A camporee is many things - camping fun for boys, the thumping of hundreds of feet on the way to an evening campfire, and the blue smoke from fires cooking stew or ham and eggs. It's the patter of rain on many tents at night. It's the ripple of windblown flags in the morning sun. It's catching the idea of teamwork in a patrol. It's learning to carry out an order you don't really like.
A camporee can be a perfect showplace for the Scouting program and, therefore, go far beyond just being a gathering of boys.
A camporee starts with the recognition that a patrol is the basic (camping) unit. The patrol demonstrates its very best camping techniques and shares its experiences with other patrols. The camporee involves the type of equipment that can be carried in a pack by boys and can be set up entirely by boys. The equipment thus set up enables the boys to be completely self sufficient for a self-reliant experience over a period of 2 or 3 days.
Camporees are held on a council or district basis. They may be held at any time of the year. Camporee programs may include contests and demonstrations of outdoor Scouting skill as well as campfires, games, and field events. These activities can show Scouting at its best.
Camporees can help councils and districts meet part of their goals. They stimulate overnight camping; they help units to attain part of their annual 10 days and nights of camping; and they help prepare units for long-term camping. Camporees thus help units to earn the Quality Unit Award.
The responsibility for planning, promoting, and conducting a district camporee or council camporall (all districts having a joint camporee with a coordinated program similar to a national jamboree) will vary according to your council and/or district organization plan. According to the functional plan of operation, the camporall should be the responsibility of the activities committee, but might be handled by the camping committee or an ad hoc committee or task force established just for that purpose. In no cases should commissioner staff members be given the responsibility for administering this event - their job is "to commiss."
The council and district activities committees, have responsibility of organization and administration of the camporee.
The camporee should be included in the council's annual program. It is an adventure for boys, provides good program ideas for the troops, and is a good medium for interpreting the Scouting program to the public. The successful camporee requires good planning, organization, and promotion. Organization is especially important for the selection of proper personnel, and the assignment of duties can determine the success of the whole affair.
When planning for a council camporee, each district will need the following personnel: (1) a camporee director or chief in charge of the district area; (2) an assistant director in charge of program, who represents the district on the events team; (3) a first aid officer, who becomes the representative on the health and safety team; (4) a registrar, who becomes a member of the participation team; and (5) a person who represents the district on the awards team.
This committee is composed of a general chairman and coordinator; staff adviser; camporee chief; and project team chairmen for participation, physical arrangements, publicity, awards, finance, health and safety, events, and special guests. This group (composed mainly of team chairmen) becomes an executive or planning task force. They may elect additional members to help put the plan into action. The executive task force has the following responsibilities:
The first step, after the camporee has been approved as an event in the council's program calendar, is the appointment of a general chairman. This is done by the council or district activities subcommittee, depending upon whether the camporee is a council or district event.
Qualifications: The general chairman should be a prominent citizen and a leader in the community who is capable of recruiting top-flight volunteers to serve on the task force. The chairman may or may not be a Scouter, but must have an appreciation of the value of Scouting and camping.
The selection of this person should be made at least 9 months in advance of the camporee; this makes recruiting easier and gives the general chairman plenty of time to size up his job and organize to get it done. It is important that the general chairman select the best people available to head the various project teams. With the help of the staff adviser, he selects and recruits these people at an early date. Again, the earlier they are contacted, the better the chances of their accepting the assignment.
Job description: The general chairman works closely with the staff adviser in giving leadership to this project. Responsibilities include the following:
Qualifications: The participation chairman should be a person experienced in the fields of promotion and selling. He should be a good organizer and, if the event is a council camporee, must be capable of giving direction to vice chairmen in each of the districts recruited by the district chairmen. The members of this project team need not necessarily be Scouters but must appreciate the value of Scouting to the community.
Job description: This person is responsible for recruiting the members of the project team. When holding a council camporee, the vice chairmen serve as district representatives on the council task force. The job of the project team is to provide Scoutmasters and troop committees with complete camporee information, such as dates, location, types of events, special features, etc.
The participation team is responsible for the following:
Qualifications: The physical arrangements chairman should be a person who has the background and experience to be able to visualize the physical problems involved in setting up a tent city. This person should be able to recruit others whose talents and positions make it possible to handle the job. Building contractors, truckers, utility company supervisors, engineers, etc., make good physical arrangements chairmen and committee members. They must appreciate the value of Scouting but do not necessarily have to be Scouters.
