Bay-Lakes Council Camps Partner with New Food Service Vendor

The Bay-Lakes Council Camps is excited to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Kandle Dining to provide food service at all Bay-Lakes Council Camps. In addition to our dining hall camps, Kandle Dining will also oversee our commissary operations at our patrol style camps as well.

Kandle Dining has been serving the scouting community for over ten years. Their long term relationships have been built on trust, mutual respect and the mission to provide a terrific dining experience at the Scout camps they serve. Serving over 275,000 quality and tasty meals at scout camps every summer includes menu planning, staff training and recruitment all year long.  Providing food service for their scout camps is not a “side show” for their company, but their main mission. Their success as a company is directly tied to meeting the goals of the camps they serve every year.

Kandle Dining’s menus provide nutritionally balanced meals with regional and traditional favorites that will have Scouts, staff and scoutmasters applauding.  During the off season, Kandle Dining listens to the needs of the camps they serve and the feedback from campers. They believe every camp is different. They do not have a “packaged” menu.  Each camp Kandle Dining partners with has a different and unique program that requires menu diversity. Throughout the year, they take on the initiative of providing Scout camps with the latest food trends and staff training for the latest updates on health department regulations, food allergies and cooking techniques.

We’re excited to partner with Kandle Dining for our 2018 summer camp season. Questions about food service for our 2018 summer season should be directed to


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The Value of Unplugging

I recently saw a study that looked into the technology habits of children, and some of the results really got me thinking about the benefits of the Cub Scouts experience. This study showed that on average, children between 5 and 8 now spend almost three hours each day in front of a screen. Similarly, 42 percent of children under 9 have their own tablet device, up from just 1 percent in 2011.

While there is no definitive rule for the right amount of time a child should spend engaging with technology, most researchers and pediatricians agree that limiting screen time is better for cognitive and social development. This is why I’m glad Scouting can be a place where kids spend time sharing fun, real-world experiences with their peers and families.

By introducing children to new experiences, the Cub Scouting program helps capture their creativity and encourage exploration. Cub Scouts offers many ways for kids to practice having low-tech fun: going on outdoor adventures, creating cars and rockets through derbies or helping the community through service projects. These experiences not only pay off in terms of development, but they also may start habits or hobbies that last for a lifetime!

Technology has an important place in all of our lives, though, so we also want to educate young people about how to use technology safely. This is why we offer the Cyber Chip program starting in Cub Scouts. Each year, young people can access age-appropriate lessons on topics such as cyber bullying, cell phone use, texting, blogging, gaming and identity theft. It’s a good way to ensure children can experience the benefits and avoid the downsides of devices, while encouraging families to have important conversations about technology.

I hope Scouting family members of all ages will consider making a habit of regularly unplugging to spend screen-free quality time with friends and family. Getting device-free time can require intention and discipline, but it’s a wonderful way to remind ourselves that technology is merely a tool that should facilitate our relationships and interests, not define them.

Yours in Scouting,

Mike Surbaugh
Chief Scout Executive

Article originally posted at

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Exposure to Nature Key to Development

A new study shows yet another good reason to regularly experience the outdoors: it boosts children’s brain development.

The study from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has found that long-term exposure to green space during childhood is associated with structural changes to the brain that lead to improved memory and less distraction. Additionally, children who grew up in environments with more exposure to nature had more activity in the regions of their brain associated with learning and social skills.

I’ve seen in Scouting time and time again the ways that nature benefits youth. There is no better opportunity for kids to gain confidence than experiencing the great outdoors with their peers. The interesting question this study raises, though, is what the findings mean for the many young people growing up in urban environments with little access to green spaces. Thankfully, I know that in some communities, Scouting already is working to give more youth access to nature and the fun, life-changing experiences they may not get anywhere else.

