Des Plaines Valley Council
|Des Plaines Valley Council|
|Owner||Boy Scouts of America|
|Headquarters||La Grange, Illinois|
Des Plaines Valley Council is a former Boy Scouts of America local council that was headquartered in La Grange, Illinois, United States. In 2014 the council merged with Calumet Council, Chicago Area Council and Northwest Suburban Council to form Pathway to Adventure Council.
It was formed through the merger of West Suburban Council and Thatcher Woods Council in 1993. The council operates Camp Shin-Go-Beek near Waupaca, Wisconsin and Camp Mach-Kin-O-Siew near Elcho, Wisconsin. The council operates The BSA Adventure Camp in Rochelle, Illinois in a joint venture with Three Fires Council. The council sold Camp Tomo-Chi-Chi-Knolls in Huntley, Illinois to the Kane County Forest Preserve District as of January 1, 2007. Des Plaines Valley Council is served by Pachsegink Lodge.
Voyageur Trace District services Berwyn, Bridgeview, Brookfield, Countryside, Hodgkins, Indian Head Park, Justice, La Grange, La Grange Highlands, La Grange Park, Lyons, McCook, North Riverside, Riverside, Stickney, Westchester, Western Springs, and Willow Springs.
The camp operates two weeks a year, from the last week of July to the first week of August. Scout troops stay for 7 days at a time, checking in Sunday, checking out Saturday.
Major parts of the camp's program are its merit badge classes. A wide range of merit badges are offered. The Order of the Arrow lodge holds a calling-out ceremony at camp, and candidates have the opportunity to complete their ordeal induction the following day. Other activities include hiking, fishing, a bog hike, boating, rifle, shotgun, climbing, swimming and livesaving.
Mach's facilities include a waterfront area, a field sports area (comprising rifle, shotgun, and archery ranges), thirteen campgrounds, several piers, a campfire bowl, a climbing tower, a forge, a water slide, a shower house, and a chapel. However, the camp has no dining hall, so the Scouts cook all their meals with supplies provided by the camp (except for the first and last dinners.)
The extensive waterfront area is located on a beach along Enterprise Lake. It consists of a large swimming area, a lookout tower (known as "Gloria" ), a boat dock, and a water slide. The camp owns a fleet of boats, consisting of kayaks, sunfish class sailboats, catamarans, an inboard motorboat for waterskiing, an outboard motorboat, rowboats, canoes, a dinghy, and sailboards. The camp also has two smaller lakes "Big Apple" and "Little Apple" within its borders.
The Camp Cup is a competition between the troops visiting the camp. The scoring for the Camp Cup is derived from campsite inspections and competitions in Scout skills (e.g. archery). One major competition is Monster Camp, in which troops decorate their campsite using Scout skills. Judges search in the temporary sets for good use of Scout skills, such as lashings.
Because the Boy Scouts of America maintains a "Leave No Trace" philosophy, the Scouts that attend Camp Mach attempt to preserve the camp's natural environment. The only island in Enterprise Lake is owned by the camp. It is maintained as a wildlife sanctuary, therefore no person can set foot on the island. Other natural features include two small lakes, a bog, and a marsh.
Since 1948, Camp Shin-Go-Beek has been located near Waupaca, Wisconsin on Big Twin and Little Twin lakes. The camp is close to the chain-of-lakes area of central Wisconsin, the Crystal River and Shadow Lake (used for camp canoe trips), and many outdoor recreation areas including the Wolf and Fox Rivers. College towns of Oshkosh, Appleton, and Steven's Point are nearby. The camp is serviced by Order of the Arrow Pachsegink Lodge.
Both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts use Camp Shin-Go-Beek. The camp operates for several weeks in late June and early July, then the staff moves to Camp Mach-Kin-O-Siew for two weeks. The camp is home to chipmunks, deer, coyotes, and many endangered birds, such as the bald eagle, the sandhill crane, and the blue heron.
A concern of the camp is the fact that Little Twin Lake has completely dried up. The water level in Big Twin Lake has also dropped noticeably. However, this cycle of the twins is not completely without precedent as little twin was nearly dry in the early 1960s and called by the campers "Bounce Land." The nickname was both a tribute to the bouncy feel of the lake bed, but also a tongue in cheek reference to a trampoline amusement park in Melrose Park, Illinois.