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Summer camp hacks/gear suggestions

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2 hours ago, walk in the woods said:

Not if you know the secret password to the back door of the trading post!

That password is, "Two of them haven't showered all week!"

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Solar stake lights (Dollar Store) to mark your tent. Makes it easy for scouts, staff and you to identify the location of adults.

Bring some stuffed animals, from the dollar store to help home sickness.

One of the best things for home sickness is playing cards and other games. Again at dollar store. 

I always bring a bistro set (two chairs and a small table). Yes I know it sounds crazy, but it is a great place to read a book, have a cup of coffee, and most importantly is a welcoming environment for youth to come talk to adults. This has HUGE payoffs if any scout is having problems, or is home sick. 

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1 hour ago, Chris1 said:

Solar stake lights (Dollar Store) to mark your tent. Makes it easy for scouts, staff and you to identify the location of adults.

Bring some stuffed animals, from the dollar store to help home sickness.

One of the best things for home sickness is playing cards and other games. Again at dollar store. 

I always bring a bistro set (two chairs and a small table). Yes I know it sounds crazy, but it is a great place to read a book, have a cup of coffee, and most importantly is a welcoming environment for youth to come talk to adults. This has HUGE payoffs if any scout is having problems, or is home sick. 

I've thought about the solar lights, but haven't bought any for campouts yet.  What I have done for about 10 years now is to put a glow stick on the corner of my rain-fly (I'm always sleeping in my hammock).  I started this when my oldest was in Cub Scouts and still do it now that they're both in the Troop.  I make sure Scouts & adults alike know where I am and that they can find me via glow stick if needed.  There have been many times over the years that has come in handy as a beacon in the middle of the night. 

In fact, just last week at Summer Camp, I had someone show up at my hammock asking if I could help him.  I didn't recognize the voice, so that got me even more on edge as I scramble for my light that hangs on the ridgeline.  I look and see that it's almost 1AM and he isn't wearing any shoes.  Fortunately, this time it wasn't a major emergency.  This was a Scout who needed help finding his tent.  I have him sit down for a minute on the chair since he seemed disoriented.  I also thought it odd that he was barefoot.  I wanted to make sure if anything was going on.  In conversation to get him talking, I asked if had gone to bathroom and got turned around.  Apparently he was sleep walking and woke up in the woods.  He had no idea where he was at first or how to find his tent.  I think he had woken up just prior to coming to me.  I talked to him enough to make sure he was coherent and we got him back into his tent.  While his Troop was sharing our campsite, they had started the week in different tents and had to move mid-week due to the danger of dead trees.  This was his first night in his new tent. 

While he was not from my Troop, he knew that I was our Scoutmaster and he had heard me making sure my Scouts knew where I was and why I had a glow stick out every night.  Sometimes it does make for a long night (one Cub Scout campout had 3 major emergencies back-to-back in one night), but as the adult leader, I feel like I need to be involved in the emergencies that arise in the middle of the night.  During the day, I'll tell a Scout to go see his SPL for most things.  But at 3AM, that's probably an adult issue at that point.  I may need to pick up a solar night or 2.  

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As I just finished my 2nd week on staff, I have a few tips.

-Bring a hamper for dirty laundry so they don’t shove it all into their foot locker

- Backup power charger for adults (our power has gone out 4 times already this summer, once for a while day)

- If not in first aid clip, nail clippers. I have seen SO many scouts ask the health officer to help with ingrown toenails, but isn’t allowed.

Ill think of more eventually 

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Posted (edited)

OK, I tried to search for boots and shoes and got nothing very useful. I am the former Webelos leader who's son is ate up with the Scouts and going to Camp this summer. As I had a good year last year we plan to allow him to go to two camps this year. One close and one further away. Camp Naish I have been to with him in Webelos but never to Bartle. My quandry is what type of shoes/footwear should he have for camp. I remember having huge blisters when I went back in the 80's so I hope to eliminate this joy for him. Anyone have recommendations? I know I will be buying myself a good pair but my feet are not growing.

Thanks in advance.

Edited by JohnyWalter

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You each need a good pair of hiking boots or trail shoes for summer camp and other scout activities. Be sure to wear proper socks, a pair of thin, lightweight, wicking liners and a heavier pair of outer socks. The 2 layer system helps lessen the chance of blisters. The friction that causes them is reduced by the 2 layers of socks, they slide over each other rather than your skin sliding in the boots. You can wear the outer socks a couple of days in a row, but you should wear clean liners each day (liners can be washed in a ink at camp and hung to dry). Fit your boots/shoes using the 2 sock system, this makes sure that there is enough room in them for comfort.

Also, make sure the boots/shoes fit you well. Even when brand new they should feel comfortable and tell you 'take me home'. Don't settle because of cheap price, especially for you. I have pair that's 12 years old and I still wear them occasionally, when things get really muddy/nasty out. They have hundreds of miles on them, not my first choice for a long hike but good for a gross day in camp.

