Camp Development for the 21st Century
March 2017 Update
The Sam Houston Area Council (“council”) has the vision to become a leader in camping by having first-class facilities that are well maintained and provide safe, fun and educational outdoor programs for our Scouts. In 2012, the council approved a new Camping Vision Statement: “Exemplary, Sustainable Outdoor Experiences and Creative Learning for 21st Century Youth and Their Leaders.”
To achieve this vision, the council has a properties master plan. This plan is modified from time to time based on need and situational events.
In developing the plan, the following are key principles that drive decisions:
- Exemplary – first-class facilities, maintained to meet today’s standards;
- Program Impact – delivering high quality programs associated with quality facilities – basically driving towards achieving the goals of the Camping Vision Statement;
- Impact – maximizing the use and access based on location to our camps by as many Scouts as possible;
- Efficiency – being a good steward of resources and eliminating redundancy; and
- Sustainable – a long-term solution for ongoing operating and maintenance costs and the long-term maintenance of facilities.
The current plan includes the development of new camps including the new Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas) that opened in 2015, the new Camp Strake (near Evergreen, Texas) planned to open in summer 2019 and a new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas), which will open in a few years. It also comprises making improvements to Camp Brosig (near Sealy, Texas) and McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas).
Camp Strake is currently under construction with a schedule for opening in summer 2019 for Boy Scout summer resident camp. Please view the Camp Strake Video for additional information about the exciting plans for Camp Strake.
Camp Strake Lake Rendering
*Planned lake requires permits that are in process to attain.
Please see the Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Camp Development – March 2017 Update (“FAQ”) for information about the Camping Vision Statement, properties master plan, schedules and plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp during summer 2018.
For additional information about Camp Strake (e.g., design plans, construction schedule, periodic updates), please reference www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.
Camp Strake Plans
Donations are a major source of funding to develop capital improvements in the properties master plan. The council is in the midst of a major gifts campaign called Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign, which will dedicate more than $21 million for this purpose. The Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign is an initiative to unleash the potential of our programs and camp properties to best serve the needs of Scouting families in the 21st century. Please refer to the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign for more information.
Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions
General Camp Development
- What are the Sam Houston Area Council’s plans for camp development?
In 2012, the Sam Houston Area Council (“council”) approved a new Camping Vision Statement: “Exemplary, Sustainable Outdoor Experiences and Creative Learning for 21st Century Youth and Their Leaders.”
Our vision is to become a leader in camping by having first-class facilities that are well maintained and to provide safe, fun and educational outdoor programs for our Scouts.
To achieve this vision, the council has a properties master plan. This plan is modified from time to time based on need and situational events.
The plan includes developing new camps such as the Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas) that opened in 2015, the new Camp Strake (near Evergreen, Texas) that is currently scheduled to open in summer 2019, and a new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas), which will open in a few years. It also comprises making improvements to Camp Brosig (near Sealy, Texas) and McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch (near Navasota, Texas).
- Are there any metrics/standards being used to measure how the council achieves the Camping Vision Statement?
Yes. They are below.
- Do the camps provide the opportunity to fulfill the aims and methods of Scouting?
- Are facilities and programs safe and well maintained and meet today’s standards?
- Are all program needs (Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturing) based on the defined role of the camp being met?
- Are the numbers of participants utilizing the programs at an appropriate level and increasing over time?
- Are the programs fun, creative and educational?
- Are the camps appropriately located for their intended use?
- Does the camp operate within a board approved budget?
- Is the property environmentally sound for future generations?
21st Century Youth
- Are programs that are conducted attractive and exciting for today’s youth?
- Are the programs that are conducted leading youth to lifelong values, service and achievement?
- User (youth and adult) feedback will be sought as a confirmation of their experience.
- Well maintained – “routine maintenance and major maintenance is conducted as scheduled and needed.”
- Environmentally sound for future generations – “the camp and its facilities are designed, managed and maintained in a manner that balances program use with sustainability.”
- Attractive and exciting for today’s youth – “incredible facilities and fun and /or intense outdoor programs that expand the limits of what youth can do."
- Where is the location of the new Camp Strake that is being constructed and scheduled to open in summer 2019?
- The new camp is located near the community of Evergreen, Texas, between New Waverly and Coldspring, and is about 75 miles from Houston. It is near Highway 150. Scouts and Scouters will be able to easily get there by taking Interstate 45 or Highway 59. It is about a thirty-minute drive from the entrance of the original Camp Strake.
- How many acres does the new Camp Strake have?
- The property includes 2,816 acres and is surrounded on three sides by the Sam Houston National Forest.
- Why was this site selected?
