Boy Scout Troop 223, Twinsburg Ohio - Typical Campout Information
Scouts are expected to attend weekly meetings, and to bring their Scout Handbook plus pen and paper to each meeting and campout. Scouts should take notes or remember the schedule and details of upcoming campouts, and relay that information to their parents. This is absolutely the best way to get information for each campout.
For new scouts & parents, this is just an informal description of the things that usually happen when the troop goes on a campout. These are not formal rules or “cast in stone”, but generally the way things go, to be the most fair to everyone. Fees, times, and other information listed here are not always the way things happen, but are good guidelines. Our troop generally camps out one weekend every month, regardless of weather or season. Yes, we camp out in January and February. See a separate list for what each scout should pack or bring on the campout.
Some camps require certifications, merit badges, age or scout rank levels, physician-conducted medical exams, signed forms, or other things before a scout would be allowed to participate. Some campouts or trips only allow a certain number of scouts and adult leaders due to camp, activity, or transportation limitations. Sometimes planning and sign-ups are needed well in advance. All these details are given to the scouts at the weekly troop meetings either verbally or on handouts.
Leaving and Returning Schedule
When leaving for a “nearby” camp site such as Brecksville Metroparks, Camp Manatoc in Peninsula, Camp Chickagami in Parkman, etc., scouts should eat dinner beforehand, and be at the church at 5:30 PM on Friday evening. This allows time to pack troop and personal gear, to be ready for a 6:00 PM departure. Further-away camp sites such as Beaumont in Ashtabula, Kelly’s Island in Lake Erie, Laurel Caverns in Pennsylvania, etc. require more travel time, and usually require a different departure time and maybe a different day.
When returning on the Sunday morning of a campout, scouts have a light breakfast, then pack the troop gear and their personal gear. Often, they need to wait for their campsite to be checked by the Campmaster before being allowed to leave. Because of all the variables involved (sunrise time, amount of gear, distance to camp, etc.), it’s tough to know exactly when scouts will be ready for pickup at the church on Twinsburg Square. Typical pickup times can range between 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM on Sundays. Troop leaders should have a good estimate of the pickup time by the Tuesday troop meeting before the campout, or at least by departure time. That’s why scouts should “be prepared” to take notes at each meeting. Generally, adult leaders on the campout have cell phones and can allow scouts to call home on Sunday mornings to advise about pickup times, or if schedules change.
Food, and sometimes camp and activity fees are charged for each campout. Usually, the cost is $20 for food, covering a Friday night snack, 3 meals on Saturday, and Sunday breakfast in camp. Sometimes food fees are not required, if food is provided at the campout. All known fees should be paid in advance, by the 2nd troop meeting before the campout. For example, if the campout starts on Friday the 19th of a given month, then fees should be brought to the meeting on Tuesday the 9th. It’s most helpful to the scout buying the food if the fees are paid in cash, but checks are accepted, made payable either to Troop 223, or just leave the “Pay to the order of” line blank, for the scout to fill in (2nd most helpful). Money should be given to the Patrol Leader of your son’s patrol, who should then pay the scout buying the food.
If the campsite that we’re going to requires fees just to camp there, there could be an additional fee charged to cover the expenses. The camp fee might be higher, depending on the cost of each camp or campsite. Any camp fees should be paid to the troop treasurer, with a list of the scouts who paid.
Sometimes optional activities or merit badge programs are available, with separate charges for each. Supplies and/or equipment might also be needed for certain activities. You may be able to buy approved materials more cheaply on your own before the camp. Spending money is sometimes handy at certain camps, especially week-long summer camps, and information about spending money is given out before those camps. Again, scouts should pay attention to details discussed at the meetings prior to each camp, to know what’s available and how to prepare.
The duty of buying food for each patrol or the whole troop is assigned to a scout before the campout, and the duty rotates among all the scouts. The scout will be issued a cooler to take home, for packing things that need to be kept cold.
For the scout or family buying food for the campout: first and foremost, know how many people you are buying food for. Sometimes you will be buying for the whole troop, but lately we have been trying to emphasize the “patrol method” of camping, where each patrol takes care of its own food. That means that the scouts in each patrol should plan their menu in advance and develop a shopping list (usually done during the meetings before the campout), build their fire, and prepare and cook the food separately.
Please take the scout to the grocery store, and let them do the “buying”. This can be a valuable teaching experience in many ways, but ultimately the scout should make the final decision (within reason and budget), put the food in the cart, help carry it, pack it, etc.
Some general rules for what to buy:
Raw ingredients are highly recommended. Scouts are encouraged to start with raw meats and other ingredients instead of pre-cooked, complete items (like brown & serve sausage, or heat and eat chili or stew). Buying ramen noodles and fresh chicken breast instead of cans of chicken noodle soup is an example of the right way to do it. Now, not everything needs to be from pure raw ingredients; use good judgment. Pancakes are popular, so just buy a box of mix; the “add only water” mix is the most convenient.
Meals should include all four food groups if possible. Even breakfast burritos with eggs, bacon, cheese, and peppers/onions have all four. Yes, this should have been taken care of during meal planning, but last minute adjustments can help balance the meal. Sunday breakfast is an exception: quick & easy is good.
Be thrifty (part of the scout law, too). Generally, store brands are a good value, and the difference in flavor is not a big deal on campouts. $10 per person is usually plenty, and it’s not unusual to have extra food at the end of the campout. Also, if someone cancels at the last minute, you may end up with less money than originally planned. In the past, the family buying the food has usually just paid for anything over the total money collected, which is one of the reasons that the job of buying food rotates to different scouts each time. That also helps keep costs under budget. Since the scout that brings the food should also take the cooler home to clean it, the family that buys the food can keep any extra left over. If you have a lot of extra money left (over $5) after buying food, please donate it back to the troop.
Buying food for “hobo meals”? Better to buy some foil to wrap it all in, than get to the camp site and find out the troop’s roll of foil just ran out. Salad on the menu? Add a bottle of dressing. You get the idea. Tabasco or taco sauce are popular spices.
Ice for refrigerated stuff
Remember to save a few dollars to buy ice. Things that need to be kept cold should be packed into the cooler with ice right before bringing the scout to the church for the campout. A small amount of drinking water is not a bad idea, but not necessary. Usually a source of clean water is available at the camp site, but the taste is not always the best. Tip: if bacon or hamburger is on the menu, please bring an empty metal can to cool and discard the grease in. We want to leave no traces when we leave the campsite.
Troop Gear Cleanup & Return
After the campout, tents (if used) need to be cleaned, checked, and packed before being returned to the troop shed for storage. Usually tents are given to scouts at the end of each campout to clean and return at the next troop meeting. Again, we try to “share the load” and pick different scouts each time for these cleanup duties.
Food coolers (if used) should be taken home by the same scout that bought the food. Clean them like there was raw chicken in them, and be sure they’re dry on the inside before bringing them back – they might be stored for weeks or months before they’re used again.
Kitchen boxes with utensils, bowls, pots & pans and so forth should be taken home by a different scout in each patrol to be cleaned, dried, and returned at the next meeting.
Lost & Found
There is no lost and found box for the troop. Scouts are expected to be responsible and take home everything they brought. At campouts, when doing the final pack up & clean up, we try to deal with any lost and found items before leaving. Stuff that nobody claims is usually thrown out (they’re usually dirty socks anyway – ha ha), so label things well.
Please unpack personal gear and clean troop gear quickly after returning home from the campout. This way, lost things can be identified, and extra things you find can be brought to the next troop meeting to be returned.