Monday, May 7, 2012

Scout Camp: The Movie

Scout Camp: The Movie came out a few years ago and I saw it with my youth at a Council sponsored centennial camp in 2010. The reason I am blogging about it now is that news of a sequel got me thinking about it. The sequel is to carry the subtitle The Klondike and is supposed to be "a tribute to Scoutmasters." They are currently looking for help funding the movie through Kickstarter

I am really torn about this. On the one hand, I think we need more good family-friendly movies. And I am all in favor of having Scouting be the focus. But I was sorely disappointed in the first movie.

I may be in the minority here, but I don't care. I thought the movie had some really good potential but that it just fell flat. It could have been so much better. It should have been better. Just like the Scouts portrayed in the movie should have been better.

I understand they were trying to show what it's "really like" on Scout camp. I understand it was supposed to be a comedy (I think I chuckled once or twice). But I also think they missed a real opportunity.

What I saw when I watched the movie, were a bunch of boys who didn't care about Scouts, and who seemed to largely miss the point about all the values we're trying to teach.

If you haven't seen the movie, it follows the adventures of one troop, the Fire dragons.  The fire dragons are in constant competition with another troop, the Owls. (What ever happened to having troops with multiple patrols?) I understand friendly competitions, but it just goes too far when the fighting starts. (What about "a Scout is a friend to all, and a brother to every other Scout"?). The message I guess was that it's important to stand up for yourself.

There was also too much potty humor, for my taste, (what happened to "a Scout is clean"?) and judging from the reaction of my boys, it wasn't funny to youth either.

Speaking of the humor, most of the gags just went on too long. Remember the ten minute sequence of the aquatics director trying to light a match?

One thing I really disliked was how they portrayed the adults in the movie. Maybe they wanted to make the youth be the focus. Maybe they wanted to show that boys can be good, competent leaders. Whatever the case, the way it came across to me was that the adults (with the exception of the camp host) were utterly incompetent, out of touch, or just plain lame.

Why can't someone make a Scouting movie showing what it should be like? Why can't we have heroes who, in a difficult situation, know what is the right thing to do, because their lives are guided by the Scout oath and law? Why can't we have a show for youth with strong adult characters who can be role-models for youth instead of a prop simply to add comedy? What would be the problem with showing how Scouting can change and improve the lives of the youth involved? (I guess Scout Camp tried to do this, but it seemed like it was more of an afterthought than an important focus.)

For those of you who are like me, there is a Scouting movie out there that does these things. It's called "Follow Me, Boys!" It's a much better movie, in my opinion.


  1. Tory,

    Thanks for your honest review of "Scout Camp: The Movie." Having spent the last few years screening the film for a variety of scout organizations, I've received well thought-out critiques as well as praise for the film. I value the comments, and will take note for future projects.

    I am continually impressed at the caliber of person that chooses to dedicated so much of his time to the Scouting organization.


    Garrett Batty
    Scout Camp: The Movie

    1. Mr. Batty,
      My first year Boy Scout came home from Boy Scout camp talking about a YouTube music video ("Born to be a Scout") that a boy showed him on the drive to camp. My son and his little brother watched the video so many times that my wife ordered the DVD of the movie. We watched it tonight. We enjoyed the inside humor in the movie. The "potty" humor was no worse than what we see on Nickelodeon. It was obvious that there were people involved with the movie who had Scouting experience and after watching the DVD extras, I see that you actually earned the Eagle Scout rank. Thank you for not glamorizing the Scouts to the point of making the boys seem like stone statues. I understand Tory's concern, though, in that Scouting seems to be under attack and outsiders who watch the movie might think that Boy Scouts are a bunch of sloppy losers. But to us who are involved in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, the humor was typical boy stuff. Thanks for an entertaining movie and we look forward to the sequel.