Camp Care Packages and Checking the Socials! 


Are you sending your kid to camp this summer without you? Here at McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley, we understand how hard it can be to be away from home and the homesickness that comes with it. That’s why we have several methods available for you to let your kid know how much you love and miss them! Read below to learn more about ways to send your scout a note from you and how you can even see pictures of them during their week at camp.  

Camp Care Packages 

Did you know you can send care packages and letters to your child while they’re at camp? Mail is delivered daily to the Scout Ranch and will be picked up and distributed by the troop’s Scoutmaster. Scouts can send postcards and letters home and postcards and stamps are available at the trading post. Scouts can deposit mail at the headquarters building at Camp Cris Dobbins. We encourage parents to write to their children while at camp or send them a care package. Be sure to mail early as it takes 4 or 5 days for mail to be delivered. If the mail comes early we will hold onto it until the week your scout comes but please include a return address on the mail so it can be returned if it doesn’t make it in time. 

If you want to send a care package but don’t have any ideas, don’t worry because we have you covered! Whether you’re just sending your kid something special or providing a treat for the whole troop, it will make your scout feel special and a little less homesick. Some fun items to include in a care package are card games, a football or soccer ball, journals for them to write their favorite memories in, disposable cameras, coloring book and markers, fun Chapstick, glow sticks, bubbles, and snacks.  

If you decide to send something to your scout while they’re away please address it like this: 

Scout’s Name, Troop Number (Make sure to say if it’s the boys troop or girls troop if both are coming at the same time) 

Camp Session (name session attending)  

McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley  

22799 North Elbert Road, Box 97  

Elbert, CO 80106-0097 

Check our Socials  

If you can’t take out the time to spend a whole week with your child and their troop, you can still stay updated about all the fun they’re having! Our Media Manager spends their day taking as many photos of the scouts participating in activities as they can. They then will upload some of those photos to the camp’s social media pages where your child might be featured. Several photos will be posted once or twice a day on all three of our social media platforms. So check there for professional photos of your kid having fun! 

Once your scout comes back home for the week they might have a ton of photos to share with you. If you want these photos to be posted on the camp’s social media sites then you can email them to our Media Manager, Heather Diviness, at We love receiving the photos that adults take throughout the week!  

Our social media platforms are: 

Instagram: @mcneilscoutranch 

Facebook: McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley  

Twitter: @McNeilScoutRnch 


We want your scout to have as much fun during their week away as you do and that might mean sending them a little extra TLC! We hope that you can utilize this information to put a smile on your and your scout’s face this summer! 

For more information on how to send something to your scout or visit them please look at our Leaders and Program Guides 

For more information on camp in general and how to register for next year visit  

10 Reasons To Encourage Your Kid To Go To Summer Camp


When your kid is involved in Scouting, summer can make or break their experience. The kids who get the most out of their scouting adventure often go to summer camps each year. Here at McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley it is our goal to create a fun and memorable experience for scouts of all ages. Our camp offers something for everyone, and we have a variety of activities for Scouts with different interests. We recognize that for some families summer camp can feel scary which is why we are creating this list of 10 of the best reasons for a kid to go to camp! Is this your first summer sending your child to camp? Or maybe this is your first summer going to camp without a family member? Getting excited and ready for camp can seem daunting if you’ve never been before. In this blog we will cover 10 reasons to come to our summer camp and detailed explanations to ease your worries and encourage you to get excited for camp!

1. Camp Has Something For Everyone

We really do mean it when we say our camp has something for everyone! If your scout is still in Cub Scouts, we offer a wide variety of activities for them. Archery, BB Guns, Sling Shots, Pool, Boating, Bouldering, Gaga Ball, and more! Cub Scouts is a great way for your kid to make new friends, find new interests, and learn new skills.

If your Scout is older and in Scouts BSA but hasn’t come to our camp yet, you will be pleased to know that we offer over 40 different Merit Badges for them to try! Our camp is split up into lodges that teach categories of Merit Badges. Our Scoutcraft Lodge involves everything someone interested in outdoor skills could dream of. Our Handicraft Lodge is for anyone whose hands-on and creative. The Hollywood lodge is for our scouts who are interested in electronics of any kind, and it includes a large range of skills from movie-making to game design. Can you guess what our Nature Lodge encompasses? That’s right anything nature-related! We even have a STEM Lodge that caters to our science kids. Our camp also includes several high adventure-type activities and Merit Badges. Our Adventure Lodge has classes for rock climbing and cycling. Shooting sports, Ziplines, Horses, Pool, Boating, and ATVs are just some of the other adventurous activities that you can find here at camp.

