Why do we go Camping with Scouts?


Ask anyone what they think of when you say “Scouts” and the vast majority

will mention camping and the outdoors.  While the association of Scouts and the fun of outdoor adventure is a natural one, it is perhaps more important to understand that camping experiences provide more than just fun.  Camping is a method of Scouting, but camping is not Scouting's purpose.


The Aims and Principles of Scouting are to:

Provide opportunities for personal growth in areas of Physical, Intellectual, Spiritual, Emotional and Social development.


The Scouting badge system is centered on achieving the Aims and Principles.  Camping gives many opportunities to participate in badge activities.  Positive outcomes of Camping occur when the environment and activities at camp incorporate the principles and aims of Scouting.  Badges directly related to camping are Scoutcraft, Campcraft, and the Jam-Packed Camper Award.


Camp is more than just a place to have fun. It also offers Scouts the opportunity to participate in physically and intellectually challenging activities, introduces them to new and rewarding experiences, and provides them with supportive and caring relationships.  The long-term goal of Scouting is to prepare young people to achieve their full potential for happy and productive lives.


While it may take some organizing to get there, once you arrive at camp life is stripped back to its bare essentials.  There are no electronic distractions (mp3s, phones and gaming machines should be left at home), and housework is minimal, centred around meals and hygiene. Scouts become responsible for looking after themselves.  When there is some free time, Scouts are often inventive and find new ways to enjoy themselves.  All the Leaders need to do at these times is to ensure reasonable safety.


Camp can inspire Scouts to think about nature and consider the environment.  They make new friendships and find their way socially.  Scouts who camp will sooner or later come face to face with practical applications of the Scout Promise and Law. Cheerfulness, trustworthiness, friendliness, helpfulness, and all the central virtues of Scouting are necessary survival skills. Thus, we promote camping, and camping becomes more effective in achieving the aims of Scouting.


 Patrol method. Baden-Powell wrote:

“The Patrol System is the one essential feature in which Scout training differs from that of all other organizations, and where the System is properly applied, it is absolutely bound to bring success. It cannot help itself! The formation of the boys into Patrols of from six to eight and training them as separate units each under its own responsible leader is the key to a good Troop. The Patrol is the unit of Scouting always, whether for work or for play, for discipline or for duty.

When you organise your camp, try to make sure the Scouts work in their natural patrols as much as possible.
Overview of Activities which can be conducted while Camping



Most Scout camps are within a bush setting and many have bushwalks or fire trails nearby.  Bushwalking is an excuse to see the bush close up.  Also skills such as map and compass work can be taught while bushwalking.  This makes the work done in the hall come to life (learning by doing).  You could ask Scouts to take a bearing, align a map and point out features, or work out the best way to get back to camp.  During bushwalks it is a good idea to pay attention to animals, birds and insects as well as plants and rocks.

Related Badges:  Jam-Packed Walkabout Scout Award, Campcraft

After a few walks, Scouts can apply for a bushwalking leadership qualification.



Canoeing and Water Activities

Some camps have canoeing and sailing as an option.  Canoeing is great fun and builds leadership skills.  It is possible to run a canoe course while on a camp – contact your Region Activities Team to see whether this can be organized.  Canoeing can get badgework done as well.  A level 2 certificate earns the Scout an anchor badge.  Also, see the Water Activities Target badge, as many aspects of this badge are covered within a Canoe Course.


To find out requirements for running Canoe Activities, see the Water Activities Policy Document, Schedule A.





One Scout camp (Camp Canobolis at Orange) lists Caving as an option.  However, Scouts can camp at other caving sites as well.  Popular ones in NSW are Bungonia and Wee Jasper.


Caving allows the Scouts to see the world underground and gives some interesting information on geology.  Small bats can be seen in most caves.


