By Scott Daniels
Ask a boy why he wants to be a Cub Scout, and nine times out of 10 he'll answer "to go camping." That's why Cub Scouting has introduced BALOO (Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation) training, so boys, along with their parents or some other adult, can participate in a successful overnight camping experience.
A pack camp-out, at a location approved by the local council, is a great way for families to have fun and build confidence in outdoor skills. This kind of camping isn't the rugged high adventure outing geared toward older Boy Scouts. It's what you might call "soft camping," where families can simply drive up to a campsite and pitch a tent within a few feet of their vehicle's rear bumper. The emphasis is on family fun activities that don't require lots of advanced outdoor skills.
How do you get started? A member of your pack committee needs to attend BALOO training. You may recall that our buddy, Baloo, is a character from The Jungle Book, the bear responsible for teaching the young wolf cubs the law of the pack. The six-hour BALOO session will give your pack's outdoor activity leader the tools to conduct a safe and successful overnight.
The morning BALOO sessions include the why and how of Cub Scout campingplanning, equipment, meal preparation, and campfire programs. In the afternoon, Cub Scouters rotate among four round-robin sessionsfire safety, stoves, and lanterns; first aid and sanitation; nature hikes and games; and cooking. Scattered throughout the day are plenty of the four S's: songs, stunts, stories, and showmanship.
The key point of BALOO training is "Keep It Simple." Remember, the over-night is an entry-level outdoor experience for the first-time Cub Scout camper. All arrangementssleeping, cooking, and programshould be geared to Cub Scout-age boys.
With proper planning and your BALOO-trained leader, your pack should be set for a fun and exciting weekend event. You'll know you have a hit on your hands as soon as those boys in blue and gold cry out, "How long until the next pack camp-out?"
Scott Daniels is the Executive Editor of Scouting magazine.
To find out more information about Cub Scout camping, contact your district executive at your local Scout council service center. Ask if you can borrow the video "Cub Scout Outdoor Program" (No. AV-01V011). Also ask for a copy of the revised "Cub Scout/Webelos Scout Outdoor Program Guidelines for 2001," Bin No. 13-631.
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