Job description: The chairman of this team is responsible for recruiting the team members. They are responsible -for the following:
Qualifications: The program team chairman should be a person who motivates others well. If possible, this volunteer should have had leadership experience in group activity programming, and should have sufficient stature in the community to be able to call on others to supply program leadership. Finally, and perhaps most important, this person should be familiar with the council's camping program and have a keen appreciation for Scouting's values of character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness.
Job description: Besides being responsible for selecting and recruiting the personnel for the team, the program team chairman is responsible for scheduling the general program and planning and execution of activities such as judging for ratings, demonstrations, contests, campfires, and special features. This chairman also arranges for religious services, gateways, and public participation at the camporee site. Specific responsibilities are the following:
Qualifications: The camporee chief needs to be an experienced Scouter who can keep events moving on schedule and motivate all personnel on the camporee site.
Job description: This person coordinates the full program, keeps it moving, solves problems and, with staff assistance, checks units out of campsites at the conclusion of the event.
Qualifications: The publicity chairman should be recruited with the cooperation of the council public relations advisory committee. This person should be familiar with the publicity field and be capable of recruiting others who have relationships with newspapers, radio and TV; stations, and other publicity media. Members of this team need not be Scouters but should have an appreciation of the value of the movement in their community.
Job description: The chairman of the publicity team is responsible for recruiting team personnel. The team is responsible for publicizing the event in newspapers, on radio and TV, and after the camporee with talks, slides, and videos to various groups. Specifically, the publicity team is responsible for publicity through the following media:
Qualifications: The finance chairman should be a member of the district or council finance committee and thoroughly familiar with the policies and practices of financing Scouting. The finance chairman should be aware of the financial needs and problems of the council and recruit a small team to assist with these duties.
Job description: The chairman of the finance subcommittee is responsible for recruiting the team personnel. The team is responsible for the following:
Qualifications: The health and safety chairman should be selected with the help of the district or council health and safety chairman. Someone from the council health and safety committee could be assigned to handle this responsibility and serve on the camporee task force. Personnel for this team could be recruited from the district or council health and safety committee and from groups with similar interests, such as the Red Cross, industrial safety departments, and local health departments. Members from the latter groups need not be registered Scouters.
Job description: The chairman for the health and safety team is responsible for recruiting members of the team. They are responsible for the following:
Qualifications: The chairman of the awards team should be familiar with the Boy Scout advancement program and be experienced in organizing and supervising. This person must be able to recruit a team and know the basic skills of Scout camping.
Job description: The chairman of the awards team is responsible for recruiting members of the team. They are responsible for the following:
With a three-tiered program in Boy Scouting, camporee activity planning becomes a challenge. Activities should be planned to meet the varying levels of program in a troop.
You may want to plan different areas of the camporee to meet the levels of challenge of the Scouts. Venture activities may be developed on one of the Venture programs.
Remember, camporees don't always have to have competitive events. The following pages contain events and activities that combine Scouting activities.
Boys join Scouting, in part, because of the promise of lots of action. The opportunity to go camping and to learn the associated skills translates into fun for boys.
As a Boy Scout leader, you help boys get the most out of these activities by discussing or reflecting on the experience soon after it is completed. Much of the value and "values" of Scouting lie beneath the surface. It is easy to see the activities that keep young men busy, less easy to see the real purpose and benefit of these activities.
"Sticks and stones will break my bones but words can never hurt me." (old nursery rhyme)
Before describing these activities, we would like you to consider the kind of environment that will best support children's learning and development. Adolescents are particularly subjected to verbal put-downs by their peers and others. They are adept at the cheap shot.' It is the way of being a teenager in America. Unlike the sticks and stones in the nursery rhyme, those words often hurt. No place seems to be immune to this kind of language.
Simply put, Scouting should be a safe haven for boys, in which there is no fear of ridicule or harassment. These activities are conducted within the context of this safe environment, and you, the leader, set the tone and are the role model. Initially you may have to remind the boys: "No put downs or cheap shots in this troop!" After a while, the boys, themselves, will control the behavior and feel good about the difference. It is within this environment that these activities work best.
Your patrol comes to a tree that could be an observation point into the next valley. Some members of your patrol must get up it to see what is going on, but the first limb is at least 10' off the ground, and the trunk is too large to climb. You have no long rope, but each member of the patrol has a short tying rope (48") with him.
Equipment: 4-foot piece of rope for each member of the patrol
Evaluation items: Organization, teamwork, knot-tying skill, ingenuity, and memory
(A note describing what is in the next valley is placed in the tree. The patrol member reads the note, leaves it, and returns to the ground to report.)