Some Caves are run by commercial operators, and to visit these you do not need a Caving Instructor.  In order to conduct caving activities in “wild” caves, you do need to bring a Caving Instructor.  Scouts can go into horizontal caves with no previous qualification.  A Scout with an Abseiler qualification (not the proficiency badge) can go into vertical caves as well.  See the O&I for further information.  Your Region Activity team will be able to help you out with details and put you in contact with an Instructor.  There is a good chance they also run regular Caving Courses. 


A camp with a focus on caving can be run in order to gain a Caving Proficiency Badge.




Commando courses are great fun and can be run in many ways, for example as a time trial, or as a team building exercise by patrol.

Environmental Activities

Some Scout Camps run environmental programs and are always keen to get Scouts involved in their projects.  This can lead to interests in Landcare which is a special interest badge earned after a prolonged commitment to a Landcare project.  By engaging in an environment project, the Scouts can learn a great deal about the biodiversity of the area.


Some of these activities could count towards the Environment Target Badge.




Fishing is a great social Activity.  At the end of a long, tiring day, it is a time to be calm, and maybe even get dinner.  To organise fishing, it will usually suffice to ask the Scouts to bring any fishing gear they may have.  It is worth also buying some spare line and hooks and sinkers.  These can be made into simple hand lines by wrapping them around a piece of wood.  Make sure you know how to tie a hook.  Now all that is needed is some bait and time.  Supervision is needed especially during rod casting so that there are no nasty incidents with fishing hooks.


High Ropes

See Rock Activities


Low Ropes

See Rock Activities




While some camps offer ready-made navigation courses, Navigation activities can be done at every camp with a little planning.  The Campcraft badge has many navigation skills listed.  All of these activities could be tackled at camp, and are better done in a bush setting than at your Hall.  If you have already covered these skills at the Hall, it is useful to reinforce them at camp.



Rock Activities

Abseiling, Ropes and Rockcraft


Courage is knowing what not to fear.  ~Plato


A Scout is Courageous.  For many Scouts Abseiling, High Ropes, Low Ropes and Climbing are very difficult due to fear.  Even experienced people can feel some level of fear/discomfort while abseiling.   Showing the Scout all of the safety precautions and explaining how everything works means that they know they are safe, but the fear can still be there.  Overcoming that fear by continuing the task takes courage.  Once the task is done, the Scout will feel achievement, and may even decide that these activities are great fun.  Hopefully they will go to a course and become Abseilers, which allows them to go Caving and Canyoning.  An interest in these activities will hopefully keep older Scouts in the movement, as Venturers have many opportunities to engage in them.


Many camps list the above Rope activities as available.  In order to run the activities, an Abseil Instructor must be present.  There may be an instructor available through the camp – ask when you book.  Alternatively your Region Activities team should be able to help.


Scouts would be able to get an Abseil or Top Rope Climbing badge within the course of a weekend camp, if you plan ahead with the Abseil Instructor.



Scouts Own

Whether your selected campsite has a Chapel or not, camping offers an excellent opportunity to conduct a Scouts Own.




Swimming is a very popular activity with Scouts, and they will swim even when the weather is quite cold – although the activity doesn’t last as long in these conditions.  It is a great social activity and can be seen as “free time”.  Alternatively, races could be run and skills checked.  Make sure they observe proper safety precautions according to the conditions.


See the Water Activities Policy.


General Camping Activities

There are many more activities which can be undertaken while at camp – just use your imagination and that of the Troop Council.

The Scout Record Book contains many Proficiency badges which could be incorporated into Camping Activities, either in their entirety or partially.


These ones stand out as a natural fit with Camping:







Fire Prevention


Top Rope Climbing












The Scout Record Book published by Scouts Australia ISBN 1920 745 009

Guidelines for Scout Leaders and The Scout Award Scheme published by Scouts Australia ISBN 1920 745 149


For information on Jam-Packed badges:  http://www.dibbssm.net/getoutnsw/







Further Reading:

Camping and Hiking published by Scouts Australia ISBN 1920 745 246