By Steven Sutherland
Oct 14, 2016

How to Use Our Camp Adventure Tracks to Build Boys

We are aligning our camp programs with the great vision of prophets and Scouting founders:

tsmonsonandscouts1“Scouting brings out the best in each of us.  Help others to hike the trails, to keep steadfast in the paths of truth, honor, duty… that all can soar together on eagle’s wings.”
-President Thomas S. Monson



“When I was twelve two things of great significance occurred in my life: I became a Boy Scout and I became a deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood.  Scouting is an excellent and wonderful program.”
-President Gordon B. Hinckley


th300_baden-powell“Our objective in the Scouting movement is to give such help as we can in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth by including among youth the spirit and the daily practice in their lives of unselfish goodwill and cooperation.”
-Lord Baden-Powell

Outdoor experiences and learning new things excites the mind, heart, and spirit. They are key building blocks in shaping the interests and character of our youth. Camp programs can become the perfect laboratory as they partner with families, and the Church, by providing a wide-array of exciting activities, adventures, spiritual connections, and learning opportunities.  Wow; wouldn’t any parent or Church leader want to have such a tremendous resource to help nurture and develop their children?

One of our camp and high adventure base visions is:

“Provide camp experiences that educate, empower, and inspire youth to not fear the future, but to discover their Creator, believe in their dreams, and realize their potential.  To transform them into young people of integrity and courage that can bring a mighty change into the lives of others and the world around them.”

How is that for some outcomes? That is a vision that we would love to achieve not only at Scout camps but within homes, troops, Aaronic Priesthood quorums and young women’s organizations!  Scout camp programs can be a model to emulate for leaders and parents back in their units and families.

Something for Everyone (Young Women and Young Men)

12 and 13 year old Scouts

img_9825Boys want to have fun at camp.  Parents and leaders want to make sure that they are earning merit badges too. We’ve revamped many of our camp programs so that these Scouts can combine merit badge learning with outdoor skills, challenging and exciting activities, and team-building experiences.  In many of our camps we call these Green Adventure Tracks.

One example is Above and Below: head out for 1 ½ days with your fellow team members and learn about Astronomy, Weather, and Earth Science.  Not only do participants earn the merit badges, but they do cool stuff, like making weather stations and collecting data, gathering geology specimens, and observing the planets and constellations.

Older Boys (14-18)

Many of these boys have passed the merit badge stage. They want high-octane adventure that will grab them and give them an adrenaline rush. We’ve developed Blue and Black Diamond Adventure Tracks at Scout Camps, and Scout High Adventure Bases, that are all about disconnecting from virtual reality and connecting big-time back into reality and the awesome world around them.

9400102033_313cc13eb0_oA new program that we introduced this year down at Entrada High Adventure Base (Moab) is Canyoneering. It’s an Indiana Jones experience! They will explore remote, awe-inspiring backcountry.  Moving over vertical rock, rappelling down cliff faces into hidden chambers, and navigating through canyon walls hundreds of feet high frees the mind, humbles the body, excites the spirit, and challenges each person in extraordinary ways.

Young Women

9400110503_c0a4b60691_oGirls want to have fun too. And they are coming up to Scout camps in droves. Our camps have become so exciting that young women want to participate as well. We have a record number of Young Women and ecclesiastical leaders signing up for girls camps. Why? “We want to have fun and experience adventure like the boys do!”


We sit down with ward and stake Young Women leaders and help them plan out a girls camp experience like they have never had before. They are able to couple their young women values training with high adventure extracurricular activities during their week at camp. How do these activities sound: climbing and rappelling, river running, high-ropes COPE and zip lines, kayak archery, rifle and pistol marksmanship, swimming, sailing, paddle sports, low COPE reaction courses, nature study, wilderness hiking, star parties, and mountain biking?

Scouting… Changing the World

Camp programs are more than lighting camp fires and setting up tents. Scouting principles complement and help the Aaronic Priesthood, Young Women, and leaders develop noteworthy attributes: Honor, Service and Duty to God… while they strive to be “physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

To learn more we invite you to contact us by going to and clicking on the Camping tab. We have professional camp directors that are ready and excited to work with you.

Steve Sutherland
Author:  Steve Sutherland | Camping Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. 801.361.2508

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2 thoughts on “How to Use Our Camp Adventure Tracks to Build Boys

  1. AvatarMatt Woodruff

    I took my troop to scout camp this past July and had an interesting experience. We weren’t able to fully appreciate the adventure track system that you are describing. The boys were excited and willing to learn, however our camp suffered greatly because of the low staff turnout. I could tell the camp director was overwhelmed and wanted the scouts to have fun. His frustrations were felt the entire week as one by one counselors were walking off the mountain. I am going to try a different camp this year and I hope it’s a better experience for me and my boys. We still came away from it with a lot of merit badges and fun memories.

    My question is what is the council doing to improve staff moral and commitment? How can I help?

  2. AvatarJulie Pinkham

    Thanks for a terrific scout camp. Our boys had a fabulous experience. If I may share: in sacrament meeting the following Sunday, my son related how his testimony of prayer was strengthened when he prayed for help as he worked on the canoeing merit badge. They were working on the t-rescue, and the canoe they were attempting to put on top of theirs was very heavy. He prayed, and help came. He bore that testimony on Sunday, and mentioned that one of the boys working on that had hurt his arm when the canoe slipped–my son felt responsible. He prayed again for that boy, and was relieved to learn on arriving back to camp that no damage had been done. The boy who was hurt got up next to bear his testimony and said, “On my way back to camp, my arm stopped hurting. I didn’t know why. Thank you for praying for me.”

    Thanks again for your help.
    Yours in Scouting


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