Jump to content

Den Camping.........But not really?

Recommended Posts

At our leaders meeting last night, I had 2 of our Bear DL's ask me about camping out in the CO's soccer field. They would like to do this maybe 4 or 5 times over the course of the year.


I think it's a great idea!


Now, right off the bat, I want to explain to them that you can't camp on the den level.


But before I say that, they ( the two DL's from 2 different dens) tell me that it's not going to be an entire weekend thing. More like:


Friday night: Show up around 6:30 to 7:00 pm. They will have their den meetings for about an hour. Then afterward, the parents and DL's will cook supper on a campfire and grills, then maybe thay might play games, skits or tell stories. Then bed time.


Saturday morning, they plan on being up and breaking "camp" by 8:00 am at the very latest. No breakfast, no nothing. Just wake up, pack up and leave.


So, yes it is more than a den meeting, but falls short of what most of us would call a campout.


Now, where they plan to set up the tents is within 250 feet of segregated indoor toilet, sink, shower facilities. There are even more about anotrher 100 yards past that - all CO owned.


I told tham that they would definantly have to file a tour permit and possibly a site check approval form.


Now, in my opinoin - which I am well aware may be very, very wrong :) - the fact that there are two seperate dens changes it from den camping to pack camping.


Oh yeah, there will be a BALOO trained person and plenty of 2 deep and YP


I called our scout office today and talked to the office administrator...who in reality is the person who knows almost more than anybody else....and she said that nobody ever asked her about it quite the way I did and she isn't sure either. She said go ahead and fill out a tour permit and see what happens. She is "pretty sure " it would be fine since it's at the CO and not a campgroung or random site.



Yeah< i know BSA policy is to go to council camp, but that is also a way to tack $30.00 on each family plus an hour and a half drive each way.


In that instance, they dens would just not do it.


Okay, steer me straight:


What are the options and what are the precidents here. I'm pretty sure I know, but that whole 2 den thing is what is throwing me off.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

not bsa policy to go to a council camp. The policy is an approved camp. You can do this easily. I cannot find the blasted form, But if you took baloo it was in the manual.


If memory serves me your pack family camps 2 times a year so your bears will camp 6 times a year.



We have had this discussion before and you can ignore me again. I think it is a bad idea to treat cub scout like boy scouts. Camping is a tool to assist teaching the scouting program. What happens when you burn the cubs out on car camping at the church???? You will probably loose most of them.


Your den leaders are thinking short term, they need to park their egos and follow the program as provided by national.


Our Pack Family camps twice a year.....one halloween camp out and the next a spring graduation camp out.


the webelos go on two camp outs with the troop, plus the webelos council event, so they could camp 5 times the webelo year, plus summer camp.


Not saying this is better, just the way we provide our program(This message has been edited by Basementdweller)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nah, I'm not ignoring you.


Now, I did mean to say, She said they ( I assume Council, not BSA) wants us to go to council camps) Not that we had to, but they want us to.


Okay, so this wasn't my idea, I didn't bring it up, nor did I push. suggest, or mention it to them.



As far as burnout, yeah,it could happen, but the boys love it. Some of our parents go camping 6 or 7 times a year outside of scouting anyways and the only reason they don't do it more is because of work, money, etc..


Some of these scouts and parents would trade off this camping instead of the Parent/son camping which costs $60, ( per 1 parent- 1 scout) plus the siblings can go too.


Again, I an not asking, suggesting, or pushing for this. They came up with it themselves and have done so because the interest is there.

At any rate, if the kids do get tired of it, none of them are going to force it.


Oh, one more thing: Thuis is not a regular den meeting camping thing.

If any scout did not go, it would not affect anythuing that happens duroimng the course of regular metings. Know what I mean?


If they were working on acheivements at regular den meetings , the 1 night campout would not have any bearing on that.


But anyways, the DL's and parents are not completely ignorant of the kids, They are not gonna drag a bunch of boys out camping who are tired of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

i admit i am a bit iffy on this one. I wouldn't camp too much on the T-W-B level, saving it for the Webelos. Then again I am the one in the pack that has a fishing rodeo, with family camping if you want saturday only, this weekend, Patriot's Point the following weekend, pack family campout the last weekend of the month, and a council family camp out the 3rd weekend in Oct.


The key is #1 having a balance, and #2 doign what the kids, and parent want.

Link to post
Share on other sites


I have 2 Bear dens that want to camp.


They came to me to see if they can, and what they need to do to be able to do it.


Here's my position: I want to accomidate them if it's aloowed and possible to do it. I'm not gonna say wether they should or shouldn't.


