By John Gailey
Sep 19, 2016

Earn Merit Badges and Campout at Council Camps Year-Round

I have been a Scout leader for many years. As a Scout leader, there were a number of things that I constantly worried about. You perhaps have worried about them as well. They include:

  • Giving plenty of opportunities for my boys to advance up to the Eagle rank
  • Getting in the monthly campouts (including finding locations to go)
  • Having fun and exciting activities as part of our campouts

Yes, I had boy-led troops and teams, but often their idea of a monthly campout was to go out to one of the common campouts (can you say “sand dunes?”) and cook, eat, play, sleep (eventually), wake up, cook, eat, play, go home. They loved it, but it lacked a focus towards their individual progress.

We would try to incorporate work on merit badges, rank advancements, etc., but that put even more pressure on myself and the other adult leaders. So, merit badge work would often get relegated to summer camp and merit badge pow wows. Again, not very satisfying—still missing something.

Well, we here at the Utah National Parks Council have listened to many other leaders who are struggling with the same issues that I have had in my troop, and we think we can help!!

We are introducing two new services available to all Scouting units (Boy Scouts and older).

  • Troop Camping at Scout Camps
  • Merit Badge Adventures

Troop Camping at Scout Camps

Scouting units may now hold their monthly campouts at many of our council camps!

smiling-scout-tentYes, that means that you don’t have to constantly find someplace to go. It means that you can go somewhere safe. Somewhere that has water and bathroom facilities. Somewhere away from non-Scouting groups where you can be Scouts!

All for a nominal campsite fee similar to those charged by state and other governmental agencies.

Even better, depending on the camp, your unit can take advantage of features of the camp (extra fee may be required) such as amphitheaters, honor trails, Trading Post (for those items you forgot!), COPE and ziplines, aquatics, shooting sports, etc.

Registration for these camps are coming online, allowing you to sign up anytime, anywhere. For more information on Troop Camping at Scout Camp, go to

Merit Badge Adventures

We’ve heard you loud and clear – provide more merit badge opportunities year-round!

Merit Badge Adventures is just that, a Friday through Saturday adventure at one of our Scout camps that focus on helping youth work on one or more merit badges!

High Uintah_SailTroops can now combine their monthly campout with merit badge work—no extra work for the adult leaders, and great opportunities for the youth.

Because of the resources available at the council level, some very unique experiences and merit badges can be offered! For example, the council has a partnership with the Sea Scouts sponsored by the Utah Lake Yacht Club, through which we teach the Sailing Academy at Scofield Scout Camp. We are extending this partnership to offer a Sailing Merit Badge Adventure at Camp Jeremiah Johnson on September 23rd and 24th. Units will begin their learning experience Friday evening with a real sailboat, preparing for their sailing experience on Saturday on the Salem Pond!

We also recognize that the council has relationships and expertise in certain areas that can also help youth in their Eagle Scout path. Therefore, we will also be offering merit badge adventures that include:

  • Cooking merit badge (now required)
  • Welding (because of our unique expertise and tools)
  • Emergency services-related merit badges (through partnerships with Search and Rescue)
  • Required merit badges, such as Family Life, Personal Management, and Personal Fitness
  • Etc.

New Merit Badge Adventures will be announced in the next few weeks, as well as throughout the year, but the initial Adventures will be:

  • Sep 23-24 @ Camp Jeremiah Johnson, featuring Sailing and Cooking merit badges
  • Oct 14-15 @ Camp Jeremiah Johnson, focused on Emergency Services-related merit badges
  • Nov 11-12 @ Maple Dell Scout Camp, focusing on the ‘Big 3’, Family Life, Personal Management, and Personal Fitness

We have another Merit Badge Adventure scheduled as shown below. Is there a merit badge you’d like to see taught? If so, please comment below!

  • Nov 18-19 @ Maple Dell Scout Camp – what do you want to see??

Registration for these Merit Badge Adventures can be found at

John Gailey
Author: John Gailey | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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4 thoughts on “Earn Merit Badges and Campout at Council Camps Year-Round

  1. AvatarMaloree Anderson

    This is seriously a great idea! Just another resource that the Utah National Parks Council offers to our youth!


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