Troop Camp Basics Manual - Girl Scout Council

Troop Camp Basics Manual - Girl Scout Council
Troop Camp Basics
Revised April 2013
Safety Guidelines
Girl-led Planning & Girl Progression
Camp Site Selection
Packing Considerations
Menu Planning, Recipes, & Equipment
Respect for the Environment
Compass Skills
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Troop Camp Basics Part 1:
Safety Guidelines
Approaching Activities Safely
Health Histories
Camp and Travel Forms
Girl Scout Activity Insurance
Emergency Procedures
Safety Activity Checkpoints – Group Camping
Safety Activity Checkpoints – Hiking
Safety Activity Checkpoints – Outdoor Cooking
What to Do When Separated from the Group
Insects, Animals, Poisonous Plants, and Allergies
Tool Craft Safety
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Approaching Activities Safely
How can you, as a Girl Scout volunteer, determine whether an activity is safe and appropriate? Good
judgment and common sense often dictate the answer. What is safe in one circumstance may not be safe in
another. An incoming storm, for example, might force you to assess or discontinue an activity. If you are
uncertain about the safety of an activity, call the council staff with full details and don’t proceed without
approval. Err on the side of caution and make the safety of girls your most important consideration. Prior to
any activity, read the specific Safety Activity Checkpoints related to any activity you plan to do with girls.
When planning activities with girls, note the abilities of each girl and carefully consider the progression of skills
from the easiest part to the most difficult. Make sure the complexity of the activity does not exceed girls’
individual skills — bear in mind that skill levels decline when people are tired, hungry, or under stress. Also
use activities as opportunities for building teamwork, which is one of the outcomes for the connect key in the
Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
Health Histories (Including Examinations and Immunizations)
You are to maintain Health Histories and other necessary medical information records for your group. Please
keep in mind that information from a health examination is confidential and may be shared only with people
who must know this information (such as the girl herself, her parent/guardian, and a health practitioner).
For various reasons, some parents/guardians may object to immunizations or medical examinations. Councils
must attempt to make provisions for these girls to attend Girl Scout functions in a way that accommodates
these concerns. It is important for you to also be aware of any medications a girl may take or allergies she
may have.
Medication, including over-the-counter products, must never be dispensed without prior written permission
from a girl’s custodial parent or guardian. (Ask your council staff person if you need a form for this situation)
Some girls may need to carry and administer their own medications, such as bronchial inhalers, an EpiPen, or
diabetes medication.
Common food allergies include dairy products, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and seafood. This means
that, before serving any food (such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cookies, or chips), ask whether
anyone is allergic to peanuts, dairy products, or wheat! Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies should be aware of
their allergies, but double-checking with their parents/guardians is always a good idea.
First Aid and CPR
Once troops are ready to begin camping outdoors, First Aid and CPR training are necessary. At least one adult
must have First Aid and CPR training for all outings beyond the usual meeting location. If you plan to take your
troop camping, please see the requirements listed below.
Level 1 First Aider
One adult with the troop must have current certification in First Aid (Level 1) and Adult and Child CPR or
CPR/AED before any camping trip or before any outing beyond the meeting. This may be a parent or an adult
volunteer. They must carry a fully stocked first aid kit according to their training recommendations.
Level 2 First-Aider
If any part of an activity is located 60 minutes or more from emergency medical services or if a camping event
has more than 200 participants ensure the presence of a first-aider (level 2). First-aiders (level 2) pass the
same course as first-aiders (level 1), and also have emergency response/first response, sports safety,
wilderness first aid, and/or advanced first aid and CPR training. This includes camping in remote areas,
backcountry camping, wilderness hiking, boating trips, etc. They must carry a fully stocked first aid kit
according to their training recommendations.
Camp and Travel Forms
Day trips and limited overnights do not need council approval. The Application for Extended Travel and/or
High Risk Activity Participation form must be completed for all travel lasting three or more nights, as well as
any trips involving special equipment and/or activities not listed in the Safety Activity Checkpoints and/or
activities with high risk. Applications are due in the council office a minimum of two months prior to a regional
or national trip, or one year prior to an international trip. The application must be approved before girls
proceed with further planning.
Girl Scout Activity Insurance
A portion of the individual annual membership dues pays for supplementary insurance for the member only.
This insurance provides up to a specified maximum for medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident
while a member is participating:
● in an approved Girl Scout Activity
● at a supervised Girl Scout activity
● after the individual’s primary insurance pays out
Non-registered parents, tagalongs (brothers, sisters, friends), and other persons are not covered by basic
coverage. This is one reason all adults and girls should be registered members.
This insurance coverage:
● Is not intended to diminish the need for or replace family health insurance
● Does not duplicate medical-expense benefits collected under other programs
● After approximately $100 in benefits have been paid under this plan, the family’s medical insurance
takes over
● If there is no family insurance or healthcare program, a specified maximum of medical benefits is
A separate plan of activity insurance is available for purchase (at a relatively small price) for Girl Scouts taking
extended trips and for non-members who participate in Girl Scout activities. These plans are secondary
insurance that individuals are entitled to receive while participating in any approved supervised Girl Scout
activity. This type of insurance coverage is for any Girl Scout activity that involves non-Girl Scouts or lasts
longer than three days and two nights. Contact the council staff to find out how to apply.
Providing Emergency Care
As you know, emergencies can happen. Girls need to receive proper instruction in how to care for themselves
and others in emergencies. There are great awards that address emergency preparedness. They also need to
learn the importance of reporting to adults any accidents, illnesses, or unusual behaviors during Girl Scout
To this end, you can help girls:
● Know what to report. See “Procedures for Accidents” below.
● Establish and practice procedures for weather emergencies. Certain extreme-weather conditions may
occur in your area. Please consult with the council for the most relevant information for you to share
with girls.
● Establish and practice procedures for such circumstances as fire evacuation, lost persons, and buildingsecurity responses. Every girl and adult must know how to act in these situations. For example, you
and the girls, with the help of a fire department representative, should design a fire evacuation plan for
meeting places used by the group.
● Assemble a well-stocked first-aid kit that is always accessible. First-aid administered in the first few
minutes can mean the difference between life and death. In an emergency, secure professional
medical assistance as soon as possible, normally by calling 911.
Procedures for Accidents
Although you hope the worst never happens, you must observe council procedures for handling accidents and
At the scene of an accident:
● If a child needs emergency medical care as the result of an accident or injury, first contact emergency
medical services, implement procedures learned in CPR and First Aid courses, and then follow council
procedures for accidents and incidents.
● Provide all possible care for the sick or injured person.
● Follow established council procedures for obtaining medical assistance and immediately reporting the
emergency. To do this, you must always have on hand:
○ Names and telephone numbers of council staff
○ Names and telephone numbers of parents/guardians
○ Contact information for local emergency services such as the police, fire department, or
hospital emergency technicians.
○ Your region's Regional Emergency Contact Information
● After receiving a report of an accident, council staff will arrange for additional assistance, if needed, at
the scene, and will notify parents/guardians, as appropriate. Your adherence to these procedures is
critical, especially with regard to notifying parents or guardians.
● If the media is involved, ALWAYS let council-designated staff discuss the incident with these
● In the event of a fatality or other serious accident, notify the police. A responsible adult must remain
at the scene at all times.
● In the case of a fatality, do not disturb the victim or surroundings. Follow police instructions. Do not
share information about the accident with anyone but the police, the council, and, if applicable,
insurance representatives or legal counsel.
Regional Emergency Council Contact Information
Remember, this number is for serious emergencies only. You are to use your knowledge gained in First Aid /
CPR Training for less serious incidences. For less serious situations, be sure to contact your council staff person
as soon as you can the next business day to inform them of the incident.
All GSCSA Regions:
(800) 474-1912
Group Camping: Safety Activity Checkpoints
Camping, a great Girl Scout tradition, is one of the very first activities that Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low
encouraged for girls. The key to an enjoyable group-camping experience is being prepared by packing just enough gear,
supplies, and clothing that are appropriate for the weather, sleeping situation, and cooking meals. Girl Scouts advocate
for the Leave No Trace method of camping, which involves leaving a campground the way it exists in nature, free of
garbage and human impact.
Caution: Girls are not allowed to use firearms unless 12 years and older and with council permission; girls are never
allowed to hunt or go on high-altitude climbs. Girls are also never allowed to ride all-terrain vehicles or motor bikes.
Camping with Girl Scout Daisies: Under the leadership of an adult, a Daisy troop may participate in an occasional
overnight camping experience. Daisies who have completed kindergarten may independently participate at day camp
and in resident camp experiences lasting up to three nights. Daisies who have completed first grade may independently
participate in resident camp experiences lasting four or more nights.
Know where to camp. Girl Scout camps, public, private, state, and national parks and sites deemed appropriate by local
and state authorities. Connect with your Girl Scout council for site suggestions and for information on using a noncouncil-owned site. Search for campground locations by location at Reserve America.
Include girls with disabilities. Communicate with girls with disabilities and/or their caregivers to assess any needs and
accommodations. Learn more about the resources and information that Global Explorers and Wilderness Inquiries
provide to people with disabilities.
Camping Gear
Basic Gear
Clothing and rain jacket or poncho that can be layered
Hat, gloves, and thermal underwear for cool temperatures
Socks with sturdy shoes, hiking boots, or sneakers (no sandals, clogs, flip-flops, or bare feet)
Waterproof sunscreen (SPF of at least 15)
Towels and basic personal hygiene supplies (shampoo, soap, comb, and so on)
Insect repellent
Specialized Gear
Flame-resistant tents or tarp (no plastic tents)
Compass and map or map and global positioning system (GPS)
Sleeping bag (rated for the anticipated temperature)
Mosquito netting where necessary
Cooking supplies (pots, pans, utensils, mess kit and dunk bag, and so on)
Cooler for food storage
Portable cook stoves and fuel whenever possible (to reduce the use of firewood)
Flashlight and other battery-powered lights (no candles, kerosene lamps, portable cook stoves, heaters, or other
open-flame devices are used inside tents)
Lantern fueled by propane, butane, kerosene, or gas (for outdoor use)
Water-purification kit
Prepare for Group Camping
Communicate with council and parents. Inform your Girl Scout council and girls’ parents/guardians about the
activity, including details about safety precautions and any appropriate clothing or supplies that may be
necessary. Follow council procedures for activity approval, certificates of insurance, and council guidelines about
girls’ general health examinations. Make arrangements in advance for all transportation and confirm plans
before departure.
Girls plan the activity. Keeping their grade-level abilities in mind, encourage girls to take proactive leadership
roles in organizing details of the activity and to plan menus, rules for group living, and on-site activities.
Obtain camping credentials. Ensure that the adult has been a part of council group or troop-camp learning on
supervising group camping. Group camp education generally covers outdoor program activities, minimal-impact
camping skills, safety procedures and standards, and methods of dealing with homesickness.
Arrange for transportation and adult supervision. The recommended adult-to-girl ratios are two non-related
adults (at least one of whom is female) to every:
 6 Girl Scout Daisies (See “Camping With Girl Scout Daisies” details in this checkpoint’s introduction)
 12 Girl Scout Brownies
 16 Girl Scout Juniors
 20 Girl Scout Cadettes
 24 Girl Scout Seniors
 24 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Plus one adult to each additional:
● 4 Girl Scout Daisies (See “Camping With Girl Scout Daisies” details in this checkpoint’s introduction)
● 6 Girl Scout Brownies
● 8 Girl Scout Juniors
● 10 Girl Scout Cadettes
● 12 Girl Scout Seniors
● 12 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Compile key contacts. Give an itinerary to a contact person at home; call the contact person upon departure
and return. Create a list of girls’ parents/guardian contact information, telephone numbers for emergency
services and police, and council contacts—keep on hand or post in an easily accessible location. Also know the
location of the nearest landline telephone in case cellular phones do not receive reception.
Ensure the safety of sleeping areas. Separate sleeping and bathroom facilities are provided for adult males;
many councils make exceptions for girls’ fathers. Ensure the following:
Each participant has her own bed. Parent/guardian permission must be obtained if girls are to share a bed.
Adults and girls never share a bed.
It is not mandatory that an adult sleep in the sleeping area (tent, cabin, or designated area) with the girls. If an
adult female does share the sleeping area, there should always be two unrelated adult females present.
During family or “He and Me” events (in which girls share sleeping accommodations with males), ensure the
details are clearly explained in parent/guardian permission slip.
Girls share resources. Encourage girls to make a list of the gear and supplies, and determine what can be
shared. Support girls in creating a checklist of group and personal equipment and distribute to group members.
Prepare for emergencies. Ensure the presence of a waterproof first-aid kit and a first-aider with a current
certificate in First Aid, including Adult and Child CPR or CPR/AED, who is prepared to handle cases from
extremes of temperature, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, frostbite, cold exposure, hypothermia, as well as
sprains, fractures, and altitude sickness. If any part of the activity is located 60 minutes or more from emergency
medical services, ensure the presence of a first-aider (level 2) with Wilderness and Remote First Aid. A vehicle is
available or an ambulance is on call at all times to transport an injured or sick person. See Volunteer Essentials
for information about first-aid standards and training.
On the Day of Group Camping
Get a weather report. On the morning of the camping trip, check or other reliable weather
sources to determine if conditions are appropriate. If severe weather conditions prevent the camping trip, be
prepared with a backup plan or alternate activity. Write, review, and practice evacuation and emergency plans
for severe weather with girls.
Use the buddy system. Girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl chooses a buddy and is responsible for
staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe
to do so, and seeking help when the situation warrants it. If someone in the group is injured, one person cares
for the patient while two others seek help.
Respect the environment and keep campsite clean. Use the principles of minimal-impact camping described by
Leave No Trace. Store garbage in insect- and animal-proof containers with plastic inner linings, and cover it
securely when there is a campsite garbage-pickup service. When there is no garbage-pickup service, remove
garbage from campsite in plastic bags and discard, as appropriate. Recycle whenever possible. Do not bury food;
carry out garbage, grease, and fuel canisters. Do not remove natural materials such as leaves or branches.
Be prepared for primitive campsites. For sites that don’t have electric lights and toilet facilities, observe these
● Choose and set up campsite well before dark.
● Use a previously established campsite if available.
● Make sure the campsite is level and located at least 200 feet from all water sources and below tree line.
● Avoid fragile mountain meadows and areas of wet soil.
● Avoid camping under dead tree limbs.
● Use existing fire rings if a fire is necessary.
● If a latrine is not available, use individual cat holes—holes for human waste that are at least 200 feet
away from the trail and known water sources—to dispose of human waste (visit for more
● Do dishwashing and personal bathing at least 200 feet away from water sources.
● Store food well away from tents and out of reach of animals. Where necessary, hang food at least 10
feet high from a rope stretched between two trees. If the site is in bear country, check with local
authorities on precautions to take.
● See that garbage, tampons, sanitary supplies, and toilet paper are carried out.
Group Camping Links
American Camp Association:
Go Camping America:
Leave No Trace:
National Camp Association:
Group Camping Know-How for Girls
Create a camp kaper chart. Divvy up cooking duties and get creative about pre-planning outdoor meals.
Be ready with camp entertainment. Before you go camping, read about camping stories, songs, activities, and
Group Camping Jargon
Kindling: Small pieces of dry wood used to start a campfire
Mummy bag: A sleeping bag that is tapered at the ends to reduce air space and to conserve heat
Hiking: Safety Activity Checkpoints
Unlike short walks, hiking involves lengthy, cross-country walking trips and often requires sturdy boots to provide
traction on rocks and unruly earth floors. With respect to the Leave No Trace philosophy, it’s important for hikers to
leave trails as (or better than) they found them. Although the action of one hiker may not strongly affect the
environment, the effects of large groups of hikers can degrade trails.
Caution: Girls are not allowed to use firearms unless 12 years and older and with council permission; girls are never
allowed to hunt or go on high-altitude climbs. Girls are also never allowed to ride all-terrain vehicles or motor bikes.
Know where to hike. Connect with your Girl Scout council for site suggestions. Also, to locate hiking areas near U.S.
metropolitan areas, visit
Include girls with disabilities. Communicate with girls with disabilities and/or their caregivers to assess any needs and
accommodations. Contact national parks to inquire about their accommodations for people with disabilities, and learn
more about the resources and information that Global Explorers and Wilderness Inquiries provide to people with
Hiking Gear
Basic Gear
Lightweight, layered clothing and outerwear appropriate for weather conditions
Rain jacket or poncho
Waterproof sunscreen (SPF of at least 15) and lip balm
Hat or bandana
Water bottle or hydration pack (each girl carries at least one quart)
Nonperishable, high-energy foods such as fruits and nuts
Insect repellent
Specialized Gear
Day pack
Hiking/trail boots or footwear
Map and compass or map and global positioning system (GPS)
Pocket knife
Prepare for Hiking
Communicate with council and parents. Inform your Girl Scout council and girls’ parents/guardians about the
activity, including details about safety precautions and any appropriate clothing or supplies that may be
necessary. Follow council procedures for activity approval, certificates of insurance, and council guidelines about
girls’ general health examinations. Make arrangements in advance for all transportation and confirm plans
before departure.
Girls plan the activity. Keeping their grade-level abilities in mind, encourage girls to take proactive leadership
roles in organizing details of the activity. Encourage girls to plan routes, activities, rules for group living, and
guidelines for dealing with problems that may arise with other groups of hikers.
