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Looking for help with Cub scout Family Camping Trip

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Ok, I realized that this is very long. Here is the short version: I am taking my Cub Scout Pack camping for the first time. What advice do you have?


Long Version:


I am a new Cubmaster this year. I have been in this Pack for five years. I have 4 sons. My oldest is just starting Boy Scouts. I have a Bear and a Tiger, and I have a 4 year old. So I will be around for a long time. I started as Tiger Den Leader 2 years ago. This year I am acting as Tiger Leader, Bear Leader and Cubmaster. I have one other Tiger Leader and 2 other Bear Leaders, so I am not having to do it all on my own.


Our pack has had its ups and downs in term of leadership. I have been really trying to get us back on track. Along those line, I have been advocating that we actually go camping. We have never gone camping as long as I have been in the Pack. One time in the last 5 years we pitched tents in the school gym as a camping trip. Otherwise, it is just the Council Summer camp.


I took Baloo/Owls in the spring. So we are covered there. There are not a lot of options for group camping nearby. There is a state park about 20 miles away, but they get booked out quite far in advance. I don’t want to book a site farther away, because I think that there might be some kids who want to leave in the middle of the night. I would like the parents to be able to head home if they think that is necessary.


I did manage to book the Group Camp for Oct 7-8, 2017 and May 18-19 2018. The May trip is intended to be our big Pack family camp. But I wanted to book the site this fall to get kids excited and to have a chance to go out there myself and deal with a real group camping situation. Our pack has 32 Scouts on paper. I think we have around 25 that are active.


I booked the site for 2 days, but only intend to have the camping trip be Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. (I booked it for the previous night so we wouldn’t have to wait until 4pm to enter the site.) I live in North Dakota. Overnight temperatures on Oct 7-8 are an average low of 42 degrees Fahrenheit, 5.5 degrees Celsius. (Another reason to be close to home, if parents or Scouts get to cold they can head home.)


I think I might get around 10 Scouts with parents to come camping. I might have 10 more that come for the day but don’t sleep there. I have some parents who are interested in activities with the Scouts. Specifically, I have one parent who will bring some fishing poles and help the Scouts fish.


I am looking for activities to fill the time.


Here is what I know I will have. I will ask everyone to have lunch before they come, or have lunch on their own.


12:00 -Set up flag, set up tents, yard games

1:00 – Maybe do some group games

2:00 – Break into Dens if there are enough kids for that

3:00 -

4:00 – Start the fire set up dinner table/buffet

5:00 – Retire Flag/Roast hot dogs and eat supper

6:00 – Play some games

7:00 – Fire assembly, sing songs do skits tell stories, eat s’mores

8:00 -

9:00 – Prepare for bed

10:00 – Lights out.


For dinner I am going to ask the Pack to buy hot dogs and buns, and ask everyone to bring a side dish, like chips or whatever. I will also ask the pack to buy stuff for s’mores. We will roast hot dogs over the fire and have s’mores later on.


What works for Cub Scouts in term of keeping them occupied and having fun? What lessons have you learned in your Cub Scout camping trips that I can use?


Thank you for your help.

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Welcome, and thanks in advance for all you'll do for the boys. Some ideas:

  • Treasure hunts!
  • Mix-and-match trail mix table.
  • Fall hike.
  • Mini- service project. (Ask the ranger. There may be some litter pick-up, or some wood to stack.)

The real lesson: do whatever your parents (or your local boy scouts or venturers) will volunteer to organize. In other words, as CM, don't get sucked into lots of tasks when you should be covering the territory making sure boys are happy and everyone has what they need to have fun safely.

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You don't need more activities to fill the time.


Have one, maybe two, planned activities for each den.  Get the DL's plus a couple of other parents to run them.  Spend the rest of the time having fun, playing zombie tag, making smores, etc.


We used to plan cub campouts with round-robin activities to take up the whole day.  All the dens rotated through "stations" to do stuff.  But, it usually went off the rails.  Some things took too long, or something didn't get finished, or whatever.  Just keep it simple and make it fun.


