Hybrid camping - a phased return to normal Scouting

Hybrid camping - a phased return to normal Scouting

by Reuben Sellers, Explorer Scout Support Team

As restrictions ease, Groups can once again meet in the outdoors, but the classic, Scout favourite camp still seems out of reach for now. But it doesn't have to be completely written off!

With a few simple changes, you can blend at home and outdoor activities together to create a hybrid-camping experience for you and your Troop.

At the moment, we can't attend traditional camps, however, Scouting is currently counting nights away at home as long as your Scouts set up a 'campsite'.

There are a couple of fun (and creative) ways that you can do this, from camping in your back garden to creating “tents” in the house - my troop has come up with a few fun pillow fort creations to camp in!

The second most important element of a camp? Food of course! Being able to cook together on a camp can be a real highlight, but is difficult to do safely under current restrictions. To get around this, you could cook a classic eggy bread camp breakfast over Zoom together (with individual supervision of an adult, of course) or have your Scouts follow along with a live-stream hosted by a Leader. Afterwards, you can compare who made the best eggy bread and let them know that they'll be on breakfast duty when the first real camp comes around!

For lunches and dinners, as a Troop, we decided to each make our own with our families to keep logistics and costs down. You could alternatively get your Troop to cook their families a classic camp dinner and send in photos of the results - spaghetti bolognese is always a winner! This way, your Troop can cook several camp dishes together safely from home. Just make sure you send out an ingredients list and recipes ahead of the camp so that everyone is prepared.

For outdoor activities, my Troop met at our new meeting place, the local park, for a few hours each day of the camp. We did a variety of activities from making rainbow paracord bracelets to map work and even threw in a few fun party games. Having a nice variety of activities helps avoid the feeling of repetition whilst also allowing your Troop to pick and choose what they'd like to do.

During one of the evenings, the Troop got together and had a mini campfire beside our Scout hut. The Scouts took it in turn to make s’mores (is a camp complete without them!?) and we also played a couple of party games and told our favourite camp stories. We were fortunate enough to have a portable firepit and somewhere to use it safely, but if you aren't able to access a firepit or BBQ, you could hand out packs with everything needed to make s’mores at home - we use marshmallows and chocolate biscuits. Your Troop could roast their marshmallows over a gas hob or on a baking tray under the grill (very carefully and under supervision).

With some camp treats consumed, a virtual campfire could be run over Zoom with games, stories, and repeat after me songs! On our last night, we ran another Zoom meeting in the evening so that the Scouts could play some more games together and hang out as a group in a breakout room. This gave them a chance to get together as a Scout Group without a Leader so they had some time to socialise by themselves.

I hope you can use our camp experience as inspiration for your own! It was a great event and a great way to get the Group together safely, whilst following current restrictions and guidelines.

For more information, check out our Coronavirus Support page here.