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t158sm

How does your district run a camporee?

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In all the districts that I'm aware of units take turns hosting and running the camporees. It could be an individual unit or a combination of troop/pack/post who runs the show. The host selects the date, location, as well as the events and theme for the camporee. They are also responsible for submitting the patch design.

The camporee chairman and the DE get together on the costs and budget, but things stay pretty informal. Lately a camporee costs about $7 per person to attend. Events are run by members of the host unit and Scouters from other units that have been asked to help out or have volunteered.

I've been involved in Scouting for almost 30 years and this has always been the norm for us.

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We used to do it that way, but in the past 3 years, We have modified that approach

With 14++ troops, not every scout troop would not get an opportunity to host within a scouts tenure. (not all want to), but doing it this way, we can involve all the troops, thus giving them the opportunity for ownership and particiaption. The smaller troops can now volunteer to help and we don't have use the usual suspects.

 

The district committee sets the date. The camporee committee sets the location and theme. The DE works with the camporee commitee members on items such as finance and if we are using our local scout camp, he books the space

 

We ask that each Troop should provide a Scout as a representative to the Camporee planning committee, with an adult leader to assist.

Troops may be asked to provide logistical support of materials and work effort to help with the core Program Activities and the

Troops are requested to plan on attending Camporee as part of their major activities plans.

 

Leadership and Staffing

The Camporee Camp Director (Camp SM) is a volunteer and is approved by the District Progrma Committee. (I've had one beaders use this as a ticket item for the last two years)

The camp SPL is appointed by the Camp SM and then the camp SPL picks his assistants from the scout reps. They oversee those reps

The Camp Director is supported by a volunteer staff in various critical areas including:

Program Development

Health and Safety

Logistics Coordination

Communications

Interfaith service

Registration

Finance and Accounting

Recognition and Awards

Facilities Management

 

 

 

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Around here, Camporees are the responsibility of the District Program Committee. Dates are set...April and October...every year (avoiding Easter Sunday). Other set dates on the Council calendar are OA Ordeals (3), Fall Fellowship, Conclave, Freezoree/Klondike, Beaver Days (camp work weekends), Summer Camp, Scouting for Food, etc. Units plan their calendars around those dates.

 

The District Program Chair recruits a Campmaster at least a year in advance, who then decides the theme and location, recruiting other adults and youth to help as needed. Venture crews and the OA are usually in prime support roles. Troops can volunteer to be the "service troop", responsible for feeding the staff, crackerbarrels, parking control, etc. Average attendance is ~400. (Used to be 1,000+ before we split into 3 districts). There's a lot to be done, often beyond the capability of a single unit...patches and awards need designing and ordering, events planned, campfires planned, locations secured, porta-johns ordered, etc.

 

Recently, we have tried alternate activities to the traditional Camporee, but there is a District-wide activity on that weekend.(This message has been edited by scoutldr)

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We have 56 Troops in our District, we cover 2 counties.

 

Long ago the District Committee locked in the date as the 3d weekend in October. The date is deconflicted with both Scout Reservations (avoid workdays and off-season ceremonies), WB, WB reunion, and other sundry events. In fact, many of the Districts in our Council have Camporee this very weekend!

 

District volunteers provide parking support, registration, and other management. One Troop is asked (about 18 months out) to take program lead, it recruits other Troops. We've tried, with only so-so success, to have a District SPL Council plan program.

 

This year, we have a HUGE range fan set up; we are running shotgun MB for the first 200 Scouts who sign up.

 

All pull together :)

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I am very suprised to hear from this and another thread how troops are assigned to run a district event like a camporee. Having chaired several of these events myself, I would have to agree with scoutldr in that there is a lot of work to be done. I just can't see how the unit leaders in my district would be able to run the kind of camporees we have and still have time for their own program.

 

t158sm, you mention that the event costs about $7. This sounds very low for the kind of district event we run. Are we talking about the same thing when we say "camporee"? $7 would not even come close to covering the cost of the site, portajohns, patches, program and station supplies, participation ribbons/awards and staff recognition items.

 

Also, nowhere in my district level training material does it even suggest that district activities should be passed down to the units. It clearly states in the BSA Camporee Guidebook that, "The counil and district activities committees, have responsibility of organization and admininstration of the camporee." Handing off the responsibility of running a district event to a group of untrained, unexperienced unit leaders just does not make sense in my book.

 

 

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I am certain you didnt mean it the way it looks, but "untrained, unexperienced unit leaders" are the ones running the Camporees the Disitrct I serve have. And quite well as well.

 

The troop appoints a Chair, not the Scoutmaster or Committee Chair and the troop adults support the chair. Once you have helped put together a camporee, it becomes really hard to find fault with subsequent ones as you realize what it takes to organize one. With multiple troops sharing the responsibility, we continually have fresh ideas, new slants on things and that keep Camporees from being the same thing over and over.