- The Evergreen site was selected because it is in the heart of our target area, met our site selection criteria, which included convenient location and protection from urbanization and encroachment, and allows for expansion for programs in the future. It is surrounded on three sides by the Sam Houston National Forest, has the Lone Star Hiking Trail going adjacent to the property, and it will be simple to get there, especially after the completion of the Grand Parkway.
- What will the new Camp Strake look like?
The new Camp Strake will be first-class and state-of-the-art for Scouts and their leaders and will have two distinct sections:
- Scout camp developed for weekend and resident camp operations for Boy Scouts and Venturers;
- Leadership Institute for advanced training programs for adult leaders and Boy Scouts/Venturers.
The Scout camp for Boy Scouts and Venturers will have the following facilities:
- 20 campsites with pavilions
- Air conditioned dining hall with 450 person capacity
- Event administration building
- Large program pavilion
- STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) center
- Eight merit badge pavilions
- Shooting Sports Center with rifle, shotgun and pistol ranges
- Shooting Sports Center for archery and sporting arrows course
- Climbing pavilion with restrooms
- Low ropes course
- Zip line
- Climbing and rappelling tower
- Bikes and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) area
- Aquatics Center with a swimming pool and pool house
- Aquatics Center with lake (new lake with size range of 20-30 acres being created), observation deck and canoe storage
- Aquatics Training pavilion
- Sport fields
- Basketball court
- Extensive trail system
- Order of the Arrow ceremony site
- Arena for 1,200 people
- 1 Chapel for 250 people
- 1 Chapel for 100 people
- Modern restrooms and shower houses
- 40 summer camp staff huts
The Leadership Institute will have the following facilities:
- Leadership Training Center
- 4 cabins with 8 person capacity each
- 4 dormitories with 16 person capacity each
- Arena for 100 people
- Chapel for 100 people
- 2 Training pavilions
- Training campsite
- Shower houses
- When will the new Camp Strake open?
- It is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. That date is predicated on favorable weather conditions and no unforeseen circumstances.
- Why is it taking until 2019 to open the new Camp Strake since the land was purchased back in 2013 and 2014?
- There are many things that go into the development of a project of this size and it takes time to accomplish them all. Just imagine, during many of our programs throughout the year, Camp Strake will be the largest community in San Jacinto County. Compare Camp Strake to a university campus or small city. Each have features such as roads, power, water, sewer, buildings and other amenities, which require permitting from the local, state and/or federal levels some of which take considerable time. Camp Strake will be just like constructing a university campus or small city. Following are some highlights about the new Camp Strake:
- Will have 126 structures
- Will have 4 miles of roads
- Will have 11.7 miles of trails
- Over 150,000 square feet of facilities built
- Future lake of 20-30 acres
- Camp Strake will be the largest community in San Jacinto County during many of our weekend or weeklong programs throughout the year
Following are some of the processes and projects that have gone into and will continue to go into the development the camp:
Additionally, the creation of a new lake requires obtaining state and federal permits that take considerable time. After the permits are obtained and the site work for the lake is completed, it then takes many months for the lake to fill from rain water.
- Program requirements established by Camp Strake Project Definition Team
- Master planning by architect based on program requirements
- Land study for infrastructure including roads, power, water, sewer and lake, etc.
- Endangered species and archeological studies conducted as required
- Design completed by Camp Strake Design Team with architect after multiple focus group meetings involving Scouts, leaders, and special user groups such as climbing, shooting sports, etc.
- Budget developed and approved by Board of Directors
- Construction documents for all infrastructure features and 126 vertical structures completed by architect
- Contractor/(s) selected by Camp Strake Construction Committee
- Required permits obtained from local, state and federal agencies
- Site work including creation of new lake in the size range of 20 – 30 acres
- Infrastructure (roads, power, water and sewer) constructed
- Vertical structures (126) constructed
- What will we do if we use all the space at Camp Strake?
- The site for Camp Strake was selected because it contains 2,816 acres and provides ample space for expanding programs and adding campsites for weekend camping for Boy Scouts/Venturers for years to come. The Scout camp and Leadership Institute areas are only impacting about 500 acres, so we have ample space for future expansion. Also, the property is already master planned with a site for a future Cub World.
- Will Boy Scout resident camp be held at Camp Strake?
- Yes. Camp Strake will be home to our summer and winter resident camp programs. Beginning in the summer 2019, Camp Strake is currently scheduled to be the site for our Boy Scout summer resident camp. Also, Boy Scout winter resident camp will move to Camp Strake from McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch. The current schedule for that to occur is December of 2019.
- What types of programs will be offered at Boy Scout summer resident camps at Camp Strake?
