Outdoor Adventures

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High Adventure

A high-adventure experience includes several days of trekking in wilderness and other rugged, remote locations.

National High Adventure Bases

The Boy Scouts of America operates four national high-adventure bases that provide outdoor adventure opportunities for older Scouts and Venturers and training opportunities for leaders.

Florida Sea Base

  • Three sites in the Florida Keys, with a satellite location in the Bahamas
  • A variety of water activities including SCUBA, sailing, snorkeling, and fishing
  • 13,922 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders attended in 2013.
  • Hosts a conference and retreat center.

Northern Tier

  • In northern Minnesota, with two satellite locations in Canada
  • The BSA’s cold weather research center where members learn cold weather camping skills, such as dog sledding, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snow shelter building, animal tracking, cold weather cooking, and ice fishing
  • 5,686 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders attended in 2013.
  • Hosts a national training center.

Philmont Scout Ranch

  • Located on 232,500 acres of the Sangre De Cristo mountain wilderness
  • Thirty-five staffed program camps that Scouts and Venturers take part in, including backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, living history programs, fly-fishing, mountain biking, conservation, astronomy, and rock climbing
  • 35,054 Scouts, Venturers, and leaders attended in 2013.
  • Hosts the Philmont Training Center.

The Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve
( www.summitbechtelreserve.org or https://summit.scouting.org)

  • The BSA’s newest high-adventure base is located in south central West Virginia, adjacent to the New River Gorge National River and occupying the easternmost base camps on the 10,600-acre Summit site.
  • Twelve separate high-adventure venues provide Scouts and Venturers with a wide array of world-class extreme sports challenges including cross-country and downhill mountain biking, canopy tours, zip-lining, climbing, skateboarding, archery, challenge courses, BMX, and white-water rafting.
  • The Summit hosts:
    • The BSA’s quadrennial national Scout jamboree
    • The Paul R. Christen National High Adventure Base
    • The James C. Justice National Scout Camp
    • A national training center

Local Council High-Adventure Bases
Local councils operate a number of high-adventure bases across the country.

  • Available to older Boy Scouts and Venturers
  • Activities may include backpacking, canoeing, mountain biking, horse packing, mountain climbing, ski touring, rafting, kayaking, or a host of other outdoor adventure

Project COPE

Project COPE is an acronym for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience.

  • Consists of a series of outdoor challenges, progressing from basic group initiative games to more complicated low-course and high-course activities
  • Participants climb, swing, balance, jump, and rappel, as well as think through solutions to a variety of challenges.
  • Objectives include building teams, solving problems, making decisions, and developing trust, communication, leadership, planning, and self-esteem as team members cooperate to achieve goals.


Climbing was added to the BSA program in 1997, after Scouts identified climbing as an increasingly popular activity.

  • Topping Out: A BSA Climbing/Rappelling Manual describes and illustrates the climbing and rappelling techniques recommended by the BSA.
  • Climb On Safely is the BSA’s recommended procedure for organizing and managing climbing and rappelling activities at all levels of the Scouting program.
  • The Climbing merit badge is an optional merit badge that a Scout may earn toward the attainment of the Star, Life, and Eagle ranks, as well as for Eagle Palms.


The conservation program emphasis has been developed to create a positive commitment to improving the environment and conserving natural resources through firsthand experiences and “learning by doing.”

  • The Conservation Good Turn is an opportunity for Scouts to carry out a conservation Good Turn in their home communities.
  • The Conservation Handbook shows units how to select, plan, and carry out a variety of conservation projects at home and in the field.
  • Each council should have a conservation committee that prepares and regularly updates the council’s master conservation plan.
  • Leave No Trace is a nationally recognized outdoor awareness program whose purpose is to help people reduce their impact on the outdoors. Scouts are trained in the principles of Leave No Trace and put those principles into action when participating in outdoor activities. For more information on Leave No Trace, go to http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/TeachingLeaveNoTrace.aspx.
  • Conservation Awards

Cub Scout Day Camps and Twilight Camps

Day and twilight camps are available to Cub Scouts, and do not include any overnight activities. These camps provide opportunities to participate in a variety of outdoor activities.

  • Camps are run by councils or districts.
  • Available to Tiger Cubs, Cub Scouts, and Webelos Scouts
  • Last from one to five days and are held during the day or early evening

Long-Term Resident Camps

Long-term resident camps are available to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Venturers. Camps are typically six days and five nights for Boy Scouts and two or three nights for Cub Scouts.

  • Camps are run by councils.
  • Programs provide numerous opportunities for Scouts to earn merit badges along their advancement trail.

All Scout camps are inspected and accredited annually by teams of trained volunteers to ensure the health, safety, and quality of program.

For more information on outdoor adventures, go to http://www.scouting.org/BoyScouts/Resources/olderboyadventure.aspx.

Updated April 2014



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