The New Troop’s First Campout
This guided campout and training session for new Scout troops is designed to give them a good beginning in their first camping experience. This program can be done under the supervision of the campmaster corps.
An effective and satisfying outdoor program is vital to the success of any Scout troop. Even more important is the promise made to each Scout that they are joining a program of fun and outdoor adventure. They have visions of camping and hiking that must become real.
This troop camping experience is designed to get the new troop off to a running start in using the best methods of Scout camping. It is a guided experience in weekend camping under the troop’s own leadership, but under the coaching and influence of several experienced adult leaders provided by the council or district.
In councils using this plan, the results will be gratifying and easily identifiable:
- The troop will learn the best methods—the correct method, the patrol method of Scout camping—without costly experimentation.
- The troop will use proper equipment.
- The troop acquires the ability to program itself in meaningful and enjoyable outdoor fun.
- Troops will learn the relationships among outdoor skills, advancement, and Scout ideals.
- Troops will have an opportunity to learn to schedule a balanced program of indoor preparation and outdoor activity.
- Troop leaders will gain know-how and confidence.
Who is eligible to attend?
The question is sometimes raised as to the advisability of having reorganized troops or old troops with new leaders and new Scouts attend this training session. Only the local council can resolve this question. If such troops can be accommodated, it would be good for them to attend. Almost any troop could find some benefits in such a campout experience.
When should this training be done?
This can be done anytime, but it will be more effective if it is done after the leaders have taken some basic training. The training would be more effective if the weather is reasonably mild.
How to Get Started
- Study the plan as suggested in this outline. (This applies to the Scout executive and camping director or staff person related to the project.)
- Discuss the plan in an executive staff meeting.
- Present the plan for consideration to the council camping and activities committees.
- The camping and/or activities committee recommends executive board approval of the plan.
- After board approval, leadership is recruited for the project and dates are set for courses.
Sample Letter of Invitation to Troop Camping Know-How
After the campout dates are set, an invitation is sent to the eligible troop. This should be sent four to six weeks before the proposed campout. The following invitation is an example:
Welcome to the great outdoors of Scouting! To help you and your Scouts on your first camping trip, the ____________________ Council has set aside a camping area known as ____________________ Camp, located at ______________________________.
On behalf of the ____________________ Council, I wish to invite you and your Scouts to attend a campout from 10 A.M. Saturday to 3 P.M. Sunday at Camp ____________________. (Or use alternate days, 5 P.M. Friday to 5 P.M. Saturday.)
This preparation program is designed to give new Scouts and their leaders an overnight experience in Scout camping. A team of experienced Scouters will be directing the camp.
There will be no camp fee for the use of these facilities on this weekend. The only charge will be for food—the standard menu, which you will purchase at home and bring with you for the outing. The cost is approximately $5 per person. The menu and food list will be sent to you when you file your application for the campout.
I do hope you will take advantage of this opportunity, designed especially for your troop. To ensure a place for your troop, the attached application should be filled out immediately. Upon receipt of your reservation, your camping permit with complete instructions will be sent to you.
Call a meeting of your troop committees and talk things over. Adventure awaits you and your Scouts in this program of camping.
Sample Camp Reservation
To: ____________________ Council
From: Troop Number ____ District ____________________
We accept your invitation to attend the Fast Start on (dates for your troop) ____________________.
We will have approximately _____ Scouts and _____ leaders present. We will expect to arrive at camp at _____ (A.M./P.M.). If for any reason we change the above plans, we will notify you.
Sample Letter of Instruction to the Troop
When the troop has specified the date for the campout, the council sends further information, perhaps in the following manner:
We are happy to learn that you have accepted our invitation to attend a campout at ____________________ Camp. We are all looking forward to having you enjoy the fine facilities and program that have been arranged for you and your Scouts.
Your regular camping permit is enclosed for ____________________. The adviser for this campout will be ____________________, telephone __________.
Enclosed are directions for getting to the camp, an outline of the weekend program, and a copy of the food order. Follow the menu noted on the order form, as it is a valuable part of the program. Each of your Scouts should be asked to bring a sandwich for Saturday noon.
Each Scout and leader carries his own personal gear, along with his share of patrol or troop equipment and food.
As soon as the troop arrives at camp, you should check in with ____________________. You will be directed to the camping area where you will meet with the other leaders who will help you have a fun-filled camping experience.
