HOPKINTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Boy Scouts of America has seen a decline in membership recently but the local council is still seeing hundreds of scouts enjoy camp each week.

Camp Yawgoog first opened for Boy Scout camp in 1916 and while a lot has changed, the traditions have stayed the same.

When you step through the gates at camp, technology, nature, tradition and pure summer fun are your compass rose for the week.

Mike Upton, 14, has called this camp “home away from home” for the past few summers.

“It’s about having fun, learning some good life skills, and making friends, that’s what it’s really about,” Upton said.

Yawgoog is the flagship camp of the Narragansett Council of the Boy Scouts of America, but Upton is one of the hundreds of scouts visiting from other councils across the country.

“We have a lot of troops that do return, but we also have a good portion of troops that kind of cycle through camps for whatever reason it may be, so some troops only come for one year and put on a three-year list. They’ll visit New Hampshire or New Jersey in those times. It varies. We try to keep in touch with as many people as possible to keep them coming back, but it varies every year,” said Jonathan Diluglio, Yawgoog Reservation Director.

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after thousands of men nationwide came forward claiming they were abused while in Scouts. The proposed settlement is about $2.7 billion, meaning councils across the country would contribute to that — including $6.5 million from the Narragansett council.

To get that money, the Narragansett council sold off two camps including Camp Cachalot in Carver, Massachusetts.

Now Camp Yawgoog is the main attraction for scouts in council across Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, as well as out-of-council scouts.

“Our focus is summer camp, so getting people to come no matter how small no matter how large the troop is. Troops from 10 scouts to 50 scouts is the priority. Getting them here. It varies even week to week,” Diluglio said.

According to the Narragansett Council, in 2019 there were 9,848 scouts compared to 10,321 in 2018 and 8,333 in 2015. The council couldn’t provide data for enrollment during the pandemic but it’s believed membership dwindled.

Diluglio told 12 News they are seeing an average of about 800 campers each week this summer, one even surpassed 1,200 in campers and adults. He says they are trying to ways to show scouts how fun it really is by offering day camp as well as overnight camp.

“It’s an awesome opportunity. We’re trying that out for the first time this year. Just to have people come in for day camp and in the off-season, we offer it up for weekend camping,” Diluglio said.

Over the past few years, girls have been welcomed into scouts.

“Transitioning a lot of our facilities to single-stall restrooms, single-stall shower houses to provide those accommodations because it’s been a couple of years now,” Diluglio said. “We’ve grown our girl units over the past couple of years. Last year we were at 33 units and now we’re at 46 girl units attending Yawgoog, which is awesome to see.”

The skills learned in just one week at camp can enhance the lives of the scouts forever.