Experience Seeking Kids Connect at Scout Camp


Trained staff create an atmosphere of safety at Boy Scout camp, where kids can disconnect from their gadgets and experience nature.

Kids can bring their phones with them, but there’s no place to charge them, so the battery will die in a day or two.

That’s okay with scout leaders who want to give kids an experience they won’t get anyplace else.

Scout Ben Jones of Doniphan said, "I really enjoy it, it's a great program, nothing else that will give you more opportunities."

Whether they're on the archery range, or playing games around camp, much about scouting hasn't changed in a century.

"Swimming, get to bike, shoot shotgun, rifle," Andrew Feely listed a few of his favorite activities.

The world has changed, and scout camp gives kids a place to get away from modern distractions.

Camp Director Cameron Jackowiak said, "Disconnect from all the screens and the things going on in their daily lives and come out and focus on camaraderie and meeting new people."

A climbing tower and ropes course challenge kids to work together.

"To be able to trust somebody to hold us up 40 feet in the air and not let go," Jones said.

For kids, and parents, who crave an experience that gets guys off the couch, it's done with safety in mind.

"We go to great lengths to make sure everybody is perfectly safe," Jackowiak said.

Staff was recently put to the test, as a scout was knocked out when a kayak hit him in the water.

They brought him to safety, and he was back at camp a few hours later after being checked out at the hospital.

Jackowiak said, "Everyone knew their job, knew how to respond to the situation, turned out being a minor thing, but you never know. Always good to be prepared."

Be prepared -- that's the scout motto.

Jackowiak, the camp director, spent his summers here not that many years ago, and now trains the next generation.

Andrew Feely of Troop 119 in Grand Island said, "It's most definitely a highlight, you get to meet new friends, do stuff like the climbing wall."

Camp Augustine was one of the first scout camps in the region to have a permanent tornado shelter, long before the Little Sioux Scout Ranch tornado that killed four campers. That incident caused many Boy Scout camps to re-evaluate their facilities. Camp Augustine also has an emergency siren.

The camp has internet in the main office, and staff members routinely monitor the weather. They also have plans in place for hot days, encouraging kids to swim and stay hydrated.

Bikes are welcome at camp, but scouts are asked to wear helmets.

Camp Augustine welcomes families to visit. All visitors are checked in at the entrance to the camp.