All Scout camps are islands, at least in the figurative sense. With the exception of a few calls or texts to Mom and Dad, Scouts are blissfully isolated from the rest of the world for a week. But island living becomes literal at Camp Melita Island in Montana.
Surrounded on all sides by Flathead Lake, Melita Island is accessible by boat during each of its five summer camp weeks. It has no roads, so there are no cars or trucks. Staffers use a tractor and Gator utility vehicle to move gear that can’t be carried by hand.
As Scout camps go, Melita Island isn’t the largest. During its busiest weeks, the 64-acre camp has a population of around 200 — including Scouts, adults and staff. Scouts share the space with mule deer and pine squirrels, eagles and osprey, Canada geese and woodpeckers.
Not surprisingly, Melita Island’s big draw is its waterfront. There’s paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing and snorkeling. The best part: There’s time to try them all.
Scouters can join the adult sailing program in which they can take an active role or just “sit there with your bottle of water and just float around,” says Peter Jones, the council’s chief program officer.
Also popular: early morning waterskiing. Those willing to show up at 6 a.m. can dip their toes in the world of waterskiing while everything is still calm — especially the water. “It’s almost 100 percent glass,” Jones says.
Learn more and plan your Melita Island adventure at montanabsa.org.
– Bryan Wendell; Photography by W. Garth Dowling