The Great Alaska Council Boy Scouts of America board of directors voted Dec. 21 to immediately close Camp Carlquist. Below is the letter posted on the organization’s website regarding this decision.
“December 21, 2016
To the Scouters and Volunteers of the Great Alaska Council:
The Great Alaska Council Board of Directors voted this morning to close Camp Carlquist. This will take place immediately, and the entire camp will be put into storage. Camp Gorsuch, Eagle River Scout Camp and the Denali High Adventure Scout Base will remain in operation.
Our camps have lost money for the last eight years; the Council has operated in the red for six of those years. Funding operations has become a challenge. The Council’s popcorn sale has underperformed, as have our Friends of Scouting campaign. These are contributing factors. Although a large percentage of our Scouts are attending camp (that’s good news), our membership has declined. We’re also seeing units choose other camps in Alaska or go to the Lower 48 for camp. Some don’t send Scouts to camp at all or choose to create their own stand-alone program. These factors result in a net decline in camp attendance. Add all of this together, and the Board of Directors has no choice but to take the drastic step to close Camp Carlquist. Council President, Bill Bergeron, told the Board that, during the past several years, every effort has been made to cut operating costs. For example, the Council has reduced two paid positions and has outsourced functions to save labor and money. The Board has also worked to increase revenue. Given the current uncertainty of the state economy and membership decline, the Board was obligated to take this step to ensure the long term financial viability of the Great Alaska Council.
We are working on the plans to move the Cub Scout Resident program to Camp Gorsuch for the summer of 2017. The Boy Scout Resident Camp will also remain at Camp Gorsuch. The Cub Scout and Boy Scout programs will be operated sequentially. Mary Maresh, long time camp director for Carlquist, has agreed to serve as the camp director for both the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program at Camp Gorsuch. While she is sad that we are closing Camp Carlquist, Mary is excited about the new opportunities that Gorsuch will offer the Cub Scout program, like expanding the aquatics program. We don’t plan to sell the Carlquist property. The Board’s desire is – with an increase in membership, improved camp attendance, and a better state economy – that Camp Carlquist can be re-opened sometime in the future.
This is a temporary setback. We expect to be able to adopt the Lions Cubs pilot program across the Council and we expect membership to grow, just as it did when the Tiger Cub program was introduced 25 years ago. We should experience steady growth in both membership and camp attendance over the next six to seven years. When membership and attendance improves to the point where we can support another camp, we’ll re-open Carlquist.
If you have questions or suggestions, please send them to the Council at (firstname.lastname@example.org). We’ll use your questions and our answers to create a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on the recently upgraded Great Alaska Council website (www.scoutingalaska.org).”