10 Ways to Balance Fun and Advancement at Day Camp

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Cub Scouts at Day Camp

Let’s start with a question

“At summer camp, what’s more important for Scouts, advancement or fun?” That’s the question Bryan asks over at Bryan on Scouting, a blog for the BSA’s adult leaders. But to the reader, it quickly becomes clear that it’s a trick question. Good Scout leaders, Bryan asserts, know that it’s not an either/or choice. They know that advancement is fun, and the Day Camp experience they lead will reflect that.

How to strike the perfect balance

That kind of fun doesn’t just happen, however. Bryan on Scouting outlines 10 tips and ideas to balance fun and advancement at Scout camps and to really make them one and the same. Drawn from comments and responses from the Scouting magazine Facebook community, here are a few of those tips but to see the full list, with accompanying insight, head on over to Bryan on Scouting and see how they can relate to Day Camp and to Scouting adventures in your neck of the woods.

1. Make fun the priority

“Have the Scouts put on plenty of sunscreen, let the fun begin, and the advancement will happen (Baden-Powell said something to that effect),” says Dave M.

2. Find the right camp

Most council camps are great. Some are spectacular. “If the Scout camp is run well,” Janeen E.writes, “advancement will be fun!”

3. Select the right merit badges (or Cub Scout adventures)

Leave book-heavy merit badges for when you get back home, says Beth K. “Do the things you can do only at camp (or most easily at camp) and have fun. I discourage Scouts from doing the book-learning merit badges at summer camp. Enjoy the camp opportunities.” Cub Hub says: This one is easily applied to Cub Scout adventures and Webelos pins as well. Choosing to highlight and work on the advancement categories that compliment being outside is a sure fire way to keep Cub Scouts active, engaged, productive and having fun!

4. Count on the staff

You can point Scouts in the right direction, but the staff takes the baton from there. “It comes down to the youth staff and the development the camp puts into their youth staff,” writes Jeff H. “If the counselors teaching the merit badges know their subject and bring energy and excitement to the class, they can be fun. If the Scout teaching the class doesn’t want to be there, neither will the Scouts in the class.”


Want to see the rest? Visit Bryan on Scouting.