I once figured out that I’d spent roughly two years of my life on various Scout outings, from weekend campouts as a Scout to multiple trips to national jamborees and the Philmont Training Center as an adult. One result: I have no idea what it’s like to be a brand-new camper. I’m guessing you’re in the same boat. That can be a problem because new Scouts – and new campers – are joining our troops all the time, and I’m not sure we do an adequate job of making sure they’re prepared for the experience.
Think about how you prepare new Scouts and adults in your troop for their first outings. Do you give them detailed equipment lists? Do you teach them how to pick good tent sites? Do you tell them in advance what the bathrooms will be like? Do they know how to dress for the weather they’ll encounter? If not, you can’t be surprised when their first outing becomes their last.
If you need a little inspiration, check out http://byrdcamp.com. This fun, informative website targets first-time visitors to the Byrd Surface Camp in Antarctica. While we don’t need to offer quite so much information, we do need to tell our first-time campers more than just “Meet us in the parking lot Friday at 5 p.m.”