Matter of fact, one of the DL's is in his 5th year of being a Dl ( 2 sons) He's not a beginner. He has enough experience to know if it's going great, just good or badly.


Personally, I do not see it being any more exhuasting or burnout causing than going to youth soccer AND football AND baseball practice 3 times a week plus weekend games.


Most of the boys do this all year long. Year after year. And they can't wait to do it again.


Anyways, I'll leave the burnout or excitement to them. I'm just looking for a way to enable them to be able do it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

And I would add #3 to Eagle's list, follow the program.


Not sure the point of this. Based on the program, what's gained by spending the night?


For the reasons the others have mentioned, I would try to discourage this. I can see a one-time sleepover, but 4 or 5 times?


Neither would I forbid it. Doing so would probably cause an unnecessary fuss. I would simply point out the problems with the "camping" and why it's a bad idea. Hold their feet to the fire to go through all the proper procedures -- getting the site approved by council, tour permits, BALOO trained leaders, etc. Then just let it die out, which I suspect it will after a couple nights.


Then be there with some really great, properly programmed pack campouts.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

Link to post
Share on other sites

What your describing is camping. It doesn't matter if it is a single evening into morning or a week in the woods. They are still staying in a tent, cooking outside, etc. BSA is pretty plain on this. Tigers, Wolves and Bears can only camp on a Pack level. If you want to skirt this, it's up to you and your council, but what are you teaching the boys by breaking rules. That said, there is nothing that you, the CO, or the council can do if they wish to go camping as families somewhere. It just isn't a Cub Scout event.(This message has been edited by pack212scouter)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Den camping -- YES really.


It does not matter if you have 1 Bear den, 2, or 3, it is a DEN OVERNIGHTER, and does NOT include the entire Pack.


How does the saying go? If it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, you can call it a rino, but it will still be a duck.


From the Guide to Safe Scouting in BOLD print (that means it is a BSA rule) -


"Overnight camping by Tiger, Wolf, and Bear Cub Scout dens as dens is not approved and certificates of liability insurance will not be provided by the Boy Scouts of America."


Now, I suppose if you can get the area approved for Cub Scout camping (you SHOULD have done this for your real Pack overnighters), put on the Tour Permit that the overnight is for the Pack, and NOT ONLY for the Bear dens, or call it something that does not sound like the Bear den overnighter that it is (like an outside lock-in), you might be able to finagle an approved Tour Permit.


It sounds to me like you are planning to justify this to yourself one way or another, and will go ahead with this, no matter what the BSA rules are.


However, my main gripe is if you are not prepared to follow the BSA program, why are you in the program at all? How does this kind of thing teach/model HONESTY to the boys?



Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on your description I couldn't call this anything but Den camping. If you have BALOO trained leaders they should know this is not allowed. Agree with the rule on den camping or not or the rationale behind the decision, it's just the rule that we can't do it.


If the Bears would like to organize a campout and invite the Tigers, Wolves, and Webelos Scouts with the blessing of the unit committee that would be a Pack Campout and okay. I'm not talking about a one of those invitations that has a disclaimer of we're inviting you because we have to so we can get a clear tour permit but you really shouldn't come, I mean a sincere invitation with all the planning that goes along with it. I really think the fact that there is any question at all and at least a perceived need to justify it speaks volumes and answers the question for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites


I think it's a great idea!

I can also see how 2 Bear dens camping would drive the BSA lawyers nutso. It's against their rules..

So don't involve the BSA.

Have your hour long den meeting.

And then adjourn to a group sleep-over at the CO's house!

Link to post
Share on other sites

A follow-up to the argument that you're teaching the Cubs to break the rules:

The Cubs are unaware of the intricate little micro-managing rules imposed by lawyers who are afraid of the dark. So you're not teaching them to break a rule they don't know about.

Link to post
Share on other sites


We Den Camped, errr family camped. Some of the best camping we ever did. Most of the scouts and families that participated are still in scouting. There is no tangible proof that den camping is linked to Boy Scout attrition. And if your Troop is still only doing local, wide open field, flush toilet camping in Boy Scouts your troop's imagination has run dry.



Link to post
Share on other sites


In my mind the question is one of whether pack leadership sanctions and supervises the campout. Since the explanation from national is that it's an insurance issue, I read it that their concern is that proper leadership and due diligence is provided for the campout by the pack.


Once you open it up to more than one den and have it supervised by Pack leadership, it becomes a defacto pack campout - even if only a subset of the den's attend.


Scoutfish - I'd turn the question around and ask if you'd be willing to attend this campout and provide pack level supervision. If no, then it's a den level campout which would be against the rules.


Now, we can all debate the merits of a Bear only pack campout, but I see that as a different discussion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...