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Troop hosted winter camp

Last year we hosted our first long term camp over winter break. The program was developed by one of the committee members and she did an amazing job, but with it being our first there are several things I plan on improving on now that I’ve been tasked with planning the show. I will be delegating several of the tasks like food planning and transportation arrangement. I’m still working on choosing the location and I have it down to about three state parks near by.
I’d like to hear some of the ideas y’all have from past camps to add to my program.
Some ideas I have now are:

Merit badges, trail to eagle first year program, a service project for the camp, a movie night, patrol cook off, and troop game night.
I’ve been thinking that taking one day of Mb and doing a troop wide training on first aid even for those that have the merit badge already just as a fun refresher.
What are some things you have done on longer camps that your scouts have loved?

First things first… Why are the adults planning the camp-out? Scouting is supposed to be youth-led. What does your PLC want to do with the camp-out?


Yeah, you are going to have to accept a few dings from some of us who cringe at any whiff of adults planning an event. The more they do, the more intrinsically worse the event — no matter how well it was run. On the other hand the more youth do, the more intrinsically better the event — no matter how poorly run.

So, ask each scout to evaluate last year’s event and ask them what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what they’d do differently.
Some things to ask older scouts:
Who was their favorite counselor? Would the younger scouts like him?
What badge has nobody earned, but would like to try?
What is their favorite video game? Is there a way to make it a camp wide game?
What would they like to fix/improve at camp by way of a service project?

Not gonna lie … it is really hard to get scouts to grind their own gears to brainstorm, plan, and implement their own program. But it is very rewarding when they do.


We have done several our next one this Friday for a week, one thing nice about doing your own program for a week vs a week at a bsa camp is the flexible ex if day one was fishing and the kids really want to repeat that go ahead and do it day two also… if it’s raining on day one do days three ativties instead…having a day that or afternoon that is different from what they are doing rest of the week gaves the scouts a change of base. For us halve the kids will be staying at camp working on merit badges and rank advancements they want to work on. The other halve will be doing the hiking and phy fittness badge every day. Wed they will be boating on the creek. Evenings will be spend doing service work and free time we’re the kids can do what other games they want. This year we are staying close to home (local fair grounds due to the virus. Pending on your location and available of leadership scouts can go with two leaders every day or so to make the food runs ( it will be the adults this year for us due to the virus)


I’m going to have to join this bandwagon. I’m sure the intentions are good, but when adults do the majority of the planning it’s only human nature to make decisions from an adult point of view. This is their trip and their time as young men.

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@JacobTrathen - I see that the program was set up by a Committee member… Well, the committee is a back-office function not program. The Scoutmaster and team should be working with the scouts to develop THEIR program.



Yep, we have a young-ish Troop, and the biggest challenge we run into is keeping the PLC on track, so that they can do their job.

First, great job on keeping scouts engaged. Second, this isn’t a regular camp out or other troop function, so while some will lambaste you for leading with a first time & long term camp, I feel it’s not inappropriate. As SPL’s & ASPL’s develop & learn they easily can assume a greater role & coupled with folding in your instructors you should be able to sit back and enjoy a smooth running camp. While youth staff is key, our council uses adult staff (like a camp director) to manage both our summer & winter camps. Anyway, my assumption is your council has no wither camp program (ours struggled with the concept for years until they finally got the program off the ground. With any luck maybe your council (or district) will kick in a little love here.

For recommendations;
Badges like swimming & aquatics are not normally too great for winter camp. I would lean towards Merit Badge’s (MB) they can’t get at summer camp or MB’s of a special group interest or focus. Some of the core MB’s in our winter camp are the citizenship, required & other “indoor” badges.

Assuming the council camp is too far or not available, state parks are great resources if they’ll work with you on a meeting/training place.

I think someone said it, poll the scouts, find out what they want vs need. I also think some of the “fun” activities like the movie night or some patrol completions help keep up the interest and diversity of events.

Good luck on your next event.


Is this for just one troop or are y’all going to invite other troops and scouts from other units? Please be aware with some of the longer term camping trips like a winter/summer camp and you are offering certain activities and badges you follow the BSA National Standards. Depending on what y’all plan you may need someone that has been through National Camp School for that activity and for camp. I haven’t been through the Scouts BSA version yet but have been through the Cub version. Please take into consideration what national requires for what you call a winter camp.


Also bear in mind that activities involving more than one unit are no longer unit activities, but Council or District activities. That may have a big impact on your planning


Yes for simplicity keep to one unit - If there are other scouts there that is a guest - but if you invite other units it gets complicated fast


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