- The Boy Scout summer resident camp programs at Camp Strake – both during the summer and winter – will be the opportunity to show the full range of what Camp Strake has to offer. Current plans for these programs include:
- A fully-trained staff engaged to deliver the best possible program experience
- Exceptional food service in a new, state-of-the-art and air conditioned dining hall
- Unique staffed program experiences in Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience (COPE), aquatics (lakefront and pool-based), shooting sports, climbing, STEM and ecology, and Scouting skills
- Exciting backcountry opportunities in hiking, biking, and ATV programs
- Impressive camp-wide events, including campfire programs at a spirit-filled 1,200 person arena
- Comfortable camping facilities that will include pavilions in each campsite, modern and convenient restroom/shower facilities, and direct access to key program areas
- Between summer and winter camps, over 75 unique merit badges will be offered, in addition to a comprehensive First Class emphasis program.
- When can my troop sign up for Boy Scout summer resident camp for summer 2019?
- That will not be known for certain until later in 2018. But please plan to be one of the first troops to participate in the first Boy Scout summer resident camps at Camp Strake! We anticipate that when registration opens for summer 2019, campsites and spots will go fast.
- What programs will Camp Strake offer for weekend camping for Boy Scouts and Venturers?
- Camp Strake will offer a full range of program opportunities for unit-led outdoor experiences. During a weekend, a troop or crew will have the opportunity to utilize the aquatics programs at the new lake and pool, experience a state-of-the-art shooting sports program, seek adventure in climbing and COPE activities, or explore the vast network of trails, including the Lone Star Hiking Trail in the Sam Houston National Forest, through hiking and backpacking programs.
- What types of programs will be offered at the Leadership Institute at Camp Strake?
- The Leadership Institute at Camp Strake will serve as the council’s home for our pinnacle training opportunities for youth and adults – Wood Badge and National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT). It will also serve as a facility to accommodate basic and supplemental training, as well as a venue for planning meetings and retreats for Scouting groups.
- Can I go see the new Camp Strake site now?
- No, not at this time. While we are very anxious for everyone to see the new Camp Strake, it is an active construction site and therefore it is not safe for visitors. Additionally, because of contractual agreements with our contractors doing the work there, we are required to restrict visitor access. In the meantime, we will provide updates including photographs of the work in progress at www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.
Camp Strake Progress
- Will there be a new Cub World at Camp Strake?
- Not at this time. However, there will be a new Cub World named the Janis and George Fleming Cub World developed at the Bovay Scout Ranch instead of Camp Strake. It is planned to be constructed in a few years.
- Why is the Janis and George Fleming Cub World going to be at Bovay Scout Ranch instead of Camp Strake?
- Primarily, there are two reasons. First, we already have facilities for Cub Scouts at Bovay Scout Ranch, and there is ample room for expansion utilizing the existing resources for our Cub camping program. Second, is more cost effective. We already have some infrastructure in place at Bovay Scout Ranch to support incorporating a new Cub World. At the new Camp Strake, the infrastructure, including roads, sewer, water, etc., would have to be constructed to support a Cub World there.
- When will the new Janis and George Fleming Cub World at Bovay Scout Ranch constructed?
- No schedule has been developed at this time. However, it is an important project and plans are being developed to construct the first phase as soon as all the necessary funding is secured. The first phase of development includes six campsites, each with a pavilion, three restrooms/showers and two program elements. Additional phases will be added as funding is secured.
- Will there ever be a Cub World at Camp Strake?
- There could be. Camp Strake has the space and is master planned for a Cub World. The necessary demand for another Cub World and the funding to develop it will determine that timing.
- Where can I get additional information about Camp Strake and keep up with its construction?
- Information about Camp Strake is on the council’s website. Periodic updates on the progress of construction will be posted there. Please reference www.samhoustonbsa.org/camp-strake.
Camp Strake Progress
Summer Camp 2018
- What are the council’s plans for Boy Scout summer resident camp in summer 2018 with the new Camp Strake not scheduled to open until summer 2019?
- Our plans are not to conduct Boy Scout summer resident camp in 2018 at one of our camp properties and instead assist our Boy Scout troops to find a suitable summer resident camp at another council’s camp to meet their needs.
There are many other local council camps in the Texas region. We have partnered with the Capitol Area Council headquartered in Austin, Texas for troops to consider their Boy Scout summer camp program at Lost Pines Scout Reservation, located in Bastrop, Texas.
The Capitol Area Council has expanded their Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp season in 2018 to accommodate our troops.
Also, we will continue to provide campership assistance for our Scouts in need to participate in a Boy Scout summer resident camp program if they attend the Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp in 2018.
- How would my troop register for Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp at the Lost Pines Scout Reservation for summer 2018, and how would my Scout/s in need of campership assistance apply for it?
- The link to the Capitol Area Council’s website page for Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp is www.bsacac.org/activities/for_boy_scouts/summercamp. Once they open their registration for summer resident camp 2018, just register for a session with them just as you would any other camp.
