Take a Camping Trip with Scouts…

Put together an outing for our scouts.

I love taking trips with scouts. It has always been a great experience to go to cool places in a controlled environment. Meaning that we are all being as safe as possible when going out to new places and activities. Everyone should take a camping trip with scouts, you never know what you will learn. I learn something new every time we go on an outing.LOL

1. Get a consensus on where you want to go or an activity that would be fun. When the troop does our annual calendar planning we get a list from the scouts on what events they want to do. Then the adults get together and plug in the activities into open places and outing dates on the calendar. Once the outing is on the calendar we make as many reservations as possible so we can get into places. A lot of activities you need to make reservations months ahead of time.

2. Get a commited number of attendees. Our troop has an average of 25 people who attend any given outing. Sometimes the outings are limited to a certain number for participants. In this case it is first come first served, then we would have a waiting list in case anyone has to back out at the last minute.

3. Start looking for campsites as soon as you have a vicinity and attendees. Look for campsites in the general area that you want to be in. For instance, this last week I wanted to make reservations down at Mission Bay in San Diego. I found a campsite for 25 people for 2 nights for a total of $800.00. I thought this was way too high, that would mean each person would end up paying over $30.00 each. So I kept looking and found a site 20 miles away and it end up costing $300.00 for all of us and each scout would only pay $15.00. We always try to keep the cost low for the scouts that don’t have the resources to go on an expensive outing. Since we go camping every month, the cheaper the better.

4. Get meal plan scheduled for campers. Two weeks before we go on an outing the scouts start to get a menu plan together. We us a standard scout menu planner with a duty roster and it also specifies who is assigned to clean up equipment. The first week the scouts start on a menu, it specifies each meal separately and they have to make sure they include all the dietary food groups. Once they are done they specify when and where they will meet to purchase the items for the camp out then split the cost among the scouts that are going.

On a side note, the adults plan for their meals a little differently. Depending on how many adult are going will determine how the meals get split up. Let’s say we have 5 adults going, the adults would select which meal they would like to bring for all 5 adults, usually 1 adult will bring breakfast for Saturday and Sunday, 1 will bring lunch for Saturday, the two will get together to bring dinner for all. Then whatever meal the adult brings, they pay for the meal for everyone. Dinner would get split with the adults bringing dinner. We have found that this works well for us, only having to get one meal ready for the whole weekend works great. Then we get a surprise meals that we are not actively planning for. We do ask if there are any dislikes or allergies before we schedule meals.

5. Logistics. Commit drivers to get everyone to camp. Once we get a good head count, we ask everyone who is driving how many total seat belts they have open for this outing. We include the driver so we have no confusion with counts. Then we are either OK or we may need more drivers. If we need more drivers, we will ask the parents of the scouts that are going to assist in driving. We usually do not have an issue with transportation because we always have good adult turn out. Our troop has always encouraged parent participation, we want as many eyes and ears open during any kind of activity for safety. At Court of Honor’s, when we have the most parent participation, we always let them know that watching the scouts do their thing on outings is very rewarding and they should come and see for themselves.

When the time comes to get in the cars and head for camp we usually let the boys decide who they want to go with. We have all the drivers stand in a line shoulder to shoulder and any scouts going with them behind them. Then, however many seat belts they have left open, they hold up that many fingers and the scouts that still need to find a seat, can get behind a driver that their buddies are already in. We take note who is in what car and then we are off to camp.

6. Collect any forms needed. Our standard troop consent is a form that is always collected before we leave or the scout can’t participate. The other form is the medical forms, A and B if it is just a weekend and C if it is longer than 72 hours. We collect the medical form for all scouts and adults that are attending. We do have a parent that is the keeper of the forms, they make sure all the forms are not expired and hand them to the adult leader in charge in a binder. Some camps, like summer camps may have additional consents need to participate at the camp, make sure when you make reservations, you ask if there are any additional forms required.

7. The departure date, what you need for a successful bon voyage! A week ahead of time an email goes out to all participants and states the gather time, departure time and the estimated arrival back in town time. It also reminds everyone of any special activity and equipment needed for the outing. Then when the group is headed back from the outing, the adult leader in charge will send an ETA email for scout pick up time, as the adults that have been on the outing all weekend want to get home as soon as possible to spend time with their families as well. We try to get back by 11 am on Sunday.

8. Setting up camp. Prior to the outing weekend the adult leaders will get with the SPL or most senor scout attending camp and talk about camp layout and what has worked in the past and what has not. Helping the SPL laying out a plan is essential for a smooth camp set up. Half of the time we arrive at camp it is dark, so this adds to the possible confusion that can happen. Its no big deal if things go a little off, this adds to the skills that the scouts must master. It just take a little more time to set up.

9. Actives. All outings have a plan in place for the time we are at camp. Whether we are visiting a museum or working on our camp skills, there is always something to do. When there has been a schedule made, everyone knows what the plan is, so there is a greater opportunity for all to have a great time. When I go on camp outs with the troop, I plan on spending time with the scouts, the time may not always go as planned, or how I think it should go, but as long as everyone is safe and has fun, it is successful.

10. Home bound. Sunday morning is get up, eat and pack up. Our troop does not drag to get packed up, we all know there are things to get done at home. Family time is important too. There may be times when we get back into town that the adult in charge, usually me, has to have a talk with a scout, about some issue a camp. I give the scout a change to correct his behavior before we talk to parents. But, if the issue is bigger than a normal, then we talk to the parent and the scout, just to make sure we are all on the same page on how to correct an issue.

organize outing

I hop you have found this article helpful. Please let me know how you put together an outing for a lot of people. Have you ever had an experience camping you never thought would happen? I have! LOL

Yours in Scouting,

Scoutmaster Irene


PS. Check out my story here.

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