Campout – Patrol Food Guidelines
As happens every month the week before a camp out, your son might come home and tell you he needs to buy food for the patrol for the campout. We get a lot of questions on how this should work, so I thought I will try to outline what the troop expects.
- Along with all the things we try to teach the boys (leadership, first aid, knots, camping……), cooking is also important. This can be highlighted by the fact they recently made the cooking merit badge a requirement for the Eagle Scout rank.
- We try, but are not always successful in proofing and editing the patrol menu’s before they are sent home. Ask your son if it was checked.
- As the parent purchasing the food, you have the right to adjust the menu to make sure it is complete and nutritious.
- We strive to mix up cooking methods (wood fire, charcoal, propane, dutch ovens). Something that was OK last month might not be the next month.
- Feel free to challenge your boy and his patrol to expand their skills. The internet is a great resource, especially for dutch oven cooking. We do the same thing at our meetings and as adults we try to show them what is possible. If you want to expand the menu, please do.
- Please avoid sending prepackaged, precooked food (chicken patties, precooked burgers, hot dogs….) These will only teach the boys how to heat up food and not how to actually cook. Do not be overly concerned about the boys eating under cooked food. The adults monitor what the boys are cooking and help them determine if food is fully cooked. It is really the only way they will learn.
- An exception to the above note, if your son, NOT YOU, wants to prep some of the food before the campout (precutting vegetables or meat, maybe precooking meat going into a larger dish), that would be fine. It encourages them to plan ahead and be prepared. The idea is the boys prepare the food.
- Do not send sugared drinks or soda. EVER! They really don’t need them. These end up finding there way into tents where they get spilled. If you have ever tried to clean coke out of tent, then you know it is not fun.
- Food payments – this is a decision the patrol makes as to how to handle. Most patrols figure out who is attending and send out an email to the patrol with how much each person owes (try to keep it under $15). I have seen some patrols that set up a schedule where each boy traded off buying food and no money changed hands. This is easier to do for smaller patrols.
- We almost never prepare a meal on Friday nights. Make sure your son has had dinner or has brought a sack meal. We do encourage the patrols to plan a snack (marshmallows, popcorn, s’mores) for Friday, but I haven’t seen many of them do it.
Again, feel free to reach out to the Scoutmaster with further questions or concerns.