The application for your Scout/(s) that need campership assistance will be conducted through the Sam Houston Area Council. Additional information regarding that application process will be made available after the 2017 summer resident camp season.
For all Scouts that we provide a campership to attend Lost Pines Boy Scout Camp in summer 2018, we will pay the Capitol Area Council directly on behalf of your troop.
- Can my Scouts who need campership assistance apply for a campership if my troop is attending summer resident camp at any other camp other than Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp?
- No. We are only providing campership assistance for our Scouts whose troops are attending summer resident camp in 2018 at Lost Pines Boy Scout Summer Camp.
- Why is that?
- While we will promote all local councils’ camps in the Texas region for your troop to consider attending in summer 2018, we decided to pair up with a camp close to Houston that had the ability to increase capacity at its camp for this one year and for simplicity in processing campership assistance that we will continue to provide to our Scouts in need.
The Capitol Area Council’s Lost Pines Scout Reservation is located outside of Bastrop, which is approximately 125 miles and about a two-hour drive from Houston.
- Why not conduct Boy Scout summer resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch utilizing Tellepsen Scout Camp in summer 2018 like we have been doing for Boy Scout Winter Camp?
That was considered but decided not to for reasons such as:
- Cub Scout Resident Camp is conducted in June and July at the McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch and this would conflict with scheduling a Boy Scout resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch because each program would need to use the dining hall at the same time.
- Because of the scheduling conflict and use of the dining hall, a Boy Scout summer resident camp program could not be scheduled until late July, which historically has had the lowest demand for summer camp sessions.
- Rather than planning to conduct one or two week-long sessions of Boy Scout resident camp at Bovay Scout Ranch, utilizing Tellepsen Scout Camp that would have to be held in late July that we anticipate the demand would be low, we determined it would be more helpful and effective to find a suitable summer resident camp at another council’s camp to meet their needs.
- Lack of ability to conduct the standard summer aquatic programs.
Bovay Scout Ranch
- Have there been any additional projects completed at Tellepsen Scout Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch since it opened in 2015?
Yes. The following additional projects were completed in 2016:
- Climbing tower lighting
- Pavilion at climbing tower
- Canoe launch bulkhead on lake
- Canoe storage building
- Canoe area pavilion
- Campfire arena
- What are the plans for McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch?
Following are the planned projects by priority:
- First Group of Projects
- Roadway renovations
- Restroom (Field Sports area)
- Refurbish and repair existing buildings
- Second Group of Projects
- Parking lot expansion
- Electrical extension into campsites
- Storage facility at lake front
- Pool renovation
- Storage/Check-out building for the BMX Track
- Nature Building Renovation (concrete floor)
- Third Group of Projects
- Storage facility at lake front
- Expand pool features
- When will these projects at McNair Cub Adventure Camp at Bovay Scout Ranch be completed?
- Projects will be completed as soon as the needed funds are raised and collected through the Leaders of Tomorrow campaign.
- What are the plans for Camp Brosig?
The plans for Camp Brosig are to continue to make improvements to it as soon as the needed funds are raised and collected through the Leaders of Tomorrow Campaign.
Following are the planned projects:
- Road repairs
- Camp entrance
- 2 shower/restroom facilities
- BB gun range (Cub Scouts)
- Archery range (Cub Scouts)
- 2 program pavilions
- Campsite pavilions (carport style)
- Our camps have not always been well maintained. How will the council maintain our new camps and the improvements that are being made now?
- For the first time in our council’s history, we have an endowment with sufficient resources to maintain Camp Strake into the future. We are in the process of building an endowment for Bovay Scout Ranch that in time may have sufficient resources to maintain it over time, as well.
The resources of the council are limited. We are thoughtful and take seriously our charge to use those resources wisely to provide Scouting programs to an increasing number of youth. That is our mission. It is important that we eliminate redundancies in properties and have efficient and sustainable camp operations.
The way we will maintain our camps requires us to not have more camp properties than we need based on usage, demand, and sustainability. Also, we desire and are striving to an endowment for the camps that we do need based on usage and demand.
- How many camp properties and acres of land will the council own and operate after Camp Strake is completed?
Our council will own and operate three camp properties with a combined total of 4,395 acres.
- Bovay Scout Ranch / 1,245 contiguous acres and an additional separate 242 acres. It includes:
- McNair Cub Scout Adventure Camp
- Future Janis and George Fleming Cub World
- Tellepsen Scout Camp
- Camp Brosig / 92 acres
- Camp Strake / 2,816 acres. It will include:
- Scout Camp (to be named)
- Leadership Institute (to be named)
For additional questions, contact Thomas.Franklin@scouting.org.