Boy Scouts learn how to shoot, become leaders at Barron Co.'s Camp Phillips

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BARRON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Thousands of campers have made their way to Rice Lake to learn how to climb, swim and shoot, but scouts are learning more than survival skills.

The camp has new features like a zip line, and paddle boards, but a focus on enjoying the outdoors, has remained.

About 3,000 scouts travel through the tall trees of Camp Phillips every summer, offering opportunities to learn and enjoy the outdoors.

“There's like no TVs or anything and so instead of just sitting around, you have to walk, you average out about a mile or two a day of walking so it's good exercise,” camper Levi Gonstead of Altoona said.

(Kids) always said, ‘Oh I don't want to go to camp,’ but once they're here they're saying ‘I can't wait ‘til next year!’”

It's not just tying knots and building fires.

The zip line, that's 40 feet high and 500 feet long, is a favorite for many campers. Other activities include kayaking, archery, rifle and shotgun shooting, crafts and photography.

“We have a lot of kids who come up who are maybe quiet and reserved and haven't really gotten out of that shell and we hear all the time by the end of the week that they were able to go down the zip line, to pass swimmers test, all those things that show they're growing and developing while they're here, just in five days,” Matt Dienger, the camp’s reservation director said.

“What we're really trying to get at though is more of the leadership, life skills, learning how to work with others and doing those things.

“It's just like the best part of summer. Instead of staying home and playing video games, come here and have a lot of fun, do something else, go outdoors,” camper Matt Rees of Chippewa Falls said.

The camp runs for seven sessions every summer, for scouts who range in age from seven to 18.

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