Camping and Hiking

For centuries, explorers, pioneers, and adventurers lived under the open skies. They felt the sun on their backs and the wind in their faces. They smelled the drifting smoke of campfires, heard the sharp cries of eagles, and learned the ways of the woods. When storms broke overhead, they used their skills to stay dry and warm. When morning dawned clear and brisk, they were sure there was no better way to live.Lord Baden-Powell knew that too, and when he founded the Scouting movement in the 1900s, he made camping a primary activity of every patrol and troop. He encouraged each Scout to master the art of living out-of-doors, for he believed a young man able to spend days and nights in the forest would have the confidence to meet the other challenges life would present. Daniel Carter Beard enhanced outdoor experiences in the United States when Scouting was introduced. He is attributed with putting the outdoors into the Scouting program. Camping and hiking are the two items that retain boys in Scouting the most. If you ask any Scout why he enjoys Scouting, the outdoor experience of camping and hiking is usually the answer. This is why we, as leaders, must bring “outing” into Scouting. While the equipment used in camping may have changed since Lord Baden-Powell and Daniel Carter Beard, the methods of camping haven't changed much. Below are useful guides and helps that you can use with your Scouts in teaching camping and hiking skills.

BSA Camp Health Officer Training (PowerPoint)
BSA Video #94-095 – Boy Scout Summer Camp
BSA Video #AV-02V003 – Boy Scout Summer Camp – Making It Happen
BSA Camping – A brief video as to why summer camp

BSA Camping / Hiking Award forms

BSA Camp Promotion Videos

Backpacker's Checklist
Boys’ Life on Camping Hints and Tips
Boys’ Life on Camping Skills
Boys’ Life on Camping and Hiking Equipment
Boys’ Life on First Campout
Boys’ Life on Foot Care
Boys’ Life on Hiking Skills
Boys’ Life on Sanitation
Boys’ Life on Trail and Camp Sanitation

BSA - Outdoor Program

Outdoor adventure is the promise made to boys when they join Scouting. Boys yearn for outdoor programs that stir their imagination and interest.

BSA - Summer Camp Outcomes Study

Scouts indicate that summer camp is more than just a place to have fun. It also offers Scouts the opportunity to participate in physically and intellectually challenging activities, introduces them to new and rewarding experiences, and provides them with supportive and caring relationships.This study infers that positive outcomes of Scout summer camp occur because the environment and activities at camp incorporate all of the elements of healthy youth development. Database has information on every Council run camp (not just the summer camps), including location, facilities, programs, and contact information for the camp and the Council running the camp. To find the camps within any state simply click on the state, for detailed information on any of the camps shown on the state map simply click on the camp.

Campfire Programs

Camporee Program Information

Camping Basics

This is a sample PowerPoint presentation from troop 69 in Alpharetta, Georgia for a parents meeting to outline their Troop’s Camping program. This is an excellent example of how communications from the Adult leadership to the parents should occur and outlines a fine weekend camping program.

Florida Camping Information:

  • Flaming Arrow Scout Reservation

    Gulf Ridge Council's primary facility. FASR is our 1200 acre summer camp with three lakes, air conditioned dining hall, and several program areas. Physical Address: 1201 Boy Scout Camp Rd, Lake Wales, FL 33898.

  • Florida State Parks (online)
  • OA Lodge – 326 Tipisa / Florida Campsite Information
  • Sand Hill Scout Reservation (Power Point presentation)

    This 1,300+ acre camp is co-owned by the Gulf Ridge Council and the West Central Florida Council.  It sits near the intersection of Hwy. 50 (Cortez Blvd) and Highway 19 in Hernando County. Summer camping programs offer a variety of activities including archery, rifle and shotgun, canoeing, rappelling and swimming. And, just as with our other camp properties, Sand Hill hosts thousands of Scouts, troops and outside groups on weekend events throughout the year.  Click here for a website dedicated to Sand Hill Scout Reservation.

  • South Florida Council (online)

  • Southwest Florida Council (online)

    Southwest Florida provides two camping facilities for the use of its Scouts and chartered partners as well as other organizations and agencies. Both camps have fully outfitted kitchens which are staffed by a volunteer Cooking Corps except during the summer camp season. The facilities vary between the two camps but both provide a rewarding camping experience. There are swimming pools, large shelters, dining halls, and other outside buildings.


  • Winn-Dixie Scout Reservation - Camp La-No-Che Summer Camp

    Camp La-No-Che is part of the 1,480 acre Winn-Dixie Scout Reservation in Central Florida on the southern edge of the Ocala National Forest.  Camp La-No-Che is in an excellent area for an outdoor adventure with us located on Lake Norris, a Florida lake being protected for its environmental sensitive waterway.  Also, Camp La-No-Che is on the Northern edge of the Wekiva River Protection Area. 

Florida Historic Trails / OA Lodge – 326 Tipisa Historic Trails Information
Getting Lost - How to prevent
GORP’s Hiking Page (online)
Hiking Merit Badge Exam (online)
Hiking Skills

Hiking can be an excellent activity for Scouts, not only from a physical fitness aspect but also to encourage them to develop the skills of planning, teamwork and leadership when preparing for and undertaking a hike or expedition. Hiking can also be a means to an end, for example, hiking to a campsite, to a National Park property, or to a place of interest.

OA Lodge 98 - Navajo / "Where to go camping book" (western United States)
Online Camp Database - (online)
Online Maps and Trails (online)

View hiking maps and trails from across the United States. An excellent source to view maps of the hiking trails you will be going on before you leave home.

Panther District - 2006 1st year camper program

Patrol Box Designs

Principles of Leave No Trace

The BSA is committed to Leave No Trace, which is a nationally recognized outdoor skills and ethics awareness program. Its seven principles are guidelines to follow at all times.

Scout Stave or Hiking Stick Plans

Make a hiking staff that has multiple uses. This is a good project for your Webelos Cub Scouts or your Boy Scouts that are working on their "Hiking Merit badge" or those who are just looking for a good hiking tool. Baden-Powell considered the Hiking Staff (or Stave) a very important piece of Scouting equipment. After you make one and use it you'll know why too.

Three Skills for BSA Archery Directors

Three basic skills all BSA Archery Directors must know; stringing a bow, making a bowstring and making an arrow.

Teaching Leave No Trace

The purpose of this manual is to further Leave No Trace skills and awareness of outdoor ethics. The Boy Scouts of America has adopted the principles of Leave No Trace, which are easy to learn and apply. As each principle is learned, it should be applied. Every outing and activity should be conducted with Leave No Trace in mind. As young people mature, we will enjoy an increasingly beautiful environment because of the impact of their training in Leave No Trace.

Tour Permit - Local / Online Application Assistant (online)

This is an online assistant to help units complete the Local Tour Permit Application form. It is designed to prevent some of the common problems (such as missing or illegible information) that can delay the authorization of your tour permit.

Tour Permit - National / Online Application Assistant (online)

This is an online assistant to help units complete the National Tour Permit Application form. It is designed to prevent some of the common problems (such as missing or illegible information) that can delay the authorization of your tour permit.

Week long program for first year campers

TrailsHead is the first year camper program that has been running at Camp Olmsted ofGoshen Scout Reservation for three years running. It is an all day program that runsMonday through Friday with several activities that will keep scouts interested throughout the week.

What is Troop Camping Know How?

This guided campout and training session for new Scout troops is designed to give them a good beginning in their first camping experience.

Wilderness Survival - Basics