Will your pack attend Camp this summer?
Bill Smith, the Roundtable Guy
There are varieties of Cub Scouting Camps: camps for Cubs and camps for Webelos, day camps and resident camps. Some are in a local park and others are at a Scout camp some distance away. Some leaders and their families may even be camping at Philmont Training Center! Facilities, like shelters, lodges, storage huts and waterfront, differ greatly from camp to camp. No matter what your camp is like, the camps and the staff that run them must conform to BSA standards. I fervently hope that you and the boys in your pack will be attending one of them.
I’m sure that your council has provided you a list of what to expect and especially what to bring with you to camp.
It’s important to have the right number of adult help with you and wear suitable clothing and be equipped with enough rain gear, sun block, med forms, and drinking water.
What will you bring back from camp?
Besides, almost finished craft projects, dirty clothes, and a few insect bites, I hope that you return home with a bunch of special memories and great plans for what your pack or den will do next year.
Think of your time at camp as a relaxed leader training experience. A lot goes on there that can help and inspire you in the years to come. If you are observant and know what to look for you can learn a lot that will help your den, your pack and your boys. The staff that runs your camp are experienced well trained Scouters and can serve as valuable role models for you and the other leaders.
Let’s start with Memories.
As a help, you might take along a note book and a camera. Make notes, keep a journal, and have boys give their input and observations. Take lots of photos. They could make a great display that will help at fall recruiting.
You should get many opportunities to stand back and observe rather that be the instigator and leader. What did the boys enjoy? Did they participate and have fun? Did they cooperate and do their best or merely go through the motions? Would the good activities you see at camp work at your meetings?
What did the boys learn? What made a particular activity a good learning experience? You will probably notice that your boys respond differently to each activity and you may learn some new things about them.
The boys will engage in some new activities that will probably become favorites of theirs for a while. Make notes about them so you can always pop the good ones into your program when things get dull. (I know, you never have dull programs.)
Games are always popular activities and boys enjoy playing their favorites again and again. Keep those in mind – and in your notes - for later. When things get routine next winter, it may be fun to bring out a game they played at camp. Make sure you have the all rules before you leave and note any equipment you may have to add to your game chest.
Camps usually have regular assemblies for openings, closings or camp fires. These can be a treasure of songs, skits and stunts that may become part of your group’s repertoire. If you have trouble leading songs at your pack meetings, try using one of the fun songs the boys know and loved to sing at camp. Learn the tune and get a copy of the words. It might be a good idea to take a portable recorder along so you can bring back a copy. Ask the person who leads the good ones for help.
Watch the camp staff.
How do they manage discipline and control? Try to detect how they use each of these control methods:
- Getting and holding the boys’ attention,
- Explaining the rules,
- Well-planned activities,
- Giving individual attention.
You will see a variety of methods. Which ones worked and which ones could you use?
Many camps employ youth leaders: Boy Scouts or Venturers to lead activities. If you camp does, watch how the Cub Scouts respond to them. Would Den Chiefs work out OK in your program? Sometimes the timing is difficult for a Den Chief to make den meetings, but how about for pack camp outs and other special activities?
How does the camp run?
Camp is a good source of ideas for your pack’s camping program. You should get some insight into topics like:
- Food and food storage – How do they manage it? Will their methods work for your pack?
- Safety and medical – Check with the camp nurse or medical staff for how they prepare and get set up.
- Sanitation – How are toilets, hand washing and showers set up and organized?
- Campfire activities – Most camp staffs are good at this. Pick their brains for ideas.
- Emergency Preparedness – how is the staff prepared for dangerous weather, medical assistance, etc? What are their communication methods?
Your gang of adults.
You will spend considerable time in the company of the adults from your pack. Get to know them, their attitudes, knowledge and skills. You should learn a lot about their appreciation of Scouting and how it helps boys grow.
Look for potential leaders, committee members and special helpers amongst this group. You will rarely get a better chance to get to know some of these people and discover how they might help their sons and their sons’ Cub Pack.
Make it work for Your Pack.
Camp is great for boys and mostly they love it but the important value is: how can it help your pack and you as a leader? You are paying your money and your time to attend, so make it worthwhile. Get the best for your pack.
Remember for your new leaders – Fast Start training and Youth Protection training is available on-line -
Fast Start training http://www.scouting.org/cubscouts/faststart/
Youth Protection Online http://www.scouting.org/pubs/ypt/ypt.jsp