Another question we're often asked by curious staff members, Scouts, and Scouters is "what's your favorite camp?" Our answer may seem like a dodge, but, just like your mom or dad answered if you inquired which sibling they loved most, we don't really have a favorite camp -- we just like them all in different ways.

During the summer camp tours, we've photographed over 40 of the 400 or so summer resident camps and made short, non-photo tours of a dozen or so more along the routes of our frequent business trips. Everywhere we go, we almost always find something special about each camp.

Sometimes that "special something" is a fun experience we had at a camp. This summer, for instance, we enjoyed trail rides at SR2, climbing towers and boating at a number of camps, and even holding burning methane in our hands at Spanish Peaks.

Some camp properties are just flat-out stunning. One particularly memorable campsite at Camp Clark perches on a cliff above the Pacific with a spectacular view of the ocean and massive Cape Lookout and is filled with the sounds of crashing surf. It's hard to take your eyes from the panorama viewed from the peaks in Ben Delatour Scout Ranch, especially at sunset when the Colorado landscapes are bathed in color.

Sometimes a special camp memory can never be duplicated or forgotten. At Camp Loll we, and a few hundred campers, were leaning forward listening intently to Camp Director Delose Conner tell the scariest camp story (of our summer, at least) when, just as Delose was describing a lightning storm, the sky above the storyteller was split wide open by an arc of lightning. Everyone agreed that Delose has some pretty good connections to pull off that kind of theatrical staging, and no one who saw it will ever forget it!

A few camps stand out in our mind because of the superlatives connected to them. The highest altitude camp - Camp Steiner at 10,400 feet. The longest, bumpiest, dustiest camp road - Camp Loll - the Ashton-Flagg Ranch Road, 30+ miles of bump and dust. The largest camp (for us, there may be larger ones) - Ten Mile River - 14,000+ acres. The camp with the biggest boulders - Camp Pahatsi - the boulders have to be seen to be believed!

In the end, though, the one thing all great camps have in common is great staff. Staff, in our mind, makes all the difference in a camper's experience. Not all camps have great scenery, facilities, program, roads, or campsites, but we've yet to see a camp whose director has not gone to great lengths to recruit and retain the very best staff. A few councils, in fact, are in economically deprived areas, have few corporate donors, and less than optimal financial resources. Camps in these councils sometimes depend on volunteer camp staff to make a boy's summer camp stay memorable and meaningful -- and it works out well, we think. So, they're all our favorites, and we think the camp you choose for your next outing can be your personal favorite too--at least until the next great camp you visit.