Keep Camp Kilworth open

  • By: Friends of Camp Kilworth
  • Target: Bill Rogers Council President, Ralph Voelker Scout Executive & the Board of Pacific Harbors Council

We are calling for the Pacific Harbors Council of Boy Scouts of America to reverse its Dec. 16, 2015 decision to close Camp Kilworth in Federal Way.


In a Pacific Harbors Council announcement dated December 21, 2015, and in reference to an article published in the Federal Way Mirror, Dec. 28, 2015, Pacific Harbors Council Scout Executive Ralph Volker announced a council vote in favor of a “one camp plan”, resulting in the imminent closure of four out of five camp properties of the council. The one camp to remain open is Camp Thunderbird, located 15 miles south of Olympia. Citing financial difficulties, a general decline in membership and under-utilization of one of the camps, the decision was made to close several, including Camp Kilworth in Federal Way – the only centrally-located scout camp in the suburban South King/North Pierce County area. The signers of this petition believe that the closure of Camp Kilworth will do more harm than good, and we urge the council to reconsider their decision.

Closure of Camp Kilworth will have a direct impact on the existing membership of Hylebos District as well as nearby Mt. Tahoma and Puget Sound Districts. The camp’s centralized location in the South Puget Sound area has allowed for convenient, near-weekly use by members in this area that no outlying camp is able to provide. Considering that the council intends to invest in Camp Thunderbird’s facilities to make it “premiere”, if it’s too far away to be of use, it is simply not a viable option for the membership.


What about Cub Scouts and recruiting? While retaining current members will be difficult with only one camp available, attracting new members will be nearly impossible. It is unreasonable to expect that new Cub Scouts and their parents from this area would enjoy the “camp experience” of the traffic congestion down the I-5 corridor — 100+ miles a day round trip, easily 2 hours one direction — every day for a week of Cub Scout Day Camp at Camp Thunderbird. (“Welcome to Scouting?”) Can some other serviceable option nearby be utilized? If you want to give Cub Scouts a taste of boy scouting to come, you will accomplish it best with a bona fide scout camp – not an open field or a park with swing sets or some other arbitrary and extraneous fixtures. It's like a birthday cake. You can put a candle in a Ding Dong and sing "Happy Birthday", but every kid knows that they've been sold short. Camp Kilworth is right here, with a kind of magic and authenticity that no one can deny is particularly well-suited for introducing Cub Scouts to the scouting experience.


The cost of keeping Camp Kilworth open is not entirely a Pacific Harbors Council burden. There is demonstrated, active volunteer participation in maintenance and upkeep of the camp. In fact, in the mid-2000’s the then derelict camp was brought back into use driven primarily by volunteer efforts. Friends of Camp Kilworth (a Facebook group of 145 members) has worked to solicit and organize volunteer time and materials to improve every part of the camp. Hylebos District units regularly gather for service days for grounds clean up and facility upkeep, especially after winter and prior to day camp events. Comcast Cares has chosen Camp Kilworth twice as its community service project, upgrading the obstacle course and the fire bowl area. Milgard Windows and Miles Sand and Gravel have donated materials and supplies. From corporate donors down to grassroots efforts by Cub

Scouts to “Save Fort Phillips” (one of the buildings at the camp), the camp is what it is today due to such a wide range of community interest.

Camp Kilworth’s facilities — a main fire bowl along the north side of camp over looking Puget Sound; a spacious Rotary Lodge with a covered porch, full kitchen, restrooms, and fireplace; archery and BB gun ranges; activity fields; an obstacle course, and 13 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits — provide excellent opportunities for training, education, unit camp-outs, day camps, advancement ceremonies and Eagle Courts of Honor. In 2015, Camp Kilworth was used for Order of the Arrow meetings, properties meetings, work parties, Leave No Trace Trainer’s Court, Cub Scout Leader Training, Cub Scout Twilight Camp, Dash Point Day Camp (Girl Scouts) and was used individually by 26 scout units. Pacific Harbors Council does not seem to share the same vision and passion as the people who use and understand the value of this camp. The property of Camp Kilworth is one of the last sections of undeveloped waterfront left on all of Puget Sound. The Council wants to close it in favor of an upgraded infrastructure at an outlying camp. They have not encouraged Cub Scout Packs of nearby Chief Seattle Council to conduct their day camps here, and have not promoted it to a plethora of other community organizations for meeting and outdoor retreat opportunities. It is under-promoted and under-utilized, tragically so.

