Camps and nights-away experiences are an important part of the Scouting calendar. This FAQ tries to answer some of the things young people get most anxious about.
I’m not sure I want to do all of the activities…
I have a mobile phone / electronic game / tablet – can I bring it?
Games, tablets, and phones should be left at home – you are unlikely to get a chance to use them while on camp and it’s the kind of thing that’s easily lost or broken. Electronic devices can be a dangerous distraction from activities and social media access always causes arguments. Also, charging electronic devices on camp is often tricky. You might find there a phone policy specific to a section or a camp – please check with your leader.
I don’t like sauce / meat / vegetables / porridge / anything-other-than-cheese (etc).
You will normally be asked to fill out a diet form, particularly for things you absolutely cannot eat (allergies, intolerances, and so on).
Also, camp cooking does not normally involve anything unusual, weird, or challenging (unless it’s a specific ‘weird food’ challenge!). If there is a part of the menu or a meal coming up that you cannot eat, let us know. Even better – let us know before we do the shopping! Nobody should go hungry on camp. There will also be fresh fruit, drinks etc available all the time.
How will parents know what’s going on?
For camps we always operate an ‘InTouch’ system, according to Scout Association best practise. This way, parents have a single point of contact for the camp, and emergencies can be dealt with efficiently on-site.
For normal stuff (what we’re up to) we’ll often update our private Facebook group, and often we create private groups for specific events so that only those involved have access to the pictures and updates.
What special kit will I need?
The ‘special’ items you will need to consider if you haven’t got them are waterproof footwear (walking boots & gaiters are ideal), a sleeping bag (we’d advise a good quality three- or four-season ‘mummy’-style bag), a carry-mat (sleeping mat), a torch and spare batteries (the small LED types are bright, robust very cheap these days), a sun hat, sun cream, and a wash kit (sorry). For clothing we recommend that you go for made-made base layers and top layers – they wick sweat, dry easily, and don’t chafe. For older Scouts and Explorers, consider buying kit that will pass kit check for some of our more challenging competitions and events, such as the Herts Peak Assault. Leaders can help with that and any other kit questions. A suggested kit list will normally be emailed out before the camp.
As far as possible you should label ALL your things with your name. Anything that might get dropped on site in the dark (like a torch) can always benefit from a reflective, bright, or distinctive marking, or tape.
Can I bring my penknife?
The older sections (Scouts & Explorers) will normally be allowed to bring penknives to camp, but there will be specific arrangements for storage and use of knives, depending on the camp and the campsite. For instance, knives should not be carried on your person or in a day-sack while travelling or in a public place. For certain campsites Scouts may have to hand knives in for safe keeping while they are not being used, or at least store them in their kit bag rather than in their pocket. Specific arrangements and advice is given for each camp. We do go over knife-law and safety as part of our Scouting programme.
I want to share a tent with my friends.
We would rather you were sharing tents with your peers, Scouts of similar age / maturity, and people you get on with, so tell us before the camp if there are worries about this. We do, where possible, encourage ‘social’ camping with bigger tents. Where there are more Scouts in a bigger tent we find that social issues get diluted and anxiety is lessened significantly. Of course, sometimes expedition-style lightweight tents are the only viable option, and sometimes compromises have to be made.
Do I have to wear uniform?
We normally ask Scouts to wear uniform when travelling to and from a camp – and occasionally when going off-site or when attending an awards ceremony or Scout’s Own during an event. This also means Scouts have to look after their uniform during a camp! When not in uniform, Scouts will often be asked to wear their scarves.
Will I have to do chores?
For most camps we have a duty rota for things like washing up, filling up the water, and helping in the kitchen. Everybody on camp is expected to pitch-in, and lend a hand when asked (even when the rota says otherwise). For Patrol-type camps Scouts are expected to keep their own tents, cooking and eating areas etc clean and tidy.
Can I bring sweets?
Yes, though you should expect to share amongst friends or tent-mates!
What do I do if I hurt myself?
You should always let a Leader know if you hurt yourself – even if it’s just a scratch. There will always be trained first-response first aiders around and we need to make sure cuts and scratches are cleaned properly. Camp risk assessments will always include the potential for injury and will consider appropriate actions for the event or activity.
Can I bring my teddy?
Yes, absolutely. The Leaders will be bringing theirs. If you’re nervous about losing him/her you can always pack them in the bottom of your sleeping bag before camp and he/she will always be there when you go to bed.