While in the tree, the observer saw a signal fire in the city telling the patrol to return. The fire must be answered with a fire that can be seen. The fire must blaze large for a short period, then be extinguished quickly before the enemy can come to it. You have only flint and steel.
Equipment: Flint, steel, charred cloth (no steel wool)
Evaluation items: Organization, teamwork, time, size of flame, extinguishing, and cleanup
While en route back to the city, your patrol is overtaken by severe darkness. One of your patrol members falls and badly twists an ankle. You must take him with you. You do not dare show a light of any kind. (All patrol members are blindfolded.)
Equipment: Two poles, blankets, neckerchiefs for blindfolding, and one neckerchief for bandage
Evaluation items: Quiet communication, bandage, stretcher, direction, leadership, and ingenuity
In the darkness, you fear the loss of one of your patrol members. You cannot use voice communications to keep track. You remember that each of your patrol members has a length of rope with them. It would work. Using his rope, each patrol member ties a bowline around his own waist, leaving enough rope to tie around the belt line of another patrol member's rope. When all patrol members are tied in trail behind the patrol leader, the patrol moves out for at least 25 yards to the east (with all patrol members blindfolded).
Equipment: Neckerchiefs, ropes
Evaluation items: Communications, quietness, knots, organization, direction
Scouting is a skill-building program. For example, boys learn simple knots like a clove hitch or a square knot. They then build on these skills as they learn to lash. Ultimately, they may participate in building a large structure like a monkey bridge. So, too, are the skills for ethical leadership built in small steps that nurture the development of a boy's sense of responsibility for his choices and their effects on others.
These skills are practiced through initiative games and Scouting skills. The power of these activities is in helping boys make sense out of the game or skill by reflecting on that experience at the conclusion of the activity.
A little more about initiative games. Initiative games and cooperative activities are different from most games we are familiar with. What's different is the way we play them. These games can be very competitive, with lots of strategy and skill without requiring someone to lose. Everyone has fun, and in that sense, wins.
Initiative games are purposeful activities with a specific goal(s) and learning process that is less competitive and less rule-oriented. They can best be described as "action and reflection" experiences. These games:
1. Have specific objectives, such as cooperation, trust, or imagination through physical and verbal group activity
2. Are problem-solving in nature
3. Must be talked about or reflected upon for them to have the maximum impact on the participants
4. Are fun'
The following is from Parents magazine, April 1988:
Many studies conducted in various social and cultural settings conclude that competition interferes with people's ability to get along.... These activities (new games) provide an alternative to the mostly competitive games children see and play, and at the least, can open up their minds to the idea that there are other possibilities in life besides winning and losing.
It's not that competition is unhealthy. It gives us the drive toward excellence or the achievement of goals. Competition can be a learning experience when we test ourselves against a standard.
Scouting can balance the thrill of competition with the personal empowerment that comes from working together to solve a problem or making a difference in your community.
These events are either adaptations of current activities or designed for BSA skill requirements. All events can be "scored," and all Scouts are eligible to be recognized for skills learned and for their participation. The emphasis at each activity should be on teamwork, effort, and cooperation, as well as excellence in the performance of the skill. After an event is conducted, Scouts reflect on the experience just as in the games. After reflecting, ask the boys if they want to try the event again to improve their score. Inevitably they will.
The following outline walks you through the steps you should consider in using the games or Scouting skills with your troop.
Familiarize yourself with the activity you have chosen. Know how the game is played, what the objectives are, and how its parts lead to the learning objective.
Plan strategy ahead of time so you can help your Scouts if they get into trouble with the game.
Figure out space and equipment requirements. In planning an activity for a camporee, encourage troops to try it out ahead of time to avoid last-minute snags.
Think about some questions you can use in reflecting following the activity. You may want to jot down some notes. Each activity has a few questions to get you started.
Make the rules clear. Be sure that the Scouts understand the problem they must solve or the skill to be learned before they begin. Emphasize that there should be no "put downs" or harassment during the activity.
Stand back. Let the Scouts solve the problem themselves. Even though you may know a better solution, let them figure it out for themselves. They will learn the most from an experience that they've worked through on their own.
Lay the ground rules for discussion. Have Scouts sit so they can see each other and ask them to agree not to interrupt or make fun of each other. Let them know they are free to keep silent if they wish.
Facilitate the discussion. As a leader, avoid the temptation to talk about your own experiences. Reserve judgment about what the Scouts say to avoid criticizing them. Help the discussion get going, then let the Scouts take over with limited guidance from you. If you describe what you saw, be sure that your comments don't stop the boys from adding their own thoughts. Above all, be positive. Have fun with the activity and with the processing session!
