By Adam Ganucheau/NEMS Daily Journal
RANDOLPH – Members of local media outlets experienced Boy Scout camp firsthand Tuesday at Camp Yocona in Randolph.
More than 200 Boy Scouts and 14 Scout troops were joined at camp this week by journalists. Camp directors said they wanted to show the good the Boy Scout organization is doing in the midst of the recent decision to allow openly homosexual scouts into Scouting.
“With the media attention Boy Scouts has received nationally, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important,” Yocona Area Council Boy Scout executive Rick Chapman said. “We wanted to show the public all the great things we do at Camp Yocona. Otherwise, no one would know.”
Media members were given a tour of the 300-acre camp and participated against Scouts in activities like shotgun shooting, first aid preparedness, rock climbing and zip lining. Journalists also got to see the advantages of attending Scout camp during the summer.
Twelve-year-old Phil Chambers, a camp counselor-in-training and member of Troop 146 in Oxford, believes there are many benefits of the camp.
“I love just being outdoors and spending time with people at camp,” he said. “As a counselor-in-training, it’s inspiring to see the example I set for other campers. It’s definitely a great place to be.”
The site hosts three week-long sessions of Boy Scout camp, in addition to three sessions of Cub Scout camp and a staff week. Campers have the opportunity to take merit badge courses in addition to the fun activities.
“It’s great for our kids to get out here and learn some really great things,” Tupelo Troop 2627 leader Ronnie Buse said. “This is the third year we’ve come to camp here, and they love every minute of it.”
Around 50 Boy Scouts and Venture Scouts from the Yocona Area Council will attend the National Scout Jamboree July 15-24 in West Virginia. Many of those Scouts also attended Camp Yocona this summer.
“National Jamboree is a huge deal for these Scouts, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to get that experience,” Chapman said.