Written by Mike Swofford Wednesday, 25 January 2012 13:20
On January 17, 2012, the council Board of Directors was presented with the first concept of Camp Michaels development plans. This important milestone was the culmination of over six months of discussion and revision by the Visioning Committee. The proposal included a 60-page document with descriptions of the facilities and programs necessary to meet the needs and wishes of the council membership, as gathered earlier in the visioning process.
This first concept is not a commitment or a "set in stone" plan. Rather, it is a starting place and a draft concept that will now need to be field tested. At this point, the individual features and facilities should be viewed as potential possibilities and not for certain plans.
The Camp Michaels Visioning Committee is excited to share this first concept with you. After all, it is your feedback that created it! The following is a high-level summary of the first vision concept as presented to the Board of Directors. You can also download the Camp Michaels Vision Proposal:
Currently, Camp Michaels is perceived as a single camp with a relatively dense developed area and a large wilderness area. The committee envisions a reservation with multiple camps each with its own purpose and identity. This approach will take advantage of the landscape of the property, the currently standing facilities, and new county road access on the previously inaccessible side of Gunpowder Creek.
This area will offer a two-fold purpose of a training facility and a venue for large-scale council and district events. Camping and lodging facilities will remain rustic, with only tent camping available, albeit with distinct campsites. The centerpiece of the camp will be a Training Center with features necessary for large training courses. The event area, centered around the large fields and shelters in the center of the property, will offer support for council and district events that have been impractical or limited in the past.
In response to the membership feedback and in an interest to provide a sense of tradition, this area of the reservation should incorporate the history of Camp Michaels. The current structures, when possible, should remain as they are. Some portion of the current lodge building should be built into the Training Center structure that will replace it. The camp could be named “Historic Camp Michaels” in recognition of the property’s impact on past generations of Scouts and Scouters.
Unique and exciting Scouting experiences will be offered in this new area that combines High Adventure activities and outdoor education and advancement opportunities. While the “Training and Event Center” will incorporate and renovate the facilities of the current Camp Michaels proper, the Scouting Adventure Base, will be comprised of all new facilities. A variety of camping styles and degrees of challenge will be available, some unique to camps in the Cincinnati area. The landmark of the camp will be the Zipline Canopy Tour.
In 2007, the council acquired 70 additional acres in the northwest part of the property, gaining county road access to the north side of Gunpowder Creek. After review, it was determined that it would not be practical to make this road a formal entrance to the camp; doing so would duplicate the need for roads, parking, security, and maintenance. However, the area should be developed to be accessible to emergency and maintenance vehicles. It can also be an entrance for accessibility and guided excursions to the Zipline take-off point.
An ideal location for getting into the wilderness and experiencing more primitive Scouting activities, this area will provide opportunities for simple hikes, nature observation, and training for High Adventure base treks. A large trail system will be the central element of the camp, offering a variety of hiking, backpacking, and camping options.
The real treasure of the property is its natural rustic landscape – this will be the focus of the programs and facilities for this camp. While trails and primitive campsites will be developed, the majority of the land will be untouched from its current state.
The Camp Michaels Visioning Committee believes that the program and facility ideas presented here are a thorough response to the feedback gathered from the council membership. In the development of these ideas, the focus group and survey results were the driving initiators and deciding factors. The current Camp Michaels property has massive potential for new and attractive programs that will not only enhance unit programs but also be a recruiting and promoting tool to grow Scouting in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area.
While a good representation of several cross-sections of the council, the committee also understands that one group cannot perfectly represent the needs and desires of the entire council membership. These ideas must be field tested and further vetted to more closely match the interest of our Scouts and units.
The committee recommends the following steps for action to realize this vision:
- District and council level volunteers
- Troop leadership
- Cub Scout leadership
- Venturing leadership
- Boy Scouts
- Northern Kentucky Scouters
- Council staff, including Ranger staff
|Initial Executive Committee Review||December 13, 2011||Complete!|
|Initial Board of Directors Review||January 17, 2012||Complete!|
|Field Test Focus Group Meetings||February - March, 2012||In progress...|
|Committee Revision Meeting||April 3, 2012||-|
|Final Executive Committee Review||April 17, 2012||-|
|Final Board of Directors Review||May 15, 2012||-|