The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are two organizations that give kids the opportunity to learn a variety of skills, such as tying knots, first aid, orienteering, and cooking over an open fire. Camping with the Boy Scouts can be both exciting and memorable, especially if the camping trip involves a remote wilderness area. Safety is important while camping, so it’s important to follow rules about lighting fires, hiking, and cooking. Of course, camping will also involve enjoyable activities such as sitting around a campfire, playing games, and making crafts. Remember to leave every location you camp in in better condition than you found it so that others can enjoy it, too.
Campout Planning and Equipment
Planning a camping trip takes work and organization to make sure you have all of the gear everyone will need. Make a list and pack basic equipment such as tents, dining flies, drop cloths, cooking equipment, tools, sleeping gear, cleaning items, food, and first aid essentials. Most scouting groups also create a list of things each individual camper should bring so everyone has the things needed during the camping trip. This list will include essentials such as outerwear, clothing, toiletries, sleeping bags, and personal items.
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Cooking for a scouting group will involve a number of different techniques, including roasting foods over an open fire, cooking on a fire with equipment such as a cast iron pan and a Dutch oven, and cooking on a camp stove. A Dutch oven is a versatile vessel that is large enough to boil, steam, stew, and even bake in over the fire. Dutch ovens might be made of cast iron or aluminum. You’ll also need leather gloves to protect your hands from the fire, hot pot pliers, and basic cooking utensils. A menu that includes basic dishes such as stews, soups, casseroles, burgers, vegetables, and desserts should appeal to all campers.
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Campfire Program Planning
Sitting around the campfire at night can be one of the most memorable things about camping. Planning a campfire program helps ensure that everyone has fun. Add activities such as singing, telling stories, playing games, and cooking snacks to your campfire program. You might assign program planning to smaller groups within your larger group and have everyone participate in planning different activities for different nights.
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Basic First Aid
Accidents and injuries are an unfortunate possibility when camping, so you need to be prepared to handle these situations. Pack a well-stocked first aid kit with equipment and medicines so you can respond to a variety of emergencies. Potential situations may include heatstroke, wounds and infection, broken bones, head injuries, snake bites, respiratory distress, altitude sickness, allergic reactions, or bleeding. Encourage adults to get first aid training so they know how to respond in emergencies.
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Fire safety is crucial when camping due to the use of campfires and camp stoves. Build fires only in cleared areas, and never leave fires unattended. Make fires just big enough for small groups to sit around comfortably, and keep everyone at least three feet away from the fire unless cooking. Campers should be discouraged from poking the fire with sticks or throwing objects into the fire. Keep a bucket of sand or water near the fire to extinguish it. And never leave a fire until you know it’s completely out.
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Group games are not only enjoyable for campers, but they also keep everyone happily occupied during a camping trip. Plan a variety of games and activities. Some games might be more active, such as scavenger hunts, tug of war, relay races, and dodgeball. Other activities should be less active, such as dice games, birdwatching, and memory games.
Scouting knots are essential knots that people often use in the wilderness when hiking and camping. Learning how to tie basic knots can help prepare anyone to spend time in nature. An adjustable grip hitch is ideal for securing tent and laundry lines, and it adjusts easily up and down the rope. A square knot is easy to tie quickly, and it’s useful for tying non-critical objects. Don’t use a square knot to tie two lengths of rope together, though.
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Hiking in the wilderness will probably be something that your scouting group likes to do. Plan hikes that are sufficiently challenging without placing kids in danger. Teach hiking basics such as staying on trails, avoiding plants such as poison ivy and poison sumac, packing backpacks with essentials, and observing wildlife respectfully. Orienteering to maintain a bearing with a compass and map is also beneficial for scouts to learn.
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Leave No Trace
The leave no trace philosophy involves leaving a natural environment in a condition that’s better than when you found it. Always follow posted rules, walk on the path or trail, take nothing but photos, build fires responsibly and carefully, respect wildlife, and be kind to others. Some ways to leave no trace include bringing reusable bags and containers with you, avoiding the use of plastic and paper products, taking your trash with you, and composting food scraps.