Arrange for transportation and adult supervision. Ensure that the hiking adult or instructor has experience in
teaching hiking techniques and trip planning. Ensure that one adult is in front of the group of hikers, and the
other is in the rear of each group, and that both are familiar with the area. The recommended adult-to-girl ratios
are two non-related adults (at least one of whom is female) to every:
● 6 Girl Scout Daisies
● 12 Girl Scout Brownies
● 16 Girl Scout Juniors
● 20 Girl Scout Cadettes
● 24 Girl Scout Seniors
● 24 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Plus one adult to each additional:
● 4 Girl Scout Daisies
● 6 Girl Scout Brownies
● 8 Girl Scout Juniors
● 10 Girl Scout Cadettes
● 12 Girl Scout Seniors
● 12 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Compile key contacts. Give an itinerary to a contact person at home; call the contact person upon departure
and return. Create a list of girls’ parents/guardian contact information, telephone numbers for emergency
services and police, and council contacts—keep on hand or post in an easily accessible location. Also know the
location of the nearest landline telephone in case cellular phones do not receive reception.
Girls share resources. Encourage girls to distribute a list of hiking gear and supplies, and to determine which
resources can be shared.
Choose an appropriate hiking route. Terrain, mileage, and hiking time are known to the hikers in advance. Hikes
are restricted to a reasonable length as determined by age, level of experience, nature of the terrain, physical
condition of the hikers, disabilities, weather conditions, and time of day. The hiking pace always accommodates
the slowest hiker.
Assess safety of hiking routes. The route is known to at least one of the adults or a report is obtained in advance
to assess potential hazards such as poisonous plants, dangerous animals, unsafe drinking water, cliffs, and dropoffs. Ensure that a land-management or similar agency is contacted during the trip-planning stage to determine
available routes and campsites, recommended group size, water quantity and quality, and permits needed.
Ensure that hikers have a comprehensive understanding of the trip. Group members are trained to be
observant of the route, surroundings, and fatigue of individuals. Instruction is given on the safety rules for
hiking, such as staying together in a group, recognizing poisonous plants and biting or stinging insects and ticks,
respecting wild animals, and behaving effectively in emergencies. Ensure that girls know how to read maps, use
a compass, navigate a route, and estimate distance.
Take safety precautions. Search-and-rescue procedures for missing persons are written out in advance,
reviewed, and practiced by girls and adults. Methods of communication with sources of emergency care, such as
hospitals, and park and fire officials, are known and arranged in advance.
Prepare for emergencies. Ensure the presence of a waterproof first-aid kit and a first-aider with a current
certificate in First Aid, including Adult and Child CPR or CPR/AED, who is prepared to handle cases from
extremes of temperature, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, frostbite, cold exposure, hypothermia, as well as
sprains, fractures, insect stings, tick bites, snake bites, sunburn, and altitude sickness; a first-aider (level 2) with
Wilderness and Remote First Aid is present for hikes of 10 miles or more and away from emergency assistance. If
feasible, a vehicle is available to transport an injured or sick person. See Volunteer Essentials for information
about first-aid standards and training.
On the Day of Hiking
Get a weather report. On the morning of the camping trip, check or other reliable weather
sources to determine if conditions are appropriate. If severe weather conditions prevent the hiking activity, be
prepared with a backup plan or alternate activity. Write, review, and practice evacuation and emergency plans
for severe weather with girls.
Use the buddy system. Girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl chooses a buddy and is responsible for
staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe
to do so, and seeking help when the situation warrants it. If someone in the group is injured, one person cares
for the patient while two others seek help.
Respect the environment and keep trails clean. Use the principles of minimal-impact camping. Store garbage in
insect- and animal-proof containers with plastic inner linings, and cover it securely when there is a campsite
garbage-pickup service. When there is no garbage-pickup service, remove garbage from campsite in plastic bags
and discard, as appropriate. Recycle whenever possible. Do not bury food; carry out grease and fuel canisters.
Do not remove natural materials such as leaves or branches. In addition, avoid eating wild foods, walking on or
uprooting plants, interfering with or feeding wild animals, and littering.
Practice safe hiking. Instructions are given on the safety rules for hiking, which include forbidding hiking off-trail
and after dusk. Girls stay on the pathway to avoid trampling trailside plants and causing erosion. In addition,
take adequate rest periods, with time to replenish fluids and eat high-energy food (such as fruits and nuts).
Hiking Links
American Hiking Society:
Appalachian Mountain Club:
Appalachian Trail Conference:
Leave No Trace:
Hiking Know-How for Girls
Practice with maps and a compass. Before heading out on a lengthy hike, learn how to read a map and use a
compass. Look at a map to understand where you started, and where you plan to finish. What do you anticipate
you’ll see during your hike?
Learn about regional nature. What flowers, trees, insects are unique to the area you’re hiking in?
Hiking Jargon
Blaze: A mark, often on a tree, that indicates a trail’s route; most often, the blaze is painted with a bright color
Hot spot: A place on the foot that is sore as a result of a shoe’s rubbing and irritation, and where a blister will
form; use moleskin to make a doughnut shape around the hot spot to prevent blisters
Outdoor Cooking: Safety Activity Checkpoints
Historically, wood fires were the primary source of heat for camp cooking, but the practice of cooking with large fires is
no longer recommended, because of the detrimental effects on camping areas. Instead, use an established fire pit to
ignite a small fire, or use alternative cooking methods such as a portable cook stove (electric or fuel-based). When
cooking outdoors, it’s important to pack the appropriate amount of food for the group, so as to avoid discarding unused
food. To properly plan food supplies, consider the activities you’ll be participating in, keeping in mind that girls will burn
more calories and hence need to eat more when participating in rigorous activities. Also, more calories are needed
during cold weather. Extensive outdoor cooking is not recommended for Girl Scout Daisies, but a less extensive activity,
such as roasting marshmallows, is appropriate.
Know where to cook outdoors. Preferably at campsites with designated fire-pit areas. Connect with your Girl Scout
council for site suggestions.
Include girls with disabilities. Communicate with girls with disabilities and/or their caregivers to assess any needs and
accommodations. Learn more about the resources and information that Global Explorers and Wilderness Inquiry provide
to people with disabilities.
Outdoor Cooking Gear
Basic Gear
Pots and pans
Portable water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning
Biodegradable dishwashing soap
Pot scrubber
Hand sanitizer or soap and paper towels
Mess kit with nonbreakable plates, bowls, mugs, and cutlery in dunk bag
Containers to store leftover food
Can opener
No plastic garments, such as ponchos, are worn around open flame
Rubber band, barrette, or bandana to tie back hair
Specialized Gear
Firefighting equipment, including fire extinguisher, water, loose soil or sand, and a shovel and rake
Portable cook stove and fuel
Long-handled cooking utensils such as ladles
Pot holders and/or insulated gloves
Insulated cooler and ice for food storage
Water purification method (tablets or filter), if needed
Prepare for Outdoor Cooking
Communicate with council and parents. Inform your Girl Scout council and girls’ parents/guardians about the
activity, including details about safety precautions and any appropriate clothing or supplies that may be
necessary. Follow council procedures for activity approval, certificates of insurance, and council guidelines about
girls’ general health examinations. Make arrangements in advance for all transportation and confirm plans
before departure.
Girls plan the activity. Keeping their grade-level abilities in mind, encourage girls to take proactive leadership
roles in organizing details of the activity.
Arrange for transportation and adult supervision. The adult supervising the outdoor cooking has taken council
learning opportunities. The recommended adult-to-girl ratios are two non-related adults (at least one of whom
is female) to every:
● 6 Girl Scout Daisies (non-extensive cooking activities only)
● 12 Girl Scout Brownies
● 16 Girl Scout Juniors
● 20 Girl Scout Cadettes
● 24 Girl Scout Seniors
● 24 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Plus one adult to each additional:
● 4 Girl Scout Daisies (non-extensive cooking activities only)
● 6 Girl Scout Brownies
● 8 Girl Scout Juniors
● 10 Girl Scout Cadettes
● 12 Girl Scout Seniors
● 12 Girl Scout Ambassadors
Compile key contacts. Give an itinerary to a contact person at home; call the contact person upon departure
and return. Create a list of girls’ parents/guardian contact information, telephone numbers for emergency
services and police, and council contacts—keep on hand or post in an easily accessible location.
Consult with council about permits where necessary, and prepare for fire safety. Connect with your Girl Scout
council to inquire about permits with the local fire district, land-management agency, or conservation office.
Fires are not permitted when there is excessive dryness or wind. The adult volunteer also checks the fire index
with local authorities. Local air-pollution regulations are followed.
Girls share resources. Support girls in creating a checklist of group and personal equipment and distribute to
group members. Girls learn to use a variety of cooking methods, including use of wood fire, propane, butane,
and gas stoves, charcoal, canned heat, and solar energy. Repackage all food to minimize waste and the amount
of garbage that needs to be removed from the campsite.
Be prepared for primitive campsites. If cooking in primitive areas with little to no modern conveniences,
observe these standards:
● Choose and set up campsite well before dark.
● Use a previously established campsite if available.
● Make sure the campsite is level and located at least 200 feet from all water sources and below tree line.
● Avoid fragile mountain meadows and areas of wet soil.
● Avoid camping under dead tree limbs.
● Use existing fire rings if a fire is necessary.
If a latrine is not available, use individual cat holes—holes for human waste that are at least 200 feet
away from the trail and known water sources—to dispose of human waste (visit for more
● Do dishwashing and personal bathing at least 200 feet away from water sources.
● Store food well away from tents and out of reach of animals. Where necessary, hang food at least 10
feet high from a rope stretched between two trees. If the site is in bear country, check with local
authorities on precautions to take.
● See that garbage, tampons, sanitary supplies, and toilet paper are carried out.
Take safety precautions. Fire-safety rules, emergency procedures, and first aid for burns are reviewed with the
group and understood. Procedures are established and known in advance for notifying the fire department or
land-management agency officials in case of a fire. Fire drills are practiced at each site.
Prepare for emergencies. Ensure the presence of a waterproof first-aid kit and a first-aider with a current
certificate in First Aid, including Adult and Child CPR or CPR/AED, who is prepared to handle burns and other
injuries related to the location, including extremes of temperature, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke,
frostbite, cold exposure, hypothermia, as well as sprains, fractures, and sunburn. If any part of the activity is
located 60 minutes or more from emergency medical services, ensure the presence of a first-aider (level 2) with
Wilderness and Remote First Aid. If feasible, a vehicle is available to transport an injured or sick person. See
Volunteer Essentials for information about first-aid standards and training.
On the Day of Outdoor Cooking
Get a weather report. On the morning of the outdoor cooking activity, check or other reliable
weather sources to determine if conditions are appropriate. If severe weather conditions prevent the cooking
activity, be prepared with a backup plan or alternate activity. Write, review, and practice evacuation and
emergency plans for severe weather with girls.
Use the buddy system. Girls are divided into teams of two. Each girl chooses a buddy and is responsible for
staying with her buddy at all times, warning her buddy of danger, giving her buddy immediate assistance if safe
to do so, and seeking help when the situation warrants it. If someone in the group is injured, one person cares
for the patient while two others seek help.
Respect the environment and keep site clean. Use the principles of minimal-impact camping. Store garbage in
insect- and animal-proof containers with plastic inner linings, and cover it securely when there is a campsite
garbage-pickup service. When there is no garbage-pickup service, remove garbage from campsite in plastic bags
and discard, as appropriate. Recycle whenever possible. Do not bury food; carry out grease and fuel canisters.
Do not remove natural materials, such as leaves or branches.
Tips for Cooking with Cook Stoves and Open Fires
Prepare for safe usage of portable cook stoves. Portable cook stoves differ in size and in fuel use. Follow the
manufacturer’s instructions carefully, and closely supervise the girls when using any stove. Take an adequate
amount of fuel, and store the extra fuel supply away from the cooking flame. Never use portable cook stoves
inside a tent. Keep all stove parts clean. Check that lines and burners are not clogged. Do not refuel the cook
stove or change canisters near an open flame. Take care not to spill fuel; if fuel does spill, relocate the stove
before lighting it. Place portable cook stoves in safe, level, and stable positions, shielded from the wind and
away from foot traffic. Do not pile rocks or other items around the cook stove for stability. Do not overheat the
fuel tank. Use pots of appropriate size, so that the stove is not top-heavy. Do not dispose of pressurized cans in a
fire, leave them in direct sunlight, or keep them in enclosed areas where the temperature is high. See the
manufacturer’s instructions on the label. Store and dispose of fuel canisters in the recommended manner. Be
sure to check with local authorities to make sure cook stoves are permitted during times of extreme fire danger.
Cook safely with solar stoves. If using solar cookware, remember that pots and food inside a solar oven are hot
even if the stove does not feel hot. Use insulated gloves when removing pots and opening the lid.
Practice safe cooking with open fire. If cooking over open flames, build fires in designated areas, and avoid
establishing new fire sites. An established fire site is clear of overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotted stumps
or logs, dry grass and leaves, and cleared of any burnable material, such as litter, duff, or pine needles. Where
wood gathering is permitted, use only dead, fallen wood, and keep the cooking fires small. Store wood away
from the fire area. Watch for flying sparks and put them out immediately. Before leaving the site, check that the
fire is completely out by sprinkling the fire with water or smothering it with earth or sand, stirring, and then
sprinkling or smothering again; finally, hold hands on coals, ashes, partially burned wood, or charcoal for one
minute to ensure it is cool to the touch. Make a plan for disposing of cold ashes and partially burned wood. You
may scatter ashes and burned wood throughout the woods away from the campsite. Do not put ashes and
burned wood in a plastic pail; do not leave a pail with ashes or burned wood against the side of a building or on
a wood deck. Obtain wood from local sources to avoid bringing pests and diseases from one location to another.
Practice safe cooking with charcoal fires. If using charcoal, fires are started with fuels explicitly labeled as
“charcoal starters”—never use gasoline as a fire starter. Never add charcoal lighter fluid to a fire once it has
Tips for Food Preparation and Storage
Prepare nutritious meals. Meals are prepared with consideration of food allergies, religious beliefs, and dietary
restrictions (such as vegetarianism and veganism) of group members. Whenever possible, buy food and supplies
that avoid excess packaging, and buy in bulk. Review health considerations, including the importance of keeping
utensils and food preparation surfaces sanitized, cleaning hands, cooking meats thoroughly, refrigerating
perishables, and using clean water when preparing food. Do not use chipped or cracked cups and plates.
Cook with caution. Girls learn about the safe use of kitchen tools and equipment, including knives. Maintain
discipline in the cooking area to prevent accidents with hot food and sharp utensils. Do not overfill cooking pots,
and do not use pressurized cans, soda-can stoves, or plastic basins, bottles, and cooking utensils near an open
Avoid spreading germs. Each person has an individual drinking cup. Cooks roll up long sleeves and tie back long
hair. Wash hands before food preparation and eating. No person with a skin infection, a cold, or a
communicable disease participates in food preparation.
Keep perishables cool. Store perishables such as creamed dishes, dairy products, meats, and salads at or below
45 degrees Fahrenheit in a refrigerator or insulated cooler with ice. If this will not be possible, use powdered,
dehydrated, freeze-dried, or canned foods. On extended trips, do not use foods requiring refrigeration. Use safe
drinking water (see the “Water Purification Tips”) to reconstitute powdered, dehydrated, or freeze-dried food.
Once reconstituted, eat perishable items within one hour or refrigerate them.
Water Purification Tips
Access a safe drinking water supply for cooking, drinking, and personal use. Safe drinking water is defined as
tap water tested and approved by the local health department. All other sources are considered potentially
contaminated and must be purified before use. Giardia lamblia (a parasite) is suspected in all surface water
Use one of the three water-purification methods. First, strain water through a clean cloth into a clean container
to remove sediment, and then choose one of the following methods:
● Boil water rapidly for a full minute and let cool.
● Disinfect water with water-purification tablets, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check the
product’s shelf life to make sure it has not expired.
● Pour water through a water purifier or specially designed water-filtration device that removes Giardia.
These filters will also remove many other contaminants. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
● Important note: These methods will not remove chemical pollutants. In addition, only boiling the water
or pouring it through a specially designed filter will remove Giardia lamblia.
Dishwashing Tips
Wash dishes in a prescribed area according to this procedure:
● Remove food particles from utensils and dishes.
● Wash dishes in warm, soapy water.
● Rinse dishes in hot, clear water.
● Sanitize dishes by dipping in clear, boiling water or immersing for at least two minutes in a sanitizing
solution approved by the local health department. Use long-handled utensil, tongs, or tool to remove
sanitized dishes. (1 tablespoon of bleach per 1 gallon of cold clean water)
● Air-dry and store dishes in a clean, covered area.
● Dispose of dishwashing and rinse water according to the campsite regulations. In backcountry areas,
scatter wastewater on the ground at least 200 feet beyond any water source or trail.
Outdoor Cooking Links
Leave No Trace:
Outdoor Cooking Know-How for Girls
Learn how to start a fire without matches. What are the ways that you can get a fire going without using
matches or a lighter? Read camping how-to books or online sources to learn how.
Plan outdoor recipes. Vote for your favorite meals and plan how to cook them outdoors. For additional outdoor
recipe ideas, read Discover the Outdoors,, and
Outdoor Cooking Jargon
Dunk kit: A mesh bag used to hold dirty dishes; the bag is dunked into hot water or chlorine solution and then
hung to dry with clean, sterilized dishes inside
Dutch oven: A cooking kettle used for baking in an open fire (do not use soap on cast iron)
What to Do If You Get Lost or Separated From the Group
Everyone needs to safeguard against getting lost. Carrying a whistle is a good practice, as three blasts of a
whistle is considered as a universal distress signal. The “Hug-a-Tree” program is an excellent prevention
training for you and your girls.