Enclosures: Overnight camp permit, program outline, menu and food order, directions to camp, equipment available for loan from camp
Equipment a Patrol Should Be Issued
(The camp will have available for checkout.)
Health and Safety
Patrol Duty Roster
(Divide the responsibility and share the load.)
Weekend and overnight camps—change tasks after each meal, if desired.
Long-term and summer camp—change tasks after noon meal cleanup.
Adjust assignments to fit the number of Scouts in the patrol.
Use the additional patrol members where needed.
Wood and water
Bring in water and wood or charcoal; start fires for cooks in plenty of time. Keep woods tools sharpened and in good condition.
- Pick up and cook food, following cooking instructions carefully, and serve meals on time. Supervise cleanup.
- Prepare wash and rinse water so patrol members can wash their individual dishes. Clean up patrol area and patrol dishes under the supervision of the cooks.
Note: If the troop is already working on new-Scout activities, these assignments can be used toward Tenderfoot through First Class requirements.
A Guide for Briefing Scoutmasters
If two to four troops will be coming at one time, it would be helpful if their leaders could meet for a short briefing in town before the campout. Otherwise, the following material should be discussed with each Scoutmaster personally:
- How many Scouts and leaders are attending?
- What equipment will patrols have?
- What equipment will patrols need?
- What is the Scoutmaster’s role as trainer?
- What time will they arrive? Leave?
- Will the campout be held rain or shine?
- Scoutmasters should encourage Scouts to pack their packs as demonstrated in the Scouts BSA Handbook.
- Use the Fast Start instruction sheet.
- Bring the food as suggested in the instructions.
- Observe religious services.
Be sure to convey to the leaders that they, not you, are the leaders of their troops. Your job as instructor will be to illustrate and explain, but not take over and lead the troops. (This is similar to the role of troop guide with the new-Scout patrol.)
This is a good time to give a simple packing demonstration so that the new leaders can teach this important phase of camping to the Scouts.
Guidance should also be given as to the type and size of equipment to buy if the troop intends to secure camping equipment before the campout. Stress the following points:
- Official BSA equipment is youth-sized and youth-priced and will last.
- Always get two-person tents.
- Each patrol should have a cooking tarp and cook kit.
- Have one saw per patrol.
- The official BSA fiber-filled sleeping bag is good even in freezing weather. If colder weather is expected, an extra blanket is necessary.
Commissary and Cooking Instructions
Patrols should be encouraged to purchase and pack their own food. They will cook as patrols, rotating their duties. Note that the menu and food order is for an eight-person patrol. If only four people attend, cut the quantity in half. If six people attend, take two-thirds of these quantities. If five people attend, better buy for six; for seven people, better buy for eight. Troop leaders may be guests of patrols or may cook and eat separately. Each patrol should have three stacked pots of various sized and a frying pan.
Cooking and Preparing Meals
The first meal in almost any campout could be a sandwich and soup. This will save time in setting up camp quickly. The staff may supply the soup for the entire group, as well as cookies and a hot or cold drink. This can be donated by the council, or each troop could be charged a nominal fee to cover the actual cost. If patrols are to furnish their own soup or cocoa, then a large pot of water should be set on a fire as soon as possible. Do this first.
At 5 P.M., each patrol should send its cook and assistant to the cooking area for briefing on the cooking procedures by the program staff, then return to the patrol site for food preparation.
- Yukon Pete Goulash. Bring a gallon of water to a rolling boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 1 pound of elbow macaroni. Stir. Do not let the macaroni stick to the bottom or to itself. In another pot or large frying pain, place 1/4 pound of bacon, chopped in small pieces. Fry it brown. Add a cup of chopped onions. Brown the onions. Then sprinkle in 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef in small pieces. Let it fry until brown. Stir often. When brown, add two cans of tomato soup (no water). Stir this until it is well-heated. When macaroni is tender to cut, pour off the water. After the macaroni is drained, pour it into the meat sauce and stir until heated through. Add salt and pepper and serve.
- Lettuce Salad. To make the salad, slice the lettuce into a pan, then cut up the pickles and mix with lettuce. Pour small amount of pickle juice over salad and mix.
- Peaches. Serve dessert in each person’s cup after he has finished his milk.
