CAMP INDEPENDENCE 2.0
Camp Independence has been a signature-event for Live Free USA since the mid-1960s. Starting at Tippecanoe River State Park in Indiana with just a few members, the event expanded over the years to utilize the entire 38 building Group Camp facility with hundreds in attendance and even media helicopters dropping-in to interview Live Free officers and members. It is America’s original preparedness and survival expo and training event. Unfortunately, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources elected to close the Group Camp facilities in 2014. That facility was unique in that it offered plenty of family cabins, a big dinning and meeting hall and multiple other building for conducting classes and even scenario-based training. While we were not able to find comparable facilities anywhere else, we were able to rent an entire Boy Scout camp near Michigan City Indiana for the weekend of May 18-20, 2018 and conduct a new version of the event. The rental cost was about double what we paid at Tippecanoe and the income sources (e.g. Cabin rentals) was severely limited. We lost a bit on the events admission charges, but made some money thanks to generous participation in the Survival Stuff Raffle. The weather was cool and wet and this also impacted participation. While we had five instructors drop out at the last-minute there was still plenty of classes and show and tell for all participants. In fact several instructors never got to do their classes before the time ran out. We were not able to take advantage of the available archery and BB-gun ranges due to the rain and instructor shortages. Many past participants came expecting to have meals available as we did at Tippecanoe, but we had no one to volunteer to do this. Some of the best things happened around the shelter and the campfire in the evenings where networking and rededications where made. Whether we are able to continue to do Camp Independence next year depends on several factors (1) if the facilities at Camp To-Pe-Ne-Bee are available to us (2) If we have more dependable support for managing the event and conducting classes and (3) if we have a reliable team to provide meals. We also may elect to do smaller camp events at other locations. Of course the biggest requirement is that we can build on this year’s event to get two-or-three times as many participants. We hope to hear from members and make a decision by this September. Stay tuned.