Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. It is
here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation
for God's handiwork and humankind's place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Boy Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's
Camping and cooking are two key skills taught to Scouts and put to use by them during our monthly camping trips. These skills are so essential and
important that they are enshrined as two of the thirteen Merit Badges required for a Scout to complete in order to earn Eagle Scout rank.
We hold monthly camping trips from September through June, followed by a week of Summer Camp, usually in August. Additionally, we participate in
high adventure activities every other summer, usually either at Florida Sea Base or at Katahdin Area Council's Maine High Adventure area.
Our monthly trips will often revolve around specific activities. These could include hiking, canoeing, rock-climbing, whitewater rafting, orienteering,
touring New York City, or working toward completing a specific merit badge, such as Cooking or Wilderness Survival. However, some trips are
simply devoted to strengthening the patrol units, allowing them to hone their basic Scouting skills, develop their leadership skills, spend time in the
outdoors, and just have fun.
Our camping schedule is usually published well in advance of the new Scouting year. This allows families to schedule around camping trips and to
try to avoid conflicts with other extracurricular activities.
Patrol planning begins three meetings prior to a camping trip:
Sign-Ups & Fees
During Patrol Meetings, Scouts will sign-up for the upcoming trip. The patrol leader will maintain a list of campers and whether or not they've paid.
They'll provide a copy of this list to the SPL, who will complete a Camp Roster that he will share the list with troop leadership.
Camp fees are generally covered by annual dues. However Scouts are responsible for the cost of their food, plus any special activities. Patrols may
collect whatever amount they decide for food, though generally they collect $15.00 per person and plan their menus accordingly. Food money must
be paid in cash to the troop Scribe, who will, in turn, distribute funds to each patrol's Grub Master. This allows the Grub Master to shop for groceries
and supplies without having to cash checks.
Special activities, such as climbing or canoeing, usually cost extra. Fees will vary by activity, but should be announced well enough in advance so that
Scouts will be prepared to pay three meetings prior to the trip. Any financial constraints which might prevent a Scout's participation should be brought
to the Troop Committee's attention so that arrangements can be made to allow that Scout to participate.
Menus and Duty Rosters
Except for rare occasions, patrols plan their own menus and do their own grocery shopping. Patrols are required to cook and to eat. Pre-made foods
are not allowed unless there are time constraints or special restrictions on a trip that would call for fast meal preparation. At their patrol meetings, the
patrol will decide on what to make during the weekend and fill out a Menu Planner. They should plan for three meals on Saturday, and breakfast on
Sunday, unless there are some special circumstances. It is up to the patrol whether or not they include snacks and desserts. Patrols are also
responsible for buying their own sponges, soap, trash bags, foil, paper towels, and other supplies. The troop does maintain a supply of spices that
may be used at the patrol's leisure.
Each patrol will also fill out a duty roster for the camping trip, on which assignments are made for food preparation, cooking, after meal cleanup
(cooking gear, dishes and utensils), gathering water, gathering firewood, cleaning the campsite and cleaning latrines. Patrols should have an adult
leader or JASM review their menus and duty rosters prior to giving to the Grub Master.
During their Patrol Meetings, each patrol will select a Grub Master for the upcoming camping trip. The Grub Master is responsible for taking the menu
and completing a shopping list comprised of all the ingredients and supplies for the number of patrol members who will be camping. The Grub
Master will be given all the food money that was paid to the Scribe by his patrol and will have to go shopping for all of the items. The Grub Master
should review all money collected with the troop Scribe and/or the Troop Committee's Treasurer. Ideally, the Grub Master will be able to go shopping
with a parent or guardian and bring the groceries to the troop meeting prior to the trip. However, if that is not possible, the Grub Master's Patrol Leader
should inform the SPL that the Grub Master will need to go shopping during the troop meeting prior to the camping trip. The SPL will inform the
Scoutmaster who will in turn try to secure an adult to take that Grub Master shopping during the meeting.
Upon completion of shopping for food and supplies for a camping trip, the Grub Master will return any unused funds to the Scribe, who will work with
the Treasurer of the Troop Committee to distribute the unspent portion back into each contributing Scout's account. The Grub Master may take care of
some preparations in advance if he wishes and may enlist the assistance of his patrol members to do so. This could include cutting vegetables,
browning meat, and so forth. Additionally, the patrol Grub Master is responsible for securing a cooler and ice, if necessary, for that patrol's use as well
as any other supplies that might be needed.
What to Pack?
The troop provides tents and all patrol equipment necessary for the weekend. Scouts must bring the Scouting Essentials and Outdoor Essentials
listed in their Boy Scout Handbook. Scouts will be informed of any special gear as needed (for instance, work gloves for a service project or wet
shoes for canoeing). Scouts should pack their gear in either a soft duffel bag or a backpack. Do NOT pack gear in hard luggage, tubs, crates, and the
like, as these will damage tents. It's also suggested that Scouts pack a day-pack for use during the day in and around camp.
Departing for Camp
The troop generally meets at Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Friday evening at 6:00 PM. Scouts should eat dinner before arriving
at the church. Parents and drivers should not park near the church entrance so that the vehicle which will tow the troop trailer may do so. Scouts can
load troop and personal gear easily. We travel in uniform when possible. This means Scouts should wear their activity uniform (BSA pants/shorts and
troop t-shirt) or, when told to, the official BSA uniform. Once all gear is loaded and the everyone is present, Scouts get into the vehicles in which they're
riding. All Scouts and adults must wear a seatbelt in transit.
Arriving at Camp
Upon arrival, the SPL is in charge. He will direct each patrol to their patrol site. Scouts will first unload and set-up all troop and patrol gear, after which
they may unload and organize their personal gear. Their PL or SPL will have tasks for them to do, such as collecting firewood, starting a fire, or setting
up an axe yard or cooking station, before they can move on to anything else.
More often than not, Scouts will camp with their patrol. Scouts will share troop tents assigned by the troop Quartermasters. Scouts should not bring
their own tents without prior approval. Scouts and adults may NOT share tents.
Scouts will observe the Outdoor Code and the principles of Leave No Trace.
Scouts should not leave the campsite without informing a leader, youth or adult, and only with a buddy.
Scouts should only use wood and fire tools in appropriate areas and only if they've earned their Totin' Chip and Firem'n Chit, respectively.
Scouts may not leave camp without prior permission and then only with a parent/guardian.
On the last morning of camp, individuals should pack all of their personal gear. Weather and time permitting, tents and ground cloths should be dried
prior to taking down. Patrols cook their breakfast and clean the cook gear and their personal gear. Under the direction of their Patrol Leader, they then
take down tents, take down all patrol gear and take it to the trailer to stage for departure. Under the direction of their SPL, patrols will take down all
other troop gear and take it to the trailer to stage for departure. The Quartermasters will make sure all gear is put away appropriately and loaded into
home-bound vehicles. Troop and Quartermasters will send tents and other gear home as necessary to be dried out or cleaned.
Before leaving for home, the troop will hold Quiet Time. Quiet Time is a chance for reflection and self-assessment using the "rose and thorn" method.
Each Scout has the opportunity to state what he, his patrol or the troop not only did well or enjoyed about the camping trip, but also what didn't go well
(and why) or what would improve the group's performance on future camping trips. The Chaplain Aide will offer an interfaith prayer and then the SPL
will dismiss the troop. Scouts should return home in the same vehicles, if possible, in which they arrived. The troop usually arrives at the church
between 11AM and Noon.