 

Now, I may be missing something here, but just about all the DIstrict Committee members I know all have unit responsibilites. Is it different where you are?

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OGE, some of my district members have unit responsibilities and some don't. I'm one that does. But I don't use anyone in my unit on my camporee staff when I run one - my ASMs cover for me.

 

Just looking at it from a fiscal perspective, I am still curious as to how unit leaders who have never run a district camporee do it. Who makes up the event budget, which must be approved by council, and how do they even know how to formulate one? Who deals with council in getting advance checks issued for materials and services? I would hope the units that are running these camporee aren't spending their own money up front. And, if it runs over budget, who eats the costs? What contacts do they have for ordering or getting hold of a venue, patches, portajohns, HQ tent and supplies, signs, fliers, etc? How do they know they are getting the best prices?

 

You would have to admit that running a troop is very different from running a camporee. Wouldn't a person with experience in organizing a district event do a better job at it and not make the same mistakes twice? Wouldn't the district program benifit from this experience?

 

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Who makes up the event budget- camp director,activities chair,and/or budget director with input from the people running the program areas. Submitted to DE for aprroval from council. Don't forget the 20% contigency. The actvities chair should have gone to committee training, that is covered in committee training

 

how do they even know how to formulate one?

Honestly, Its not to hard to come up with a budget. We all do budgets of some sort for work,and home.Just ask the person who did it last year to offer any gudiance and lessons learned).

 

Who deals with council in getting advance checks issued for materials and services?

The DE. Invoices are given to him for processing. Direct payments are made to the vendor whenever possible

 

I would hope the units that are running these camporee aren't spending their own money up front. Some do. Depending on what is being bought and how much, some units pay up front

 

if it runs over budget, who eats the costs?

I would stress that No expenditures are authorized unless approved ahead of time. Sure sometimes things cost more, but the unit needs to be upfront about it. We normally budget for a 30% contingency fee. The council only wants 20% and that gives us some degree of latitude

 

What contacts do they have for ordering or getting hold of a venue, patches, portajohns, HQ tent and supplies, signs, fliers, etc? How do they know they are getting the best prices?

Our troops are pretty resourceful. Somebody did it last year, right? There is also the yellow pages

 

You would have to admit that running a troop is very different from running a camporee. Wouldn't a person with experience in organizing a district event do a better job at it and not make the same mistakes twice? Wouldn't the district program benifit from this experience?

Sure Someone from the district needs to be involved, but unless you bring in new people in the process, you are always going to be using the usual suspects.

 

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In our District, we start each year with a Chairman who was a Vice - Chair for the event the previous year. He and other core adults from his Troop are the lead people responsible for this year's event (be it Camporee, Klondike, Webelos Woods, etc.)

 

The FIRST responsiblity of the event chair, who works under the guidance of the District Program Chaiman, is to recruit a vice chair, who will run NEXT YEAR's event. This person serves very closely with the Chair, so that when it is his turn to run an event next year, very few surprises should come up.

 

The event chair works with what we call a District Finacial Liason, a VERY unofficial position supervised by the District Program Chair. This person has a long history of developing and monitoring event budgets, and he works with the event chair and vice chair to develop a budget for the event. Payment for supplies, etc., is requested from the Finacial Liason through the DE, who obtains a Purchase Order from the Council. Budgets are designed with contingency money, so that small overages do not put the event into the red. The Financial Liason, and to a lesser degree the DE, monitor performance to the budget to assure that not only does no event go in the red, but that every penny possible goes back to the participants as a value added service or give away.

 

In four years of doing events in this way, our District has accomplished a number of goals:

1) In increase of at least 10% participation for each

event (our Spring Camporee is up 300%).

2) Sound financial stewardship

3) A varied, interesting series of events with themes

developed by a multitude of volunteers

4) Reduction in the "good old boy" stranglehold that was

so prevelent in our district for so long

5) Complete elimination of "planning in the parking lot

on Friday night" that went along with having only

people who thought they know how to run an event and

their lack of planning.

6) A better working relationship between units in our

District

 

You are right that running an event like Klondike or Camporee is a tremendous undertaking. That is why we ask an event leader to practice one year before he takes the reigns the next. It has worked spectacularly in our District. And OGE points out a big benefit of them all - If you don't like it, help us run next year's! Plenty of Troops have decided to pitch in when they didn't like an event. Others backed off of complaining when the request was made.

 

But actually, I haven't even mentioned the biggest benefit. The system includes the event chair appointing a youth SPL from his Troop. This youth leader is responsible for coordinating the vast majority of the tasks - From parking lot logistics to cracker barrel to assuring that stations are youth run (when possible - obviously, the firing range must be run by adults). This youth leader is part of the planning process, and has input into a large amount of the planning. But once the event arrives, the youth SPL runs most of the event. Various adult event chairman have used youth leadership to varying degrees. And some youth have done amazing jobs, and one or two have failed miserably. But almost everyone has taken a far different view of youth leadership because of this system.

