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Camp Programs for First Year Scouts BSA

Summer camp is usually the highlight of the Scouting year. It can be particularly exciting for first year Scouts BSA. It can also be a little intimidating.

Many summer camps offer special programs for first year Scouts. In our council, the first year camper program is called Voyager. Brownsea is another common name for this type of program. It might have a different name in your council, but chances are, something special is offered for those brand new scouts.

A typical first year program will offer the opportunity for Scouts to work on their early rank requirements. Many of the requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class lend themselves to the outdoor setting of summer camp. They can practice knots and build fires and learn to use a hand ax.

Your Scouts might get to work on a merit badge or two. Our council programs offers the opportunity to work on Swimming merit badge. Scouts who are not ready for the merit badge can take an instructional swimming class instead. Usually our Scouts also have the opportunity to work on one more merit badge. Wood Carving or Leatherwork are two common options.

But one of this biggest advantages of first year camper programs is not the rank advancement opportunities. It is that your new Scouts will be with their buddies and with other first year Scouts. They are learning basic outdoor skills with others who are at their same level. This will help them adjust to camp life and combat homesickness. The main goal, after all, is for these Scouts to have an excellent experience at summer camp so they want to stick with the Scouts BSA program.


2 responses to “Camp Programs for First Year Scouts BSA”

  1. Jay oakman Avatar
    Jay oakman

    Do you, by chance have an out line for your voyager program tha you can share?

    Thanks Jay

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      No, I don’t have the outline. If you are thinking about running it at a camp, you could just look at the resources and facilities available to you and then pick the early rank requirements to work on based on that. You won’t be able to do them all. At our council they form patrols for the week, make patrol flags, cheers, etc. They tend to work on flag ceremonies and scoutcraft skills like knife and ax safety, orienteering, hiking. Then most of the participants do the Swimming merit badge. There is usually a separate section to teach basic swimming skills to the Scouts who cannot get the Swimmer qualification on the swim test.

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