Why is Camping Important to the Boy Scouts of America?
In addition to the basics of survival and conservation, older Scouts instruct younger campers in the basics of wilderness training, plant science and perfecting a camp’s food storage plan. Essential skills are passed from generation to generation resulting in rewarding youth-led and adult-guided experiences.
At the Cub Scout level, camping has become an integral part of the advancement path so that the youth are prepared for the adventures of Boy Scouts. Speaking of Boy Scouts, did you know that Boy Scouts can earn more than 136 merit badges, most of which involve outdoor experiences. Therefore, camping trips go a long way toward putting a Scout on the path toward Eagle.
The typical American’s first camping trip occurs before he reaches 18 years old. The Physical Activity Council, an association of sports recreation and leisure activity companies, surveyed 10,778 Americans in early 2015. The survey asked 6 to 24-year-olds which of 104 activities they preferred. Respondents consistently choose camping and swimming.
Researchers discovered 28% of us did nothing last year! That’s right – 83 million are sedentary. Camping encourages us to be active and enjoy the outdoors resulting in three main benefits:
First, improved physical health.
- We feel better – Oxygen emitted by plant life releases serotonin, a molecule essential to feelings of happiness and well-being. You can even lower blood pressure and body strain in the outdoors.
- Clean air and water – Lower levels of pollutants result in fewer lung irritations and illnesses.
- Greater physical fitness – Per hour calorie consumption increases for campers. Hikers burn 120-300 calories, fly fishers burn 200. Biking and swimming, gathering wood and building a temporary shelter results in healthy calorie burn and increased flexibility.
- Sunlight – Moderate sun exposure increases Vitamin D – essential for healthy bones and teeth.
- Natural food – Fishing and hunting provides nourishment without preservatives. And camp food just tastes better!
Second, greater mental health.
- Socialization – Improved mood from face-to-face interactions, teamwork and bonding without distractions.
- More Sleep – After a full day of outdoor activities, the body achieves more natural sleep when the sun goes down.
- Solving Problems – You can apply skills to overcome unexpected challenges and promote self-sufficiency by collaborating with your camping party.
- Discovery – Learn about plant science and build trust from working with domesticated animals such as horses and dogs. Be prepared to prevent insect bites and predator intrusions.
- Minding nature – The outdoors challenge you to minimize trash and leave your camping space cleaner than you found it.
Third, camping is fun!
As evidenced by posts on the Boy Scouts of America social media pages, people love to camp and comment on successful Scout camping expeditions. Check out the Boy Scouts of America, Scouting magazine, Boys’ Life or High-Adventure bases Facebook pages, Twitters and Instagrams.
Because of this beautiful trifecta, we have upped the ante in our camping program agreeing to participate in more Council-sponsored events as well as our three Pack campouts to provide our Scouts every opportunity to experience Cub Scouts as it was intended -- OUTSIDE DOING! Besides having our monthly hikes, we will be camping October 7-9 (with the option to attend the Council Fall Festival and Haunted Hayride the following weekend for those die-hards that can't get enough), November 11-13 at the Council Camporee, January 6-8 at CUB-O and March 31-April 2.
Won't you join us?