Minimum Essentials for a Campout
1) Sleeping Bag: Single most important item, lightweight, rated for a minimum of 20º F
2) Ground Pad: Closed cell type foam.
3) Eating Utensils: Including plate, cup, and service ware. Durable plastic works great.
4) Flashlight: Standard size with long life batteries. Bigger is not better - double "A" battery size is easy to carry in the pocket.
5) Backpack: To carry the above gear, clothing and toilet articles
6) Tent: Each Scout should have his own two-man tent. Patrols will camp together on campouts, with two Scouts in each tent. If each member of the patrol has his own tent, no one will have to provide the tent on every campout. Tent-mates should be finalized prior to the camp-out to ensure that everyone has a place to sleep.
These items can be obtained at a variety of places, including discount stores, garage sales, and flea markets.
The troop provides patrol pots and pans. Each patrol decides on a menu and purchases food for each campout.
In addition to guns, other weapons, and explosives, Scouts are not permitted to bring sheath knives, hatchets, or axes on troop functions. Scout type pocket knives are permitted if the Scout has passed his "Totin' Chip." Radios and computer games are also prohibited.
A majority of the campouts are called "tailgate" camping. This is where you drive to your campsite, unload your gear, and set up camp. At most of the troop's campouts, the patrols plan their own menus; the Scouts divide the cost so that one Scout (the "Grubmaster"), on a rotating basis, purchases the food for the patrol's use at the camp. The grubmaster is then responsible for collecting money to cover the food cost.
The troop also does "backpack" camping. On some of these trips, we go to relatively easy access areas and hike in. Obviously, on these trips, everything has to be carried in. As you can imagine, it's no fun to carry a 10 pound bulky sleeping bag for a long way with the rest of your personal gear. For your first few backpacking trips, probably the best way to go is to rent a backpack and sleeping bag at someplace like REI. See the Scoutmaster Staff for more information and suggestions.
The Sandia District hosts two Camporees each year for all the District's troops. These are usually tailgate affairs and are held within the September-October time frame in the Fall and April-May in the Spring. These get-togethers offer some fun-filled competition between various troops and opportunities to meet Scouts from other troops.
The Klondike Derby, an important winter event, is normally held in January or February. This involves camping in the snow, and is usually chilly, but it's lots of fun and the boys enjoy it. Why Winter camping? (1) fun; (2) accomplishment; (3) better understanding of the consquences for not listening/preparing. If your family owns a 4-Wheel Drive vehicle, we will probably be calling on you to help with transportation for this activity. This is one of the few campouts where the cooking is done by the adults to ensure that the Scouts get enough of the right food.
The big event of the year is a week at Summer camp at the Council's Camp Frank Rand located in the mountains Northeast of Santa Fe. The current cost is around $200.00. The new Scouts work on the skills required for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, and all Scouts have the opportunity to earn Merit Badges. In addition to the Council camp, the troop also tries to attend an out-of-council camp to provide new experiences for the older Scouts.
The troop has a "High Adventure" program for the older Scouts, usually 13 years old and older. This is generally a week long (or more) activity, backpacking in some wilderness area like Philmont, canoeing the Boundary Waters in Minnesota, or sailing at the Sea Base in Florida. It's physically demanding, requiring skill and experience. The beginning Scout should begin immediately to prepare for these challenging highlights in the Scouting Adventure.
There are other opportunities for individual camping. For the younger Scouts, Brownsea is a week-long camp at Camp Frank Rand, and for the older Scouts, Junior Leader Training (JLT), also at Camp Frank Rand, is available for those interested in developing their leadership skills. Boys sign up on their own and are placed in patrols at the camp. Each of these camps have approximately 50-60 boys.
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