Our camp has a wide range of activities, big and small, for all ages and interests!

2.  Meet Positive Role Models

We pride ourselves on our amazing staff here at McNeil Scout Ranch! Our staff is filled with people from different backgrounds and interests, so your kid is bound to connect with at least one of them. Each and every staff member that works at our camp has the common goal of making camp an unforgettable experience for your kid. Our smaller class sizes and independent camp host time allows for each scout to connect with the staff throughout the week. We are all excited to make camp awesome and our personalized touch on scouting allows for a positive environment amongst the participants and staff. Kids can learn so much from older role models in their life and camp is a great way for your kid to have this experience with role models that are trained to keep your kid safe and have an endless amount of care and happiness to ensure a great week.

3.  Develop Better Communication Skills

Although camp might be a little out of some kids’ comfort zones, it is a great place to safely practice coming out of your shell. Due to the nature of camp, kids have the opportunity to meet other youth and connect through common interests. Our camp promotes kindness and teamwork amongst everyone at camp. We foster a nurturing environment for kids to feel safe enough to try new things and meet new people. At the end of camp, you might be surprised at how much your kid has grown in their confidence.

 4. Grow As People

In addition to your kid improving their communication skills, they might also grow in other ways. Camp is a unique opportunity for children to experience a sense of independence and responsibility while being in a safe and controlled environment. It’s also a great way for youth to try new things in a safe manner. Your kid has the opportunity to grow their interests in the best way possible. There are so many positive outcomes when it comes to your kids growing as a person at camp but one of the lasting effects is the friends they will make. You will be surrounding your kid with other kids who also follow the Scout oath and law. The Scouts here have the chance to grow together and become the best version of themselves at camp.

5. Create Lifelong Memories And Friends

I’m not kidding when I say the people you meet at camp could be your lifelong friends. Camp creates such a unique and welcoming environment that your kid is bound to make new friends. The bonds that your child could make here are strong and often last far after they come to camp. The thing that will stick with your scout the most though is the memories they will make. This experience is one of a kind and can have such a positive impact on participants.

6. Get Unplugged

That’s right! Camp is a great way for your kid to put down the screen and actually enjoy the great outdoors. It is no secret that our society relies heavily on devices and camp might be one of your kids’ only chances to experience fun without the aid of an electronic device. Not only is this incredibly rejuvenating for your child, but it has several physical health benefits. Camp will increase your child’s activeness, help with neck and back pains from posture, and give their eyes a break. The lack of electronics also will do wonders for your child’s stress levels. The best part of this is that your child probably won’t even miss the screen with all the fun activities they will be participating in. Even if your child doesn’t go completely screenless for the week, they will still feel the benefits of cutting down on the electronics.

7.  Unique Experiences

Camp is likely to provide your kid with experiences that they might not have access to in “everyday” life. As mentioned before we have a large array of activities for your kid to enjoy but most of our activities are only available at places like camp. Give your kid the opportunity to learn to canoe or ride ATVs. Trying something new is often a fun and rewarding experience.

8. Experience Outdoor Childhood, Fun, And Adventure

When is the last time your kid just had fun in the dirt outside? Although this is an everyday occurrence for some kids it’s not for all. Camp encourages your kid to just be a kid and enjoy themselves. So many adults have fond memories from their days spent at camp, and kids who have been to camp often say it’s a favorite part of their summer. You are giving your child the gift of memories – dirt, adventure, story, and nights spent with friends outdoors under the stars.  These childhood memories will last forever. Odds are your kids are going to love it! And for that reason alone, it’s worth sending them to camp.

9.  Create Interests For Future Careers

Although camp is fun for all ages, it does have an added benefit for teenagers. Going camp can promote interests in future careers whether that has to do with the Merit Badges that your kid takes or just the fact that they enjoy the outdoors. If after coming to camp your kid decides that they really enjoyed, it then they can come back as a staff member to experience camp from a working side. Becoming camp staff has an entirely different list of benefits. Going to camp can turn your kid from a mentee to a mentor and they will gain many valuable traits from doing so.

