What is Troop Camping Know-How?

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:

  1. The troop will learn the best methods—the correct method, the patrol method of Scout camping—without costly experimentation.
  2. The troop will use proper equipment.
  3. The troop acquires the ability to program itself in meaningful and enjoyable outdoor fun.
  4. Troops will learn the relationships among outdoor skills, advancement, and Scout ideals.
  5. Troops will have an opportunity to learn to schedule a balanced program of indoor preparation and outdoor activity.
  6. 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

  1. Study the plan as suggested in this outline. (This applies to the Scout executive and camping director or staff person related to the project.)
  2. Discuss the plan in an executive staff meeting.
  3. Present the plan for consideration to the council camping and activities committees.
  4. The camping and/or activities committee recommends executive board approval of the plan.
  5. 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:


Dear Scoutmaster:

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.

Sincerely yours,



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.


______________________________ ______________________________
Scoutmaster (Please print.) Telephone

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:


Dear Scoutmaster:

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.


  • Uniform (if possible)
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sweater or jacket
  • Raincoat or poncho
  • Extra pair of socks
  • Handkerchief
  • Sweatshirt


  • Knife
  • Spoon
  • Bowl/plate
  • Fork
  • Cup
  • Canteen
  • Pocketknife
  • Matches
  • Individual toilet paper roll in plastic bag
  • Compass
  • Sleeping bag/warm blankets
  • Ground cloth


  • Tennis shoes
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Soap in waterproof container
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Washbasin
  • First-aid kit

Optional Items

  • Watch
  • Camera and film
  • Musical instrument
  • Scout Handbook
  • Fieldbook

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.)

  • Patrol flag on stave
  • 12-by-16-foot dining fly, or a trail tarp
  • Poles, tent pegs, and guy lines

Cooking Equipment

  • Large spoon
  • Large fork
  • Spatula
  • Can opener
  • Potato peeler
  • Carving knife
  • Paring knife
  • Hot tongs
  • Sugar container
  • Salt/pepper containers

Camp Tools

  • 3/4 ax [[fraction]]
  • Bow saw
  • Camp shovel
  • 8-inch mill file
  • Sharpening stone

Health and Safety

  • Two 4-by-4-inch plastic sheets
  • First-aid kit
  • Toilet paper in plastic bag
  • Screw-top water container
  • Rubber scraper
  • Liquid soap
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Two 14-quart galvanized buckets
  • Box of trash bags
  • Roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil


  • Two-person tents

Optional Equipment

  • Gloves
  • Dutch oven
  • Table cover
  • Mixing bowls

Patrol Duty Roster

Buddy System
(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.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
____________________ Wood and water Cleanup Cooks Wood and water Cleanup Cooks
____________________ Cooks Wood and water Cleanup Cooks Wood and water Cleanup
____________________ Cleanup Cooks Wood and water Cleanup Cooks Wood and water

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

Saturday Lunch

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.

Saturday Supper

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.

Sunday Breakfast

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.

Sunday Lunch

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


Troop number _____ Patrol name ____________________
(Quantities should be adjusted according to standard size of patrols, or eight people.)
Meal Menu Food Items Quantity Fill in Qty, Cost
  • Hot soup (supplied by camp)
  • Sandwiches (each Scout brings his)
  • Hot or cold drink (supplied by camp)
  • Cookies (supplied by camp)
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. __________ __________
  Cookies Lettuce 1 head __________ __________
  Peaches Bread 1 loaf __________ __________
  Milk Butter 1/4 lb. __________ __________
    Salt and pepper   __________ __________
    Cookies 2 lb. __________ __________
    Milk 1 gal. __________ __________
    Peaches (sliced) 2 no. 2 cans __________ __________
Breakfast Hobo breakfast
  Oranges Oranges 8 __________ __________
  Cereal Dry cereal 8 ind. boxes __________ __________
  Bacon Bacon 1 lb. __________ __________
  Eggs Eggs 2 each __________ __________
  Bread Bread 1 loaf __________ __________
  Jam Jam 1-lb. jar __________ __________
  Hot cocoa Hot cocoa mix 8 ind. pkgs. __________ __________
    Milk 1 gal. __________ __________
    Sugar 1 lb. __________ __________
Lunch Trail Special
  Kabobs Steak for kabob 2 lb. __________ __________
  Potatoes Potatoes 8 @ 3 lb. __________ __________
  Onions Onions 3 medium __________ __________
  Jam Jam 1-lb. jar __________ __________
  Bread Bread 1 loaf __________ __________
  Milk Milk 1 gal. __________ __________
Number of people ____ Average Costs   $_________
Total Cost   $_________

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.





11:00 A.M.

Arrive at camp. Meet the staff.


12:15 P.M.

Trail box lunch; flag ceremony by each troop.


1:00 P.M.

Organize for camp; camp leaders meet unit leaders. Decide formation of patrols (if not formed). Select patrol positions of responsibility. Name patrol, develop yell and totem.


1:30 P.M.

Woods tools; preparing the firewood; sharpening, using, and caring for your knife; caring for and sharpening your ax; tinder; kindling. Earn kindling. Earn Totin’ Chip.


2:00 P.M.

Show tents already up; also the use of the dining fly. Show methods of making a good ground bed. Stress the patrol camp. Scouts erect shelter.


3:00 P.M.

Scout safety precautions in the woods; knowing poisonous plants and avoiding accidents is the best first aid. Demonstrate first aid for insect bites, blisters, cuts, scalds. Stress the buddy system.


4:00 P.M.

