The fun begins below sea level at Camp Emerald Bay, located on stunning Catalina Island off the coast of California. Divers from around the world come to Catalina because its clear water makes it easy to see undersea kelp forests, rock reefs and wildlife.
That prime diving draws Scouts from across the country, too. Learning scuba in a pool is fine, but honing your diving skills here means exploring a rich underwater ecosystem teeming with octopi, sea lions, bat rays and leopard sharks.
Just want to get your flippers wet? Discover Scuba Diving, though not a certification course, introduces new divers to Emerald Bay’s underwater beauty under the close supervision of an instructor.
There’s plenty of fun above the surface, too, such as:
The Emerald Bay War Canoe. Troops enjoy a team-building experience paddling to an overnight camping spot on Parsons Landing an hour away.
The waterfront, where Scouts can earn Canoeing, Lifesaving, Motorboating, Rowing, Small-Boat Sailing and Swimming merit badges.
A Rugged Adventurers program for boys 14 and older. It comes in four flavors: Rugged Explorers, Rugged Canoers, Rugged Scuba Divers and Rugged Oceanographers.
Island exploring by mountain bike. Leaders and Scouts can borrow bikes throughout the week.
The Emerald Bay Pirate Program, which encourages Scouts to return to camp as they work their way from Brigand to Buccaneer to Pirate to Anchorman.
Learn more about Camp Emerald Bay at campemeraldbay.org.
– Bryan Wendell; Photo by W. Garth Dowling