Fewer Boy Scouts interested in summer camp in Wisconsin

Boy Scouts aren’t much into camping in Wisconsin anymore and parents apparently aren’t all that keen about letting them go.

That’s the takeaway, anyway, from the decision by the Milwaukee area Boy Scouts to close two Scout camps in northern Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Scouts cite a drop in the number of scouts visiting the camps, and a survey of parents who don’t want their boys to travel so far from home.

Apparently the rustic nature of … nature … is also a barrier. There’s no dining hall for the troops, the paper says.

This isn’t sitting well with some of the old-time Scout leaders.

Jack Marshall brought 33 Scouts, including 13 on their first and likely last visit to LeFeber, from Troop 218 in Oak Creek to the camp’s opening week. The Scouts were divided into seven patrols with each patrol responsible for their own meals and tents. His Scouts had signed up for merit badges to work on during their week ranging from forestry, first aid, photography and leather work to hiking, geocaching, robotics, archery and chemistry.

“It’s just beautiful up here, very private. It feels like a different place — the city is gone,” said Marshall, surrounded by tents and picnic tables.

This is Marshall’s ninth year at LeFeber. He and other Scout leaders planned to visit other camps in northern Wisconsin to find a place to take Troop 218 next year.

“It’s definitely disappointing. It’s an end of an era. I can understand why the council made this decision. Times change. We’ll go to another camp and make new memories,” Marshall said.

Before LeFeber closes at the end of July, alums have been returning for a last visit.

Tim Stabbe first came to LeFeber as a Scout in 1990, then a staff member from 1991 to 2002 and then became camp director in 2008. He now lives in Winter Park, Colo., but returned to see the place again.

“We have the entire lake to ourselves. We hardly ever see a plane, there’s no highway nearby,” Stabbe said. “It’s tough. It’s 85 years as a camp. I don’t agree with the decision. I understand you sometimes have to make tough calls.”

Five years ago, 1,200 scouts visited the two campgrounds. This summer, about half of that number is attending.

Related: To be a kid in the summer (NewsCut)