Break your boots in well before going to camp. My family wears them grocery shopping, to school/work, cutting grass, anything that requires lots of walking but let's you change quickly if needed.

My family likes Merrill, Vaasque and Cabela's house brand of boots. Each of us has a different foot type, weight, height and footwear need.Fitting hiking boots/shoes isn't a 5 minute job. Plan on spending an hour or so to do it. Try on several styles/brands and vary the sizes a bit. Walk around the store, climb stairs if possible/available at the store. When you find 1-2 pairs that feel really good fits, try them again. It isn't a fast process, but your time will be rewarded.

Hope this helps. Happy trails.

 

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I like Timberline boots, but it's sock choice that manages blisters. That and duct tape. As soon as you feel the warm sensation coming on your foot, stop, de-boot, and slap a square of tape on the warm spot to reduce friction between skin and boot. This is very hard for a youth to do because he/she is so fixated on the goal that it seems like a sin to slow a buddy down by doing preventative maintenance. But taking care of yourself gives you a chance to enjoy your surroundings. I saw my first bear in the wild while I had one boot and sock off and had barely got the the duct tape on!

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For your son, I’d look for hiking boots in the 50-60 dollar range.  My son is the same age, and I got him a pair of Merrell’s on sale for $40.

They were already mentioned,  but we love Darn Tough Socks.    https://darntough.com/.  They are completely made in the USA, and are the best socks.  

How much hiking will your son do at camp?  I know my son will do two hikes, a five miler and then a mountain climb.  How much hiking does your family do?  That would influence how much I spent on boots.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/3/2018 at 10:45 AM, Saltface said:

If it shouldn't be damp but is and starting to chafe, Anti Monkey Butt Powder.

If it shouldn't be dry but is and starting to chafe, Bag Balm.

Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick --- use it as a preventive measure and you don't have to worry about either of the above.  

And as many have said, high quality socks and underwear, and make sure your scouts change both every day.

Edited by T2Eagle

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37 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick --- use it as a preventive measure and you don't have to worry about either of the above.  

And as many have said, high quality socks and underwear, and make sure your scouts change both every day.

Another thought is educate the Scouts the benefits of changing the “non-cotton” socks before the troop leaves for camp and let them learn from their decisions. They will figure it out and the adults don’t get accused of hovering. 

I’m always amazing of how little scouts require to be comfortable compared to adults.

Because I’m a skin cancer survivor, I did warn our scouts on every camp out that I would nag them about one thing, sunscreen.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, T2Eagle said:

Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick --- use it as a preventive measure and you don't have to worry about either of the above.  

And as many have said, high quality socks and underwear, and make sure your scouts change both every day.

Bag Balm is for windburn or chapped lips. Gold Bond, Anti Monkey Butt Powder, and Body Glide are all more or less competitors. 

Bag Balm is also good for healing a moisture chafe. 

Edited by Saltface

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16 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I’m always amazing of how little scouts require to be comfortable compared to adults.

Me too. Now I get it to a degree.  Us adults are older. Not as pliable as them young-uns... But still at times I think we go overboard with creature comforts and gadgets. If you carry more than four scouts or require your own truck to haul all your personal stuff, perhaps you should re-think it. 

My big thing is cellophones. I think it is reasonable for all the adults to have them on a camp out and for very good reasons below. However except for the reasons listed below, ours should be off unless there's a need that you wouldn't frown at a scout for. 

  • Main point of contact (maybe two adults, but no more than that)
  • Your job/life requires it (not talking about your need to go check the latest in sports)
  • Health (talking need for an app on the smart phone, though I don't personally know of any need like this someone else might have one. If not now, then soon you'll see something like it.  "Scans show that your insulin is low.")
  • Search and Rescue / Emergency  (Personal note: I had a scout stop taking his medication for a few days and after blowing up, ran off with a knife he was brandishing at everyone and we were very concerned. It was adult's night at summer camp and I got back a few minutes after he ran off. I had no phone. A phone would have drastically improved our group response. All worked out well.)
  • Weather Checks  ("Gee, is that thunder storm coming our way?" "Is that ice storm coming in earlier than expected?")
  • Check in  (like the scouts are on a very long trip via foot/canoe/whatever and you should send in a text that you've hit certain points in the journey)
  • Troop Transport ("Hey, we're stopping at the next gas station." or "We've got a flat tire.")

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On 7/10/2018 at 6:54 AM, JohnyWalter said:

OK, I tried to search for boots and shoes and got nothing very useful. I am the former Webelos leader who's son is ate up with the Scouts and going to Camp this summer. As I had a good year last year we plan to allow him to go to two camps this year. One close and one further away. Camp Naish I have been to with him in Webelos but never to Bartle. My quandry is what type of shoes/footwear should he have for camp. I remember having huge blisters when I went back in the 80's so I hope to eliminate this joy for him. Anyone have recommendations? I know I will be buying myself a good pair but my feet are not growing.

Thanks in advance.

I have had Columbia boots for over two years now and they work great. They are not too expensive, I got mine for under $100 on sale. 

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