Simply stated, the requirement reads:
- Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events.*
- One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement.
- Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.
*All campouts since becoming a Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may count toward this requirement
Merit badge requirements should be completed as written considering the Aims of Scouting: Physical and Mental Fitness, Character development, and Citizenship, and the 8 Methods of Scouting. We need to ask “How does this merit badge support these aims and methods?”
As we break this down we have the following:
This means that any camping experience that is an officially designated and sanctioned scout campout, since the boy started his Boy Scouting experience can be counted. This includes Boy Scouts, Varsity, and Venture Scouting adventures. Campouts as an 11 year-old scout for the Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class ranks can be counted for the Camping Merit Badge.
What is a designated Scouting activity or event? Any campout that the boy goes on that is sponsored by his Troop, Team, or Crew. This means that family camping, church camping, fathers and sons camping, or any other camping that is not sponsored by the Troop, Team, or Crew would be ineligible.
To support the aims of Scouting, this portion of the requirement allows the boy to have many outdoor experiences. He will develop leadership and planning skills in planning for short-term camping. He will develop the ability to think ahead and consider contingencies. He will learn to respect nature and respect his fellow Scouters.
One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement.
“Long Term Camping” is, generally, identified as camping for 4-6 consecutive nights at a time. If you camp for 3 nights in a row or less, this is generally recognized as short term camping. The question is for 4 nights. Usually campouts are planned for more or less than 4 nights. If a scout attends a planned long term camp of 5 nights but leaves after 4 nights, it still counts as his long term camp, but he only gets credit for 4 nights.
All scouts may not have the opportunity to attend an extended camping experience such as an organized summer camp or high adventure, or a council or national sponsored camporee or jamboree type of event. Only one long term experience is allowed. While not required, these opportunities are encouraged to support a well-rounded program for the boys.
If you are going to an organized camp, tents may be provided. If it does, the boy is exempt from pitching the tent. Otherwise, he should set up the tent in which he is sleeping either by himself or with his tent-mates. Having someone else do it for him, such as a father or scoutmaster, or any other experience where he was not directly involved, does not provide the experience that the boy deserves.
The camping merit badge is not just about the actual camping. Camping lets the boy experience the outdoors. The camping merit badge is more about the preparation involved in planning and organizing the campout. It is the camaraderie that is developed between the scout and members of his Patrol, Troop, Team, or Crew. It is about the experiences that the scout has while he is camping.
Author: Council Advancement Committee