By Maloree Anderson
Oct 04, 2017

Camping: A Scoutmaster’s Secret Weapon

Sometimes it can be intimidating to be called as a Scoutmaster. Especially if you don’t have any previous Scouting experience. Have no fear for you have a secret weapon: Camping! Camping is the ‘outing’ of Scouting and a critical element of the Scouting program. In this article you will learn the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of camping and how to take advantage of this outdoor action to lead a successful Scouting troop.

Who

The Boy Scout program is all about developing the youth of today into feature leaders. As a Scoutmaster you must be able to step back and Let Them Lead. Have your troop council together and schedule their camping trips for the year. Let the boys pick an activity that is full of purpose and plan out how to execute that activity during the camping trip. This is a great way to get the boys excited about camping because they chose what they wanted to do and will more likely attend and participate.

What

Now that your troop has scheduled their camping trips, what do you do while camping beside sleeping in a tent and roasting marshmallows? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Advancement: Camping is a great opportunity to work on the boys’ advancement. Summer camp and the new year-round Merit Badge Adventures program are easy, organized camping trips that can accomplish not only one to five overnighters but also Scouts can start and/or complete multiple merit badges.
  2. Life Skills: Help your Scouts learn and practice new life skills! When Scouts get to explore different skills and develop them, they will become a better functioning member of society.
  3. Do it Yourself (DIY): Have your troop do a DIY project such as hammock making. Before your camping trip let the boys actually make their own hammocks. Then take them out and let them sleep in their home-made hammocks! Check out this easy DIY hammock.
  4. Connect Them With Heaven:Scouting’s spiritual element is overlooked sometimes. Even when part of your calling has you teaching lessons on Sunday, we don’t often take the everyday opportunities to teach heavenly things…” Camping can be the best time to implement the spiritual aspect of Scouting. When the young men are away from the distractions of the world they can focus more on listening to the spirit. Take this time to connect them to heaven and watch their testimonies grow.

When

When is the best time to take your troop camping? Guess what, it’s not when the weather is perfect. In fact, the best time is when your young Scouts are shivering from the rain and they are having to work together to build a fire for a source of warmth; When it’s scorching hot outside and after hiking ten miles they all go and jump into the lake to cool off and you get to hear the splashing and the laughter of relief. Some of the best camping experiences are when things aren’t picture perfect. Why don’t you check out these great tips  on cold weather camping, (just in case!).

Where

There are so many places to camp throughout Utah. “Great Camping Spots for Scouts in Utah” is a helpful article that lists some of these places. Or you can register to camp at one of our twelve council properties. Each council camp is unique and can increase the success of your camping. Some are even available to camp at year-round. Below are a few of our camps and what they offer or you can visit www.utahscouts.org/camps for more information:

  1. Maple Dell Scout Camp:
  2. Scofield Scout Camp at Frandsen Scout Reservation:
  3. Entrada High Adventure Base:
    • Location: Moab, Utah
    • Highlights:
      • Canyoneering
      • Mountain biking
      • Shooting sports
      • River rafting
      • 10+ campsites
        • Water
        • Bathrooms
    • Open year-round
  4. Marion D. Hanks Scout Camp at Quail Creek:
  5. Tifie Scout Camp at Mountain Dell Scout Ranch:

Why

The easiest way to get your Scout excited to go camping is to give them a reason why. Why would they leave the comfort of their own home to go out into nature and rough it? The purposes behind taking youth into the outdoors are many, but include:

  • Opportunity for youth to spend both quality and quantity time with adult mentors
  • Youth can practice their leadership skills
  • Practice skills that will be needed in the future, including being away from home, being away from electronics, handling living skills such as cooking, cleaning, sleep habits, etc.
  • Practice planning and preparation skills (a big part of camping is the preparation and planning!)
  • Advancement opportunities – Duh!
  • Complete the Camping Merit Badge – They need at least 20 overnighters with their troop to earn the Camping Merit Badge.
  • Build Confidence – Camping can sometimes be hard and Scouts can do hard things!
  • HAVE FUN – Who wouldn’t want to go rock climbing, zip lining, archery shooting, and scuba diving?

How

Need additional information on camping with your troop? Below are resources for you!


Do you have any camping tips and tricks that you would like to share with us? Comment below and let us know!

Author: Maloree Anderson | is a photographer, graphic designer, mom of one, friend of Scouting and Marketing Specialist with the Utah National Parks Council, Boy Scouts of America.

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