I posted earlier about our trip to Camp LaNoChe and will probably have a number of follow ups as there are a lot of things to talk about. Camp LaNoChe was listed in Scouting Magazine’s Guide to Cool Camps this year. They touted the ATV (All Terrain Vehicles or 4 wheelers) program and listed a bunch of other stuff too.
A lot of our older scouts return every year to LaNoChe because there is so much to do. Besides the ATV program, they have a PWC (Personal Water Craft) program, they have a big rock wall in the center of camp as well as a pretty new and pretty fabulous high and low COPE courses out at their Adventure Camp. Next year they plan on having a new, even taller climbing wall over in the Adventure Camp, in two years they are supposed to complete their fabulous new Aquatics area including a zero entry pool with slides and everything and they are also are completing plans on a new air conditioned conference center which I imagine they’ll use for what they call their “Leadership Academy”, which includes their Eagle Merit Badges. A few years ago they offered a program in cooperation with NASA down at Kennedy and every year they coordinate trips to Disney and Universal or older scout adventures out on the water here in Florida.
Every year we have older scouts that take part in these things (not so much the Disney / Universal stuff) and every year they have a good time. But the one thing that LaNoChe offers that the older scouts (and adults) rave about, the one thing that they recruit other scouts to attend the following year, is their Woodsman program.
Jim Sawgrass, Little Big Mountain, Laura Alcorn and the rest of the crew from Go Native Now put on the best program in camp. They consistently create Raving Fans for the program and draw our scouts back to LaNoChe. I’ve yet to take the program as I’m generally committed to serving at camp, but the descriptions that I receive from those that take the class is almost mythic.
Away from the high dollar capital campaigns and camp improvements, away from the High Adventure stuff, the climbing walls and rope swings, away from the ATVs and Jet Skis is this little group who take scouts out into the woods and teaches them about plants and animals. They teach them how to build things from wood, stone and bamboo, how to make ropes and knives and blow guns and how to use them. They teach them how to cook over fire, they tell stories, they talk about respect and honor and they build friendships. This is scouting at its most basic level and our scouts can’t get enough of it.