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Camp Fire Mountain, Mt. Baker Council, near Mount Vernon, Washington
Jim Hovis, Camp Director, waved as he drove away from Camp Fire Mountain and left us in the capable hands of the Program Director, Dave Henrichsen, who graciously showed us around camp all day.
He proudly pointed to a new climbing tower surrounded by a masonry wall which will eventually be used as a bouldering wall. The masonry wall is high and close in on the climbing tower, effectively shutting out any outside distractions.
An interesting and unusual walkway leads to the handicrafts area. The well-groomed path is inlaid with Scout-made mosaic stepping stones. The bits of colorful ceramic tiles depict sailboats, fleurs-de-lis, and other familiar symbols of the Scouting life.
We were shown an intracamp phone system that might be of little interest to Scouts, but which we found to be a marvel of volunteer ingenuity and a lasting tribute to the thousands of volunteer hours that have gone into its creation and upkeep. A well-maintained and well-organized camp telephone company is housed in the lower levels of the health lodge with neatly labeled switching stations, tool racks, system maps, and the like. We understand that the phone company came about as an attempt at safety enhancement to ensure that more distant areas of the camp were able to communicate quickly with headquarters.
The telephone company is not the only thoughtful touch at the camp. Among the camps we toured in summer 2001, Fire Mountain has perhaps the most accessible camp sites featuring something they call a "stent." The stent--not quite an adirondack, not quite a platform tent, not quite a cabin—is a two-man shelter with reinforced walls, and some even have ramps leading to their entrance. Efforts are underway to spread these friendly shelters throughout the entire camp, helping the camp to reach ADA-like goals.
While at camp, we had an opportunity to spend some time with a group of Scouts from Canada who were most impressed with all the activities available to them at a BSA camp, unlike those found at the more do-it-yourself camp found in the Scouts Canada group. For our part, we enjoyed chatting with the Scouts Canada contingent and their leaders.
We left Camp Fire Mountain, a comfortable camp more or less convenient to major urban areas, and headed off to our next camp, one in a far different setting, Camp Fife in Goose Prairie, Washington.