Troop 606 Guidelines for Organizing Outdoor Activities

Introduction:

The first item mentioned on page 1 of the Boy
 Scout Handbook says:

SCOUTING promises you the great
 outdoors. As a Scout, you can learn how
 to camp and hike without leaving a trace and how to take care of the land.  You’ll study wildlife up close and learn
 about nature all around you. There are plenty of skills for you to master,
and you can teach others what you have learned.
 Everyone helping everyone else that’s part of
 Scouting, too.

Adult volunteers in the Troop are essential to Scouting
 keeping this promise.

Identify Trip

  • Trip planning takes
 place each spring for the ensuing year.
 The Outdoor Chair and Scoutmaster are primarily responsible with input
 from the PLC and interested Scouts.  The 
planning culminates with a planning meeting with all Scouts and interested
 adults invited and able to participate in the course of planning, school district calendars, the BSAOC RDM District and Council calendars are consulted.
  • Once identified, the
 adult trip leader should promptly confirm that there are no scheduling
 conflicts.

Identify Adult Trip Leaders:

  • 
Identify an adult volunteer to lead the trip.  Typically this is a
 person who is interested in the particular activity.
  • Identify co-leader
 for two-deep leadership. At least two adults
 must be on all events. One must be a registered adult and the other must
 be either a registered adult or a parent of a participating scout. One
 must be at least 21-years old.
  • Confirm that leaders 
are appropriately trained for the activity (see BSA Permits below).  The registered adults 
must also have current YPT (Youth Protection Training). It is recommended that 
both adults have YPT. Confirm that someone 
has appropriate First Aid & CPR training. Refer to A Guide to Safe Scouting for specific requirements.

Reservations and facility permits:

  • The adult trip leader should make reservations and obtain permits. Reservations (e.g.,
campgrounds) and permits (e.g., for wilderness areas) are often required.
 Often, these must be obtained months in advance and should be made ASAP
 after the trip is added to the troop calendar. Do not forget to take 
any proof of reservations and permits on trip. Remember that camp 
managers and local rangers can be a good source of information about a
 destination.  Often it makes sense to
 talk with them by telephone in advance of a trip to learn as much as possible 
about a destination.

Financial Aspects

  • The adult 
trip leader is responsible for the financial aspects the trip subject to the 
following.Trips must be
 self-supporting (i.e., participants must pay all of the expenses of the trip). The
 Treasurer will not make outlays or reimbursements for a trip in excess of the 
amount collected.
  • Prepare a budget so 
that the cost can be estimated.  Build in a contingency amount 
(over-collections can be refunded or credited to Scout Banks).  [Typical
budget items and considerations are included in Appendix A.]
  • Collect in advance
 (this assures the money will be collected and acts to commit participation).
 Checks are preferable.
  • Prepare a list of
 participants and submit it, with a copy of the budget and the checks, to the 
Troop Treasurer.  The Troop will not
 make any outlays for a trip until checks have been submitted to the Treasurer 
and deposited in the Troop’s bank account.
 The Committee may make exceptions to this rule in special circumstances
 upon a request directed to the Committee Chair.
  • Collect receipts for 
trip expenses, summarize in a Trip Form and submit to the Troop Treasurer.  The report should indicate actual trip
 expenditures relative to the budget and provide reimbursement information.  Take into account any
 deposits or advance payments that must be made (e.g., to camps, river rafting
 companies, third-parties providing special instruction).  Especially where
 costs are significant, make sure that participants are committed and that they
pay before significant outlays must be made.

Identify Trip SPL

  • The adult trip leader, working with the Scoutmaster, should identify an older
 Scout to act as trip SPL at the appropriate time prior to the event.  The SPL can work with the adult trip leader
 to start promoting the trip among the boys (see Promotion of trips and
 sign-ups, below)
  • It 
is important to remember that Scouts should be given as much responsibility as
 possible.  While there are aspects of 
trip planning and execution that must be handled by adults, the goal is for
 Scout leadership not adult leadership.
  • Involve 
scouts as much as possible in the planning and preparation for the trip.  Let them take the lead as much as 
possible.  For example, they usually can: (a) promote 
the trip; plan meals and shop for food (including staying within budget); be responsible for group gear (most of it is in Patrol Boxes); make tent sharing arrangements; and make duty rosters and be responsible for making sure the duties are performed.
  • Do 
not be afraid that Scouts will fail.
 They will and will learn from their failures.