In the event that buddies get lost or separated from the group and become disoriented, the best thing is for
them to do is STOP and try not to panic. They should:
● Sit down and evaluate the circumstances.
● Try to determine the last location where they knew where they were.
● Orient themselves to the landscape by using a map (if they have one) or try to recognize familiar
landmarks such as large boulders or a fallen tree.
● Listen carefully for noises, such as traffic or barking dogs that could lead them to a road. Sounds of
moving water can lead to a river. Walking parallel to the river can be another way to reach a road.
● Make sure there is sufficient daylight to walk to the nearest trail, road, or campsite to obtain helps.
If the buddies cannot figure out where they are or need to go, moving about will waste energy and will
confuse them even more. In that case, buddies should:
● Sit down and conserve energy.
● Find shelter to keep warm and dry as possible and out of the wind. (Make sure the shelter is not home
to potentially dangerous animals or insects and leave some sort of sign, such as a piece of clothing,
outside of the shelter to alert searchers).
● Find water (treat surface water before drinking by boiling, filtering or using chemical purifiers) or
collect water from wet vegetation.
● Build a fire, if matches are available and the danger of a fire spreading out of control is low.
● Devise as many ways as possible to attract the attention of those searching for them. For example:
● Tie a piece of brightly colored cloth to a high branch or rock.
● Flash a mirror or other reflective surface at any passing aircraft.
● Make a smoky fire in a safe, open place.
● Draw large signs on the ground that could be seen from the air.
● Stay in the area. Don’t wander.
● Yell or whistle if someone is heard nearby.
If a camper does become missing for more than an hour, notify authorities, and follow crisis communications
procedures. Be sure to notify everyone concerned when the camper is found.
How to Predict the Weather without a Forecast
Long before technology was developed to predict the weather, people had to rely on observation, patterns
and folklore to avoid being caught off guard by the elements. If your plans, livelihood or even your survival
depend on the weather, it certainly wouldn't hurt to become familiar with some of these methods, especially
since you never know when you might be out of touch with the local weather report. These methods aren't
foolproof, but they have their usefulness, and if you don't have a forecast on hand, what do you have to lose
by trying them?
Check the grass for dew at sunrise. If the grass is dry, this indicates clouds or strong breezes, which can
mean rain. If there's dew, it probably won't rain that day. However, if it rained during the night, this
method will not be reliable.
● Remember the rhyme: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." Look
for any sign of red in the sky (not a red sun); it will not be a bold orange or red the majority of the time,
but that depends a little on where you live.
If you see a red sky during sunset (when you're looking to the west), there is a high pressure system
with dry air that is stirring dust particles in the air, causing the sky to look red. Since prevailing front
movements and jet streams weather usually move from west to east (see Tips), the dry air is heading
towards you.
○ A red sky in the morning (in the East, where the sun rises) means that the dry air has already moved
past you, and what follows behind it (on its way towards you) is a low pressure system that carries
● Look for a rainbow in the west. This is the result of the rising sun's morning rays from the east striking
moisture in the west. Most major storm fronts travel west to east, and a rainbow in the west means
moisture, which can mean rain is on its way. On the other hand, a rainbow in the east around sunset
means that the rain is on its way out and you can look forward to sunny days. Remember: Rainbow in the
morning, need for a warning.
Detect which direction the wind is blowing. If unable to immediately detect the wind's direction, throw a
small piece of grass in to the air and watch its descent. Easterly winds can indicate an approaching storm
front, westerly winds the opposite. Strong winds indicate high pressure differences, which can be a sign of
advancing storm fronts. Deciduous trees show the undersides of their leaves during unusual winds,
supposedly because they grow in a way that keeps them right-side up during typical prevalent winds.
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes and smell the air.
○ Plants release their waste in a low pressure atmosphere, generating a smell like compost and
indicating an upcoming rain.
○ Swamps will release methane just before a storm because of the lower pressure, which leads to
unpleasant smells.
○ A proverb says "Flowers smell best just before a rain." Scents are stronger in moist air, associated with
rainy weather.
Check for humidity. Many people can feel humidity, especially in their hair (it curls up and gets frizzy). You
can also look at the leaves of oak or maple trees. These leaves tend to curl in high humidity, which tends to
precede a heavy rain. Pine cone scales remain closed if the humidity is high, but open in dry air. Under
humid conditions, wood swells (look out for those sticky doors) and salt clumps (is that shaker working
Watch the clouds.
○ Clouds going in different directions (e.g. one layer going west, another layer going north) - bad weather
coming, probably hail
Cumulonimbus clouds early in the day and developing throughout the day - greater chances of severe
Mammatus cloud (formed by sinking air) - thunderstorm is dissipating (not forming)
Cirrus clouds high in the sky like long streamers - bad weather within the next 36 hours
Altocumulus clouds like mackerel scales - bad weather within the next 36 hours. The old sailor's saying
for these types of clouds is "Mares tails and mackerel scales, tall ships carry short sails."
Cloud cover on a winter night - expect warmer weather because clouds prevent heat radiation that
would lower the temperature on a clear night.
Cumulus towers (cumulus castellanus) - possibility of showers later in the day.
● Observe animals. They are more likely to react to changes in air pressure than we are.
○ If birds are flying high in the sky, there will probably be fair weather. (Falling air pressure caused by an
imminent storm causes discomfort in birds' ears, so they fly low to alleviate it. Large numbers of birds
roosting on power lines indicates swiftly falling air pressure.)
○ Seagulls tend to stop flying and take refuge at the coast if a storm is coming.
○ Animals, especially birds, get quiet immediately before it rains.
○ Cows will typically lie down before a thunderstorm. They also tend to stay close together if bad
weather's on the way.
○ Ants build their hills with very steep sides just before a rain.
○ Cats tend to clean behind their ears before a rain.
○ Turtles often search for higher ground when a large amount of rain is expected. You will often see
them in the road during this period (1 to 2 days before the rain).
● Make a campfire. The smoke should rise steadily. Smoke that swirls and descends is caused by low
pressure (i.e. rain on the way).
Look at the moon during the night. If it is reddish or pale, dust is in the air. But if the moon is bright and
sharply focused, it's probably because low pressure has cleared out the dust, and low pressure means rain.
Also, a ring around the moon (caused by light shining through cirrostratus clouds associated with warm
fronts and moisture) can indicate that rain will probably fall within the next three days. Remember: Circle
around the moon, rain or snow soon.
● Look for pine cones Pine trees are an excellent indicator of the overall harshness of the coming winter. In
fall, look to the pine trees in your area and note if the cones are high on the tree or low. Low hanging
cones indicate a mild winter.
Emergency Procedures for Tent Camping During a Tornado
When you take a trek out into the backcountry, your goal is to get away from man-made structures and bond
with nature. If you find yourself faced with severe weather - especially a tornado, it can be challenging to find
a safe zone when in the wilderness or open plains. Even if you are far away from buildings that contain cut
wood and metal, a tornado can still inflict damage and carry debris - including rocks, trees and dirt.
Always look for the lowest possible ground area to take shelter; this includes ditches, culverts and river banks.
You can also take cover in caves or along one side of a large boulder or rock. When you find the lowest
possible location, be sure to lie flat on your stomach and cover your hands over your head for protection.
Emergency Procedures When Spotting a Bear
Content in this section is most applicable to groups camping in Northeast Tennessee
Troop Leaders will notify TWRA (TN Wildlife Resources Agency) immediately:
If an aggressive bear is spotted
If a bear is spotted getting into food or trash
Contact TWRA in an emergency situation from 7:00 a.m. – midnight:
Dial 1-800-332-0900
When prompted enter 105 for Dispatcher
After midnight contact the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department – 423-279-7600 (only applicable to groups
camping in Sullivan County)
Troop leaders will contact Council by calling the emergency number if TWRA or Sullivan County Sheriff’s
Department is called.
Non-emergency procedures:
Troop Leaders will notify Council in a non-emergency situation, such as:
Bears continually seen in one general location.
Mother with cubs is spotted.
What to do when you spot a bear
● Make noises --- air horns, clapping, singing, yelling, etc
● Walk backwards away from bear
● DO NOT RUN!!!!
● Do not use direct eye contact, as bears see this as aggression
● Make sure to use the Buddy System at all times.
Black bear attacks are extremely rare; however, if you are attacked by a black bear, DO NOT play dead, fight
995-2007 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
©1995-2007 The Nemours Foundation. All rights reserved.
Troop Camp Basics Part 2:
Girl-led Planning & Progression
Outdoor Philosophy
Travel Progression & Readiness
Determining the Trip’s Focus
Progression in the Outdoors by Activity Type
Progression in the Outdoors by Grade-Level
Planning Steps for an Overnight
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Outdoor Philosophy
Outdoor education occurs when Girl Scout programs are held outside. The most important outcomes we want
to accomplish include are:
A change in how the girl feels about herself & relates to others
Girls develop values that relate to the environment
Potential contribution to the community
The goal is to allow each girl opportunities to explore and develop an understanding of the outdoors. It is the
girls’ ability to feel good about herself and her contribution to the success of the group that is important, not
her ability to name twenty birds or tie ten kinds of knots.
Travel Progression Checklist
If your group is thinking about travel, consider first whether the girls are mature enough to handle the trip. In
determining a group’s readiness for travel or camp, assess the group’s:
Ability to be away from their parents and
their home
Ability to adapt to unfamiliar surroundings
and situations
Ability to make decisions well and easily
Previous cross-cultural experiences
Ability to get along with each other and
handle challenges
Ability to work well as a team
Skills and interests
Determining the Trip’s Focus
Making the choice to explore the outdoors should be girl’s decision in your troop. Whether the trip is a day
hike or a cross-country trek, basic steps of trip planning are essentially the same. It’s true that as the locale
gets farther away, the itinerary more complex, and the trip of greater duration, the details become richer and
more complex, but planning every trip—from a day-long hike to an international trek—starts by asking the
following of your troop so that the girls lead the process:
What do we hope to experience?
Who will we want to talk to and meet? What will we ask?
Where are we interested in going?
When are we all available to go?
Will everyone in our group be able to go?
Are there physical barriers that cannot be accommodated?
What are visiting hours and the need for advance reservations (if any)?
What are our options for getting there?
What’s the least and most this trip could cost?
What can we do now to get ourselves ready?
How will we earn the money?
What’s the availability of drinking water, restrooms, shelter, and food?
Where is emergency help available?
What safety factors must we consider?
What will we do as we travel?
What will we do when we get there?
How will we share the Take Action story?
As girls answer these questions, they begin the trip-planning process. In time, girls begin to make specific
arrangements, attend to a myriad of details, create a budget and handle money, and accept responsibility for
their personal conduct and safety. Younger girls may not be capable to be as intimately involved in the details,
however as the girls grow older, their responsibility level should increase. Ask the girls to stretch themselves
to become leaders within their own troop, therefore practicing their leadership skills. And later, after they’ve
returned from a successful camp-out or trip, girls also have the chance to evaluate their experiences and share
them with others.
Sample Progression in Girl Scout Outdoor Program, by Activity Type
Meet Out
Use senses to look, listen, feel, smell
Earn Brownie awards related to outdoor experiences
Earn Junior awards related to outdoor experiences
Move Out
Learn the 8 Basic Skills
Visit an outdoor spot
Record your observations
Explore Out
Go with a purpose
Take a snack to eat outdoors
Take a short trip walking, biking, or rowing
Cook Out
Whittle a fuzz stick
Light a fire and put it out
Sleep Out
Prepare for an overnight
Make needed equipment: bedroll, stuff bags, dunk bags, sit upon
Plan: What to take, what to eat
Make a Kaper Chart
Choose a good safe spot for sleeping
Camp Out
Plan what to wear and take
Know safety rules and first aid
Handle dishwashing, garbage and grease disposal in environmentally sound ways.
Pack Out
Plan meals, menus, purchase and provide storage for food
Earn Finding Your Way, Hiker Badges
Plan a trip extending over several days Earn a Red Cross First Aid Certificate
Progression in 8 Outdoor Skills
Progression in camping skills is an essential part of troop camping. At the Daisy & Brownie levels the basic
skills are simple and improved upon by practice. Each succeeding program level should increase proficiency
and build upon skills already required. Consult Volunteer Essentials or the handbooks for more information on
grade-level-appropriate skills and abilities.
Know and practice good outdoor manners in town and in the country.
Know how to dress for the outdoors in your locality, in relation to expected weather.
Know how to tie, use, and release a square knot & a clove hitch.
Know how to handle and care for a knife.
Know how to use & put out a fire for outdoor cooking.
Know how to cook something for yourself, something for patrol or troop.
Know simple first aid for cuts, insect bites, and skinned knees.
Know how to protect the natural world.
Example Progression by Grade-level
Buddy system. Appreciation of nature-use all senses to explore. Safety/Manners for short hikes near
Discuss what they should bring/wear plus note to parents.
May need help tying shoes/bows.
Leader uses and explains safety precautions.
Leader builds fire. Safety around fires.
Simple cooking activities away from fire. One pot meals- leader handles. Fireless foods.
Personal safety. What to do in case of emergencies when hurt or scared.
Short hikes/discovery. Explore the out-of-doors. Encourage questions.
Learn how to be considerate of others and living things in nature. Leave places cleaner than you found
them. Safety/Manners for overnight.
Discuss proper attire and why, especially for new experiences like camping. Learn camping equipment
Learn square knot, half hitch, clove hitch.
Learn to use knives safely, open, close, clean, simple use/passing, Use cardboard knives to teach.
Wood piles, Simple fire building: fire starters, foundation fire, A frame, tepee. Putting out fires.
One pot meals, Nosebag/trail meals, Skillet meals.
Simple first aid, see handbook, first aid kits, Emergency procedures, Health & Safety practices in all
troop activities.
Hikes with purpose/ nature hikes. Practice conservation- plant /water trees, flowers, litter pickup,
gardening, recycling. Hurt no living things, look for tracks and traces of animals.
Review & Elaborate. Safety/Manners for camping simple maps & compass.
Girls should be able to help make equipment lists.
Bowline, sheet bend, taut line hitch, sheepshank, slip knot, Lashing Tents
Review Knives, do some whittling; sharpening
Hard vs. Soft wood. Different types, uses, hunter's/ trench fire criss-cross, buddy burner, charcoal, safe
use of tools.
● Stick cooking, tin can cookery, dutch oven, ember cooking, Safe cooking, eating, food storage
procedures. Camp stoves (2 burner)
● Simple first aid-see handbook, Emergency procedures, Health & Safety Practices.
● Observe impact on environment, pollution. Service projects- trails, erosion dams, etc. Explore nature in
action & discover why's. Proper dishwashing/garbage disposal.
Low impact camping, plan routes, transportation and make necessary arrangements, Safety/Manners
for extended trips, Orienteering.
May need help for more advanced experiences--backpacking canoeing, bike tripping. How to pack for
extensive trips.
Review & elaborate uses of knots. Lashing campsite furnishings.
Review Knife safety.
Alter fire for reflector oven, pit, fire, bean pot hole. Develop and dismantle fire scar, wet weather fires.
Reflector oven, Bean hole, Planking, Backpacking meals, dehydrating foods, camp stoves, back packing,
edible foods.
Certified first aid, lifesaving, survival camping, emergency shelters/procedures, hypothermia weather.
Minimal impact camping. Rebuild trails/erosion control, pollution environmental concern awareness
projects. learn about ecology of certain areas, Wildlife/plant identification.
Ensure the girls are involved in each of these steps!
Step # 1
Is the troop ready to do an overnight?
Step # 2
Why are we going, (Program)?
Step # 3
Where will we go?
Step # 4
How we will get there, (budget & transportation)?
Step # 5
When will we go?
Step # 6
What will we need, (equipment, food planning checklist)?
# of volunteers
Sleeping arrangements
Food/cooking considerations
Clothing requirements
Paperwork / Approval of Parents & Council Staff
Kaper Chart
Safety Wise: Safety Activity Checkpoint
Step # 7
What will we do?
 Plan activities
 learn skills (before camping or during camp)
Step # 8
Establish behavior and expectations to also include:
 Safety skills
 Buddy system
 Simple First Aid
Step # 9
Go on the trip, have fun!
Step # 10
Evaluate afterward with the girls.
 Would they do it again?
 What would they do differently next time?
HINT: Planning takes time! Many girls are used to having things done for them. Be patient! Don't over plan! It's
OK if the activity didn't turn out perfect!
In Girl Scouting, a job is called a kaper. The list of kapers and who does them is called a kaper chart. More
information can be found in all levels of handbooks. Kapers should be included in the planning process and
will be a part of the girl’s progression. However, even a Daisy Girl Scout can clean up after herself!
● Write down the jobs to be done and a brief description of what each job includes.
● Plan how to divide the work: individual, buddies, group or troop.
● Combine some jobs if necessary, keeping an equal amount of work in each if possible.
● Have girls make a chart, which shows the group, who does what, and when.
● Let the girls be creative! The chart can be big or small, square like a table or round like a wheel. It can
even be 3-D or have moving pieces that represent each girl.
