At Troop 166 we plan at least one overnight outing every month. Sometimes we have full-on hikes, sometimes we 'car-camp', sometimes we have special outings like staying overnight in the Submarine at OMSI.
As a Rule Troop 166 does not repeat an event for seven years so the scouts are always doing something new and different.
The exceptions are Camporee, Camp Parsons, Pioneer Post (New-scout Outing in August), and the Parsson's Service Project.
The Calendar for the year is established at a meeting usually held in May to plan out the year from the next September.
The troop has an (adult) Outdoor Chairperson responsible for managing Outings, including:
Every Outing and Event has a coordinator assigned to take the point on that event for schedules, planning, site-coordination, communication etc.
Being an event sponsor is a great way to contribute/volunteer that doesn't take a lot of time or special experience, but is an important job!
Prior to an outing Scouts need to sign-up to participate in an outing, by submitting a permission-slip (with healthcare information in case of emergency) and the Trip fee.
The Coordinator usually sends out an email and announces the next outing at one of the regular Monday night meetings. Depending on the event that may only happen a few weeks prior, or sometimes months in advance (especially for events crossing the Canadian Border.)
This is also the time for Adults to sign up to join the outing and/or to drive the scouts to and from the outing. We like to have parents participate in the outings even if you just 'tag along' to see what the outings are like. The hardest part for most of us, is leaving the work to the scouts, but they need to learn by doing!
At the meeting(s) just prior to an outing, scouts often have activities to get ready for the outing, and at the very least get announcements about any special equipment required and expected.
Remember with our "Scout-Led" philosophy and our Patrol-Method a lot of this information is passed from the Senior Patrol Staff (Scouts) to the Patrol leaders, and then to the Patrol Members. Patrols are responsible for planning their food/cooking, and patrol equipment lists prior to the outing. Ideally there is a patrol meeting the week before the outing to plan meals and assign jobs and equipment for the outing.
Each Patrol is responsible for planning, buying, packing and preparing their own food, as well as bringing the equipment they need.
Patrols normally have a Patrol Meeting just before an outing to decide the Meals and assign who is bringing what equipment (stoves, fuel, pans, tents rain-fly's etc.)
A Grub Master is selected for each outing, to be responsible for determining and collecting the Grub-fee (usually $8 a scout for a normal outing), for buying the food and bringing it to the departure point (the Church). Theoretically this fee is collected prior to buying the food but in practice, it is collected by the grub-master at the parking lot, before departure. If you don't do it then it is very hard to collect later.
It is a Troop philosophy that you learn from experience, and "you can't starve over a weekend!" It happens sometimes Patrols forget part of their food or equipment. We call that a learning opportunity.
On a normal outing we meet at 8am Saturday, in the Church Parking lot.
The Senior Patrol Leader is usually given the permission slips and a roster of scouts and drivers the night before the outing. He then decides which scouts go in which vehicle.
Typically, scouts are not assigned to travel with their own parents unless there is a particular need.
Packets are assembled with permission slips, driving directions, pertinent phone numbers and any other related paperwork, as well as a mileage reimbursement and related travel costs.
We usually meet at the Church (Wedgwood Presbyterian Church 8008 35th Avenue NE, Seattle WA) at 8am to load the vehicles.
Sometimes there are equipment checks to be sure everybody has what they need.
The Driver assignments are read out to the gathered scouts and packets are distributed.
Equipment is loaded in the vehicles, and then the scouts, and then we are underway!
After personal gear, some equipment, and food is required for the Patrol. Before leaving the parking lot, the Patrols distribute these to be packed in by members of the patrol, ensuring no scout has a pack too heavy to carry.
BSA requires that only scouts of the same gender and roughly the same age (no more than two years apart) share a tent or room.
Some scouts bring hammock's to outings. If you plan to do so, consult your Scoutmaster for recommendations before you pack. Patrols determine how many tents to bring and sleeping arrangements at the patrol meeting prior to the outing. If a scout is uncomfortable sharing a tent with another scout they will not be required to do so.
Usually we aim to be home around 2-4pm on Sunday, but conditions vary.
The coordinator usually informs the Outdoor Chair of the ETA once we have a good idea of the expected time, and the Chair then emails out the ETA.
scouts also often have phones and will text or call their parents to inform them of impeding arrival at the Church.
Scouts are brought back to the church, and picked up by parents, scouts are never just left unsupervised at the church.