Plan Trip Activities

  • Plan in 
advance (often by consulting with the Scoutmaster and Scouts) for trip
 activities, including opportunities for rank advancement and merit badge work.
  • Trip Plan
  • Prepare
 and circulate trip plan about one month prior to trip.  Plan
 should include list of participating adult leaders, Scout participants, contact 
information, transportation information, destination information, and summary
of itinerary (including return day and time). Trips 
often commence with drivers and participants meeting at UUMC or Carl’s Jr. at the
 corner of Culver & Michelson.  Drivers often return Scouts to their 
homes. Consider
 specifying someone who does not go on the trip to be the principal contact
 person.  This person could be contacted by the tour leader if necessary 
and could initiate a phone tree. Plan 
should be circulated to participating Scouts and their parents. In
 cases where the trip places the participants out of communication (e.g.,
 backcountry trips), the trip plan should include an itinerary of the trip.

Promotion of trips and sign-ups

  • The date for 
beginning trip promotion and sign-ups varies with activity. For example, Florida Sea Base, Philmont, etc can be promoted more than a year in advance,
while a local campout should be promoted about two months in advance.  At the appropriate time, the adult leader and 
the trip SPL make the first announcement for the trip and begin sign-ups. The adult leader
 should always get the sign-up sheet back at the end of the meeting. The trip should be
 announced at every troop meeting leading up to he trip at a frequency that is
appropriate given the date of the trip. Collect trip fees
 during the sign-up period.  Adult leader(s) should keep a spreadsheet of sign-ups and payments.
  • Identify volunteer
 drivers.

Permission Slips

  • Obtain
 permission slips for all participants during the sign-up period. Take on the trip as 
they include permission for emergency medical treatment. The Troop has a 
generic form (click here to download).

Medical Forms

  • Confirm 
adults and Scouts have necessary Medical Form (Part A and Part B for all activities except resident camp and high adventure activities; click here to download).

Trip Meeting

  • If
 appropriate to the activity, hold a trip meeting, before, after or during the
 troop meeting to organize patrols and meal assignments.
  • Boys/families who are
 responsible for the food usually buy it all up front. 

Gear List

  • Prepare and
 circulate a clothing/equipment list about two weeks before trip. Class 
B uniforms are appropriate dress for most trips. Give 
specific instructions if these or other clothing is required for travel.

Departure and Return

  • Traditional departure 
location is often UUMC or the Carl’s Jr. at Culver and Michelson.
  • Collect and trip fees
 due if not paid already (try to set up online payment and set a deadline for payment well in advance of the trip).
  • Collect remaining
 permission slips.
  • Make final car pool
 assignments.
  • Make sure parents 
have appropriate contact and destination information including site telephone 
if applicable, and leaders cell phones.
  • Boys are typically
 dropped at their homes by returning drivers.
  • Adult trip leader 
must take the Guide to Safe Scouting on
the trip.

Trip Report

  • File a Troop Trip
 Form (see Financial Aspects above) with the treasurer and advancement chair 
(for entering in TroopMaster) after the trip

Please discuss any
 issues regarding any adult participants with the Committee Chair and regarding 
any Scouts with the Scoutmaster.

Keep in mind:

  • Each
 trip is different so the outdoor coordinator and the trip leader need to be
creative to make it happen. Stay flexible and remember this: It’s all for
 the boys!

Appendix A: Common Budget Items and Considerations 

ITEM

COMMENTS

Camping Fees

Many
campgrounds require camping fees.

Permits

Some trips
require permits with associated costs (e.g., Wilderness Permits for
backcountry trips).

Group Gear

Some trips
involve the purchase of supplies for the group (e.g., first aid items, fuel,
firewood, insect repellant, sunscreen).

Food

This
involves true budgeting (i.e., estimating the cost and making sure that
actual spending stays within the budget).  A typical guideline is
$10/day ($3/breakfast, $3/lunch and $4 dinner).

Transportation

This most
commonly involves reimbursing drivers for gas costs, but may involve public
transportation (planes, trains or buses).  As far as reimbursing drivers
is concerned, different practices have evolved within the Troop.
Drivers generally are not reimbursed for driving Scouts to nearby
destinations.  Drivers generally are reimbursed for estimated gas costs
for driving to far away destinations when driving a number of Scouts or
transporting gear.  A word of advice: 
keep
it simple
(e.g., reimburse a specific amount
per mile without regard to vehicle type or the number Scouts or amount of
gear transported).

Other
Expenses

Some trips
involve other costs (e.g., fishing trips, river rafting, motel or house
rentals, hiring instructors for activities such as rock climbing or fly
fishing)

Awards

Some trips
offer the opportunity for special awards or patches.

Contingency

Build in a
reasonable “cushion” remembering that it’s difficult to collect later for
unanticipated expenses.  If an over-collection turns out to be
significant, it can be credited to Scout banks or reimbursed.

Overriding
Principle:
Participants should pay the
cost of their trip.  They should not
be subsidized by everyone else

Special Note
for High Adventure Camps
:  A number of the national High Adventure
Camps (e.g., Philmont Scout Ranch) require
substantial payments well in advance of the trip.  Commit to the minimum number of spots
possible because (a) many payments are not reimbursable and (2) it is often
possible to add additional participants later.