Sample Kapers for Troop Camping
Grounds: Picks up all litter within her unit, tends drains under all spigots, tends dishwater drain (if they are
required for that outing)
Unit house: Sweeps floor and at the closing day, follow clean up guidelines of the camp, cleans refrigerator in
her unit house, general cleaning and checking of equipment, takes charge of hand washing system
Lanterns: Cleans and fills lanterns, picks up in morning and sets out at night, fixes lanterns (if needed and
possible), reports to leader all wicks, globes, kerosene needed
Woodpile: Sorts and replenishes, covers woodpile
Restroom: Sweeps and disinfects toilets and showers, responsible for emptying cans, cleans sink and shelves,
responsible for replacing toilet paper when needed, picks up litter in her area
NOTE: Program activities such as Scout's Own, flag ceremony, campfire program should be incorporated into
the general kaper chart.
Sample Kapers for Meals
Hostess: Invite guests, Set table, Prepare centerpiece, Select, teach, and lead the grace, Serve guests and
leaders first, Are responsible for good table manners and conversation, Wash dishes of guests and leaders
Fire Builders: Build, care for and extinguish cooking fires, Are responsible for fire safety during meal
preparation, May be responsible for fireplace and woodpile kaper jobs
Cooks: Prepare, cook, and serve food, Responsible for kitchen health and safety, Put food away after meal,
Dispose of all food not to be used again, Get all food preparation dishes and pots ready to be washed, Put dish
water on to heat during the meal
Clean-Up: Set up dishwashing area, Watch to see that garbage is sorted properly for disposal, Supervise
individual dishwashing, Wash all cooking dishes and pots, Clean up cooking area and wash tables, Sweep,
Dispose of garbage and trash
NOTE: Program activities such as Scout's Own, flag ceremony, campfire program should be incorporated into
the general kaper chart.
Troop Camp Basics Part 3:
Camp Site Selection
Types of Camping
Temporary Shelters
Platform Tents
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Types of Camping
Front-country camping (“car camping”) consists of camping at a developed campground. Developed
campgrounds typically have restrooms and sites with fire rings, grates and picnic tables. We recommend you
choose to camp at one of GSCSA’s camps. The following types of camping are made available to Girl Scouts
through GSCSA. Some camps or camping types are unavailable in certain seasons. GSCSA currently operates 5
Girl Scout Camps: Camp Wildwood (Johnson City, TN), Camp Windy Knob (Greenville, TN), Camp Sky-Wa-Mo
(Bluff City, TN), Camp Tanasi (Andersonville, TN), Camp Adahi (Cloudland, GA)
Resident Camping is one of the most well-known Girl Scout camp experiences. Campers live at an established
site for a period of several days. Girls and their counselors/leaders enjoy activities that take advantage of
resources available at the camp. The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians offers resident camp at
select locations during the summer months of June and July.
Troop/Group Camping is a camping experience of 24 or more consecutive hours and often takes advantage of
council-owned/established camp sites. A group of girls and their advisors/leaders usually plan and carry out
this type of camping. The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians offers summer troop/group camping
year-round by registration at select camp sites. Girls and their leaders may also camp at council-approved sites
around the region. Call your service center for more information.
Day Camping is a favorite with Girl Scouts who want to experience camp in shorter sessions, or are not ready
for progression into an overnight. Girls participate in activities for a day. If sponsored by the Council Staff or a
Service Unit, girls may register as individual campers or go with buddies. A day camp event may be at a
council-owned site or a site contracted by the council.
Travel Camping/Trip Camping is a camping experience planned and carried out by a group of experienced
participants and their advisors or staff. Travel/trip campers may camp at established camping sites. Travel
camping usually involved motorized transportation. Trip camping usually involves self or animal-assisted
transportation, i.e., walking or riding horseback.
Minimal Impact Camping is a method that encourages each person to leave no trace of their outdoor or
camping experience. It covers everything from the planning stages to the outdoor experience itself. The
concept of minimal impact can apply to any outdoor activity or camping environment.
The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians is committed to establishing a camping experience that
will protect and maintain the well-being of every Girl Scout by providing Program Standards and safety
guidelines for camping activities. GSCSA is affiliated with the American Camp Association (ACA), a private,
nonprofit educational organization that provides members with educational and accreditation services. An
ACA accreditation indicates that a camp has met ACA standards. The Girl Scout Council of the Southern
Appalachians meets Girl Scout standards as well as national and state standards set by law.
Research other places to camp: – Reservations – National Park Service - USDA Forest Service - Tennessee State Parks - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - KOA Campgrounds
Important features of a tent to consider are:
 Flame retardant.
 Weight.
 Capacity.
 Portability.
 Ease of set-up.
 Ventilation.
 Floor design.
 Netting for doors and windows.
 Headroom.
 Waterproof tent fly, Waterproof material
and design.
Pole construction (should be strong and
Strong zippers.
Accessory interior pockets for small items
and loops to hang a flashlight.
Stakes and poles packed in a separate bag
from the tent.
Fabric (breathable).
Color (should blend in with the
Choose a tent that suits the type of camping activity and the needs of the troop. Consider the following
questions during planning:
How many girls are going on the trip and how many girls can share a tent?
How much room is necessary for each person and her gear? Is it important to have standing room?
How will the tents be transported?
What styles of tents are needed? Dome? A-frame?
What types of weather conditions are possible?
If you are front-country camping it does not matter how big the tent is, as long as you have enough people to
help assemble it. However, if you're doing any backpacking or backcountry camping, you will want a small,
light weight tent. Remember to consider how much gear will need to go in the tent along with the number of
girls. A "dome"-style tent will allow plenty of movement inside the tent, and can be quite spacious in
inclement weather. An A-frame tent has very little headroom, but uses less material in the tent design
therefore; it is usually a lighter style tent. In addition, A-frame tents typically cost less than other designs and
are suitable for summertime troop camping.
Never place a candle, camp stove, lantern, heater, open flame or uncovered mirror in or near a tent.
Pitch tents far enough away from any cooking area so that the wind cannot blow a spark onto the tent.
Never use plastic as a sleeping shelter because it is highly flammable.
Prior to the trip, check the condition of all tents, poles, ropes, pegs, etc.
Apply seam sealant to new tents as instructed by the tent manufacturer.
Use a plastic sheet or ground cloth under the floor of the tent to give added protection from stones
and sharp sticks and to keep the tent dry.
Keep the interior clean by sweeping or shaking it out each day and before packing it.
Make sure the tent is completely dry before storing it.
Place stakes and poles in a separate bag.
Bring materials to repair holes or rips in tents with you on the trip (needle and nylon thread, special
tapes, or self-adhesive fabrics).
Bring spare parts on the trip including tent stakes, guy rope and poles.
Site Selection tips for front-country camping:
 Know in advance where campsites can be found.
 If possible, make advance reservations.
 Obtain your site permit as early as possible on the day of your departure (or the day before).
 Learn what the rules and regulations are in the area you will be camping.
 Arrive at your chosen campsite at least 2 hours before sunset to allow enough time to set-up the
campsite before dark.
 Avoid camping under dead tree limbs.
 If mosquitoes are a problem where you want to camp, try to select a site where there is a breeze.
 Choose a site that offers a sufficient amount of shade during the day to minimize the amount of time
your tent is exposed to the sun. A tent's nylon canopy will begin to deteriorate when left in direct
sunlight for an extended period of time.
 If it is windy, try to select a campsite where boulders or trees provide a windbreak.
 Be mindful of low spots. Low spots tend to collect water. In additions, because cold air sinks, low spots
are chillier.
Pitching a Tent:
 Practice pitching the tent with your troop before the trip.
 To make set-up easier, assemble the matched poles and color code them with tape, paint, or
permanent markers.
 Locate your tent on high, level ground (but below tree-line). If it rains, water will tend to flow away
from your tent rather than gather under it, and you won’t be rolling downhill in your sleeping bag.
 Remove any loose stones, twigs or branches from the ground before pitching your tent, but keep pine
needles and dead leaves for added cushion.
 Put a plastic ground cloth/tarp under the tent floor to protect it from moisture.
 Roll out your tent on the ground cloth and assemble the poles.
 Run the poles through the loops or hooks on the tent and secure; set the tent upright.
 Drive tent stakes into the ground at a 90-degree angle to the guy ropes.
 Once the tent is upright and staked down, place the rain fly over the tent and secure it to the tent
 Securely anchor down all key points of the tent with tent stakes and guide ropes.
 Line the ground cloth up with the edge of the tent floor by rolling the excess ground cloth downward
under the tent floor to avoid water from being able to flow under the tent.
 To avoid the buildup of condensation in the tent, open the roof vent and zip a door or window partially
open. If you have no roof vent, crack two doors or windows open. Either way will create a slight cross
breeze that will help to remove body moisture and prevent condensation inside your tent.
Temporary Shelters
Uses of tarps while camping:
 Ground cloth for under your tent
 Rain shelter
 Sun shades
 Wind barrier
 Coverings for your gear, campfire, or firewood
 Sleeping shelters
What you will need to create a shelter, sun shade or wind barrier:
 A tarp (a large plastic/polyethylene tarp with aluminum grommets is sufficient and inexpensive)
 Rope (50-100 feet of approximately 3/8-inch nylon cord or clothesline rope)
 A few light weight tent stakes
 Duct tape (to repair rips in the tarp)
 Bungee cords (optional)
It is very important to think about drainage when you are setting up your tarp. Naturally, if the site has
a slope, you need to consider the slope when setting up the tarp. Ideally, you want to have the tarp
drain on the downhill side of the site.
● Angle the tarp with the low edge facing the wind. The wind will be forced over the campsite instead of
through it, more importantly water can run off the tarp instead of collecting in a pool. If water collects
on top of your tarp, raise the top corner with a stick or pole to allow the water to run off the sides.
● To create a lean-to, orient the tarp so that the low end is towards the prevailing weather. Tie the high
end to a rope stretched from tree to tree. Peg down the low end at or close to the ground to help
deflect the wind. It is important to stretch the tarp tight. If it is not tight, it will flap in the wind.
● If your tarp loses a grommet, find a small stone, In the corner where the grommet is missing, wrap a
small amount of tarp fabric around the stone, then tie it off with a piece of cord. You can then use that
nub as an attachment spot for a guy line.
Platform Tents
Several of GSCSA’s camps offer large tents on wooden platforms for troops/groups to use, called platform
tents. It is important that girls understand how to take care of platform tents.
Never use a heater or any open flame in or near a tent.
The guy ropes along the sides may need to be loosened in rain. When they are wet, they tighten and
put undue strain on the canvas.
Do not hang anything on the ropes. This pulls the tent out of line.
Roll side walls and door flaps up toward the inside of the tent, so they can be let down from the inside.
This prevents water from catching in the roll when it rains. Be sure to roll side walls and door flaps
back down, and secure them when leaving site.
Never roll up the side walls or door flaps unless they are completely dry. Damp canvas will mildew
when not open to the air.
Drop the side walls periodically. Mice sometimes nest in the rolled-up flaps.
Never touch the inside of the tent during a rain. Touching the fabric can cause the canvas to leak.
Do not use insect sprays or other kinds of sprays inside a tent. The chemicals can dissolve the waterrepellent treatment.
Do not pin anything to the tent, since this can cause tears and leaking.
Tie the tapes with a half bow so they can be untied when wet.
Keep mirrors under cover. Sunlight reflected in a mirror can be hot enough to burn a hole in a tent or
start a fire.
Report small tears and missing ropes or tapes so that they can be replaced.
Several of GSCSA’s camps offer cabins or indoor camping spaces. Current rules and regulations vary based on
the space reserved.
Troop Camp Basics Part 4:
Packing Considerations
Packing Checklist
Ten Essentials for Backcountry
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping Pads
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Below is a possible packing list for hikes and camping trips. Some items are not needed on every trip. Refer to
the Safety Activity Checkpoints for the activities you plan to participate in for further guidance on equipment
required. Also check the rules and regulations of the place you plan to camp for a list of prohibited items.
 Drinking Water
 Water Bottles
 Waterproof Matches
 Fire Starters
 Swiss Army Knife
 First Aid Kit
Food and Cooking Gear
 Energy Bars
 Trail Mix
 Raw Veggies or Fruit
 Crackers
 Cheese
 Oatmeal
Clothing and Outerwear
 Warm Hat
 Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
 Raingear
 Gloves
 Long Underwear
Personal Items
 Toilet Paper
 Biodegradable Soap
 Feminine Hygiene
 Washcloth
Camping Gear
 Tent
 Rain Fly
 Tent Stakes
Insect Repellent
Map of the Area
Compass Flashlight w/
fresh bulb
 Extra Batteries
 Sunglasses
Trash Bags
Park, Fire, and Camping
Hot Chocolate, Tea,
Instant Coffee
 Re-sealable Storage
Containers or Bags
 Camping Stove and Fuel
 Lightweight Cooking and
Eating Utensils
Cup and Bowl
Cooking Pots and Pans
Pot Holders
Dish Scrubber
Dishwashing Soap
Hiking Socks
Extra Socks
Hiking Boots or Shoes
Suited to the Terrain
Toothbrush and
 Comb
 Deodorant
 Shampoo
Small Towel
Lip Balm w/ SPF
Ground Tarp
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Tent Repair Kit
Duct Tape
Cord or Rope
Extra Underwear
Quick-drying Swimsuit
Fleece Shirt and Pants
Change of Clothes
The "Ten Essentials" for Backcountry Day Hiking Packs
Source: (
Every backcountry user, even on seemingly insignificant day hikes, should carry the most basic equipment;
commonly referred to as the “Ten Essentials.” The survival equipment, clothing and other resources you carry
will increase your chances of surviving an emergency. Technically skilled and highly experienced rescue
mountaineers never go into the field on search or rescue missions without these ten essentials. Carefully
selected, these items can easily fit within a small backpack. This list of "Ten Essentials" assumes your trip is a
summer excursion. At any other time of the year, be sure to bring more of the right kind of clothes. When
choosing your equipment, remember that the body's ability to maintain its core temperature is critical to your
survival in the backcountry.
1. Topographic map and magnetic compass
Too often, backcountry users venture deep into the backcountry without a map and compass. The fact that
they are able to safely venture back out is usually pure dumb luck. With a map and compass, it is much easier
to identify your location and direction of travel. This is especially important in the event that you become lost.
2. Flashlight (with extra batteries and bulb)
How far do you suppose you could safely travel at night in the backcountry without a flashlight? Could you
signal others, if you saw a campsite far away? A flashlight makes travel at night possible and aids in signaling
when lost.
3. Extra clothing (including mittens, hat, jacket and rain gear)
Hypothermia is the most common killer of backcountry users. Inability to maintain body heat can quickly rob
an unsuspecting victim of all energy and common sense. Since severe weather may present itself very quickly
in the backcountry, extra clothing should be carried to help maintain body heat.
4. Sunglasses
Especially in the winter, ultraviolet glare from the sun can cause blindness. Worst of all, the backcountry user
may not realize this is happening until it is too late. A good pair of sunglasses, designed to limit ultraviolet
light, will eliminate this risk.
5. Extra food and water
These items will maintain energy levels in the case of an emergency and help maintain body temperature in
cold weather. While you can survive three days without water and three weeks without food, your energy
levels will be seriously depleted without these.
6. Waterproof matches in waterproof container
Waterproof matches, available from most backcountry supply stores, are capable of igniting in high winds
and/or blinding rain. Building a fire may be impossible without these. Fires are critical since they not only
provide heat, but also make the job of search and rescue teams easier by providing a visible signal.
7. Candle/Fire starter
A candle burns much longer than does a match. This is helpful when trying to start a fire, especially if your
firewood is wet.
8. Pocket knife
There are a multitude of applications for a pocketknife in emergencies. The common Swiss Army Knife is socalled because it is standard issue for the Swiss Army, which has devised 246 uses for their standard 7instrument knife.
9. First aid kit
Proper first aid care is difficult, if not impossible, without a good first aid kit. Backcountry shops carry several
brands of small, lightweight first aid kits including small first-aid manuals.
10. Space blanket or two large heavy-duty trash bags
These items can help provide shelter in an emergency situation and can be used as a raincoat or a windbreak.
The additional warmth they provide far outweighs their minimal weight.
Sleeping Bags
Sleeping bags come in a wide range of designs, shapes and fills. The main function of a sleeping bag is to keep
you warm on chilly nights. It should also be comfortable and breathable.
Sleeping bags work by trapping warm air created by the body and prevent it from cooling off. The smaller the
airspace is inside the bag, the warmer the bag will be. There are three main styles of sleeping bags: mummy
bags, rectangular bags and tapered bags (semi-rectangular). Tapered bags and mummy bags are tight-fitting
bags that can keep you very warm. However, if you plan to camp only when it is warm, the rectangular bag
may be more suitable. The down-side to rectangular bags is that they are often heavy and bulky which makes
them less practical on backpacking trips. The warmth and insulating properties of the sleeping bag are also
related to what it is filled with. Down-filled bags are lightweight and last long but are more expensive than
synthetic-filled bags. Synthetic-filled bags are also more resistant to wetness than the down-filled bags.
Care and Cleaning Tips:
Sleeping bags should be removed from their carry sacks and shaken out periodically.
Store sleeping bags flat or hang them up in a large bag. Storing bags for long periods of time in their
traveling bags compresses the fibers and results in a loss of insulating properties.
Occasionally, wash synthetic and down-filled bags in a washing machine (commercial machines with no
agitator) with mild soap.
Dry the bag on low and tumble dry with a number of tennis balls to encourage the bag to loft.
Sleeping Pads
Sleeping pads are essential to tent camping; not only do they provide comfort; they provide insulation and
protection from the ground.
