Rio Grande Valley Boy Scouts celebrate end of pandemic with free camping revival

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The Rio Grande Council of the Boy Scouts of America will be celebrating the first complete summer of its new $7 million camping facilities and a post-COVID camping revival with a free summer camp from July 3 to the 7.

The entirety of this experience is free of charge to Scouts this year only.

“There has never been a better time to start or restart your Scouting journey,” Council Commissioner Michael Henry said in a press release. “COVID separated so many Scouts from their troops and the Scouting experience, and this year’s camp is a great way to restart their paths to Eagle rank and rekindle what can be lifelong friendships.”

Henry, a long-time Scouter, will act as this year’s camp director.

Scouts who attend this free summer camp will have over 35 merit badge options, plus additional activities such as BMX bikes and lifeguard certification.

A variety of badges will be available including the more popular badges such as swimming, rifle shooting and archery, as well as other options like chess, astronomy, and fish and wildlife management.

Program Director John Moreno reassures those worried about the summer heat plaguing the Rio Grande Valley.

“We ensure the kids are safe — drinking plenty of water — and a lot of the merit badges and all of the meals are indoors with air conditioning,” Moreno said in the release.

Settled just outside Rio Hondo is the newly renovated Camp Perry, one of the oldest continuously running Scouting camps in the United States, which is also celebrating its 96th consecutive year of summer camp in 2023.

Council President Dr. Jake Margo explains that they took advantage during the pandemic to fix up the camp.

“We took the opportunity while camp was closed during the pandemic to rebuild Camp Perry for the next generation to learn the lifelong skills and experiences Scouts develop here,” Margo said in the press release.

Improvements to the camp include a new, spacious dining hall with state-of-the-art cooking equipment, a high-tech building dedicated to science technology engineering and math, or STEM, and a large multipurpose building that includes a full-size basketball court, decked-out telecommunications classrooms and a well-stocked first aid clinic.

Young men and women between the ages of 11 and 17 can become Scouts and attend this free camp.

Information regarding the camp can be found on the council site and first time Scouts can find information on joining a troop at

Scholarships to join a troop are also available.