10 Tips and Ideas for Planning a Camping Trip with Your Troop

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Working together to make shelters with wood string and a tarp.

One of my favorite things about being a leader was our yearly campouts. I am not much of a outdoor type of leader, we always stayed in a cabin and would enjoy the outdoors, but sleep in a heated cabin. So this post wont have anything specific for tent camping.  But no matter how much you love or hate the outdoors there is always room for a campfire, outdoor activities, and games.  I thought I would share some tips and ideas, so your troop can have a fun and safe time.  

I’m hoping this post will make your time, around your campfire, more fun for you and your troop.  I have ideas for songs, games and food. I know some of this information you might already know but I hope it’s helpful.

Campfire: Safety First

Enjoying the fire is the easy part, before that you need to build the fire, start the fire, and make sure the area around the fire is safe.

6 Safety Tips around a campfire
Before you have a campfire it is important to go over some safety rules with your girls. It doesn’t matter what age your troop is it is important to be safe. Print this post out and share all this with your girls.

  1. Keep a safe distance from the fire.  If you plan to roast marshmallows or other food, adult supervision required.
  2. No horseplay near the fire.
  3. Don’t throw anything in the fire or poke it with a stick.
  4. If you catch on fire. (Stop, Drop, and Roll)
  5. No loose clothes and make sure long hair is tied back.
  6. Avoid wearing synthetic or plastic jackets around the fire.

Try this: Use a visual and build a pretend fire and give them the rules listed above. You can even do a editable fire that in the end they can eat. Read more about making

Preparing and building a Campfire

  1. Check with local authorities to see if they allow fires in your area.
  2. Don’t make a fire too close to homes, shrubs trees, tents or other buildings.
  3. Make sure there’s no brush near the fire. Clear an area approximately 10 feet.
  4. When building your fire remember to use dry hard wood.  Pine give off a lot of sparks.
  5. Make a teepee with a few pieces of hardwood.
  6. Put kindling inside the teepee  (twigs, leaves, newspaper, bark, etc.)
  7. Light the tinder.
  8. Slowly add wood after the fire is burning.

5 safety tips during the fire

  1. Have a hose or bucket of water ready in case you need it in an emergency or when it’s time to put the fire out.
  2. A fire blanket is good to have on hand incase someone catches on fire.
  3. Pay attention to the wind direction and strength.
  4. Keep the fire safe and manageable.
  5. Keep the wood burning steadily. Don’t make a huge fire.

Extinguishing the fire

  1. Let the wood burn completely to ash if possible.
  2. Pour a lot of water, to drown the embers.
  3. The water will make a hissing sound, when it hits the fire. Pour water until there is no more hissing.
  4. Everything should be cool to the touch.

First Aid for burns

  1. Place burn area under cool (not cold) water for  1st degree burns, for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Don’t break or open small blisters.
  3. For a more serious burn, cover with a clean cloth or sterile bandage.
  4. Call 911 or go to the hospital for serious burns.

I hope this information is helpful and you can have a fun and safe bonfire or campfire. 

Useful resource…

Campfire Songs

The other day I saw a bear is one of my favorites

If you need inspiration or just want a easy guide of some great songs to sing around the campfire. Check out this 39 page Campfire Song Book packed with fun songs.

Camping Games

Telephone
Telephone is played by having your girls sit in a circle.  The leader whispers a message to the girl next to her. Then that girls whispers that message, to the girl next to her, and it continues, until the last girl in the circle, is told the message.  The last girl says the message out loud. Sometimes it’s the original message and sometimes it’s something completely different which makes it fun.

Twenty Questions
Twenty Questions is played by choosing one girl as “the thinker” and thinks of a subject (person, place or thing).  The rest of your troop takes turns asking “yes” or “no” questions, one at a time. After each girl asks a question, she can try to guess the subject.  They each get a turn or depending on the size of your troop or 20 questions have been asked. Let each girl have a turn being “the thinker”. It’s probably a good idea to have the girl whisper or write down what they are prior to the “yes” and “no” questions.

I’m Going On A Trip
I’m Going On A Trip is played by a girl or adult ,depending on the age of your girls, saying  I’m going on a trip and I’m taking a (toothbrush, etc.) then the next girls says the same thing then adds on another item.  It’s a memory game you go around and see how far you can go with each girl repeating then adding a new item. This was always a fun game for our troop.

Additional games for your campout…

Campfire Food

Useful resources…

Badge Activity Ideas

If you want to add some outdoor creativity to your campout.

Free Camping Printables

Do your girls love the great outdoors and group camping trips? If so, it’s likely you’ve spent hours packing. This process can be stressful for some, but camping itself can reduce stress and promote better emotional health.

Free Printables

  • Camping Packing List
    This printable organizes items into six categories: sleeping, kitchen, campsite, clothing and footwear, personal and other. Printing out this worksheet and sharing it with your girls puts more responsibility on them. If this is your girls first time packing, try writing a packing list together. Have your girls start and recommend any other items you believe they missed.
  • Camping supply game
    After packing and arriving at the campsite, further their camping skills with the supplies printable. Give this to young girls who aren’t ready to start fires or pitch tents. This can keep them entertained and prepare them for the real thing a few years down the road.

Beyond the packing list and supply game activities

Wherever you go, camping trips always have learning opportunities. Foster those opportunities with a printable your girls can keep to review later. CarRentals created 14 Summer Camping Games and Themed Printables that are great for your troop.

I hope you and your girls have a fun and memorable time at your campout.

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My name is Jodi Carlson, I am a mom, wife, & web designer and come with 25 years of GS experience. I am now sharing my experiences and helping other Girl leaders be great and successful and shape today’s girls to be the leaders of tomorrow. I was blessed with a Son in March of 2015 and stepped down as a full time girl leader, but missed planning and volunteering, so I decided after 25 years I have so many ideas to inspire girls and help leaders so I choose to build this blog and it has grown into a resource beyond GS, I am reaching girl leaders in many organizations.

1 COMMENT

  1. as a lifetime member of GSUSA, I enjoyed reading these tips; they are great reminds for all leaders, new and experienced

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