 

I wish you good luck as you develop the methods in your District to put together events that meet all of the goals we have in Scouting. Best wishes!

 

Mark

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I like the idea of having a set date for camporees. Ours have ranged from September until early December for fall camp and from March to May for spring. Often dates are not known when we have the yearly program preview conference . We've often had to shuffle our schedule around to accomodate the event.

 

We have 16 troops in the district that covers two counties. Sadly 3 - 4 troops never attend camporees or other events.

 

Location has varied from cow pastures, fairgrounds, airports, local and state parks, any of the several council camps, private land beside the river (not cow pasture) to a local water park.

 

AvidSM - Camporee: weekend camping experience involving troops (always) Crews (usually) OA (usually) and sometimes packs (more likely in the spring.) Units compete against each other in events such as orienteering, string burn, water boil, pioneering, Scout Jeopardy, tug of war, fire by friction, knot relay, scavenger hunt and a variety of others. Ribbons are awarded for units finishing in the top three.

 

Event budgets are handled between the event chair and the DE. The ones I've ran had very little overhead and yes my unit (me) did cover some of the small costs of the event. We set down and estimate how many we think will attend based on previous years and other factors. Figure up patch cost, insurance, cracker barrel and any other costs we believe we will incur. My unit has ran two camporees for the district and I ran a tri-district camp once. After the budget has been made up my role in finances ended for all three events. Same thing for the district and council training I've directed. A 20% or so contigency plan is planned into the budget.

 

There are not usually many costs beyond the above mentioned associated with our camporees. portajohns (occasionally) HQ tent (none) but for the large council camporees (Scout-O-Ramas, encampments, and jamborees they have called them) the military provides as many GP mediums as needed at no cost. Camp guides (mine have been handled by me - only a few dollars cover this) Very few other materials are needed beyond what a troop might usually already possess.

 

 

 

 

 

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Most Districts are pretty predictable.

Too much adult leader peekaboos and interferers...

To much planning by non-participants etc

Lots of TB syndrome from gumming the rules before during and after.

 

Try setting time and place but let the SPL (of the troops attending) with their assistants or PLs or any brownsea b\scouts actually attending plan the next days events...the whole enchilada, games, demos, rules, operations,setups , awards etc...

You might be impressed whay they can do..

After all , most camporees are term exams for scoutmasters...

Have you done your job well enough to earn that rocking chair???

 

let the scout plan and execute...

 

Thats true leadership

 

A Scout is Trustworthy...so start trusting them

 

MCCET

PMTNPO

OWL

Past Program Chairman and Camp Chief

 

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AvidSM, the technical expertise on budgets and money comes from the DE. Many times this is the troops closest experience with the DE and it works well for our District. Having Troops do it means its not the same people do the same things time after time.

 

I guess the final outcome is it works for us, I hope the system that is in use where you live works just as well.

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Kennebec Valley District covers 3 counties in Maine. Area-wise, it is area larger then the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. We have 42 troops in the district. We are (to my knowledge) the second largest district area-wise east of the Mississippi River. However, we are a sparsely populated rural district. Most of our District volunteers are also unit volunteers. Some of us wear 3 or 4 hats in scouting (I currently have three).

 

District events (Klondike, Spring and Fall Camporee) are usually scheduled on the same weekends each year.

 

Who plans them? That various from year to year. We ask for volunteers to step forward. Sometimes we get'em, sometimes we don't. When we do, it's usually 3 or 4 units in the same part of the district who work together. When we don't, either some district members step forward or we turn to the youth leadership and say: You want this event to happen? Then plan it!

 

Some of our best camporees have been youth-planned. Either way, it's tough to get everyone together to do the planning due to how large we are area-wise (it's about 2.5 hours travel one-way north to south and 1.5 hours east to west in some parts of the district).

 

In all cases, the District Activities Chair is involved.

 

Where do you get money for materials, location and port-a-potties without forking over unit money up front and still keep your registration fee reasonable? One possible way is to do some fundraising. Some years, the units involved have created a camporee brochure and sold ads to local businesses in said brochure. Businesses were charged a very reasonable fee for their ad (based on the size of the ad) and were told how many brochures were being produced up-front.

 

Other years we didn't need port-a-potties as we held our event at a county fairground or at the local scout camp (holding it at camp eliminated any need for fees other then camporee materials, patch and liability insurance).

 

We've tried to keep our fee around $5.00 Some years it's been as high as $10, but those where the years when the planners said, "Let's cap the Saturday night campfire with a professional fireworks display!" Fortunately, we have some contacts with a local pyrotechnics company that offers a display discount for scouting events.

 

Who runs the events? That depends on the events planned. We try hard to always get the older youth involved in some way/shape/form, especially the local chapter of the Order of the Arrow.

 

So far, things have worked out for us and I've been with this district through all my scouting career, youth and adult except the years I was away at college.

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