Ask Pop: Your BSA Property and Outdoor Program Questions Answered

By BSA Outdoor Programs, Local Council Experts and National Subcommittees

Ask Pop is a new monthly column in the Trail to Adventure Blog focused on answering questions submitted by you! Each month we will highlight a few of the questions submitted. Do you have a question you need answered? Do you have a perplexing challenge you want to ask the larger BSA properties and outdoor program community? Submit your questions to outdoorprograms@scouting.org and even if they are not featured in the blog, you will get an answer!

Q: My district is hosting a fall festival family camp for Cub Scout packs. They want to have hayrides and pumpkin chunkin,’ is this ok?

A: Great question! Fall is in full swing and with it comes the opportunity to get Scouts outside in cooler weather with awesome themes! A few things to consider when hosting a fall-themed Scouting activity:

  • Hayrides: Page 48 of the Guide to Safe Scouting (GTSS check that out here) walks through the “how-to” safely offer a hayride at your fall themed family camp. A few items we will mention in addition to what is listed in the GTSS:
    • With Cub Scouts, be sure parents are present to be sure Scouts stay seated, and their legs stay inside the trailer and are not “hanging” off. Proper adult supervision is present, remember the driver of the hayride cannot do this plus drive safely.
    • Good lighting is key not just when on the ride, but also when getting on and off the ride if it is at night. You might need some steps, a step ladder to be sure folks can easily enter and exit the hayride.
    • Have some songs, jokes or other simple program fun you can add to the ride!
  • Pumpkin Chunkin: Reread this great blog from Bryan on Scouting here and check out page 35-36 of the Guide to Safe Scouting (GTSS check that out here). This is a prohibited activity in the BSA (see #7 on the list). So, what else could you do at your family camp with a pumpkin? Here are a few of our suggestions!
    • Have the Scouts have a Pumpkin Roll race! Scouts would roll the pumpkin down a “lane.” This is a hit with Cubs!
    • Pumpkin Decorating or Carving
    • Pumpkin Themed Cooking – Which pack has the best pumpkin themed recipe? Several rank of Cub Scouts could cook outdoors, and this could be a fun themed based way to weave in some Cub Scout adventure requirements.

 As you work with your district planning team, be sure to engage your short-term camp administrator, who can support your committee too.  Finally, while many spooky things could be included, the goal should be to help Scouts feel excited, not terrified. Scary stories, songs and skits can be a great addition, but the material should be reviewed for age appropriateness and to ensure Scouts have an amazing experience at camp. Have fun and thanks for asking!

 

Q: I am a new short-term camp administrator, and my council said the council NCAP committee is supposed to assess our short-term camps. Can you clarify this for me?

A: Short-term camps must be assessed by their National Camping School certified short-term camp administrator. The short-term camp administrator is a new position in Scouting and plays a valuable role long before the assessment takes place. Local council NCAP committees could certainly provide support, but the short-term camp is assessed by their certified short-term camp administrator. Check out NCAP standards SA-003, SQ-403, and AO-812 for more information. Thanks for serving as a short-term camp administrator! More questions about short-term camps? Check out our short-term camp website here.

 

Q: Is there an official swimsuit policy in the BSA? Camp has ended but we want to be prepared for 2022 and this question has come up several times.

A: Our policy is based on Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse: Put simply, “Appropriate attire is required for all activities.”

Our additional guidance is that swimsuits should be comfortable, functional, and appropriate for the specific activity. We strongly encourage local council policies to be equitable regardless of gender.