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SeattlePioneer

Cub Scout Day Camp Gathering Activity

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My experience is that the first day of Cub Scout Day Camp is pretty chaotic.

 

Part of that is due to the lack of suitable gathering activities boys can join in while adults sort out paperwork issues.

 

These would need to be used before dens are formed and boys are usually running around and creating problems.

 

Any ideas?

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<<Giant unsupervised water gun skirmish?>>

 

Heh, heh!  That's the spirit,  but probably not quite the activity for 8 AM on the first day of camp!

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Thinking of mixing scouts from different units in groups to play some simple games and start the mingling process?

 

For some reason Turtle Soccer always seems popular. I don't know the etiquette for linking to other sites here yet, but there's a scout resource website we've all probably been to that has the rules and process. Just need a soccer ball for each group. This ones works well for larger groups and only takes one or two adults to assist with each group playing.

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This should be a den function. Scouts need to be assigned to dens before hand. This gives den leaders the ability to prepare for their Scouts with a roster, be familiar with any special needs, etc. The den leaders should be at their den's location, ready to go, as soon as the first Cubs arrive. They should spend the time getting to know the boys, helping them get settled in, coming up with a den flag, maybe letting everyone make their own nametag, etc.

 

If the Cubs are twittling their thumbs waiting for the adults to do paperwork, you're doing you need a better plan. There are a number of ideas for handling this covered at National Camping School.

Edited by Twocubdad
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Paperwork is best handled before camp starts.   The way I ran our camp was this:

Month in advance:  Notification went out---parent orientation dates, volunteer training dates, etc.   Dens assigned.  Emailed every parent email a copy of the camp orientation package, which outlined everything we expected from scouts/parents, from drop off/pick up to how to pack a lunch (snacks separate; cold stuff in one paper bag; noncold stuff like chips in another); to discipline and camp rules; and how to get ahold of camp staff in case of an emergency during the camp day (phone at boathouse was not usable). 
 

Two weeks before:  Parent orientation.  All paperwork and extra fees (medical forms were gone over by the nurse at this time; scout pick up forms, for car windows; early/late drop off sign up and payments) due at this time (preregistration was required, but we did allow registration for new Scouts).  Swim tests were done at this time as well.   Camp shirts handed out (one included in cost of camp, more available to purchase.)  

Two weeks before:  Volunteer training.  

 

One week before:   Second set of both volunteer training and parent orientation.

 

If a parent missed either orientation, then they had to park and come in first thing on Monday morning of camp.  Very few parents had to do this, but there were a couple.  Once the nurse had the medical form, she released the scout to our office den chief, who would escort the scout to his den, while the parents finished up with whatever needed to be done.  Swim tests would be done when the den had swim session. 

We set up our den tables (with pop up covers) alongside the dirt road that parents would drive on (looped around the back of the church so we could fit more cars).  Den leaders were expected to be at their tables prior to first drop off, with their reusable BSA totes for lunches and their den bucket.   Once scouts started arriving, we asked the den leaders to check off the scout on their attendance sheet, and to get them started on designing their den flag (paper and pencils in den bucket).   Once all the scouts for that den had the opportunity to design the flag, they decided which design to go with.     Den chiefs were to gather the cold lunch items, place them in the totes, and then bring those up to the boathouse for storage in the fridges.  (Much easier to deal with than trying to find 15+ coolers and stock them with ice daily.   We did scrounge up water coolers--and used giant frozen blocks of ice in them, from empty 2 liter soda bottles/creamer bottles/coffee containers filled with water and frozen in the deep freezers at camp---put one between two den tables, and one at each station, as well as 2 extra for swaps with empty ones.)

The den buckets always had something for the scouts to do in the mornings or during breaks... talking sticks (large popsicle sticks with icebreaker questions on them  like "favorite movie", "greatest super hero", "something you did for someone else this week") to den specific requirements. 



 

Edited by CubDaycampDirector

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Back in the day, I would be at the office about a week prior to day camp getting the paperwork and organizing dens and putting, DLs parent swho were "walkers" etc together. I admit the first year I did it, it was frustrating as I didn't leave any room on my paperwork for editing. parents would put down the wrong den they should be in etc.  Got better the next 2 years I was PD.

 

 I would do the parents' orientation and last minute paperwork filing the day before daycamp started.  And there was a little grumbling by some staff about how their Saturday was spent in training and setting up camp, and Sunday was finishing up and orientation.  Monday started with normal program with the really last minute folks being dealt with. Usually 3-4 folks. 

 

Last year, the new CD decided to do away with the parents orientation the day before, and instead do all the paperwork the first day. we spent almost 2 hours that first morning doing campwide games as he got everything organized. And we still had changes to make to den assignments up to Wednesday. May not seem like a big deal, but a lot of the activities we do can be used for advancement, and it does make a difference. Plus some of us DLs and walkers were a wee bit frustrated since we were not told what to do and had to make it up as we went along.

 

Thankfully 1) I will not be at day camp this year due to work and  2) There will be a parent's orienation the day before camp this year.

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What they said......

 

Paperwork and assignments should be done in the weeks prior. The CSDC staff should be (on the first day) concentrating

on the poor folks that haven't kept up with the prior announcements/requirements/rosters/applications.... Tshirts and Water bottles and Caps and such should already be bundled and ready to hand out to the DenWalkers for their Dens to receive.

Angst should be reserved to the CDirector for the Last Minute Participants who show up with check and downloaded application in hand who were told by the Council Secretary that it would be "all right" to just "Show Up" at camp waaaaaay past the

SIgn Up DeadLine.....

 

Assembly and Flag Up should happen "ON TIME" , handled by the Scout Camp Staff (rehearsed and ready)

 

Remember the Cub Scout Mantra "KisMif, KiSMif, KiSMiF" (Keep it simple, Make it fun)

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Thanks for a lot of excellent posts on how things ought to be!

 

I especially liked the idea of reviewing paperwork and medical forms and such before camp begins.

 

<<Last year, the new CD decided to do away with the parents orientation the day before, and instead do all the paperwork the first day. we spent almost 2 hours that first morning doing campwide games as he got everything organized.>>

 

 

 

Unfortunately,  this describes the method our camp has used,  minus the organized games to keep boys busy. (It's those games that I was imagining adding as gathering activities).

 

We had a good planning meeting yesterday,  and among the things now being planned is a meeting at camp the Saturday before camp begins to deal with paperwork and other organizational issues.  So we are taking steps toward the good practices being recommended in this thread.

 

 

However,  we still don't have a Camp Director.  We have one experienced day camp leader who was at our meeting who agreed to function an Assistant Camp Director and will be reviewing day camp applications and paperwork. Unfortunately,  almost no one has registered so far.

 

Another Den Leader from my pack and I are sharing the Program Director job.  We have put together an excellent list of activities,  and are working capably to have them ready as needed when camp begins.  But we have explicitly said we are NOT going to be drawn into other parts of camp leadership,  We need to keep district leaders focused on getting needed leadership recruited,  rather than leaning on us to do more.

 

So far,  that's working.  District leaders are working hard to find the leaders needed to make the camp work.

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We have our games area director handle this on the first day. Because "the way it is supposed to be is not always the way it is." Program Directors should most likely be called to duty at the registration is there is a log jam. If only to answer questions and keep the peace. I really cannot imagine a 2 hour back up though. Turtle/crab soccer is her go to gathering activity for the first day. But it is up to her! And also your responsibility as Program Director.

 

I am also sorry to say that your camp sounds like it will not be any fun for the leadership. Try to double staff everywhere that you can so that no one gets worked to death on the days of camp. 

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