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Ways to Teach Basic Camping Skills


troop camp basics - complete guide.pdf

Basic camping skills.docx

Basic camping skills.pdf

Weather prediction.pdf

compass skills.pdf

Brownie Compass Skills.pdf

Knot tying.pdf

Starting a Fire.pdf

Brownie What to Bring on a Hike.pdf

Brownie Trail Signs.pdf



Camping Prep


Activity Descriptions



Play left right middle

The girls go to the left, right, or middle of the room based on their answers to the questions

  1. Go to the left if you have camped more than twice

Go the middle if you camped once

Go to the right if you have never camped

  1. Go to the Left if you have spent the night away from your parents more than once

Go to the middle if you have spend the night away from your parents one time

Go to the right if you have never spend the night away from your parents.

  1. Go to the left if you are excited to go camping

Go to the middle if you think you might like camping, but aren’t sure.

Go to the right if you don’t think you will like camping 

Activity (15 min) 

Make a packing list

  1. The girls should write out some ideas of what they might need to bring on a camping trip.

  2. When everyone is slowing down, the leader will share with them the list from Girl Scouts and see what they might be missing


handout or paper

Camping Packing Brainstorm sheet.pdf


master list to compare 

Winter Camping List.pdf Spring Lodge Camping List.pdf



Camping Must Haves

  • Meal planning template: use this to have the girls plan out a meal, so that they know what they need to buy, bring, and do

Meal Planning Sheet Template.pdf  

  • Chore assignments: split the girls into patrols and assign each one of the assigned roles for each meal.  Bring sheets with the assignments to the event (in plastic sheets) and use them to make sure they are doing what that patrol is assigned.

Camping Chores Descriptions.pdf

Chore assignments - Example.pdf  


Meals with their meal planning sheet

Tacos and Veggies Meal Planning sheets.pdf


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
• 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 hotspot to prevent blisters


Hiking Rules

• Get a weather report. On the morning of the camping trip, check weather.com or other reliable weather sources to determine if conditions are appropriate. 

• 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. 

• Respect the environment and keep trails clean.  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.

• Do not remove natural materials such as leaves or branches. 

• Always remain on trails.  Avoid walking on or uprooting plants, interfering with or feeding wild animals, and littering.

• Do not hike after dusk.

• Take adequate rest periods, with time to replenish fluids and eat high-energy food (such as fruits and nuts).

• 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.

• Be Considerate of Other visitors.  Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.  Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

• Be Prepared

• Wear sunscreen and hats

• Dress in layers

• Bring plenty of water and high energy foods

• Bring a first aid kit

• Wear a whistle

Brownie What to Bring on a Hike.pdf

Before a Hike

• 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 blazes and rock cairns (those small rock piles that mark trails on places where there are few trees) that mark trails

Brownie Trail Signs.pdf

• Learn about regional nature. What flowers, trees, insects are unique to the area you’re hiking in?


Learn 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. 

• 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 stay put, using their whistle to tell the troop leader they need help.  Hug a tree to remind you to stay put.


• Buddy system. Appreciation of nature- use all senses to explore. Safety/Manners for short hikes near home. 

• 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 needed. 

• 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. 


Leave no trace principles

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

See more at: http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles#sthash.MmMUXKYQ.dpuf


Leave No Trace Games and Activities

ACTIVITY #1: 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 #2: 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 activity. 

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 #3: 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. 



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. o 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 cereal 

Super Peanut Butter Spread 


• 1 cup peanut butter 

• ½ cup honey 

• ½ cup wheat germ 

• 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. 


Fun Way to Teach Fire Building Skills

The Edible Campfire (Recipe 1)

To learn to fire building indoors, make an edible fire! You can have a party and go over the procedures for laying a safe fire all at the same time.

You will need: napkins, paper cups to fill with water, candy corn or cheerios, shredded coconut, pretzels, cheezies, cinnamon hearts (red hots), and one toothpick/girl.

Each girl should unfold her napkin and lay it nice and smooth to represent the clearing that has to be done in an area to make it safe to build a fire. Here you may go into as much detail as you feel your girls are ready for. Discuss safe places to build fires. Then make a fire ring of cheerios. Again you may pause and talk about safety. Next you make three piles of firewood: coconut for the tinder, pretzels for the kindling and cheezies for logs. Before you lay the fire you need a cup of water to represent the firefighting equipment that should be on hand.

Now you are ready to lay your fire: Lay an A or V of logs after you decide what direction the wind is blowing. Lay your tinder against the crossbar of the A or in the cross of V. As each girl is ready, she gets a toothpick for a match to hold in under the largest pile of tinder and you drop a few red hots on top to show that the fire is burning brightly, using just one match! Then she places on more kindling and logs as the fire burns brighter. After her fire has been approved by the leader she eats it all!!

The Edible Campfire (Recipe 2)

You will need: pretzel "logs" (or cheetos) for the logs around the fire circle, pretzel sticks for kindling, potato sticks for tinder, red hots (or candy corn) for fire, twizzler for match, fork for rake, small dixie cup for water bucket, pixie stick for fire stick, paper plate for fire circle. Follow instructions for Recipe 1 using alternate ingredients.


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