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Cub Scout Resident Camp - Leader Survival Tips, Please!

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OK, now for some fun.


Later this month, I (& a parent leader) take a group of 6 boys to their first overnight adventure camp. 5 are recently-crossed wolves, 1 is a recently-crossed bear.


I've never done this before for such a long period of time. Any survival tips to make the time more fun for leaders & boys?


Sidebar: Your collective comments in this form are all great - - there's a lot of scouting 'good' here. Thanks for the insights already shared, and those yet to come.

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Well, let's start with the mandatory 1 parent to 1 child ratio for Cub camping. I assume you are doing this at a council approved cub camp, per the Guide to Safe Scouting.


From G2SS, the following is boldface and thus BSA policy:

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.


Tiger Cubs may participate in boy-parent excursions, day camps, pack overnighters, or council-organized family camping.


Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts may participate in a resident overnight camping program operating under BSA National Camping School-trained leadership and managed by the council.


from the Family Camping paragraph: Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children, and Youth Protection guidelines apply.


At least one adult on a pack overnighter must have completed Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO, No. 34162) to properly understand the importance of program intent, youth protection guidelines, health and safety, site selection, age-appropriate activities, and sufficient adult participation. Permits for campouts shall be issued locally. Packs use Local Tour Permit Application, No. 34426.




I assume you are BALOO trained, or else you are going to a Council sponsored/supported camp.


Water, water, water. Cool, not ice cold (you can chug cool water, ice cold you have to back off after a few swallows, then you think you've quenched the thirst, but you haven't.


Simple foods the cubs can help do, like foil dinners and roast corn on the cob.


Don't let the Cubs bring soda and candy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Don't let the Cubs bring soda and candy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (it bears repeating)


Do your planning and have the Pack do your Tour Permit in a timely fashion (most councils want them into the system 2 weeks before the depart date)

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Ok, well I think our senior members are covering the regs and safety angles pretty well, so I'll put in some advice re mental health measeure for scouters :-)


#1 Have back-up activities for down times.


Stock a small duffel with supplies needed for quiet games (cards, marbles, photo-copies of your favorite games from the Cub Scout Leader's How To book. etc)


If you don't need them, fine. If you do they will be pricless.


#2 Consider how to discuss with your cubs the rules of camp conduct, and motivate/reward them for compience with good will.


Make sure they (as well as parents) are all on the same page with you. THEN think of a small way you can reward them daily for compliance with goodwill, occasionally for extraordinary effort, and at the end of the camp for a job well done. It could be as easy as a leather thong necklace with pony beads (different colors for each day) and plastic bear claws for extraordinary effort. Maybe a stop at Baskin Robins on the way home for a job well done.


#3 Bring extra sunscreen, bug repellant, castile soap (for washing after exposure to poisen oak.ivy), alo vera jel (for sunburn), and basic 1st aid stuff (steril wash, gauze, bandaids, ace bandages, instant cold packs). Yes, of course the first aider will have all that, but believe me, it will save you trips. And if your scout camp is anything like mine, it's uphill, both ways.


#4 don't forget advil or whatever for yourself.


#5 bring a book of bedtime stories, not really scary, but entertaining. Maybe this would be a good time to read them The Jungle Book, by Kipling. It could be a good way to get them to settle at night.


#6 don't forget to have fun.



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I think this one best covers that...


Council-Organized Family Camp


Council-organized family camps are overnight events involving more than one pack. The local council provides all of the elements of the outdoor experience, such as staffing, food service, housing, and program. These are often referred to as Parent/Pal or Adventure weekends. Council-organized family camps should be conducted by trained leaders at sites approved by the local council. In most cases, the youth member will be under the supervision of a parent or guardian. In all cases, each youth participant is responsible to a specific adult.


This last sentence is where I get 1:1.



Now, a couple more things to help the cubs and leaders have fun...


Bring along a propane lantern for after the campfire. The Cubs will be hitting the racks, but a few minutes with the leaders can be invaluable in looking into the morrow.


Either bring an ice chest with ice or buy some ice. Sometimes, a cold rag on the back of the neck will cool you (or a kid) down in short order.


If the Cubs are having to go to the bathroom, that's a good thing. If they aren't, it's time for the Philmont salute: Chug a Nalgene of water! I cannot overemphasize keeping the little ones (and you) hydrated.


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If your resident camp is like our Council's they will schedule the boys day (ie - 1000 to 1055 woodworking, 1110 to 1145 archery, etc). If they don't provide any free periods and the boys are getting cranky, hot and tired, skip an activity and take them back to the camp site. Just because your whole day is scheduled out doesn't mean you have to do it. Sometimes going back to the campsite and doing something more low keyed (whittling chip? knots? napping?) is exactly the thing to revive them (and you) for the rest of the day.


Another good thing in your kit is Gold Bond type powder. Walking a lot in sticky heat can cause chafing. Hopefully the boys are comfortable enough w/ either your or the parent leader to let you know there's a problem. If they do you can send them w/ the powder to the KYBO to take care of it. (Nephew had this problem for his first 2 years of Cub Resident Camp, we changed styles of undergarment and the problem stopped).


Oh yea, and because it can't be mentioned enough - water for everybody. We don't let our boys have milk or juice with their meals until they've finished a glass of water.


Remember to bring an extra helping of humor and patience. You'll need it, the boys will appreciate it and everyone will have a much better time.




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I think Michelle is on the right track here -- you are talking about a ~4-day council camp experience for cub scouts that sorta-kinda looks like a boy scout summer camp, right? (You said "overnight adventure camp" instead of "day camp" and "such a long period of time" which sounds longer than two days.)

I did this four years in a row with my son's den. Our camp ran Mon-Thurs, (leaving Fri-Sun for "fun with son" weekends on the same property) -- four days and three nights. As Michelle described, our day was wall-to-wall with activities, including one period of scheduled downtime, suitable for napping.

The biggest challenge was keeping everyone on schedule all day. "C'mon boys, we shoot BBs in 10 minutes -- get your shoes on!"

I brought a few diversions with me, but rarely used them.

I think the most valuable thing to bring is plenty of patience and enthusiasm. Freeze-pops were a big hit at the trading post -- treating the group to one was always a winner.

Also, our camp had a "fort" and "castle" arrangement for the youngest campers (wolves and bears), which were essentially bunkhouses. The Castle in particular was made of cinder blocks and got a lot of sun, so was radiating like an oven at bedtime. A box fan was *very* helpful for getting to sleep. When ours were at this age, we tried to get them out of doors on a clear night. We dragged mattresses up to the roof of the fort, which worked very well.

You'll probably have a campfire you can perform a skit in -- if you think ahead and bring a couple of costume/prop items, it will help. And take plenty of pictures :-) You'll have a blast. Here's a few from our last year... http://www.cubpacks.org/oh/cs/336/ac.html




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