Closed-cell foam sleeping pads offer the most insulating value for their weight and are the least expensive
choice. These camping mats don't roll up very compactly, though, and they’re usually fairly thin, so they
offer the least amount of cushioning.
Self-inflating open-cell pads are compact and expensive, but are ideal for backpacking.
Make sure the length fits you, your tent and your sleeping bag.
For backpacking, consider weight vs. comfort.
Look for non-slip pads to help you keep from sliding off in the night.
Don’t use plain air mattresses without any foam inside. As the air gets colder during the night, these
mattresses often deflate until they're not providing enough padding. They don't offer very much
insulation to protect you from the cold ground.
If you do opt for an inflatable sleeping pad, make sure you bring a repair kit on your trip.
The type of pack depends upon the requirements of the trip. There are three major styles:
Frameless/Daypack: Day packs are small packs designed to carry raingear, a lunch, water bottle, map, and a
few extra items. Some people take a daypack with them on an extended trip in order to use it for day hikes
during the trip. A daypack should have padded shoulder straps.
Internal-Frame Pack: Internal-frame packs are worn close to the body and have a low center of gravity
(transfers the weight of the pack to the hips). The frame is integrated into the pack, making it flexible to
movement and manageable to carry, but hotter to wear then the external-frame pack. This pack is best when
hiking on uneven or brushy terrain, rock-climbing, or cross-country skiing.
External-Frame Pack: External-frame packs are distinguished by three components: the frame, the pack bag,
and the suspension system. The frame distributes the load to the wearer’s hips to eliminate weight on the
back muscles and allows the wearer to stand straighter when walking. The frame also holds the load away
from the wearer’s back, which allows air to circulate, making it cooler to wear then an internal-frame pack.
This pack is best for carrying heavy loads and traveling on established trails.
Before choosing a type of pack, consider the following:
Age and body size of the person.
Type of trip (day hike or overnight).
Amount of gear needed.
Amount of weight the person can reasonably carry.
Kind of activity that will take place.
Ways to organize gear.
Cost of the pack.
Packing a Daypack:
Practice packing your backpack, lifting properly, adjusting the straps, and carrying the loaded pack
before your trip.
Line the inside of the pack with a garbage bag (to keep items dry).
Roll-up clothing and place items inside of plastic baggies (sorted by day or clothing type) and then
release all of the air inside the baggies. Not only will this keep your clothing items dry and clean, it will
conserve space in your pack.
Place your soft things (clothing, etc.) in the lower part of your pack.
Place heavier items (stoves, food, pots, pans, etc.) in the middle to upper part/center of the pack.
Place toiletries and things you may need to use during the day (toilet paper, insect repellent, first aid
kit, rain gear, etc.) where they can be easily accessed, such as in a side pocket or on the top of your
Footwear and Care
Factors to consider before selecting footwear:
What will the terrain be like?
How heavy a load will be carried?
How much support do the hiker’s feet and ankles require?
Are the hiker’s feet still growing?
How much do the boots or shoes cost?
Sturdy walking shoes, running shoes or lightweight hiking boots are usually adequate for light to moderate
loads, on-trail hiking and for hikes less then 2-hours in duration. Heavy boots are tiring to walk in and may
tear up fragile vegetation. Don’t choose a pair heavier than you need!
Boots should fit snugly but not constrict the feet. The heel should be seated firmly with no side-to-side
movement and only a slight up-and-down motion. On a flat surface, the toes should be about a thumb’s width
from the front of the boot. On a steep slope, the foot should slide toward the front of the boot – just enough
to allow a finger to fit between the ankle and the collar of the boot. The arch ball of the foot should
correspond to the shape of the boot.
New hiking boots should be worn inside for the first few days to assure a comfortable fit and to break them in
before the trip/hike.
Foot Care:
Proper foot care is very important. A painful blister can ruin your hike!
Do not wear cotton socks or cotton liners! They will soak up foot perspiration, stay damp, and cause
Wear socks that wicks perspiration away from your feet and allows it to evaporate.
Wear socks that are comfortable and provide extra padding.
Wear a polypropylene, Capiline or Thermax liner under wool or a wool/synthetic blend sock (even in hot
Change socks several time a day.
Wash and dry feet at the end of the day.
During the first hour of the hike, allow time to stop and readjust shoes or boots and socks.
If rubbing or a red spot occurs, stop and place moleskin or molefoam padding over the site. Do not wait
until a blister forms!
Never put moleskin directly on a blister that has already formed, instead, place the moleskin or molefoam
padding around it. If possible, put an antiseptic on the affected area and allow it to dry before applying
the moleskin.
Troop Camp Basics Part 5:
Menu Planning, Recipes, & Equipment
Basic Menu Planning
Purchasing & Storing Food
Food Storage
Water Sources & Purification
Cooking & Clean-up Stations
Advanced Nutrition
Outdoor Cooking Progression
One Pot Meals
Stick Cooking
Skillet/Griddle Cooking
Foil Packets
Dutch Oven Cooking
Charcoal Cooking
Box Oven Cooking
Solar Cooking
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Basic Menu Planning
In order to plan the “right” menu, girls will need to find the answers to the following questions for each meal:
 What is the purpose of the outing?
 How much time will we have for cooking this meal?
 Will we be cooking indoors or out?
 Will we be using familiar cooking techniques – or do we want to try out new method?
 What kind of stove and type of fuel or fire will we be using?
 What kind, and how much, cooking equipment will we have available?
 Will each patrol cook for itself, or will one patrol cook for all?
 Are there any concerns about spoilage, weight, cost, season of the year that have to be considered?
 What food preferences or dietary restrictions need to be considered?
With the answers to all these questions in hand, your girls are ready to plan their menus. They will find these
menu planning tips helpful:
Include some no-cook foods in every meal - to save time and to be sure girls won’t go hungry if there is
a cooking failure.
Include something from each of the basic food groups in every meal.
Plan some extra – for snacks or “filler-uppers”.
For meals that are to be cooked, concentrate on one-pot dish meals, keep ingredients simple and
equipment at the minimum.
To involve all of the girls in menu planning, have them work in patrols or committees. If cooking is to be done
in patrols, have each patrol plan its own food. This variety will be stimulating and the fun of sampling another
patrol’s food will add to the adventure.
The Grab (or Grub) Bag is a fun way to plan menus. Use several large grocery bags. Label the bags: breakfast,
lunch, dinner, and snacks OR main dish, salad, dessert, beverage OR grain group, meat group, fruit and
vegetables, and milk group. Have the girls write on 3x5 cards their favorite food for each meal. Once they
have finished all three meals, they place their cards in the appropriate bag. Now have the girls tally the
results, with the majority of the “food selections” being your menu.
Shopping for Food
Shopping for the trip is an important experience for the girls. Encourage girls to comparison shop. Read labels,
determine the nutritional value, weight, cooking time, and cost of items. Terms such as "instant," "quickcooking," "pre-cooked," partially pre-cooked, or just add water, indicate that the food item may be prepared
quickly. Food selection can be more varied in weight and cooking time are not important factors. If the girls
are camping at an established site, greater varieties of foods can be chosen, including fresh foods and
refrigerated items
Packaging Food
The food purchased for a trip can be repackaged into meal- or patrol-sized servings and packed by the meal
and day. Reduce the weight by leaving excess packaging at home and repacking some foods into plastic bags
that seal across the top. Be sure to include the directions for cooking.
Sample Outdoor Cooking Ingredient List
Menu item
How Many It
Amount to buy
Food Storage
When staying inside a building or cabin, store food in a refrigerator, or in containers, and rodent-proof
cabinets so that mice or other small animals cannot chew through packaging. Mice will even nibble on a bar
of soap. At an established campsite, store food inside rodent-proof areas, if available, or in a vehicle. Girls
must be cautioned not to keep any food in their tents, duffel bags, or packs. Mice and other animals will chew
through clothing and packs to get to we food. Careful cleanup will help to keep away unwanted ants and other
Most black bear and human encounters involve food.
Food to a bear = food, garbage, as well as scented items such as: soap, lip balm, sunscreen, deodorant,
toothpaste, etc.
● Store food and scented objects inside your car if you are front-country camping. Dispose of waste in the
designated garbage bins in the campground. Use the public bathhouses provided by the park.
Garbage Area
Efficient plans for garbage disposal should be made in advance. If garbage cans are used, line them with plastic
bags and be sure that they are kept tightly covered at all times. Do not allow trash to overflow and spill onto
the ground. If no pickup is available, carry all garbage out with you. Garbage may be burned only if it can be
entirely consumed by fire and only if local regulations permit
Water Sources
While planning an outdoor activity, check on the available water supply at the site. Even for a day hike each
girl should carry an adequate supply of water. Only water from a tap that has been tested and approved by the
local health department can be considered safe to use. Other sources of water such as lakes, streams, or ponds
must be purified. Even a sparkling clear river in the wilderness can be contaminated by bacteria, viruses,
protozoa, chemicals, dead animals, or unsanitary conditions upstream out of view.
Water Purification
Portable water purification is used to treat water for drinking purposes. Large rivers, streams, springs, and
wells may contain bacterial or protist contamination originating from human and animal waste, pathogens,
such as Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium spp., both of which cause diarrhea, among other forms of
Portable drinking water systems or chemical additives are available for hiking, camping, and travel in remote
The most common systems for purifying water while camping are:
● Boiling water is the most certain way of killing all microorganisms. According to the Wilderness
Medical Society, water temperatures above 160° F (70° C) kill all pathogens within 30 minutes and
above 185° F (85° C) within a few minutes. So in the time it takes for the water to reach the boiling
point (212° F or 100° C) from 160° F (70° C), all pathogens will be killed, even at high altitude. The
moment your drinking water reaches a rolling boil, the water has already become safe to drink (except
for the risk of chemical toxins).
● Portable pump filters are commercially available. Water purifiers or filters can be carried. Be sure the
filter is small enough to trap the harmful microorganisms.
● Add iodine to water, as a solution or in tablet form, to kill many, but not all of the most common
pathogens present in natural fresh water sources. Carrying iodine for water purification is an imperfect
but lightweight solution for those in need of field purification of drinking water. Directions for iodine
tablets: Place one tablet in a quart of water and allow time for it to dissolve. Shake the bottle to make
sure the iodine is distributed throughout, making sure to include water that might be on the cap and
threads of the bottle. Allow approximately 30 minutes for the process to take place. Iodine kits are
available in camping stores that include an iodine tablet and a second pill (vitamin C or ascorbic acid)
that will remove the iodine taste from the water after it has been disinfected. Iodine alone is not
considered effective against Cryptosporidium, and is limited in its effectiveness against Giardia.
Cooking/Eating Area
Many areas have tables available which can be used for food preparation. If a table is not available, portable
tables may be brought from home, or lashed. Keep the area organized and clean, and provide instruction,
supervision and discipline in safe cooking, fire building, and use of kitchen tools and equipment.
The method used for cooking will be determined by the activities planned, the experience of the campers,
availability of resources, and regulations pertaining to the types of fires permitted for the area. The camp site
may have established fire areas such as built in fireplaces, barbecue units, sheepherder (shepherd) stoves, fire
rings or be limited to the use of portable cook stoves. Be sure that appropriate permits, where applicable have
been secured.
Equipment area
Every piece of camping equipment needs to have a designated place for its storage. Campers need to be
instructed in proper care and usage as well as responsibility for safe storage of equipment after usage. Saws,
axes, hatchets, and knives present a safety hazard if handled negligently. Always be sure that the equipment
is appropriate for the activity, and suitable for the girls with regard to age, size, maturity, and ability.
Equipment should be maintained in good repair to prevent unnecessary injury – a safety check prior to an
activity is advised.
Dishwashing at Established Site
Dishwashing for a group in an established setting works most efficiently with a little planning. Water can be
conserved by using the following hints.
To make pots used for cooking over a fire easier to clean, rub soap over the bottom and sides of the
outside of the pots before placing them on the fire. A bar of soap or liquid dishwashing soap can be
Scrape plates and presoak pots before washing.
Heat dishwater on the camp stove or cooking fire so it will be ready when the meal is finished.
Keep the dishwater clean as long as possible by washing the least dirty items such as cups and
silverware first, and pots last.
Use three buckets or deep pans for dishwashing. The first bucket contains hot, soapy water; the second bucket
contains clean water for rinsing; and the third contains boiling water, or cool water containing a sanitizing
solution approved by the local health department (1 tablespoon bleach for every gallon of clean cool water).
Sanitize dishes by immersing them in clear boiling water for one minute or by immersing them in the bleach
solution for two minutes.
Each individual is responsible for bringing and washing her own dishes, silverware, except when these items
are provided on site. The dishes are kept in a “DISH BAG” or “DUNK BAG.” These individual net bags to hold
dishes during the final sterilizing rinse. Hang up the net bags to air dry. If a clothesline is put up for the net
bags, be sure that it is away from dust and areas where someone might walk into it and be injured. When dry,
dishes and eating utensils should be stored away from dust.
The dishwashing line is set up as follows:
● SCRAPE – Use rubber scraper and large can or pan.
● WASH – dishpan with soap, cloth or mop – hot water (110-112 degrees F)
● RINSE – dishpan with hot water (keep it hot) (110-112 degrees F)
● STERILIZE – place all dishes in the “DUNK BAG” and hold in kettle of hot water (170 degrees F) for 1
minutes or rinse thoroughly in a chemical solution for 2 minutes.
Used dishwater should be filtered to remove any food particles. Place the filtered food particles in the
garbage. At an established site, follow the rules and regulations of that site to dispose of waste-water. Some
sites prohibit draining wastewater into sinks, due to age or condition of plumbing.
Use 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach for each gallon of water.
Dishes should be completed submerged in this solution for 2 minutes for proper sanitation.
Advanced Nutrition
An average person will usually need to consume about 2,500-3,500 calories per day during an active camping
trip or more if it includes hiking.
 60% of the diet/menu should consist of carbohydrates.
 20-25% of the diet/menu should consist of fats.
 15-20% of the diet/menu should consist of proteins.
Example (3,500 calorie diet):
2100 calories = carbohydrates (60%)
875 calories = fats (25%)
525 calories = proteins (15%)
Total Food Planning (For Backcountry Trips/Backpacking)
Average = 2 pounds/person/day
# People X # days X # pounds/persons/day = pounds of food to bring
Average = 3,500/person/day
# People X # days X # calories/persons/day = minimum calories needed for trip
Average = $3.25/person/day
# People X # days X cost/persons/day = amount to be spent on food
12 people x 2 days x 2 pounds = 48 pounds
12 people x 2 days x 3,500 calories = 84,000 calories
12 people x 2 days x $3.25 = $78.00
Carbohydrates: 84,000 x .6 = 50,400 cal / 1,700 calories per pound = 29.6 pounds
Fats: 84,000 x .25 = 21,000 cal / 3,000 calories per pound = 7 pounds
Proteins: 84,000 x .15 = 12,600 cal / 2,000 calories per pound = 6.3 pounds
Outdoor Cooking Progression
Progression is a common thread within the Girl Scout Program. We train the girls in the basics and keep adding
more complex aspects of these basics. This list of cooking progression is by no means all inclusive. It is meant
to be a sampling from which to choose. After the initial Nosebag and One Pot Meals (generally aimed at
Brownies) and simple stick cooking (S'Mores), the girls are ready to venture out into the other areas of this list.
Below are some hints for each of these cooking, which are roughly in order of difficulty.
One Pot Meals
Stick Cooking
Skillet/Griddle Cooking
Foil Packets
Dutch Oven Cooking
Box Oven Cooking
Solar Cooking
"Nosebag" refers to a bag filled with grain that fits over a horse's muzzle. In Girl Scouts, it generally refers to
anything that can be carried with us and eaten on the way. Simple things such as a walking salad of carrots
and celery sticks fit nicely into this category. Remember that if the weather is hot, recipes using mayonnaise
should be avoided unless you have a way to keep it cool.
Each person can eat what she herself brings. Of course, a greater variety and choice is possible if everyone
pools sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, cookies, etc. This would be a good time to check the contents of each
"nosebag" to see how many contained a balanced meal with:
Egg, meat, fish, or cheese
Milk if possible
One vegetable at least (carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, celery, radishes)
Fruit (oranges, apples, peaches, pears (good thirst quenchers), dried raisins); The "walking salad"
Enriched bread (in sandwiches or as bread and butter if you have a hard-cooked egg (carried in the
shell) or chunk of cheese)
● Cookies fit here too
Walking Salad
Cut the top off an apple and core it, leaving the bottom skin over the hole.
Scoop out the pulp of apple and chop.
○ Mix with peanut butter (cottage cheese or cream cheese may substitute) raisins, nuts
and granola cereal
Stuff mixture back into apple shell and replace top.
G.O.R.P. “Good Old Raisins & Peanuts”
Yield 12 cups
● 2 cups peanuts
● 2 cups raisins
● 2 cups chopped apricots or other dried fruit
2 cups M&M’s
4 cups bite-sized shredded wheat or rice
Super Peanut Butter Spread
● 1 cup peanut butter
● ½ cup wheat germ
● ½ cup honey
● 1 cup well-drained crushed pineapple
If necessary, add pineapple juice until spread is right consistency.
Ants on a Log
Spread peanut butter on celery and decorate with raisins on top. Cream cheese or soft yellow cheese may
substitute for peanut butter. Rye Crisp or other whole grain crackers can substitute for celery.
