp. Joe works on a project in his Leatherworking merit badge class.
Dave shoots a qualifying score at the archery range on his first try. Stephen and Tim in a First Aid merit badge class.  Note the small class size.
Tyler (lower left) waits his turn at the rifle range. Patrick takes aim for Rifle Shooting merit badge.
Shane secures a sailboat at the waterfront. Alex takes a break in his tent.
John, Patrick, and Dave relax in the "backyard" adjacent to Dave and Chris' tent. Philip and Patrick caught in the act.  (Faces like these are obviously guilty of something!)

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