This is a buddy cookout. Two people pair up and cook eggs and bacon in a frying pan or on a hobo stove—a No. 10 metal can with vents in bottom and top. Put on a large pot of water so that everyone can use it for making individual cocoa. Oranges are halved or quartered.
Each person in the patrol can cook his individual kabob dinner on a wire skewer or stick. Each patrol should have a hot bed of coals before starting. Cut steak or other meat into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Peel potato and onion, wash, and slice them into 1/4-inch slices and place alternately on the skewer with the meat. Broil over coals until potato is cooked, then eat it from the stick when cooled.
Follow camp procedures for cleanup of refuse. All garbage should be disposed of properly. Follow the principles of Leave No Trace.
Patrol Menu and Food Order
|(Quantities should be adjusted according to standard size of patrols, or eight people.)|
|Meal||Menu||Food Items||Quantity||Fill in Qty,||Cost|
|Dinner||Yukon Pete Goulash||Macaroni||1 lb.||__________||__________|
|Pickles||1 small jar||__________||__________|
|Onions||3 (1/3 lb.)||__________||__________|
|Sliced pickles||Ground beef||1 1/2 lb.||__________||__________|
|Lettuce salad||Tomato soup||2 cans||__________||__________|
|Bread and butter||Bacon||1/4 lb.||__________||__________|
|Salt and pepper||__________||__________|
|Peaches (sliced)||2 no. 2 cans||__________||__________|
|Cereal||Dry cereal||8 ind. boxes||__________||__________|
|Hot cocoa||Hot cocoa mix||8 ind. pkgs.||__________||__________|
|Kabobs||Steak for kabob||2 lb.||__________||__________|
|Potatoes||Potatoes||8 @ 3 lb.||__________||__________|
|Number of people ____||Average Costs||$_________|
|__________________ COUNCIL||BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA|
Camping Fast Start
With this Fast Start program, each new Scout troop is carefully introduced to a weekend of camping and fun. The experience is planned to expose the new troop to certain Scout camping requirements and methods.
The troop is the guest of the council. After this guided camping experience, the troop is eligible to use any and all council camps.
Specific time has been omitted from a number of program items to allow flexible scheduling and sequence according to the desires of the leaders and the season of the year.
Note: The staff will act as instructors (just as the troop guide does in the troop) in this entire program, using the troop’s own leaders whenever possible and constantly building up these leaders whenever possible.
Instruction to Camp Staff Leader in Charge of Camping Fast Start
_____________________ Council, Boy Scouts of America
According to our camp leaders' schedule, you are to serve as camp leader and assistants for the Fast Start on _____________ (date).
Your troop will be _____________.
So that you and the troops may have an enjoyable and beneficial campout, we suggest the following:
Good camping and good Scouting!
- Letter to Scoutmasters
- Menu and food order
- Weekend program
- Equipment lists
- Weekend program
Fast Start Troop Camp Report
Troop __________ Town ____________________ District ____________________
Camp Leader's Report
Check in on __________, 20___ Number of Scouts __________
Waterfront rules observed ______________________________________________________
General observations of this troop _________________________________________
Notice to Instructors
Before the camping session ends, be sure you have left these impressions indelibly imprinted on the adult leaders, patrols, and Scouts who have participated.
- Scouting is fun.
- Camping is the heart and core of Scouting. Be sure that leaders understand the purpose and method of Scout camping.
- Scout camping means using self-reliance—doing for yourself and others. Camping is the vehicle used by adults to expose Scouts to situations that will help build character, develop citizenship traits, and produce fitness.
- Camping must be done in a neat, clean manner, leaving no trace.
- There are rules in camping.
- Camping in a patrol is teamwork, fun, and an experience in citizenship.
- Scout advancement comes automatically with good hiking and camping.
- Good equipment and trained leaders make camping more fun.
- The proper use of nature and the outdoors will preserve it for you and for everyone else in the future.
- Go camping at least once a month.
- Sign up for summer camp soon.
Equipment for Use in Staff Demonstrations
These and other training items, as needed, should be kept in a special box, kit, or pack, and used only for this training.
Scouts BSA Handbook
No. 10 metal can
3/4 hand ax
Trail chef kit
Troop Program Features, Volumes I, II, and III
Current-year Roundtable Planning Guide, available from BSA local council
Troop Leader Guidebook
Campfire Program Planner