Be sure to think about when it gets dark, relative to when you want to do things that are easier when it's daylight (like cooking)--especially if you have a lot of parents that don't have a lot of camping or outdoor cooking experience.

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We had good luck with a carnival theme or obstacle course where each den was responsible for an area. Best one was PVC pipe catapults flinging water balloons or tennis balls. Just 3" PVC pipes stuck into ground (use post hole digger), some sand in pipe at bending point, and a partial milk jug screwed/duct taped into the top. Boys had a blast until it broke.


Once did something similar called 'Castle'. Boy Scouts/Webelos made a wall of old cardboard boxes and had some super soakers* and the cubs had many dozens of water balloons and a catapult or two. Let fly and have fun. Best on hot days.


Boys loved that too. One Mom did go 'what is the point of all this?'


 *may not be G2SS approved

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I'm with Chisos...don't overbook.  Boys need time to just be boys in the woods so to speak.

although I do think it's nice to do a little something.

I remember doing scavenger hunts a time or two.


Mostly when we camped it would be at a destination.  Once we camped at Florida Caverns state park.  Did a cave tour (ranger guided).  Otherwise maybe hike teh park's trail....that kind of thing.  Otherwise let the boys have fun.


We often would do family camping at state parks, just reserve a block of sites, with one site set up as the pack site for group cooking and gathering.....other sites would be one or two families per site to camp.  We had a bunch of families with RV's, so that way they could RV "camp" with us.  We are Florida, so Disney's Fort Wilderness was a hit.


Have to be careful with the group sites for cub camping.  Since it's family.. potable water and toilets are needed.  Some group camps are a bit primitive.


In my thinking though... the best "camping" was at the council camp outs. Cuboree, etc...  Often food was taken care of, and activities planned.  They took care of registration, no reservations, etc...Easy all around.



the most fun and best attended were usually the ones I called overnights...not camping.  Overnight in Sea World sleeping next to the whale tank, Kennedy Space Center sleeping under the shuttle, Patriots Point sleeping on the aircraft carrier.  Zoos do them, all sorts of doors are opened up for groups.

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1)  BALOO trained . Check.  2) Schedule .  check.   3)  Insist on BUDDY SYSTEM...  No one goes out of camp areas (define that !)  with out a Parent or BUDDY and parent permission !  AND you check out with a Scout Leader (you ?)  4)  Free time?  Poke around in the stream and look for crayfish?  5)  What sort of stuff does the Park offer?  Night time campfire program?  Astronomy program?  Earn a Astronomy Belt loop ! Find the North Star!  Tell some Indian Stories !  Why does the Bear in the Sky have a tail and the Bear in the woods/zoo has none?  6)  Have extra sleeping bags/cushions/foam matress back in your car, just in case.   Have lots of plastic bags big and small, for wet socks, shoes, etc. just in case.   7)  Let/invite the Cubs to do as much as they can in the line of carry and schlepping stuff.  Don't be afraid to ask the shy one to help with the fire wood. 


KiS MiF !  

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We usually do 2 overnights a year, spring and fall. Most are very well planned with a schedule of activity, even if the activity is quiet/alone time. We also keep the same type of activity for every trip, but the details are different. Example, we always have a craft, sports activity, and WOW factor. Last couple being pony beads, basketball skills, and RC plane demo. Then, birdhouses, GPS treasure hunt, and law enforcement demo. That makes it easier to plan so we only have to come up with new ideas, vs a new structure. We also rent 2 cabins, (men and women) or families can tent camp together. Also, do the same Pack supplied main dish, and have families bring a dish to share. S'mores and campfire, skits, night hike, and gone by noon the next morning.

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Just got back from camping two nights with our Webelos Dens at our local BSA Camp.  We spent half the time cooking/working on pins/singing around the campfire.  


But the other half of the time, the boys just ran in the woods.  Each Den built a fort.  Some boys brought fishing rods, and fished in the lake.  Other boys dug for worms.  


So I would schedule a few things, but the most important thing about Cub Scouting camping is to give boys a chance to run in the woods.

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