June 1 Update on Camp Lawton for 2020

From: Jeff Hotchkiss, Catalina Council Scout Executive and Jack Winger, Camp Director for Camp Lawton 2020

Subject: June 1 Update on Camp Lawton for 2020


We have made the hard and regretful decision to cancel the summer camp program for Camp Lawton in 2020. This includes the Scouts BSA resident camp which was scheduled for July 5-11 and the Cub Camp scheduled for July 12-14.


We did our best during this Covid-19 pandemic to plan a healthy, safe and fun experience for our Scouts, but the obstacles to overcome proved too tough to handle. Although the decision to cancel camp was difficult, it was based on several key factors:

  • The US Forest Service which manages the Coronado National Forest, and organized camps like Camp Lawton, currently limits users to groups of no larger than ten through June 30th. Following the Center for Disease Control guidance, the next phase of opening the area would limit groups to fifty or fewer. We cannot economically operate Camp Lawton with less than 100 campers. In addition, we are unsure if or when the Forest Service will lift these restrictions. We certainly didn’t want to wait to July 1st to cancel camp.
  • The guidance we have been receiving from the National BSA Council for operating any camp is being constantly updated and changed, making it nearly impossible to carefully plan for a camp while still meeting our objectives of a safe, fun, and educational experience.
  • Although we are confident we could provide a safe environment for our campers by following government and National BSA rules, we feel like much of the fun of the summer camp experience would be lost while enforcing those rules. Your survey feedback reflected this sentiment as well.

So, where does that leave us? Well, like all good Scouts, your Camp leadership has been busy planning what we would do if we couldn’t hold live camp on Mt Lemmon. Virtual camp, here we come.

We want to provide our Scouts the opportunity to earn Merit Badges while participating in a camp-like experience. We won’t physically be together, but we can still share the outdoor experience in the comfort of our own backyards & patios. The program would include daily flag ceremonies, Merit Badge classes encompassing a variety of subjects, a camp-wide campfire, and much more. The virtual camp will be held from July 5-11, when we were scheduled to conduct the Scouts BSA camp. We are in the initial planning stages for this program and will be providing more detailed information soon.

We are also planning some Cub Adventures for later this summer in the early mornings, and evenings our at Double V Scout Ranch. We have a few less government regulations there, and lots of space for social distancing. Again, details soon.

Finally, we are also finalizing our refund procedures for our Scout Troops, and the individuals who signed up for Cub & Webelos adventure camps. In addition to a refund we’ll also be giving you the option to lock in this year’s pricing for next summer or roll some of your fee into one of our new programs.

Keep on Scouting

Jeff and Jack

PS Our ten-person, social distancing, work groups will continue to ready Camp Lawton for opening through June (sign ups for workday). We look forward to having units use our camp when it becomes safe and available for use.