Use thought-provoking questions. The following types of questions are useful in reflecting:
Reflecting on an activity should take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes. The more you do it, the easier it becomes for both you and your Scouts. Remember that the value and values of Scouting often lie beneath the surface. Reflection helps you ensure that these values come through to your Scouts.
Camporee Guide - Games
Just follow this simple format, and you can design lots of Scouting skill events. The New Games Book and More New Games, edited by Andrew Fluegelman, Cowstails and Cobras and Silver Bullets, by Karl Rohnke, and the Cooperative Sports and Games Book and the Second Cooperative Sports and Games Book, by Terry Orlick, are great resources for more games. These games should also be put into the following format.
Title - Think up a creative, funny, or intriguing title pertaining to the activity.
Objective - Write a simple one- or two-line description of the objective.
Procedure - Give a straightforward description of how the event should happen, written in a manner that is easy for Scouts to understand. There is no need to be overly detailed concerning the nature of the activity.
Rules - Limit rules as much as possible, so that they are safety guidelines and not restrictions on the activity.
Scoring - Provide a scoring criteria for the Scouting skill events only. Initiative games are not scored. The scoring should encourage participation and provide attainable goals for all participants.
Processing - Provide the leader with a starting point for processing. There should be 6 to 12 specific questions to ask the group.
Materials - To make it easier for the people doing the activity, provide most of what's needed.
Cooperative Activities Format
(Enter your own game.)
The station has two areas, each a square 20 feet on each side. Each area is divided into four squares, each 10 feet on each side. One foot from the center of the area, between the center and the corners, four 5-foot posts have been buried so that they are 3 feet tall. Balloon are fastened to the posts for Scouts to pop with the bullwhips.
This activity teaches Scouts how to crack a bullwhip and how to use a whip for accuracy. A member of the staff gives instructions to each new group before they are allowed to use the whips.
1. Before a Scout is allowed into a square, he must be briefed on the safety of the bullwhip.
2. Each boy will be placed in the corner of his square opposite from the post.
3. Each Scout must wear safety goggles while in the area.
4. A staff member with a whistle watches the area from a safe distance. If all rules are not followed, he blows the whistle, and all Scouts must stop cracking the whips until he instructs them to continue.
5. When the time is up, all Scouts remove their goggles, roll their whips, and lay them where they are standing before leaving the area.
1. Two areas, 20' each, are laid out, with a 10' safety area between them.
2. At the center of each area, four 4' diameter posts, 5' long, buried 2' in the ground at a point I' from the center point of the area.
3. Two feet in from the side corners, place markers to indicate the Scouts' positions.
Safety is of utmost importance in this activity. While cracking whips, people have snapped their hats right off their own heads, have caught themselves on the arms and legs, and have wrapped whips around themselves. Therefore, it is important that proper instruction be given to the Scouts before they enter the area, and that they wear safety goggles while in the area.
1. Scouts are to keep their arms extended at full length while cracking the whips.
2. When trying to crack the whip, the arm motion must be away from the body.
3. If two boys get their whips tangled, the staffer on duty will blow the whistle to stop the cracking until they have untangled their whips.
4. Scouts must wear safety goggles while in the area.
24 5-foot posts, 4" in diameter
30 8-foot bullwhips
33 pairs of plastic safety goggles
3,000 balloons, 10' in diameter
300 upholstery tacks (with rounded heads)
24 survey stakes for area corner markers
24 10" spikes for markers
3 rolls surveyor's tape for markers
Each Scout will be taught how to throw a tomahawk and given a chance to practice throwing it. After the Scout has had a chance to practice, he will throw three "hawks" for his score. The target is a crosssectional area of a log from 18" to 24" in diameter (as big as the local area is able to provide). The target will be set upon a tripod to help to support the log and to steady the log when the tomahawk hits it.
Give each Scout an opportunity to learn to throw tomahawks. Allow each Scout a chance to practice throwing the tomahawks (practice throws may be limited by the time available). Each Scout will then be given an opportunity to throw three tomahawks for a score. The scoring will be based on accuracy. A target will be painted in the center of the target, and each Scout will be awarded points for how close to the center of the target he gets and how many hawks he sticks. The patrol champion will be the Scout who scores the highest. The patrol score will be the total sum of the score of each Scout, divided by the number of Scouts in the patrol.
1. Keep tomahawks secured in safe place when not in use.
2. The activity leader breaks the patrol up into pairs (using the buddy system). He then gives a demonstration of what they are to do and how to do it. He assigns each pair a station.
