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Cooking merit badge during covid restrictions

I am an ASM and cooking merit badge counselor. Our troop is planning to do campouts this fall with new procedures for Covid. The biggest challenge I have had is how to advise my scouts on camp cooking requirement #5d.

“In the outdoors, using your menu plans for this requirement, cook two of the five meals you planned using either a lightweight stove or a low-impact fire. Use a different cooking method from requirement 3 for each meal. You must also cook a third meal using either a Dutch oven OR a foil pack OR kabobs. Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth.”

Anyone have suggestions on how to do patrol cooking for requirement #5 on a campout that will adequately meet the practice of cooking for a patrol but maintaining safe pandemic practices?

Since the requirement does allow for a group of youth as opposed to patrol. In your opinion would a scouts family if they have siblings reasonably count for this if they are camping and cooking with the required methods and have done all the planning and purchasing etc.?

Are you looking for cooking ideas or ways to to practice social distancing in cooking? Or Both?

The CDC has good guidelines on camping during Coivid.

I’m a Cooking MB counselor and some things I would suggest is using disposable plates, flatware and use paper towels. This not a normal thing for us as we normally use mess kits but disposables really cut down the risk of cross contamination. It creates more trash but worth reducing the risk.

As long as the cooking is for a group of youths I see no problem with siblings. Just make sure you are cooking for “youths”. Requirement 4 is for grown-ups.

If you need an idea, for foil cooking how about a “Hobo Meal”. Take a hamburger patty (if not vegan) along with some diced potatoes, carrots, onions, celery with a all purpose seasoning and maybe a dash of a sauce like BBQ sauce then double wrap the food up and cooking it over coals in a fire pit. Once the food is prepped you can create an assembly line so everyone can make they meal the way they want. You can use frozen veggies if you want to reduce time. I’m a big proponent of teaching knife skills so I like for the Scouts to actually cut the veggies if the group is not too big.

Don’t over think. Just remember to use the “MyPlate” in every meal.


The interesting thing about this is that it says, “in the outdoors,” It actually doesn’t even have to be during a campout. I agree, the youth can definitely be family members.


Yep, we have a couple brothers in the Troop that are cooking for their neighborhood friends, since we haven’t had a Troop campout in nearly a year…


If you do this, it’s also a great opportunity for younger Scouts to work on 1st Class requirement 9C: “On a Scouting or family outing, take note of the trash and garbage you produce. Before your next similar outing, decide how you can reduce, recycle, or repurpose what you take on that outing, and then put those plans into action. Compare your results.”


All of this advice is spot on. The only other thing I’d add is ensure your scouts creates the proper paper trail. It’s not just the cooking, it’s also documenting the meal planning, budget, getting feedback from the youth on the meal, etc. You can use the worksheet or create your own (I created my own template in Word). I say this as I have had several scouts try to turn in their MB requirements when some of the cooking was done a long time ago, and there is no evidence at all of what they did, and they don’t get credit for it.


I would accept cooking over a grill or camping stove out in the backyard unless there is a requirement that states " while on a campout", “while camping” or “while on a trail or hiking” . If the scout has siblings or friends he can invite over while social distancing I would accept that


I am looking for ways to practice social distancing while still having the youth cover the requirements for patrol cooking. Over the summer for our summer camp the adults did the cooking and serving to the scouts(with masks and much handwashing) in order to meet CDC guidelines and parent concerns. However I am now looking at ways we can still meet safety guidelines and having the youth be the grubmaster. I like hobo meals for sure, but for cooking merit badge they have to vary the styles of cooking so all meals won’t be done that way. On a normal campout the grubmaster is lead cook and delegates duties to those in his/her patrol, however I am considering suggesting that only the grubmaster prep and cook the entire meal. I do think using disposables will be expected for awhile and like SteveCaagigas suggestion to pull a teachable moment.

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I agree. I never sign off if they haven’t kept records. I teach the cooking merit badge at our merit badge university and created my own version of the workbook and we cover all the planning and budget, as well has a written statement for each meal they actually have to cook.

At least during the current pandemic alternative allowances, keep in mind that the “campout” can be in the backyard. If camping nights on backyard virtual events (under published guidelines) count for advancement, OA, and the Camping merit badge, it should go without argument that any requirement calling for completion on a campout is also valid.


I’d advise using the https://www.scouting.org/coronavirus/covid-19-faq/ guidelines for virtual camping, and encourage the scout to apply the patrol method to the people physically with the scout (i.e. family) during a virtual campout.

In particular, this bit:

Q: Will virtual camping count toward Order of the Arrow nights camping?

Virtual camping (i.e., backyard or solo camping) may be counted toward the required nights of camping for OA election eligibility if all the following stipulations are met:
– To be counted, all virtual camping nights should be a direct result of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions and be part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event (i.e., multiple members of the unit are involved and camping simultaneously at remote locations).
– Some form of unit-organized communications should occur either during or immediately following the event.
– All existing youth protection policies and digital safety guidelines must be followed.
– No more than 3 nights of virtual camping are to be credited in any month in which government- or council-imposed COVID-19 restrictions are in place.

If the scout can explain how they used a patrol method with their family or other group on a ‘virtual campout’ accepted by the SM for potential rank requirements or OA, I’d count a meal with that virtual patrol as potentially meeting the #5d Patrol requirement.

If you push your SM to approve virtual camping to cover some socially distant/quarantined scouts to use their households as virtual patrols acceptable for rank requirements or OA, then it could be good enough for MBC.

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