Across the country, Scouting volunteers are bringing the experiences of our programs to urban communities and finding creative ways to introduce outdoor adventure to the city. For participants who may be doing activities like camping for the first time, it can be an adjustment. You may have seen the recent Scouting magazine story on Lauren Hopper, one of our volunteers who serves Troop 4, an inner-city group in the Mohegan Council. I was struck by her story of how an older Scout downloaded city noises on his phone to help some new Scouts fall asleep on their first campout when they weren’t used to the sounds of nature. I also remember the creativity of the Cradle of Liberty Council, which hosted an urban camporee in the middle of Philadelphia as a way to give urban youth a taste of Scouting closer to home.

I’m proud to say that similar stories can be found all across the country as Scouting is brought into underserved markets, and the core strengths of character and leadership development and outdoor adventures continue to shine through in different environments.

There is a small window to make a meaningful impact on children and shape who they may become as adults. Scouting helps families make the most of right now. I hope all of you will make the most of any opportunities you have for outdoor adventure.

Yours in Scouting,

Mike Surbaugh
Chief Scout Executive

This post from

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Camps Goes International this Summer!

Each year, the Boy Scouts of America invites Scouts and Scout leaders ages 18 to 30 from around the world to come to the United States to spend the summer as an International Camp Staff member of a BSA summer camp. The International Camp Staff program is operated by the Boy Scouts of America for camp program enrichment. It provides an opportunity for local councils, like the Bay-Lakes Council, throughout America to invite qualified Scouters from other countries to be a part of their summer camp and Cub Scout day camp programs. The International Camp Staff program is recognized as a cultural exchange program by the U.S. State Department. It gives to our membership and Scouters from other countries an international exchange of mutual benefit. Its aim is to allow Scouts in councils throughout America to come into personal contact with experienced Scout leaders from another part of the globe and learn, firsthand, not only about their Scouting program but also about their country, its culture, and its customs. The program is an in-depth international Scouting experience for Scouts in the Bay-Lakes Council.

Through our partnership with the International Department of the Boy Scouts of America, we’re excited to announce that we will host two international Scouts this summer. With our Cub Scout Summer Camp theme, Passport to Adventure, one international Scout will be hosted at Camp Rokilio and the other will be hosted at Twin Lakes Scout Camp. We’re also working through the logistics to ensure that they will be able to visit Camp Hiawatha, Bear Paw Scout Camp, and Gardner Dam Scout Camp at some point this summer.

Calum Burton of South Africa, 2018 Resident International Scout based at Twin Lakes Scout Camp

Gabby Caminero Gamundi of Dominican Republic, 2018 Resident International Scout based at Camp Rokilio

Calum, who is from South Africa will be based at Twin Lakes Scout Camp. His experience in working with youth begin at the age of 14, where as a Scouts he was allowed to become a Cub Instructor. This involved assisting the Unit Leader with running games and events for boys and girls between 7 and 11 years old. Calum became more involved with his Pack when he turned 18 and could start assisting with meetings, camps, and other events as an adult. He has remained with the same Pack where he now serves as the Assistant Pack Leader, a Scouter, and a Rover. Calum is 24 years old and lives in Alberton, South Africa and has 13 years of Scouting experience. He currently attends the University of Johannesburg where he is majoring in geography and environmental management.

Gabby, who is from the Dominican Republic will be based at Camp Rokilio. She was born and raised in Santo Domingo. She is a young women with a joyful, adventurous, outgoing, and creative character. Gabby says that Scouting is a lifestyle that has allowed her to discover, develop, and encourage the best of herself and everyone around her. She holds steadfast that Scouting enables anyone to be a part of the experience of a global community of people who just give themselves to their best capacities and make the world much brighter by living one good turn at a time. Gabby is 19 years old and lives in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and has 7 years of Scouting experience. She currently attends a university where she is majoring in performing arts and film.

We’re incredibly excited to host both Calum and Gabby this summer. If you’re visiting either Cub Scout World or Twin Lakes Scout Camp, be sure to seek them out and say “hi!”

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