Beyond closure, sale of the camp would violate the deed, and subsequent 2005 WA State Supreme Court ruling, requiring that the property must always be used for scouting purposes, or be given back to the Kilworth family. Consequently, it’s not “real estate” and should never be seen as such. The true value of Camp Kilworth exists entirely and specifically in its use and upkeep as a scout camp, both of which have been demonstrated time and again by the Districts and community that surround it. If we allow Pacific Harbors Council to close the camp because they don’t see the value through the lens of scouting, and don’t have a clear vision for the future of scouting here in this place, then the camp cannot and will not serve its intended purpose, and scouting in our community will become literally, a distant option.


Closure of Camp Kilworth will affect current membership and hinder potential membership in the South Puget Sound suburban area. The value of Camp Kilworth exists in its centralized location, well-equipped facilities and regular, active use by Districts of the Pacific Harbors Council, in addition to being a resource for other organizations. Keeping Camp Kilworth open means keeping highly-concentrated South Puget Sound membership active and encouraging new membership at a time when the council is greatly concerned about declining membership. As such, we are confident that it is in the best interest of the future of scouting in our area that Pacific Harbors Council reverses its decision to close Camp Kilworth.

We are calling for the Pacific Harbors Council of Boy Scouts of America to reverse its Dec. 16, 2015 decision to close Camp Kilworth in Federal Way.


In a Pacific Harbors Council announcement dated December 21, 2015, and in reference to an article published in the Federal Way Mirror, Dec. 28, 2015, Pacific Harbors Council Scout Executive Ralph Volker announced a council vote in favor of a “one camp plan”, resulting in the imminent closure of four out of five camp properties of the council. The one camp to remain open is Camp Thunderbird, located 15 miles south of Olympia. Citing financial difficulties, a general decline in membership and under-utilization of one of the camps, the decision was made to close several, including Camp Kilworth in Federal Way – the only centrally-located scout camp in the suburban South King/North Pierce County area. The signers of this petition believe that the closure of Camp Kilworth will do more harm than good, and we urge the council to reconsider their decision.


Closure of Camp Kilworth will have a direct impact on the existing membership of Hylebos District as well as nearby Mt. Tahoma and Puget Sound Districts. The camp’s centralized location in the South Puget Sound area has allowed for convenient, near-weekly use by members in this area that no outlying camp is able to provide. Considering that the council intends to invest in Camp Thunderbird’s facilities to make it “premiere”, if it’s too far away to be of use, it is simply not a viable option for the membership. 


What about Cub Scouts and recruiting? While retaining current members will be difficult with only one camp available, attracting new members will be nearly impossible. It is unreasonable to expect that new Cub Scouts and their parents from this area would enjoy the “camp experience” of the traffic congestion down the I-5 corridor — 100+ miles a day round trip, easily 2 hours one direction — every day for a week of Cub Scout Day Camp at Camp Thunderbird. (“Welcome to Scouting?”) Can some other serviceable option nearby be utilized? If you want to give Cub Scouts a taste of boy scouting to come, you will accomplish it best with a bona fide scout camp – not an open field or a park with swing sets or some other arbitrary and extraneous fixtures. It's like a birthday cake. You can put a candle in a Ding Dong and sing "Happy Birthday", but every kid knows that they've been sold short. Camp Kilworth is right here, with a kind of magic and authenticity that no one can deny is particularly well-suited for introducing Cub Scouts to the scouting experience.


The cost of keeping Camp Kilworth open is not entirely a Pacific Harbors Council burden. There is demonstrated, active volunteer participation in maintenance and upkeep of the camp. In fact, in the mid-2000’s the then derelict camp was brought back into use driven primarily by volunteer efforts. Friends of Camp Kilworth (a Facebook group of 145 members) has worked to solicit and organize volunteer time and materials to improve every part of the camp. Hylebos District units regularly gather for service days for grounds clean up and facility upkeep, especially after winter and prior to day camp events. Comcast Cares has chosen Camp Kilworth twice as its community service project, upgrading the obstacle course and the fire bowl area. Milgard Windows and Miles Sand and Gravel have donated materials and supplies. From corporate donors down to grassroots efforts by Cub


Scouts to “Save Fort Phillips” (one of the buildings at the camp), the camp is what it is today due to such a wide range of community interest.


