Sabattis Camp sold as Scouts declare bankruptcy

Sabattis Group says sale to neighboring family will allow Scouts to continue camping

LONG LAKE — A New Jersey Boy Scout council is selling the Sabattis Adventure Camp in Long Lake, but leaders from Sabattis Group, an organization which supports the camp, say Scouts will be able to continue camping there.

The 1,000-acre camp on Bear Pond has been a place for New Jersey Scouts to swim, hike and paddle for more than six decades. The camp is owned and operated by Patriots’ Path Council, which supports around 11,000 Scouts in five New Jersey counties.

The Boy Scouts of America declared bankruptcy last year, an effort to continue existing as it pays off its settlements to tens of thousands of sexual abuse victims across the U.S. In October, BSA entered a bankruptcy settlement to pay $1.9 billion to more than 82,000 individuals who were sexually abused while scouting.

BSA’s approximately 250 councils are paying out $600 million in this settlement, and non-profit councils, like Patriots’ Path Council, are selling assets to pay their share.

According to court documents, Patriots’ Path Council is expected to contribute $3.7 million to the bankruptcy settlement — $1.8 million in cash and $1.9 million in property.

“Selling Sabattis was one of the few ways the council could raise funds,” leaders from the Sabattis Group wrote.

Neither the Scouting council or the Sabattis Group have divulged the price of the sale of the Sabattis Adventure Camp. The property was assessed at a value of $1,717,400 by Hamilton County this year.

Representatives from the Sabattis Group updated the scouting community in a Facebook post, saying the camp was sold to another Sabattis Road resident “looking to expand their family camp.”

They said the contracts have been signed, the sale should close in early 2022 and that the new owners are giving Scouts permission to use the land for five years.

In the terms of the sale agreement, PPC can use most of the camp for the next five years, the Sabattis Group said. This may be extended if both the Scouts and the buyer agree later. The Sabattis Group said the new owners will use some of the buildings for their own purposes, but “the main facilities we need to run camp will remain in our control and available for our use.”

“The sale is a terrible thing, but the buyer is the best possible buyer; someone who loves the Adirondacks, loves the area, and believes in Scouting,” they wrote.

Sabattis Group leaders said the property’s new buyers visited the camp last year.

“(They) were moved to tears by the Scout-led activity they witnessed,” Sabattis Group leaders wrote. “They are driven to keep Scouting going at Sabattis.”

They said the Sabattis Group has $30,000 in the bank to spend on programming in the coming years.

In 2017, the PPC executive committee considered closing the camp, but after nearly 2,000 people signed a petition and donated over $200,000 to the Sabattis Group, the camp was saved. The Sabattis group used the money to build new buildings, replace the camp electric system and hire a new camp director.

Now, Sabattis Group claims their camp is PPC’s best property, with its largest active volunteer crew. They said Sabattis is the only camp where PPC scouts can camp as BSA’ founder, Robert Baden-Powell, intended — cooking their own food and exploring the wilderness.

“I am sure that in the future as we lie in our tents listening to highway noise, we’ll remember the call of the loons on the cleanest, largest and clearest lake in PPC,” they wrote.

The property was formerly the estate of eight-time Olympic medalist swimmer Charles Daniels.

“Most of the grounds occupied by the camp are the remains of a nine hole golf course Daniels built for his wife,” according to scoutwiki.org. “He built the golf course to convince his wife to come up with him.”

Today, the land features a high ropes course, mountain biking trails, canoe launches and an archery range.

The BSA’s bankruptcy settlement is not finalized yet.

The 82,000 sexual abuse victims are now voting on if they’ll approve this bankruptcy plan before a Dec. 15 deadline. The plan has some support, but some advocates say the payment plan to victims is not enough.

A committee of survivors has estimated the actual damages at $100 billion.

According to the LA Times, the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice estimates that most claimants will receive between $3,500 and $2.7 million. But, attorneys have argued that after survivors pay them for their representation, they’ll have little left of their compensation.

Sabattis Group leaders acknowledged that Scouts and former camp attendees were probably feeling a lot of emotions hearing about the sale of the camp, but asked them to not take them out on the PPC staff.

“If you want to get really angry, get mad at the leaders who abused our Scouts’ trust decades ago; this is really the root cause of the entire situation,” they wrote.

Sabattis Adventure Camp is different than the Sabattis Scout Reservation located on Lows Lake. The Sabattis Scout Reservation is run by the BSA Longhouse Council in Syracuse.


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