One Pot Meals
If you have a group that numbers more than about 8 or if appetites are unusually large, plan on using two pots
on your cookstove for your "one pot" meals. A large Dutch oven is ideal (but that the one with the feet). The
large pot of the standard nested camp cookware sets also works well. One big advantage of a one-pot meal is
that there is only one pot to clean. Therefore, you tend to avoid recipes where more than one pot is required
(like pasta dishes where the pasta is cooked separately) when referring to "one pot" meals.
One Pot Master Plan
Feeds 12
3 pounds hamburger, browned
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 cans tomato soup
Salt and pepper to taste
Yoki Special
● 3 cans of spaghetti
● 2 cans of peas
Put all into one pot.
Squaw Corn
● 3 cans of corn
● ½ pound diced cheese
● 3 cans chicken soup
● 3 cans of water
● 4 cups uncooked macaroni
Additions to create variation:
American Chop Suey
● 4 cans spaghetti
● Omit tomato soup
● 3 cans chicken gumbo soup
Spanish Rice
● 1 large package of minute rice, cooked
Campfire Stew
● 4 cans of vegetable soup
● 1 large package spaghetti, cooked
Hunter’s Stew
● Omit tomato soup
● 1 pound regular rice
● 3 cans vegetable soup
● 3 cans beef broth
Macaroni Beef
● 1 large package of macaroni, cooked
Hungarian Hot Pot
● 4 cans pork and beans
4 cans red kidney beans
2-4 tsp. chili powder
Day Camp Special
● Omit tomato soup
● 2 cans chicken gumbo soup
Stick Cooking
Stick cooking should be done over hot coals, not flames. Make sure that your coals are about the right
temperature. To test for medium coals, place your hand above the coals about 6". If you can leave your hand
there for 4 seconds, they are medium (3 seconds for medium-high).
One very common stick-cooking dish is kabobs. You can cook many of your favorite food combinations with
your favorite marinades for tasty kabobs. Skewers come in many sizes and styles. You may want to design your
own. Wooden skewers are best used with quick cooking foods. Avoid the ones that are sold in craft stores
rather than grocery stores as sometimes they have wood or oil that is toxic. Soaking wooden skewers in water
for 30 minutes prior to use can help prevent them from burning. Avoid metal skewers that are round as the
food often rolls on the skewer when you try to turn them. Some people prefer the skewer baskets but the
ones that don't have non-stick coating need to be sprayed with cooking spray each time prior to using them.
They do required more clean up than traditional skewers, however.
Skillet/Griddle Cooking
A portable cookstove (Coleman stove) is the best way to cook using this method as it provides the most even
temperatures. You can also cook over coals using a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Make sure you have
potholders for the skillet handy as the handle gets very hot when you cook this way. Cast iron cookware is
best if cooking over coals as when properly treated it lasts a long time, handles the temperatures of fires well,
and is easiest to clean.
How much charcoal do I use? Actually, most people tend to use too much and thus waste the charcoal.
Generally, you need about 30 briquettes to grill one pound of meat. You need enough charcoal in a single
layer to extend 1"-2" beyond the sides of the cooking area. To determine your needs, spread the charcoal out.
When ready to light, pile coals into a pyramid. Weber makes a good quality fire starter if you don't want to
make your own. In general, a 10-pound bag of charcoal has about 150-180 briquettes. This should help you
decide what size you need when you go to purchase your charcoal.
To adjust the heat for your grilling needs, if raising the cooking surface is not an option (which is generally true
when camping), simply spread the coals or push them together depending on whether you wish to lower or
raise the temperature (respectively). If you need to add more coals, add them to the outer edges of the hot
coals. NEVER add charcoal lighter fluid to hot coals.
Charcoal Cooking
 Line stove with foil or lay sheet of foil on the ground (for easy clean-up).
 Place a fire starter in the center. Paraffin, sawdust, or milk carton fire starters, or trench candles may
be used.
 Place charcoal ring around fire starters
 Stack charcoal inside charcoal ring. About 30 briquettes are enough for an average fire, unless you are
cooking a large quantity of foil-wrapped food.
 Light the starter and allow it to burn undisturbed for 30-45 minutes or until the briquettes begin to
turn ash grey. Vigorous fanning with a piece of heavy cardboard will speed up the process.
 Cooking should not begin until all briquettes are grey over most of their surface. When fire is ready for
cooking, the coals should be arranged to the type of cooking desired.
Types of Charcoal Cooking
Pot cooking - a flat-topped pile just the size and shape of the bottom of the pot is best. Pot should be
placed directly on the coals. Soaping pot is not necessary.
Foil cooking - spread the coals so there is ½ - 1 inch space between them, and lay foil-wrapped food
directly on them with tongs.
Broiling - arrange coals .flat over an area large enough to provide heat for the food which is cooked on
a rack above.
Stick cooking - a flat topped heap of coals is best for this.
Skillet cooking - a flat topped pile of coals just the size of griddle or skillet will prevent overheated
hands and wrists. Support the skillet on small rocks at each corner so that the bottom of the skillet is ¼
inch above the coals. This allows some air circulation in the fire and keeps it hotter.
Dutch Oven Cooking – see following pages
Foil Packets
Foil packets can be a fun alternative in outdoor cooking. One advantage is that many recipes may be prepared
in advance, at home, then placed in the ice chest until time to cook. Also, there is minimal clean up. Our girls
simply eat out of their foil, thus eliminating the need for doing dishes – a welcome relief!!
To be successful with foil packets, use heavy-duty foil, and put a layer of wet paper towels between two layers
of foil. Have long handled tongs available but have the kind with rounded edges so you don't puncture the
packets when turning them. Another good accessory is a good pair of heat-resistant oven mitts. Girls often
want to eat out of the foil packet they made, so consider marking them with permanent markers (best to do
before wrapping – since condensation from cold meat or vegetables can make it difficult afterwards.) Tip:
label or draw design all over the foil.
Another key to successful foil packet cooking is how you fold the packets. You need to allow room for heat
expansion. Use a piece of foil approximately 18"x12" for each serving. The best way to fold is using a drug
store fold:
1. Bring the long edges of the foil together and fold down 2-3 times leaving room above the food for
2. Fold in each side 2 times and crimp to make a seal.
Generally, you cook with the seam side up but if the folds are secure, this allows you to turn the packets to
avoid burning the bottom if you place them directly on the coals. Most recipes are best when cooked 4"-6"
above medium coals. See Stick Cooking for information about coals and how to judge when they are
The fire is important in foil cookery. A shallow bed of glowing coals is needed, that will last for the time
required for cooking. Use a log cabin type fire and let it burn down to embers.
Carrot sticks
Potatoes, sliced
8-12 minutes
5-10 minutes
20-35 minutes
15-20 minutes
6-10 minutes
10-15 minutes
20-30 minutes
6-10 minutes
25 minutes
With some practice, you will be able to judge cooking time and come up with some new recipes of your own.
For biscuits--grease sheet and allow room for rising.
Poached eggs--make little cups. Place in fry pan, drop egg in each cup. 2" of water in fry pan. Cover.
Meat, sliced potatoes and vegetables---make a meal in one.
Minute rice--foil in shape of bowl, add rice and water. Seal top with a twist. Place on grill over fire. Use
heavy duty foil.
● Thin sliced potatoes-use plenty of butter, add a little water. Turn often.
● Corn on the cob--remove husks. Rub with butter. Wrap.
Pocket Stew
Put stew beef, carrot, onion, spices, and potato in foil. Note: Using 2 pieces of foil INDEPENDENTLY hastens
the cooking time by acting as a small scale pressure cooker. Place packages on hotbed of coals and begin
timing. Allow 10 minutes for each side. Be careful NOT to puncture foil when turning. Use tongs, shovel,
and/or gloves.
Banana Boat
Slice lengthwise an unpeeled banana, place marshmallows and chocolate inside. Bake in coals.
Ingredients: Sliced Ham, Cheese, Pineapple, Hamburger Bun
1. Drain pineapple thoroughly. 2. Place a slice of ham on bottom half of hamburger bun, followed by cheese
slice, then pineapple slice, then bun top. 3. Wrap in foil and heat well in coals.
Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Make cheese sandwiches. Butter outside of bread. Wrap in several layers of foil and turn frequently to prevent
Fried Chicken in Foil (per person)
1-2 pieces of frying chicken
Pat of butter, salt, pepper
Place butter and seasoning with chicken inside foil. Use drug store wrap. Wrap each piece in foil twice. Place
on coals, never in flame. Remove test piece in 10 minutes with tongs. Check and rewrap. Turn over each foil
package without puncturing as steam will escape. Takes about 20 minutes.
Dutch Oven Cooking
The Dutch oven is the utensil that can make it possible for you to enjoy the same type of foods in camp that
you have at home. To a large extent, it is true that if you can cook it at home, you can cook it in a Dutch oven
at camp.
Dutch ovens are made of cast iron or cast aluminum. Cast iron ovens are easier to find than cast aluminum.
The thickness of the metal helps to distribute the heat around the entire dish that is being cooked. With the
Dutch oven set over coals and with coals on the lid, the temperature within the Dutch oven can be varied by
increasing or decreasing the number of coals.
Dutch ovens come in various sizes. Diameters of 10, 12, 14 and 16 inches are common, with depths of 4 or 6
inches. For cooking for groups of 8 persons, a number 12 oven is fine. A number 10 oven is fine for pies and
cakes. The lid to the Dutch oven is important. A Dutch oven that is used in one's kitchen usually has a dome
lid, but this type of lid is not suitable for camp cookery. For camp cookery the lid should have a flanged or
raised lip around the rim. With the top recessed, coals can be placed on the lid to increase the heating
efficiency of the Dutch oven.
A new cast iron Dutch oven needs to be broken in before it is used. This involves covering the inside of the
Dutch oven with a coating of shortening. The inside of the lid is also coated. The oven is then placed over low
heat and the shortening is allowed to melt. This should be done several times prior to using it for the first
time. Any surplus shortening in the oven after it has been conditioned should be drained out. When you are
through with the cast iron oven, you have the problem of cleaning it. Some people will tell you never to wash
out a Dutch oven. Some prefer to wash the Dutch oven if needed and recondition it immediately after washing
it. If the cast iron Dutch oven is not going to be used for some time make certain that there is a heavy coating
of shortening worked into it. If it has been stored for a long time, it is always a good idea to recondition it
before it is used again. This sounds like a lot of work, but actually it takes little time after YOU have broken the
Dutch oven in.
After placing food in the Dutch oven, cover the top with aluminum foil. This will help prevent ashes getting
into your food when you check your food’s progress.
Use charcoal briquettes to cook in the oven. For a 12” oven:
300 degrees - 14 on top and 7 bottom
325 degrees - 15 on top and 7 bottom
350 degrees - 16 on top and 8 bottom
375 degrees - 17 on top and 9 bottom
400 degrees - 18 on top and 9 bottom
425 degrees - 19 on top and 10 bottom
450 degrees - 21 on top and 10 bottom
500 degrees - 23 on top and 11 bottom
A pair of kitchen tongs is fine for handling hot coals
For stews and soups, most of the heat should be on the bottom. Meat, poultry, and vegetable dishes can be
cooked with even heat. To bake biscuits or bread in the Dutch oven, you will want at least two-thirds of the
heat on top of the lid, and even then it's wise to lift the oven off the coals after part of the cooking time, to
avoid blackening the biscuit bottoms while the tops brown.
It is important to have a small air space between the coals and the bottom of the oven. This can be as little as
1/4 inch. If there is no air space when you set the oven over the coals, set the legs on flat thin rocks to get this
Placing the charcoal on a piece of aluminum foil will cut down on heat loss if the ground is wet or cold.
Aluminum foil can also be used as a windbreak, either by placing it over the coals on the lid or around the
oven. When foil is used as a windbreak, more frequent checks are needed to make certain that you do not
burn the food.
Although many types of foods can be cooked right in the Dutch oven, it is usually better to have the food in a
pan that is set in the Dutch oven. If the pan is set on some type of rack, more uniform heat circulation around
the entire dish results in more even cooking. The rack can be one from the kitchen or it can be made out of
three or four small stones.
You will want to check the progress of your food within 10 minutes of putting the coal on. This can be done
simply by lifting the lid enough to see your dish - Remember to use foil to cover top so that when checking you
do not get ashes into the dish. Do this quickly so you do not lose too much heat. (I use a pair of pliers to lift the
hot lid - I also have a heavy oven mitt on my hand).
If you are baking a cake or bread, you can test it by pushing a straw into the dough and pulling it out. If it
comes out dry or with crumbs on it, the dish is done. If it has a golden brown crust, you can remove it from the
oven. If you want to brown it some more, you can remove the coals from under the oven and place additional
coals on the lid. If it is not done, keep the oven on the coals and possibly place additional coals on the lid if the
top needs to be browned more. You can also obtain a quickly golden crust when the dish has been completely
cooked by placing a piece of aluminum foil over the coals on the lid. In one or two minutes you should have
the brown you want.
Extinguishing charcoal
● With tongs, place each briquette one- at a time into metal pail of water.
● When water has cooled, dump water out of pail, leaving coals in bucket.
● Sprinkle ashes in stove with water and stir.
● Gather up foil lining together with ashes and dispose in trash bag.
● Coals may be reused when dry.
Cherries and Chocolate Cake
1 can (20 oz) cherry pie filling
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 stick butter or margarine
1 box chocolate cake mix and needed ingredients
Mix cake mix according to directions on package. Melt butter or margarine in bottom of oven, carefully
coating sides. Add brown sugar, cherry pie filling and walnuts. Top with cake mix. Bake for 25 minutes with
14 coals on top and 8 on bottom.
Serves 10-12.
Ham & Potatoes Au Gratin
1 1/2 cups cooked ham (diced)
2 cups milk
3 cups potatoes, diced
Seasoned salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated cheese (cheddar) 1 onion (minced)
2 TBS fine bread crumbs 3 TBS flour
Layer potatoes and ham in oven. Melt margarine and sauté onion. Blend in flour to make a light rue. Gradually
add milk and cook; stirring until thickened. Add pepper and seasoned salt. Pour over ham and potatoes in
oven. Sprinkle cheese and bread crumbs over top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until done.
Broccoli Casserole
2 cups cooked rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 pkgs. frozen broccoli
1 small jar Cheese Whiz
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp. Salt
1 sleeve Ritz crackers
Pre-heat Dutch Oven (lid off) with 10 charcoal briquettes under the oven. In hot oven, sauté onion in oil. Add 1
can cream of chicken soup, 2 cups cooked rice and broccoli that has been thawed and drained. Add 1
teaspoon salt, cheese whiz and milk. Stir well. Crumble sleeve of Ritz crackers over top. Cover with oven lid.
Place 10-12 charcoal briquettes on top of oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Check at least 1 time.
Pepperoni Casserole
1 lb. Spaghetti, uncooked
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
2 Jars (28oz) spaghetti sauce
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
8 oz. sliced pepperoni
Layer all in oiled oven, beginning with 1/2 inch of spaghetti sauce. Spaghetti sauce should coat both sides of
spaghetti pasta as the pasta will cook while absorbing the flavor of the sauce. Bake 1 hour with 14 coals on top
and 10 on bottom.
S ‘mores Bars
8 to 10 whole graham crackers (about 5 inches x 2-1/2 inches)
1 pkg. fudge brownie mix (13 x 9 inch pan size pkg)
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup chopped peanuts
Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in a greased 13 x 9 x 2 baking pan. Prepare brownie batter according
to package directions. Spread over crackers. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near
the center comes out clean. Sprinkle with marshmallows, chocolate chips and peanuts. Bake 5 minutes longer
or until marshmallows are slightly puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack before cutting. Yield: 2 dozen
Biscuit Pizza Bake
1 pound ground beef
1 can (15 oz) pizza sauce
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pkg (3 1/2 oz) sliced pepperoni
1 cup (4 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 can (4 oz) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2 tubes (12 oz. each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
In a skillet, cook beef over med. heat until no longer pink. Meanwhile, quarter the biscuits; place in a greased
oven. Top with pizza sauce. Drain beef, sprinkle over biscuits and sauce. Layer with green pepper, onion,
mushrooms, pepperoni, and cheeses. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Let
stand for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Cheeseburger Pie
2 lbs. ground beef
1 Tbs. salt
1 large green pepper, cored and chopped
1 cup milk
3 eggs
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 cups (8 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups Bisquick
1 Tbsp cooking oil
In a frying pan, brown the ground beef, chopped onions, and chopped pepper. Drain if necessary. Stir in salt.
Meanwhile, thoroughly blend Bisquick, eggs, and milk. (You can use a ziplock plastic bag to do this - saves a
dirty bowl). Grease the oven with cooking oil. Spread the beef mixture evenly in bottom. Pour Bisquick mix
evenly over top. Do not stir in. Sprinkle cheese over top, evenly. Do not stir in. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until
knife in center comes out clean. Suggestion: Save some campsite preparation time by browning the beef,
onions and pepper the night before the outing, place in a freezer bag and freeze; wrap in newspapers to keep
cool until oven time.
Quick Biscuits
While you are preheating the oven (10 charcoal briquettes underneath), make rolled (or drop, if you're
camping) biscuits, using the recipe off a Bisquick box. Powdered milk works just fine. Put the biscuits into the
oven and cover. Let sit for 5-7 minutes (this browns them on the bottom). Lift the oven off the bottom coals
and put 25 coals on top. Cook another 8-10 minutes (check 5 minutes to make sure they aren't burning). Key oven needs to be HOT!!