Camp Kilworth’s facilities — a main fire bowl along the north side of camp over looking Puget Sound; a spacious Rotary Lodge with a covered porch, full kitchen, restrooms, and fireplace; archery and BB gun ranges; activity fields; an obstacle course, and 13 campsites with picnic tables and fire pits — provide excellent opportunities for training, education, unit camp-outs, day camps, advancement ceremonies and Eagle Courts of Honor. In 2015, Camp Kilworth was used for Order of the Arrow meetings, properties meetings, work parties, Leave No Trace Trainer’s Court, Cub Scout Leader Training, Cub Scout Twilight Camp, Dash Point Day Camp (Girl Scouts) and was used individually by 26 scout units. Pacific Harbors Council does not seem to share the same vision and passion as the people who use and understand the value of this camp. The property of Camp Kilworth is one of the last sections of undeveloped waterfront left on all of Puget Sound. The Council wants to close it in favor of an upgraded infrastructure at an outlying camp. They have not encouraged Cub Scout Packs of nearby Chief Seattle Council to conduct their day camps here, and have not promoted it to a plethora of other community organizations for meeting and outdoor retreat opportunities. It is under-promoted and under-utilized, tragically so.


Beyond closure, sale of the camp would violate the deed, and subsequent 2005 WA State Supreme Court ruling, requiring that the property must always be used for scouting purposes, or be given back to the Kilworth family. Consequently, it’s not “real estate” and should never be seen as such. The true value of Camp Kilworth exists entirely and specifically in its use and upkeep as a scout camp, both of which have been demonstrated time and again by the Districts and community that surround it. If we allow Pacific Harbors Council to close the camp because they don’t see the value through the lens of scouting, and don’t have a clear vision for the future of scouting here in this place, then the camp cannot and will not serve its intended purpose, and scouting in our community will become literally, a distant option.


Closure of Camp Kilworth will affect current membership and hinder potential membership in the South Puget Sound suburban area. The value of Camp Kilworth exists in its centralized location, well-equipped facilities and regular, active use by Districts of the Pacific Harbors Council, in addition to being a resource for other organizations. Keeping Camp Kilworth open means keeping highly-concentrated South Puget Sound membership active and encouraging new membership at a time when the council is greatly concerned about declining membership. As such, we are confident that it is in the best interest of the future of scouting in our area that Pacific Harbors Council reverses its decision to close Camp Kilworth.

Update #46 months ago
The Seattle Times printed a story on Pacific Harbors Council camps today on the front page.
Please take the time to read, share & comment on the article.
http://www.seattletimes.com/life/outdoors/boy-scout-camps-close-in-south-sound-could-be-logged-for-cash/
We hope to have more updates soon.
Thank you
Friends of Camp Kilworth
Update #37 months ago
March 1st Camp Kilworth will be closed by Pacific Harbors Council. All power & water will be shut off to the camp except the care takers house.
I would again like to encourage you to contact Ralph Voelker Scout Executive at ralph.voelker@scouting.org or 253-682-2217. Please let the Council know your feelings on the closure of Camp Kilworth.
Update #27 months ago
The Federal Way City Council will be meeting on Tuesday, February 16, at 7:00 PM. Camp Kilworth will be on the agenda. I encourage you to let everyone know. We will have more clout if we fill the seats. Please bring Cub and Boy Scouts in class A uniforms. Girl Scouts are also encouraged to attend.
Also encourage your troop/pack parents and youth to email the Federal Way City Council. Please let them know what an impact this camp has made and that you want it to remain opened.
Update #18 months ago
If you are interested in receiving updates on the status of Camp Kilworth, I would suggest joining our Facebook group. This will be the best way to keep up to date. We need to keep the conversation going. We hope these efforts will allow the Camp to stay open & serving our community.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/91379100100/


Friends of Camp Kilworth & Alumni Association
Sign Petition

privacy policy

By signing, you accept Care2's terms of service.

Having problems signing this? Let us know.