Effective Sept. 1, 2023, Cub Scout packs who are conducting their own overnight camping activities may now camp up to two consecutive nights.
This is a change from the earlier policy on pack unit-coordinated camping, which was previously limited to single overnight experiences.
The updated policy also applies to Webelos and Arrow of Light dens, who can now conduct campouts for up to two consecutive nights.
Here’s what you need to know.
What does unit-coordinated camping mean?
A unit-coordinated campout is one that is entirely planned and executed by the leaders and parents in a Cub Scout pack, and not by the unit’s district or council. That means the pack or unit adults are solely responsible for organizing transportation and activities at the campout, and ensuring that all BSA rules are followed. This includes having at least one registered adult leader trained in Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) who oversees the planning and is in attendance for the pack campout.
What is BALOO?
BALOO is a 1½-day course designed to be an introduction to the Cub Scout outdoor program. It consists of an online pre-requisite component in addition to an overnight hands-on event. Participants will learn BSA’s Cub Scout-level camping policies along with the necessary tools to help units carry out a successful camping experience. While only one adult at minimum needs BALOO, it’s a great idea to have multiple adults take it. The more adults who know BALOO, the better!
What else do I need to do as I plan a unit-coordinated campout?
Make sure the location where you will be camping is approved by your local council. If you’re camping at a popular park or public camping area, chances are it’s already approved, but you should check with your local council to be sure.
How do councils decide which locations are approved?
By using the Pack Overnight Campout Site Appraisal Form. Completion of this form helps your council ensure that the location has appropriate facilities for Cub Scout camping. Units are not allowed to do their own site appraisals. However, if you have a site in mind that is not on your council’s list of approved sites, you can reach out to them and request an appraisal.
What else do I need to know about Cub Scout camping?
Pack camping is a family-centric program. Cub Scout youth should attend the camping event with their parent(s) or guardian(s). Cub Scout youth may tent with a parent or guardian as outlined in Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse.
Only Webelos and Arrow of Light dens may conduct den campouts, and those campouts can only include the Webelos or Arrow of Light youth. As with pack-coordinated campouts, the den must have a BALOO trained adult leader in attendance and all Youth Protection policies apply.
Webelos and Arrow of Light dens may participate and camp at a Scouts BSA troop unit campout; however, all Cub Scout camping and YPT requirements still apply, including having a BALOO-trained adult leader in attendance.
Council approval is required when units from different chartered organizations camp together, including when a den camps with a Scouts BSA troop.
When does this change go into effect?
Sept. 1, 2023, at which time the policy will be updated in the Guide to Safe Scouting and other official BSA resources.