The most memorable experiences that come from Scouting are the experiences that the Scouts have as they participate.
Experiences, not badges, are the things that shape youth for the future. Changing the program at camp will allow Scouts to have more of these experiences while progressing in the Scouting program. It is our hope in changing the program offerings at Thunder Ridge that your boys will have more of these experiences that they will remember as a part of their Scouting tenure. Adventure Tracks (aka – “Tracks”) are camp-wide experiences for Scouts to work on selected program elements and merit badges. Some adventures will be in the form of High Adventure experiences, overnight campouts, or in-camp programs. We hope to see ALL your youth at camp this year. We are particularly excited to announce the High Adventure Track at camp for Varsity and Venture age boys!!
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Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the new program at Thunder Ridge
1. What is changing at Thunder Ridge?
The program is the most noticeable thing that will be changing at Thunder Ridge for 2014. Instead of the traditional merit badge “classes” to which many troops have become accustomed, Scouts will be choosing overnight Adventure Tracks on which they will work on merit badges and other programs on their way to and from the campsite where they will be staying for the night.
2. Why is it changing?
The most memorable experiences that come from Scouting are the experiences that they have as they participate. Experiences, not badges, are the things that shape youth for the future. Changing the program at camp will allow Scouts to have more of these experiences while progressing in the Scouting program.
3. What about Merit badges?
While Scouts will be working on merit badges during camp, they will not be attending merit badge classes. Scouts will be going on two overnight Adventure Track experiences in which they will be working on selected Merit badges throughout the experience. The Tracks are led by knowledgeable, trained staff members who are experts in the various program elements offered at camp. The objective of the experience is to provide a great Scouting experience for the boys – the byproducts are the advancements and badges.
4. What are Adventure Tracks?
Adventure Tracks are overnight campout experiences in which Scouts will work on selected program elements and merit badges. Tracks have a variety of different focuses including: Navigation & Direction, Heights & Depths, and Scouting Basics among others. More information about the specific Tracks can be found in the Leader’s Guide.
5. How far do my Scouts have to hike on an Adventure Track?
Scouts will have the opportunity to experience some of the great landscapes and beautiful forests of Thunder Ridge on Adventure Tracks. Depending on the Track, Scouts will hike between 4 – 6 miles roundtrip on their adventures. The High Adventure Track will be much more intensive in terms of hiking. Scouts participating on the High Adventure Track should anticipate between 15 – 20 miles of hiking during the week.
6. What does a week of camp look like?
Scouts will choose two Adventure Tracks from many options. One track will be on Mon-Tues, the other on Wed-Thurs. Adventure Tracks are overnight campout experiences in which Scouts will work on selected program elements and merit badges. Tracks have a variety of different focuses including: Navigation & Direction, Heights & Depths, and Scouting Basics, among others. More information about the specific Tracks can be found in the Leader’s Guide.
Food will be provided to participants while they are out on the Adventure Tracks. Some opportunities for Scouts to do their own cooking will be a part of the experience.
Tuesday night and Thursday night are for the Troop leadership to provide activities that align with what your Chartering Organization would like for their youth to your unit. Activities may include: Firesides, Troop Campfires, Ecclesiastical Leadership Visits, Troop Games, Etc.
On Friday, it is time for a change of pace. We will move from our outdoor learning experience tracks to patrol-based CAMP-WIDE GAMES! Troops plan which member(s) will best fit for each activity. Scout skills, creativity and team work will be a must in completing the necessary challenges to win the day! Friday afternoon promises to be an exciting, challenging and most likely, exhausting end to a great week of camp at Thunder Ridge. Come ready for adventure!
7. What are the benefits of changing the program?
- Boys will be able to learn and grow utilizing the patrol method in camp (particularly if a whole patrol participates in the same Adventure Track).
- Boys will receive a well-rounded Outdoor Experience through participation in Adventure Tracks.
- The updated program offerings more effectively put the “Outing” in Scouting.
- Boys have the opportunity to have in-depth “outing” experiences with our trained and knowledgeable staff, allowing for a more extensive learning engagement.
8. Can my Pre-First Class Scouts still come to camp?
Yes. One of the many Adventure Tracks available to choose from is Scouting Basics in which the Pre-First Class Scouts can work toward a rank advancement. Scouts of all ages are welcome at Thunder Ridge. We have age-appropriate programs that will challenge all levels of Scouts, from the new Scout to the older Varsity and Venturers. We offer a wide variety of Adventure Tracks that will allow Scouts to choose the experience that they will be able to have at camp.
9. What if I have a group of older Scouts?
We have a program specifically designed for the older boys in the High Adventure Track. This program is a week-long track in which the participants have the option to work on the Venturing Outdoor Bronze or Ranger Award. This Track will include a certification in Outdoor Wilderness First Aid.
10. What should boys bring to camp?
All the Adventure Tracks and most of the activities at camp are done on an overnight campout. As such, Scouts should come ready to backpack to a campsite. The camp required/recommended gear list can be found on the Thunder Ridge website at http://www.utahscouts.org/thunderridge.
11. Can my whole Troop/Patrol go on the same Adventure Track?
Yes, we are prepared to take your entire troop on whatever Adventure Tracks they choose. Scouts can also choose Adventure Tracks individually, according to their personal interests.
12. Can a Lone Scout participate in Adventure Tracks?
All Scouts will be participating in Adventure Tracks as groups. Lone Scouts will be able to participate in any Adventure Tracks that they choose. A camp commissioner will also be assigned to your Scout to ensure he is taken care of during the week.
13. What if we do not want to earn one or more of the merit badges offered in the Adventure Track?
Scouts do not have to earn the merit badges on the Adventure Tracks offered. However, the material for each of the topics listed in the Adventure Track will be presented to all the Scouts on that Track. Substitutions or modifications will not be able to be made to any of the programs at camp.
If a unit buys out an entire Adventure Track with enough participants to fill it, units may make substitutions provided that the unit provides the leadership/instructors to run that program.
Author: Nick Hutchinson | Thunder Ridge Scout Camp Director, Orem District Executive, Utah National Parks Council
For further questions visit Thunder Ridge Scout Camp or contact Nick Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (801)-437-6215.