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Planning for Summer Camp

Summer camp is the highlight of the Scout year. It takes a lot of planning beforehand to pull it off smoothly though. And even with the best laid plans, things can go wrong sometimes. But in the end, if you get them to summer camp and keep them safe, Scouts will have a great time. In the long run, they probably won’t remember that you forgot to pack some piece of gear and they had to make do with something else. What they will remember is the great times they had sitting around the campfire with their friends.

Don’t try to do it all yourself. Recruit some other adults. Give them a very specific job. “Bill, here is the list of scouts and adults who are going to summer camp. I need you to collect all of their medical forms by May 15.”

And when you finally get to camp, kick back and have some fun. Some of the best times I’ve had with my sons have been at camp.

Here is a very general plan to help get ready for camp. You will need to adjust depending on your troop or crew’s needs and the requirements of the camp you are attending.

Printable copy of  Summer Camp Checklist

Planning for Summer Camp (or a Venturing Summer Camp)

In the fall

  • If planning to attend an “out of council” camp, research some camps and decide which one you will attend.
  • Make your preliminary camp reservations and send it any required fees

A few months before camp

  • Schedule Order of the Arrow elections with your lodge (if necessary)
  • Recruit a few adults to attend camp
  • Recruit adults to help with tasks like transportation, collecting medical forms, etc.
  • Review the payment schedule for your camp and pay any necessary fees.


  • Finalize the roster for both youth and adults from your troop.
  • Check with scouts who haven’t signed up to encourage attendance.
  • Collect fees from scouts
  • Meet with the youth leadership to help plan for camp and set priorities.
  • Have scouts select merit badges and check prerequisites.
  • If attending an “out of council” camp, fill out all required forms, including tour permits.
  • Inform parents and scouts about camp policies and procedures

Three weeks before camp

  • Collect all medical forms
  • Finalize plans with youth leadership, including duty rosters
  • Distribute packing lists
  • Recruit a few adults to attend camp
  • Recruit drivers to transport scouts and gear to and from camp

One week before camp

  • Prepare at least two copies of your camp roster, more if necessary.
  • Communicate details about travel to scouts and parents, including departure time
  • Inspect troop gear

One day before departure

  • Stage gear for easy loading into vehicles. Preload some vehicles with gear if possible.
  • Double check that you have all medical forms and permission slips

Immediately before departure

  • Review expectations about behavior with scouts
  • Collect medications (in original containers with instructions, placed in a Ziploc bag labeled with scout’s name)
  • Say a prayer (A Scout is Reverent)


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Scouter Mom