Spring is coming–really!–which means many troops are starting to plan extended summer trips, either to high-adventure bases like Philmont and Northern Tier or to destinations like Washington, D.C.
Summer trips can present a housing challenge. On the way to Philmont (and definitely on the way home!) you may not want to break out your backpacks and camp overnight. And if your trip is more of a tourist excursion, you may find hotel-style accommodations more appropriate than camping.
Hotels present their own challenges for Scout troops, however, including too-thin walls, free HBO, and a lack of gathering spaces. Plus, costs can be prohibitive.
I’ve found that a good alternative is to stay at a church conference or retreat center. These facilities, which are accustomed to hosting youth groups, typically offer decent accommodations (albeit more Motel 6 than Marriott), three meals a day, and secluded settings. Bonus amenities like hiking trails, basketball courts, and common rooms can make your stay more pleasant.
Of course, summer is the busiest time of the year for these facilities, but don’t assume they can’t offer you space before or after their busy season or on a Saturday night between sessions.
Here are a few links to get you started:
- Christian Camp and Conference Association: http://www.ccca.org
- American Camp Association: http://www.acacamps.org/rentals/
- United Methodist Camps and Retreat Centers: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/camp-retreat-ministries
- Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association: http://www.pccca.net