Troop/Team Represenatative - Camping Promotions

Where to Go Camping Guide

The Lodge publishes a Where to Go Camping Guide as a resource for the units it serves in the Council.  This guide can be a tremendous asset to unit leaders and their Senior Patrol Leaders to find new and exciting areas to discover in the local area.  The guide is always being updated so feel free to ask to be part of the team that puts it together.  If your unit doesn’t have a copy, be sure to ask your Chapter Chief or Adviser to get you a copy or request that your Chapter Camping Promotion Chairman schedule a camp promotion visit for your unit and have one delivered during the visit.

Camping Promotion

Since the Order of the Arrow is the honor campers’ brotherhood of the Boy Scouts of America, a lodge’s basic objective is to promote the camping program of the local council.  This should include troop and pack visitation by members of the lodge or chapter camping promotion committee.  Each troop/team rep should become the camping promoter in his own unit.

Camping provided the environment for you to learn to work as a member of a group, to discover new places and friends, and to grow by becoming aware of your abilities.  Because you learned these lessons, your troop elected you to the Order.  In your Ordeal, camping again provided the time and place for growth.

Your task now is to enhance the camping program of your troop so that other Scouts learn, discover, and grow as you did.  This may seem difficult, since the goal is vague and the effect of your efforts hard to observe.  Here are some effective ways to improve camping that can make a real difference.

  • Encourage camping.  As a member of the Order of the Arrow, you are a respected member of your troop.  Other Scouts look up to you.  Thus you can enhance camping just by supporting patrol and troop campouts enthusiastically.  Your enthusiasm for camping – especially when things aren’t going right – can make a tremendous difference in how others feel about going out.
  • Improve your own camping skills.  Can you identify most of the trees you see while camping?  Can you start a fire with flint and steel?  Do you always wash your dishes properly?  Do you use topographic maps often enough to use them to navigate with?  You can learn a lot from the Boy Scout Handbook and Fieldbook.  To become good at a skill, you may need to do some library research or find someone (perhaps another Arrowman) who can give you some pointers.  This is part of the fun.  Above all practice!  You can’t be an expert at everything, but you can find one or two skills that aren’t well known in your troop and learn all you can about them.  Once you know them, use these skills often and enthusiastically.
  • Help new Scouts with camping skills and jobs.  Camping isn’t fun if you don’t know how.  Show a new Scout how to enjoy his first campout – how to make a comfortable bed on the ground, cook a hearty meal, start a fire, and track a bird or animal.  You will find that teaching others helps you sharpen your own skills.
  • Finally, Go Camping!  Don’t just talk about it, Do it!

There are always tasks that no one enjoys: hauling water, washing dishes, latrine duty.  If you are in charge, make sure that these tasks are fairly divided, and as an Arrowman you should enthusiastically help new Scouts with these tasks.

Troop Camping Traditions

Every good Scout troop has special camping traditions of its own.  Traditions help bind the troop together from year to year.  They add quality and sparkle to the troop program.  Scouts like them, and anticipate having the same fun they had last time.

Here are a few examples of camping traditions from around the nation.  Each is a source of deep pride for those troops that follow them.  You may find some a bit unusual, but use those to stimulate your imagination.

  • Go camping every month of the year.
  • Attend resident camp each year.
  • Go on a survival camping trip every August.
  • Never camp twice in the same place within a year.
  • Always cook by patrol, even at resident camp.
  • Never call off a camping trip because of bad weather, except where it could be a dangerous situation.
  • Have a special 50-miler each year for those Scouts meeting requirements in attendance or advancement set by the troop.
  • Once a year each patrol has its own campout.
  • Do a service project for a local hiking trail as part of a camping trip each year.
  • Always cook breakfast from scratch.
  • Hike every marked trail at resident camp each summer.
  • Hold a snow camp each year.

Scout Campfires

The campfire has been a focal point in Scouting since the days when Robert Baden-Powell invented Scout camping on Brownsea Island.  Whether at the patrol campsite or in the dim evening shadows of the Ordeal, the spirit of the campfire is always cheerful.  Songs, skits, stories, silly yells tie each Scout to the traditions of cheerfulness.  The fire itself is symbolizes how the program should go, beginning with a crackling start, then through a period of bright light and merriment, and then yielding slowly to a glow of embers.

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