3. The leader directs throwing so that safety rules are observed.
4. The staff member demonstrates how to throw a "hawk."
5. One Scout throws the "hawks" while the other Scout watches. The staff member points out ways for the Scout to improve after each throw.
6. The Scout who threw the "hawks" retrieves the "hawks."
7. The Scout who does not throw stands at the throwing line while the Scout who threw retrieves the "hawk."
8. The other Scout then takes his turn.
9. Only one set of "hawks" (three "hawks" in a set) is used per throwing space (target).
10. Anyone not observing the safety rules must wait outside the area for his patrol to finish.
15 log slabs, 8" thick, 18' to 24" in diameter
1,000' 1/4" line for flagging
I spool orange survey flagging
120 5' or 6' survey stakes
3 8" bastard files (for repairing the faces of the tomahawks)
100 16d nails
30 two-by-fours, 2' long
15 two-by-fours, 2 1/2' long
15 two-by-fours, 11/2' long
30 target rests
30 5/8" nc by 8" stove bolts
15 5/8" nc by 5" stove bolts
45 5/8" nuts
90 5/8" washers
45' 1/4" chain
Safety is of the utmost concern.
Flag the perimeter of the area with plastic flagging to prevent unauthorized entrance.
Tomahawk - Top View
Figure 1 - Tomahawk Top View
Tomahawk - Side View
Figure 2 - Tomahawk side view (Original head pattern 3"x2")
Tomahawks should be made out of 1/4" plate steel cut to the above pattern and welded on to 12" handles. The handles are made of 3/4" black pipe. The edges of the handle and the blade should be slightly rounded. The blade should be sharpened to a 300 edge, beveled on both sides.
Tomahawk Event Layout
Tomahawk Event Layout
This is a skill patterned after the abilities of the frontiersmen and mountainmen to throw a big knife into a log or tree. The Scouts are paired up, and throw the knives at targets of wood. If a Scout has difficulty throwing, he can practice until he gets an understanding of the skill. The challenge is to stick the knife into the bullseye of the target.
The Scout is given three practice throws, then is scored on the next three throws. The champion is the Scout with the best score.
The activity leader divides the patrol into pairs (buddies). He gives the patrol a demonstration on how to throw the knife, pointing out safety concerns. The boys move to the target areas and receive their three knives. The boys throw when given the signal, then when both have thrown their practice throws, they retrieve the knives and prepare to throw for points. These safety rules must be followed:
1. No one crosses the throwing line until all six knives have been thrown.
2. No throwing will be allowed unless at a target specified by the activity leader.
3. Knives must be checked out and in with the activity leader.
4. Scores must be verified by the activity leader.
All knives will be stored in a secure place when not in use. Instructions will be given to all participants, pointing out safety aspects and recommended throwing technique. Permission to throw will be given, then practice throws and scored throws will be made. After the scores are verified, knives will be collected and stored.
One area must be cleared at least 45' deep by 30' wide. Place two preconstructed tripods 4' apart centered, 20' from back of clearing and 25' from throwing line.
2 tripods (see page 26 for description)
2 targets (log wafers 18" to 24" in diameter by 12' deep)
12 knives (per area - 24 in use, 24 backup sets; six per target)
480' flagging or fence
5 8-foot poles, 3" in diameter
27 5-foot poles, 3" in diameter
9 3-foot poles, 3" in diameter
18 metal target rests (see diagram)
9 1/8" stove bolts, 8" long
18 1/8" stove bolts, 5" long
9 log wafers, 18' to 24" in diameter, 12" deep
48 knives (see diagram)
1 dining fly
2 stumps, 18" to 24" in diameter, 24" deep
1 sign, 2' by 8'
1 sledge hammer (1/4 pound)
1 shovel (round nose)
20 stakes, 1" by 2' by 16"
Safety rules must be followed. A flagged perimeter of 200' by 120' must surround the four throwing areas to prevent unwanted entrance.
Figure 3 - Knife Pattern
Use 1/4" boiler plate, with a 30 degree bevel on both sides. It should be beveled just far enough back to allow knife to stick. (original pattern = 5 1/2" long)
6 16d nails
2 two-by-fours, 2' long
1 two-by-four, 1 1/2'long
1 two-by-four, 2 1/2' long
2 target rests, made from 1/4" plate
2 5/8"by 5" stove bolts
1 5/8"by 8" stove bolt
3 3/4" nuts
6 5/8" washers
4' jack chain
Target Tripod Construction (22k)
Target Tripod - Large, for printing (83k)
Knife-Throwing Event Layout
April 5, 1996