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chased six Sea-Doos to begin the pilot program at Pamlico, a sea base located next door to Camp Boddie. “Initially, Pamlico opened with only ocean kayaking trips to attract [older] boys,” Cahoon says. “And the jet skis are another way to keep the older boys coming back to the sea base.” Research conducted by the BSA during the PWC program’s pilot stage confirms its powerful retention capabilities. Pat Wellen, research direc- tor at the BSA, says more than 81.2 percent of youth who did not take part in the PWC program at their camp said they would return to take part in the program next year. Eighty-seven percent of youth who did try the PWC program said they would return to par- ticipate again.


Since the Sea-Doos made their first


appearance at Pamlico, attendance keeps rising. The summer of 2011 brought the camp’s largest attendance on record, Franks says. Cahoon admits the Sea-Doos are a strong selling point, but the addition of a PWC program takes a hefty amount of plan- ning, safety training, and supervision to ensure smooth operation.


HEAVY HUMIDITY and a sweltering sun greet Crew 615 when the group first arrives on the Carolina coast for a week of camp at Pamlico. The Venturers unload their gear—bags filled mostly with bathing suits and sunscreen—into a handful of cabins in the heart of camp. Then, they head to the main hall. Time to get down to business:


planning the week’s activities. At Pamlico, groups attending the week- long “Outer Banks (OBX) Adventure” customize their trip, choosing from a long list of watersports. The youth sit around a long table, while the adults hang back on the outskirts of the room. The leaders are along for the ride, putting the teens in charge of the week’s agenda. Ali Williams, the program director in her third year at Pamlico, takes the helm and grabs a marker to tally votes on a dry- erase board. “Who wants to sail?” Williams asks. A smattering of hands raise. “What about jet-skiing?” she


continues. The Venturers unanimously vote


“Yes!”


Motorized watersports, including


tube rides behind the camp’s motor- boat, aren’t the only activity of interest. “How about an overnight sea-


kayaking trip to the Outer Banks?” Williams inquires. “Dude! That sounds awesome!”


says David Dick, an 18-year-old Eagle Scout and Venturer. His crewmem- bers agree. Williams continues, describing the


details of the trip to the Outer Banks’ Shackleford Island—from a beach campout to a visit with local wildlife. “Think of it this way: You’ll paddle to a deserted island, pitch a tent, and sleep right next to the Atlantic. In the morning, during breakfast, you might even see wild ponies. They roam free on the island.” The group decides that Monday


will bring Sea-Doos and sailing; Tuesday will begin the overnight sea-kayaking trip; Wednesday will include a trip to Beaufort and Fort Macon, as well as optional deep-sea ocean fishing; and the rest of the week will be “free time” with tube rides, paddle-boarding, and relaxation at the sea base.


MAY•JUNE 2012 ¿ S COUTING 41


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