Hiking and footgear: shoes, socks. The hiking methods, speed, safety, cross-country safety on highways, what to do when lost.


4:30 P.M.

Fire building: Locate and prepare a fire site. Lay and light a cooking fire. Do cooking demonstration involving cooking with pots and pans, Dutch ovens, aluminum foil, and utensils. Show hobo stove and demonstrate as far as possible exactly how a patrol gets a meal ready and cleans up.



Cleanup: Dispose of garbage in proper manner, put out fire, clean up site.


5:00 P.M.

Cooks gather for meal preparation explanation.


5:45 P.M.

Flag ceremony: Have troop’s senior patrol leader lead a simple ceremony.


6:00 P.M.

Patrols prepare supper: Yukon Pete Goulash.


7:30 P.M.

Patrol leaders’ council meeting: Prepare campfire program using planner, No. 33696. Each patrol leader explains program to patrol.


8:30 P.M.



9:30 P.M.

Cracker barrel.







7:00 A.M.

Reveille; personal hygiene.


7:30 A.M.

Prepare for breakfast: buddy cooking; Hobo Breakfast.


8:30 A.M.

Flag ceremony; announcements by the Scoutmaster in charge.


9:00 A.M.

Religious services.


10:00 A.M.

Map reading

  1. Read at least five map symbols.

  2. Orient a camp map and follow a route far enough to show that you understand how to use a map.




  1. Explain how a compass works.

  2. In the field, set a compass and read a degree bearing on it.




  1. Determine the length of your step, using a measured-step course.

  2. Walk a course for which you must follow three compass-degree bearings and measure three distances with your step.



Prepare for dinner: Trail Special.


1:30 P.M.

Closing ceremony: Make awards presentation, lower flag, depart for home.



Note: The activities planned are only recommendations. Some troops may not be able to work as quickly as others. Do activities as the Scouts are able to master the skills.

Instruction to Camp Staff Leader in Charge of Camping Fast Start

_____________________ Council, Boy Scouts of America

To: Camp Leader
  Copy to Assistant Camp Leaders

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 _____________.

Troop ____ Town __________________
Scoutmaster __________________ Number of Scouts and Leaders ______

So that you and the troops may have an enjoyable and beneficial campout, we suggest the following:

  • Read the enclosures: copy of letter to Scoutmasters, menu and program for camp leader, copy of program for assistants.
  • We suggest you go to camp Friday evening after supper, if possible, to have time to prepare for the troops. The camp leader should be clear with assistant camp leaders regarding their transportation.
  • Check in at camp; secure keys and other material.
  • Prepare your own quarters, camp leader's area, and the tent or training area.
  • Review detailed program with assistant camp leader and arrange assignments for the campout.
  • Check over equipment for each troop. If any equipment you need is not there, arrange to secure it. Check on recognition.
  • On the first morning, check troop sites and equipment on hand: tents, woods tools, etc.
  • Set up demonstration areas, tents, patrol kitchens, etc.
  • Prepare lunch.
  • Check troops as they arrive and pick up permits.
  • Review program with Scoutmasters, make assignments of troop staff in program, and discuss tools available, heating and cooking, care of equipment, lunch, and starting time for program.
  • Revise program as necessary because of weather. Be sure Scouts and leaders have fun, learn about Scouting, and keep warm and dry.
  • Follow the program. Work through the Scoutmaster and staff. The camp leader and assistants are to lead and guide the troop leaders so that the troop will have a happy and worthwhile experience.
  • Use the patrol method, involving the senior patrol leader and patrol leaders whenever possible.
  • At the end of camp, check the troops out. With the Scoutmasters, review the condition of the area, equipment, fire sites, and firewood supply. Store equipment in boxes and return. Set a pattern on cleanup, neatness, and care of equipment.
  • Clean up camp leader area, put out all fires, and return borrowed equipment.
  • Check out; complete camp leader's report. Return permit and keys.
  • Pass along any suggestions or comments that will be helpful in future management of this training.

Good camping and good Scouting!


Camp Leaders

  • 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 __________
Check out on __________, 20___ Number of adults __________

Waterfront rules observed ______________________________________________________
Fires in proper places adequately protected ____________________________________
Before departures, fires extinguished __________________________________________
Garbage properly disposed, with cans flattened and boxes broken down ___________
Adult leaders in charge __________________________ ___________________________
Orderly camp ___________________________________________________________________
Shelter left in order __________________________________________________________

Remarks _______________________________________________________________________

General observations of this troop _________________________________________

Signed ___________________________

Notice to Instructors

A Recap

Before the camping session ends, be sure you have left these impressions indelibly imprinted on the adult leaders, patrols, and Scouts who have participated.

  1. Scouting is fun.
  2. Camping is the heart and core of Scouting. Be sure that leaders understand the purpose and method of Scout camping.
  3. 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.
  4. Camping must be done in a neat, clean manner, leaving no trace.
  5. There are rules in camping.
  6. Camping in a patrol is teamwork, fun, and an experience in citizenship.
  7. Scout advancement comes automatically with good hiking and camping.
  8. Good equipment and trained leaders make camping more fun.
  9. The proper use of nature and the outdoors will preserve it for you and for everyone else in the future.
  10. Go camping at least once a month.
  11. 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.




Silva compass


Scouts BSA Handbook


No. 10 metal can


3/4 hand ax


1-inch file


Sharpening stone


Chef kit


Trail chef kit


Bow saw


Tin snips


Troop Program Features, Volumes I, II, and III


Current-year Roundtable Planning Guide, available from BSA local council


Troop Leader Guidebook


Campfire Program Planner