Getting ready for summer camp, part 1

Summer camp is coming soon and your Scouts are getting registered, your troop meetings should be centered around preparations, and your Scoutmaster and assistants should be helping Scouts choose which merit badges they will work on while at camp.  How does your troop committee help the troop get ready for camp?

The troop committee is actually much more important than most realize when it comes to supporting program, and summer camp is most likely the year’s program highlight for most troops.  In this series of posts, I’ll go over some of the responsibilities of the troop committee, starting with a few things that need to be done well in advance (and by now, hopefully, you’ve done them).

  • Facilitate the selection of a camp – Unless your troop camps at the same location each year, the committee should do some looking into the summer camp options in your area. Consider both your own council’s camps and those of nearby councils. Every camp is different, and an out-of-council camp may have a better program for the needs of your troop. Review the options with the Scoutmaster and PLC, and get a decision from the boys early enough to ensure that you can make a reservation at the camp of your choice.  Then, make sure the reservation is made, deposits are paid, and the necessary planning materials obtained well in advance of deadlines.
  • Set up registration procedures – Make sure you have  dates for sign-ups chosen and publicized well in advance.  Figure out how much you are going to charge.  Camps charge a per-camper fee and a fee for adults.  There may be registration or application fees as well. Are there costs over and above the cost of camp, such as the cost of towing your troop trailer to and from the camp or supplies while at camp, and how do you pay for them?  You could budget these costs as part of your troop budget or add an amount to the scout’s cost. Don’t forget the cost of adults attending camp.  Do you charge adults, or do you cover them like you would cover other miscellaneous costs?
  • Help the Scouts pay their way – Set up a savings program so the boys can put money aside for summer camp.  Work with the boys to conduct fund-raising activities with the proceeds going toward summer camp.  Popcorn is an excellent way to fund camp.  Other methods are product sales, scrip, or bottle drives.  Also find out about, and publicize, camperships, and consider setting up a troop campership fund for scouts who may not be able to afford to go otherwise.  No scout who wants to go to summer camp should be denied on the basis of inability to pay out of pocket.

In the next installment I’ll cover some of the mechanics of getting the troop, and parents, ready for summer camp.

Other articles in this series:

This post first appeared on Bobwhite Blather.
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