German Pancakes
1 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups flour
Powdered sugar
9 eggs
¾ tsp salt
6 Tbs. Butter
Lemon juice
In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, eggs, flour, and salt to form a thin batter. Heat a 14” oven using 14-16
briquettes bottom and 18-20 briquettes top until very hot. Add butter to oven and let melt. Pour batter into
oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until pancake is fluffy and light brown. Sprinkle pancake with lemon juice
and dust with powdered sugar. Serves: 6
Mountain Man Breakfast Omelet
1 lb country sausage
18 eggs
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups grated Cheddar cheese
Picante sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 lb bacon
¾ cup mile
Heat a 12” oven using 20-22 briquettes bottom until hot. Add sausage to oven and fry until brown. Remove
sausage from oven. Cut bacon into 1 inch slices. Add to oven and fry until brown. Add sausage, onions, garlic,
bell peppers, and mushrooms. Sauté until vegetables are tender. Whisk together eggs and milk. Season with
salt and pepper. Pour eggs over vegetable mixture. Cover and bake using 8 briquettes bottom and 14-16
briquettes top for 20 minutes until eggs are set up. Cover top with cheese and replace lid. Let stand until
cheese is melted.
Serve topped with picante sauce.
Serves: 8-10
Blackberry Cobbler
2 sticks butter
1 Tbsp. Baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cup milk
2 cups flour
1 egg
4 cups fresh blackberries or 2 bags frozen (thawed)
1 ½ tsp fresh grated lemon zest
1 tsp cinnamon
2 ½ cups sugar
Melt butter in a 12” oven using 10-12 briquettes bottom heat. Wash fresh blackberries and drain. In a large
bowl combine blackberries, sugar and lemon zest; stir to coat blackberries. Let rest. In separate bowl combine
flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and egg; mix until smooth. Pour batter over melted butter -- do not stir.
Carefully spoon blackberries over top of the batter -- do not stir. Sprinkle cinnamon over top. Cover and bake
using 10-12 briquettes bottom and 18-20 briquettes top for 35 to 45 minutes rotating the oven and lid 1/4
turn in opposite directions every 10 minutes until crust is golden brown. Serve topped with whipped cream or
serve with vanilla ice cream.
Serves: 10
Box Oven Cooking
Anything that can be baked can be fixed in a box oven. Generally, the most successfully things are those that
don't cook too long (1 hour or less) because you will not need to add more coals during cooking to maintain
the temperature.
How to make a box oven:
Take a large heavy-duty cardboard box - an apple crate works well. Line the inside with heavy-duty foil, shiny
side out. Use duct tape to secure to side of box. Make sure it is as smooth as possible to fit over what you are
How to cook in a box oven:
Find a flat spot. Place 4 empty soda cans in a rectangle on the ground. Place a cookie sheet (that will fit
when the box is inverted over it) on top of the cans and the pan that you are cooking in on top of that.
Use an aluminum pie plate and place hot coals in pan and place between soda cans below cookie sheet.
A charcoal briquette gives off about 40-50 degrees of heat; so, for baking at 350 degrees, use about 910 briquettes). Invert box over the assembly and place a small stick on the ground for the box to sit on
to serve as a vent. See the illustration above (illustration shows coals directly on the ground and also
shows a viewing window fixed into the box oven, both of which are options):
Solar Cooking
Solar cooking is fun to experiment with, especially since the food doesn't really burn. You can leave it for
extended periods and let it cook. Directions for making a solar cooker are included in many Girl Scout level
handbooks. If you aren't that adventuresome, you can purchase one from Solar Cookers International. You can
also make a portable solar cooker using a cardboard box cut in half diagonally, covering it in foil, then cooking
in plastic oven bags. Cookware for solar oven cooking should be black. The enamel camp ware works well. The
9" round is the ideal size for most recipes. Again, Solar Cookers International sells these pots. You can cook
most anything in a solar oven. Try your favorite recipe and cook twice as long as the recipe says. Soft
vegetables, eggs, cheese, and precooked or ground meals cook very well and fast in the solar cooker. Meats
and hard vegetables take longer. Make sure your solar oven is positioned to catch the most amount of sun,
turning if necessary as the sun shifts. If you need to leave, position it so it will get most of the sun by placing in
the sun's path estimating its halfway point while you're gone.
If the girls can’t do it alone, it is too advanced for them. Cooking success is determined by fire building ability.
Troop Camp Basics Part 6:
Respect for the Environment
Minimal Impact
Leave No Trace Activities
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Minimal Impact
“Leave Nothing But Footprints . . . Take Only Pictures”
In Girl Scouts, we have long advocated leaving a place better and cleaner than when you found it, but even
seemingly innocent outdoor practices can inflict serious harm on the environment. It is important that Girl
Scouts of all ages learn and practice minimal impact outdoor skills.
Minimal impact is also known as low-impact or no trace. Such practices help to preserve the physical
landscape of the campsite, as well as the solitude and spirit of the wilderness. Girls should be encouraged to
live lightly on the land and leave no trace of their presence after an activity. Everyone needs to adopt a code
of behavior that reflects a commitment to preserving the natural quality of our lands. We should begin to
incorporate the concepts of a minimal impact approach with the first, simple activities the troop does. Girls
need to understand that their daily actions have an effect on the environment. In all Girl Scout program
activities, girls can learn and practice simple practices that will lead to an understanding and application of
minimal impact outdoor skills.
Leave No Trace Activities
Leave No Trace is a national outdoor skills and ethics education program. The activities found here were
created to help share the value and importance of Leave No Trace principles with young people; many can be
adapted for adults. The following information describes how the activities are designed and how to fit them to
your personal needs.
Why Leave No Trace? Between 1965 and 1980, backcountry visits jumped from 4 million visitor days per year
to 10 million per year.(A visitor day is a 12 hour stay by one person.) In 1984 the number grew to 15 million
visitor days up 275 percent in less than 20 years. The numbers of backcountry (and front-country) visitors
continue to grow at a fast pace. As cities grow and populations encroach upon wild lands and recreation areas,
we must do more than just pick up litter and extinguish campfires; we must learn how to maintain the
integrity and character of the outdoors for all living things. However, Leave No Trace is not simply a program
for visiting the backcountry, it is a way of life, and learning Leave No Trace concepts begins at home.
The knowledge and concepts enabling visitors to Leave No Trace are easily taught both before and during
outings. With a little preparation, you can teach people the value of our reviving natural areas and methods to
preserve them for future generations.
Incorporating Leave No Trace skills contributes to a safe and fun outdoor trip.
Leave No Trace methods help preserve limited recreational resources for today and tomorrow.
Helps to ensure a positive outdoor experience for all those who spend time outside.
The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
 Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll visit.
 Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
 Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
 Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
 Repackage food to minimize waste.
 Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
 Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
 Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
 Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
 In popular areas:
 Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
 Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
 Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
 In pristine areas:
 Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
 Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.
3. Dispose of Waste Properly
 Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out
all trash, leftover food, and litter.
 Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep at least 200 feet from water,
camp, and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
 Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
 To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small
amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.
4. Leave What You Find
 Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
 Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
 Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
 Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
 Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and
enjoy a candle lantern for light.
 Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
 Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
 Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.
6. Respect Wildlife
 Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
 Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and
exposes them to predators and other dangers.
 Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
 Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
 Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
 Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
 Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
 Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
 Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
 Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
The member-driven Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics teaches people how to enjoy the outdoors
responsibly. This copyrighted information has been reprinted with permission from the Leave No Trace Center
for Outdoor Ethics:
ACTIVITY # 1: Our Natural World - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Groups Attention
Your group will be going on a Nature Scavenger Hunt. Rather than collecting objects, they will be listing ideas
on paper. The hunt will help participants discover how much they have in common with the natural world and
how the natural world influences their survival. This activity sets the stage for learning and embracing Leave
No Trace principles.
Begin the activity by conducting one of the following:
● an excursion to an outdoor setting such as a park, canyon, river, or desert.
● an excursion to a natural setting via a slide show, color photographs, or posters.
● a mind excursion where participants imagine their favorite natural setting
● a mind excursion where participants close their eyes while you describe a natural setting.
The Activity
Give each participant a piece of paper and a pencil. Have them make three columns with the titles, Things in
Nature, Things We Have in Common, How It Helps Me. Participants are to observe their environment
physically if they are outdoors, or mentally if they are indoors. They must find objects in nature and tell how
they are like that object. Make sure they consider less noticeable things such as air, soil, sun. For example:
Things in Nature, Things We Have in Common, How It Helps Me
Tree. We both have an outer layer to protect us (bark/skin). A tree gives me oxygen.
Soil. We both contain minerals. Soil helps grow my food.
Ant . We both need shelter. They are fun to watch.
The Discussion
Have participants share one or more of their connections. Help them to discover that this personal connection
is where a commitment to land stew ship begins. Land stewardship is the goal of Leave No Trace. Outline for
them what they will be learning about Leave No Trace in the future.
ACTIVITY #2: Plan Ahead & Prepare - Quick Activity
Note: Tell your group you are going to take an imaginary hiking trip and ask each person to pack a small
backpack for your meeting. Don't tell the participants their imaginary destination or what to bring. Before your
meeting, find pictures or posters depicting a local or regional environment (high alpine, desert, river). You will
use these pictures to serve as your imaginary destination.
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Break participants into small groups of three to five when they arrive. Build suspense by asking them to guess
the destination of their imaginary trip.
The Activity
Show the destination pictures and describe the location you have selected (weather, terrain, etc.). Explain the
goal of the trip: wildlife viewing or fishing. Ask the groups to unpack their packs and discuss their answers to
the following questions (the leader must read the back ground information in order to facilitate discussion.)
Note: Because participants packed their packs without proper information, it is unlikely they will be adequately
prepared for their destination. This activity demonstrates the importance of planning before packing.
Do the contents of your pack properly prepare you for this trip?
Do the contents of your pack ensure your safety?
Do the contents of your pack ensure you will Leave No Trace that you will not damage natural or
cultural resources?
Do the contents of your pack ensure your trip will meet your goal for example, wildlife viewing or fish
safely and enjoyably?
The Discussion
Facilitate a discussion with all participants about the results of the activity. Ask groups to briefly share their
answers to the above questions and add:
● How would the contents of your pack differ with different destinations?
● What other information do you need to pack properly for a trip?
● What is the value of knowing these pieces of information before packing?
ACTIVITY #3: Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Gather your group outside a home or in a park. Ask them why we construct sidewalks. Focus the resulting
discussion on the need to provide durable surfaces for travel by many people. Explain that concentrating
activity on one durable surface can protect the surviving land. Define the concept of durability for the group.
The Activity
Break your group into pairs and give them the following assignment: Imagine you are looking for durable
surfaces to travel over or set up camp. Find five different surfaces in the immediate area and rate them from
one to five for durability, one being the most durable surface and five being the least durable surface. Give the
group approximately 5 to 10 minutes to explore the area.
The Discussion
Have each pair share their findings with the group. Using the Background Information, conduct a discussion to
help group members develop an understanding of how to identify durable surfaces and the cumulative effects
of many visitors to any one area. Relate the surfaces they find to the rocks, trails, meadows, and other areas
they may find in the backcountry. Refer to the Background Information for details.
ACTIVITY #4: Pack It In & Pack It Out - Quick Activity
Find a location that is littered with garbage. For example, a park, or a high school parking lot right after school.
If you cannot find a littered area near you, simulate one at or near your meeting site.
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Have your group observe the littered site and record in writing what they think of this situation and how it
makes them feel. Present each member of the group with a garbage bag and with the challenge to make the
area look more pleasant.
The Activity
Have a contest to see who can collect the most garbage in 5 to 10 minutes. Instruct the group to use care
when picking up sharp, rusty, or unsanitary waste. You may wish to have participants bring light gloves for this
The Discussion
Discuss what litter is and the effects of litter in general. Discuss the effects of litter in the back try. Divide
participants into pairs and have them devise a plan for packing out their garbage on their next trip into the
backcountry. Discuss each plan. How do one-pot meals contribute to the creation of less bulk and therefore
less garbage? What, if anything, can an individual do about the litter of other backpackers?
ACTIVITY # 5: Leave What you Find - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Ask participants how scientists know what dinosaurs looked like. (They find fossils and reconstruct the
skeletons.) It is important for scientists to find the pieces in their original positions (relative to one another) so
that they can see how the pieces fit back together. The same is true for cultural human made artifacts.
The Activity
Use three simple picture puzzles. Break the puzzles into their pieces. In a yard, sandlot, or playground, scatter
all the pieces of one puzzle in a small area. In another location scatter just two or three pieces, and in another
location leave just one piece. Split your group into three teams and have one group at each location recover
the pieces. Ask each group to try and reconstruct the puzzle or describe the picture based on the pieces they
The Discussion
Ask each group how easy it was to reconstruct the puzzle. Discuss the importance to scientists of finding
fossils or artifacts where they were originally deposited. Discuss the impacts of intentional vandalism or theft
of fossils or artifacts. Discuss the effects of unintentional impacts, i.e.; driving off-road, hobby collecting,
campsite construction. Ask the group if they can think of other ways in which fossils and artifacts can be lost or
damaged. Discuss ways in which these resources can be viewed and enjoyed on-site without damage. Remind
the group that it is against the law to remove or destroy these resources! Refer to the Back ground
Information for more details about this discussion.
Note: Although this Quick Concept deals with fossils and artifacts, the principle of leaving what you find applies
to all things that should remain undisturbed in the backcountry. Wildlife, petrified rock, and nests are examples
of other discoveries to leave for people to enjoy.
ACTIVITY #6: Minimize Use and Impact of Fire - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Share this scenario with your group. Imagine you are camping in the mountains. The air is a bit chilly as your
group begins preparation for the evening meal. You plan to build a fire to cook hot-dogs and heat up cans of
chili. The fire will also take the chill out of the night air. As you begin to pile sticks inside the fire ring, a ranger
approaches your group and informs you that there is a ban on fires due to dry weather. You will not be able to
build a fire.
The Activity
How will your group solve this problem? What will you do about dinner? How will you deal with the chilly air?
How will not having a fire change your night time activities?
The Discussion
It is recommended that all visitors to natural areas minimize their use of fires, even when there is not a fire
ban. Create a plan for your next outing which does not include fires. You may wish to discuss different types of
food, food repackaging, and the value of using lightweight foods instead of canned goods. Discuss the value of
contacting land managers to learn about local regulations. Refer to the Back ground Information for details to
assist your decision.
ACTIVITY #7: Respect Wildlife - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Travel to a city park containing wildlife, a wildlife viewing area, or show pictures or slides of wildlife. Ask the
group why loud noises and quick movements are stressful to wildlife. Ask if there are particularly sensitive
times of the year for wildlife. Have someone explain how they can tell if they are too close to wildlife. Have
someone explain how wildlife survive very cold winters or very hot summers.
The Activity
Have the group observe the wildlife in the area and list things that might disturb each type of wildlife. Have
them list the things they could do to minimize their impacts to wildlife
The Discussion
Have each of the participants share their observations and things they would do to minimize disturbing
wildlife and or wildlife habitat. Discuss the negative effects if they did not observe these precautions with
wildlife. Discuss ways to view wildlife without harming them. Encourage the group to observe wildlife from a
distance (to include the use of binoculars) so the wildlife are not scared or forced to flee. Remind them to
always be kind to wildlife.
ACTIVITY # 8: Be Considerate of Other Visitors - Quick Activity
Grabbing Your Group's Attention
Tell the group that while traveling along a trail, they will likely pass others hiking and or camping near the trail.
Ask what things they can do to respect these other users. Also ask what else they might do to show respect for
others if they were to pass individuals on horseback or on mountain bikes.
The Activity
Have 1/3 of the group sit down on the trail and 1/3 move off the trail where an adjoining campsite is located.
Have both groups be somewhat loud and rowdy. Have the remaining 1/3 pass along the trail where the group
is sitting and near the campsite. Once this group has walked by those on the trail and observed the actions of
those at the campsite, have the entire group meet at the campsite.
The Discussion
Have the participants who passed by those sitting in the middle of the trail and at the camp, express how they
felt when they encountered these groups. Discuss what affect it had on their experience. Ask what they feel
would improve their experience on the trail and at the campsite. Ask if the loud and rowdy behavior would
have had any additional impacts on those using horses or mountain bikers along the trail.
Visit: for more Leave No Trace activity plans!
Troop Camp Basics Part 7:
Fire Safety
Fire Starters
Laying a Fire
Fire Alternative
Edible Fire
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Fire safety
Make sure area is clear of overhanging branches.
Have fire bucket of water or sand ready before lighting first match.
Tie back long hair and loose clothing. (use bandana)
Do not wear plastic or synthetics around the fire (i.e. nylon windbreaker jacket)
Have adult supervision at all times.
Guard fire, keep it small, and avoid overcrowding.
Never reach over a fire
Be sure stove is sturdy enough to support pots.
Do not use liquid fire starter.
Fire Starters
Trench candle
One handy fire starter is made from newspaper. Take one section of a newspaper, and cut it into one-inch
wide strips. Roll up a strip tightly, and tie with a piece of string. Holding the string, you can now dip the starter
into melted paraffin. This starter may be placed in fire tinder and lit.
Egg Carton Lint
To start your fire easily, before your trip fill the cups of a cardboard egg carton with lint from a clothes dryer
(cotton or wool lint only; lint from synthetic fabrics like acrylic, nylon, fleece and polypropylene produce toxic
fumes when burned) or with small pieces of paper. Then fill each cup half-full with melted wax. As you build
your fire, break off one cup and nestle it in your tinder. When you're ready, simply light the "fire starter."
These may be stored in a Ziploc bag to keep them dry and handy.
Egg carton charcoal
Place charcoal briquette in each section of a cardboard egg carton. Fill with hot paraffin.
Egg carton sawdust
Fill sections of carton with sawdust. Fill with hot paraffin.
Candy Kiss
Place chunks of old candle in twists of wax paper.
Nail Polish Matches
Cover the heads of a tied bundle of matches with nail polish.
Sawdust cupcakes
Fill cupcake paper with sawdust. Cover with hot paraffin.
Another sure way to start a fire, especially handy when the wind is blowing, requires only two flashlight
batteries and some fine steel wool (double 00 or finer). Line up the batteries in the same order that they go
into a flashlight. Hold a long coil of fine steel wool to the bottom of the batteries; then brush the other end
across the steel knob at the top of the batteries. A spark will appear in the steel wool like magic. Nestle steel
wool in tinder and blow gently.
Laying a Fire
The A Frame
Make the letter “A” out of large kindling or small fuel in the center of your fire pit. The wood you choose
should be about 12" long and about 1"-2" in diameter. The sides of the “A” can rest directly on the floor of the
fire pit; the “crossbar” should rest on top of the sides.
Place tinder inside the top triangle of the “A” so that one end of each twig is resting on the floor of the fire pit
and the twigs are all leaning against the crossbar of the “A”. The result should be a sort of miniature lean-to of
twigs. Don’t pack your tinder too closely—make sure you’re leaving enough space for good ventilation.
The TeePee
The picture below shows how to build a small teepee of tinder and kindling to use in lighting a larger fire. It
uses a ball of fibrous tinder, which is just another tinder option.
To make a cooking or bonfire sized teepee, start by making a small a-frame in the center of your fire pit. Take
small fuel and create a teepee of wood around the a-frame (the picture below will show you the general
idea—just upsize the scale significantly). Make sure you leave at least one opening large enough for you to
reach the a-frame inside, and make sure that the sides of your teepee are close enough to the a-frame to
catch when you light the fire.
The Log Cabin
Start by making a small a-frame or teepee in the center of your fire pit. Build a miniature log cabin of small or
medium-sized fuel around the a-frame or teepee. The size of wood you choose will be determined by the size
of the fire you wish to have. Gradually lay the logs toward the center as you build the cabin. Remember to
leave plenty of space for good ventilation. In the end, it will have the appearance of a pyramid.
Fire Alternative
The use of portable camping stoves is strongly suggested for trips. A one-burner stove is needed for each
cooking group of two to four people. To reduce the need for fuel, plan nutritious meals that need little cooking
time. Before departure, become well versed in the use of the camp stove to be taken on the trip. If water is to
be purified by boiling, be sure to carry additional fuel supplies.
Backpacking Stoves
Cooking on a backing packing stove is most preferable in the backcountry. Remember, many wilderness areas
ban fires to reduce the risk the forest fires. Camp stoves are designed to burn at least one type of gas (ex:
white gas, kerosene, butane or propane). Butane and propane cartridge stoves are handy and light-weight
and are a good choice for warm-weather campers and hikers. Always test the stove and become familiar with
its operation before using it on a trip.
Safety tips:
● An adult must be present to supervise the use of any stove while girls are cooking.
● In preparation for working near any open flame, tie back long hair, roll up loose sleeves, and do no
wear clothing with dangling ends. Plastic or synthetic garments are extremely flammable and can
cause severe burns, as they often melt rather than burn.
● Take an adequate amount of fuel. Store extra fuel supply away from the cooking flame.
● To avoid an accident, a stove must be used on a level surface and out of the way of foot traffic. Do not
pile rocks or other items around the cook stove for stability.
● When using butane or propane, be sure to carefully thread the canisters to the stove coupling so there
is no leakage.
● A liquid fuel stove should not be refueled in the cooking area. Carry the stove away from any
flammable equipment and the cooking area before refueling it.
● Refuel the stove on a level surface after it has cooled down.
● When using liquid fuels, use a funnel to transfer the fuel from the container to the stove.
● To avoid a flare-up when lighting the stove, do not overfill it.
● If the stove has a refillable tank, before each meal make sure that the tank has enough fuel to cook the
● No flame should be present in any site where fuel may have spilled.
● Never open a refillable fuel tank while the stove is ignited, even if the tank is running low.
● Liquid fuel must be carried in a clearly marked bottle with a tight-fitting gasket. Avoid contamination
of food or spillage on clothing by carrying the stove and fuel upright in plastic bags separated from
food and clothing.
● Never cook inside a tent or indoors.
● Keep all parts of the stove clean. Check that lines are not clogged.
● Do not dispose of pressurized cans in a fire, place them in direct sunlight, or keep them in enclosed
areas where the temperature is high.
Edible Fire
As you help your girls put the fire together, explain what they are doing and how it relates to a real campfire.
Materials Needed
 Safety Circle / clear area = Paper plate or paper napkin (1 per person)
 Fire ring = Jelly beans, M & M’s, or Cheerios (a handful per person)
 Tinder = Shredded coconut or potato sticks (a small pinch per person)
 Kindling = Pretzel sticks (a small handful per person)
 Matches = Toothpick (1 or 2 per person)
 Fire = Red hots for small flames and candy corn for large flames (2-3 or each per person)
 Fuel = Pretzel logs, licorice Twizzlers, or Tootsie Rolls (4-5 per person)
 Fire starters = Mini marshmallows (3-4 per person)
 Fire bucket = Mini cup of water or juice (1 per person)
 Shovel = Spoon (1 per person)
1. First, have girls tie back hair and check for items that might dangle into fire and for nylon or synthetic
2. Clear a safety circle 5-10 feet out from the fire circle. Make sure the area is clear of debris and that
there are no overhanging branches. (Open up and spread out the napkin or put down paper plate).
3. Lay your fire ring. (Arrange jelly beans, M&M’s or Cheerios on the napkin/plate in a wide circle).
4. Fill your fire bucket and place it near the fire circle. (Put water or juice in the mini cup).
5. Put your shovel nearby. (Put the spoon nearby).
6. Lay the A-frame using kindling. The opening (the bottom of the A) needs to be facing you and your
back needs to be to the wind. (Lay down three pretzel sticks so that they form a capital “A” with the
crosspiece on top of the two sides).
7. Place the firestarters in the center of the A-frame, with two or three under the crosspiece. (Distribute a
few mini-marshmallows in the A-frame).
8. Now add tinder in the center of the A-frame/resting on the cross piece of the A-frame. (Sprinkle
coconut or potato sticks).
9. Kneel next to fire. Light match away from your body. Hold lit match under the crosspiece of the Aframe and light the firestarters and tinder. (Use a toothpick as the match. If the fire has been built
correctly, the leader then adds the red hots to show that the fire has been lit).
10. Add kindling in a crisscross fashion, being careful not to smother the fire. (Add more pretzel sticks).
11. When the kindling is burning well, add fuel. (Add pretzel logs, Twizzlers, or Tootsie Rolls and candy corn
for large flames).
12. When you are done with your campfire, put the flames out by sprinkling water from the fire bucket
(simulate sprinkling or sip your beverage).
13. Use shovel to stir the ashes (use spoon to stir).
14. Place hand over ashes for one minute to make sure they are cool. When the fire is completely
extinguished, girls can eat their campfire!
Troop Camp Basics Part 8:
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Tool Craft Safety
Always establish a safety circle around you (a ring about an arm’s length in all directions around, above and
below) before using any sharp object (i.e. knife, saw, ax/hatchet).
Knives can be an indispensable tool to use in the outdoors when used properly and safely. The main emphasis
should be on the safety aspect. Here are some safety rules to consider:
Make sure that the girls have a three foot safety circle. This is an imaginary circle drawn around them
with a three foot radius with them in the center. It is their responsibility to respect each other’s "circle
of safety" and to warn others when that three foot safety circle is being compromised.
Jackknives (Swiss Army Knife) are the only appropriate knives to bring on a camping trip (other than
kitchen knives).
Never walk with an open jackknife.
Whittling should be done in a sturdy, seated position with feet planted and legs apart. This way, arms
can be rested on the knees and whittling will occur away from any body parts.
Be sure to hold the knife firmly without placing the thumb on the blade (a common "bad habit").
Always whittle away from you, never toward you.
Make sure to open and close the knife with the blade facing up. Never "snap" a blade closed.
When passing any knife, never release your grip until the receiver acknowledges receipt (eg., says
"thank you"). This way, a knife does not get dropped while in transit.
A good progression for the use of knives is to start with cardboard knives carving soap and progress to
real ones whittling wood.
 Always use a safety circle.
 Stand up when using an ax or hatchet.
 If right-handed, put the right foot forward and cut on an angle to the left.
 If left-handed, put the left foot forward and cut on an angle to the right.
 You don’t need to swing an ax! It is heavy enough to cut without swinging.
 Lift the ax and guide it down into the wood.
 Always make sure no one is standing or sitting close to you when you are cutting.
 Carry an ax or hatchet to the side of your body with the handle facing down and your hand around the
top. The blade should be facing to the backside of you.
 Lay the ax or hatchet on the ground for another person to pick-up and use.
 Keep the ax or hatchet in its case (if it has one) when not being used.
Always use a safety circle.
Place the piece of wood that is going to be cut on the ground
If you are right handed, put your right knee on the ground (if left-handed, vice versa).
Hold the wood down securely with your left hand.
Keep fingers, hands, legs, and feet away from the blade at all times.
Cut with long straight strokes.
Carry the saw safely to the side of your body with the blade pointing toward your back.
If you must pass the saw, place it on the ground or pass it by the handle with the blade down.
Troop Camp Basics Part 9:
Clove Hitch
Half Hitch
Lark’s Head
Square Knot
Tautline Hitch
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
A very useful and common knot which forms a loop that can not slip.
(Image source:
Clove Hitch
Used to fasten one end of a rope to a tree or post.
(Image source:
Constrictor Knot
Used to tie a knot in the middle of a rope; commonly used to hang a bear bag.
(Image source:
Half Hitch
Used to fasten a rope to a ring or tent stake. (Image shows a round turn and two half hitches).
(Image Source:
Lark’s Head
To loop cord or rope around a ring or hang your dish bag to a clothesline.
(Image source:
Used to tie a thin rope to a thicker rope.
(Image source:
Square Knot
Used for many situations; most commonly used to tie two ropes of the same thickness together at their ends.
(Image Source:
Tautline Hitch
Used to make a loop that will slip when you want it to.
(Image source:
Troop Camp Basics Part 10:
Compass Skills
Compass Skills
How to Use a Silva Compass
A Sample Course
Compass Games
Make Your Own Compass
Find Your Pace
Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians
Compass Skills
The compass has four main points or cardinal points. These are North (N), South (S), East (E), and West (W). If
you think of a compass like a clock, the North is a 12, East at 3, South at 6 and West at 9.
The intercardinal points are the points half way between the cardinal points. They are named for the points
they lie between. They always begin with North or South. They are Northeast (NE), Southeast (SE), Southwest
(SW), and Northwest (NW).
The secondary intercardinal points lay half way between the cardinal points (N, S, W, & E) and the
intercardinal points (NE, SE, SW & NW). They are named according to the points they lie between. The cardinal
point comes first, and then the intercardinal point. For example, the first four are: North-northeast (NNE),
East northeast (ENE), East southeast (ESE), and South-southeast (SSE).
The compass is divided into 360 degrees (°), the same as any other circle. North is at 0 degrees. The cardinal
points are 90 degrees apart, therefore North=0°, East=90°, South=180°, West=270°. The intercardinal points
mark the midway point between the cardinal points. Therefore, NE=45°, SE=135°, SW=225°, and NW=315°.
How to Use a Silva Compass
The parts of the Compass:
● Plastic base:
Direction of Travel Arrow (see below: “read bearing here arrow”)
Scale (inches or millimeters)
● Metal or Plastic Housing Dial
Red-tipped magnetic needle (the red tip always points toward the north magnetic pole
unless another magnetic influence is nearby)
● Black or Red Outlined Arrow (see below: “internal north arrow”)
(Orienting arrow)
● Numerical Degrees (0 to 360 degrees)
● Letter Directions / cardinal points (N, E, S, W)
How to find the bearing from an object:
● Point the direction of travel arrow at the object.
● Turn the degree housing dial until the orienting arrow (internal north arrow) lines up with the red end of
the magnetic needle.
● Read the numerical degree at the bearing where the direction of travel (read bearing here arrow)
intersects with the housing dial.
Some notes about using the compass:
Hold the compass flat so that the magnetic needle easily moves. Since the needle is a magnet, you need to be
a couple feet away from any metal or other magnets.
The smallest unit on the compass is 2 degrees. There are 20 degrees between numbers, the larger mark on the
dial between two numbers represents halfway between them, so the larger mark between 340 and 360 equals
350 degrees.
Using a Silva Compass to Follow a Trail:
● Decide the direction that you wish to go in numerical degrees.
● Hold the plastic base and turn the housing so as to align the desired direction reading with the direction of
travel arrow on the base.
● With the direction of travel arrow pointing in the direction you are facing, turn your body, holding the
compass level and close in front of you, until the red-tipped needle and the outlined arrow (orienting
arrow) point the same way. You should now be facing the direction you want to go.
● Sight over the direction of travel arrow into the distance to some object. Walk the given distance toward
that object.
Using a Silva Compass Construct a Trail:
● Hold the compass level. Point the direction of travel arrow at the object to which you wish to know the
direction/degree reading.
● Turn the housing until the red-tipped needle and the outlined arrow (orienting arrow) point the same way.
● Read the degree on the housing above the direction of travel arrow. This is the direction you must travel
to get to that point.
A Sample Compass Course
(Used at Lorado Taft Field Campus of Northern Illinois University)
TEAM MEMBERS:___________________________________________________________________________
Follow directions carefully.
Answer all questions.
Leave Poley House through the east door, and step to the tray. Walk 54 meters (59 yards) at an azimuth of
159 degrees. What human-made structure do you see immediately to the west?
______________________ Why might someone build something like this here? Is there some local history
about this that we might want to explore? Where and how can we find out?
Walk 82 meters (268 feet) at an azimuth of 100 degrees. You should now be at the corner of a residence.
Next go, 53 meters (175 feet) at an azimuth of 30 degrees, and stand on human-made stone. Next take 12
steps at an azimuth of 84 degrees. Enter the room nearest you. What would you assume is the purpose of
this room? _____________________________________________________________________________
● If there is an envelope labeled for Group A open it and follow the directions. Do not disturb and envelopes
not intended for your team.
Games with a Magnetic Compass
On a separate piece of paper, give one set of directions to the group, and have them follow the directions,
using the compass to make a geometric shape. When done, have them unfold the shape name and see if they
used the compass correctly to make the shape.
Directions for a SQUARE
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 360 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 270 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 180 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 90 degrees
Directions for Z
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 90 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 240 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 90 degrees
Directions for an OCTAGON
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 45 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 90 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 135 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 180 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 225 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 270 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 315 degrees
Place Marker go 5 steps @ 360 degrees
Directions for a TRIANGLE
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 120 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 240 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 360 degrees
Directions for a RECTANGLE
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 360 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 270 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 180 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 90 degrees
Directions for a RIGHT TRIANGLE
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 270 degrees
Place Marker go 8 steps @ 360 degrees
Place Marker go 10 steps @ 160 degrees
Directions for a PENTAGON
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 72 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 144 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 216 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 288 degrees
Place Marker go 6 steps @ 360 degrees
Making your own Compass
The earth produces a magnetic field. This field, although weak, is sufficient to align iron and other
paramagnetic compounds such as your needle within it. By floating the needle on a cork or piece of
Styrofoam, you let it rotate freely so it can orient itself within the earth's magnetic field, to point toward the
north or south poles of the planet.
Make a simple compass to find magnetic north.
 Sewing needle ~1 inch long.
 Small bar magnet. Refrigerator magnets may work if you don't have a bar magnet.
 A small piece of cork or piece of Styrofoam.
 A small glass or cup of water to float the cork or Styrofoam and needle.
Needles are sharp; treat them appropriately.
How to do the experiment:
 Your compass will work better if you first run a magnet over the needle a few times, always in the
same direction. This action 'magnetizes' is to some extent. Drive the needle through a piece of cork or
Styrofoam so that is will be able to lie flat in/parallel to the water. Cork from wine bottles works well.
Cut off a small circle from one end of the cork, and drive the needle through it, from one end of the
circle to the other, instead of through the exact middle - be careful not to stick yourself!
 Float the cork + needle in your cup of water so the floating needle lies roughly parallel to the surface of
the water.
 Place your 'compass' on a still surface and watch what happens. The needle should come to point
towards the nearest magnetic pole.
 If you want to experiment further, try placing a magnet near your compass and watch what happens.
How close/far does can the magnet be to cause any effects?
Finding your Pace
Mark off 100 feet on a flat surface.
Walk the distance three times. Always start with your left foot. Count each time your foot hits the
ground as you walk.
Add up the three numbers and divide by three. The number you get is the average number of paces it
takes for you to walk 100 feet.
____ + ____ + ____ = ____
Now divide your average into 100 feet to get the length of your pace.
100 / ____ (your average) = ____ feet
There are 5280 feet in one mile. How many steps would it take for you to walk one mile?
5280 / ____ (your pace) = ______ steps per mile
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