10.  Sending kids to camp is beneficial for you, too

Leaving your kids in the great outdoors for an entire week might seem difficult or nearly impossible. But putting your kids in the care of our well-trained staff can open time for you to have an amazing summer too. Maybe it will free up time for some overdue self-care or give you and your partner time to reconnect. At the very least it will give you the time to rest and reset your busy life. Spending time away you’re your kid will make it sweeter when they come back. Parenting is tough work, so don’t feel guilty if you enjoy this time to yourself. Chances are that your kids are having a blast without you! That being said, there’s also the benefit of going to camp with your kid. Camp can be a great bonding experience for you and your child and will be something that neither of you will ever forget.


Hopefully, by the end of this list you have been able to consider the benefits of sending your kid to our summer camp. If your kid is in Cub Scouts and you are interested in signing them up for camp please visit Remember that if you are coming to our Cub Scout Adventure camp, you can bring your other kids along even if they aren’t in scouts! If your kid is in Scouts BSA you can talk to your troop leader about having the troop come to our camp. For more information on this visit

We hope to see you there this summer!

The Ultimate Guide for Summer Camp Packing


Is this your first summer sending your child to camp? Maybe this is your first summer going to camp without a family member? Or maybe you just want to perfect your camp preparation practices? Getting ready for camp can be stressful and overwhelming leaving you unsure of what to do. That’s why McNeil Scout Ranch is putting together this ultimate guide to getting ready for camp. You will get advice from one of our seasoned staff workers who has been professionally working at camp for five years and personal camping for far longer than that! In this blog we will discuss the different types of summer camps, what to bring to each of them, questions to ask, and some packing tips and tricks to guarantee a stress-free camp preparation. At the end of this blog is a packing list specifically for McNeil Scout Ranch.

Types of Summer Camps

Day Camps

These camps are exactly what they sound like, a camp you visit during the day but do not spend the night at. Typically, these camps can last from four days to a week but can also run all summer long. These camps are often close to home and would run similar to typical school day hours where campers get dropped off in the morning and picked up each day before the evening. Sometimes day camps have scheduled outings where all of the campers visit another location, kind of like a field trip. These camps can either be indoors or outdoors or a combination of both.

Residential Camps

These camps are typically overnight camps. The length of stay can range from four nights to a week to even the whole summer. Campers will sleep in either tents or cabins next to other campers their age or next to the other participants they came to camp with. These camps have a variety of activities in the day and the night.

Campsite Rentals

Campsite rentals allow for anyone to rent a lot of land for a couple of nights to a week. These spots can either have places to tent camp, RV camp, or cabin camp and some provide rentals for camping gear/recreational activities. When camping at a campsite there is often no activities planned out by the business or organization and you are simply renting the space for a certain amount of time. Hiking trails and lakes are often nearby.

Scout Affiliated Camps

Scout camps can either be run through Girl Scouts of the USA or Boy Scouts of America. These camps can either be a day camp or an overnight camp and vary in length and sleeping situations. Some scout camps have programs where you spend each night in a different location and spend the days hiking, boating, horseback riding, ATVing, etc. to the next location. Examples of this would include Philmont Scout Ranch which has backpacking trips or Northern Tier which has canoe trips. Campers will sleep next to members of the same sex and similar age in their troop.

Our Camp – McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley

With more than 3,300 acres of land, there are endless possible adventures available for Scouts of all ages at McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley. This regional camp includes a swimming pool, two lakes, Olympic shotgun shooting range (along with world-class rifle and archery ranges), one of Colorado’s premier mountain biking courses, natural rocking climbing areas, trading post, dining hall, a themed outpost camp, and that barely scratches the surface! Additionally, it’s near Colorado Springs and surrounding areas where campers go white water rafting, hike a 14er, or explore caves. The camp is located at 7,000 feet in elevation near the town of Elbert, Colorado. McNeil Scout Ranch runs as a weeklong summer camp for Scouts BSA and Cub Scouts during the summer season and can be rented out for other activities and camping in the off-season.  We recommend you bring your own tent but do offer tents to use. For the purpose of this blog, we will be discussing the packing needs for our specific camp when it comes to the scout affiliated sections.

What to Pack for Each Camp Type

Day Camps

Before heading to your day camp, you should read all of the instructions and information they give you and be aware if they provide meals or if you need to provide your own. Day camps are unlikely to have refrigerators or microwaves so keep this in mind if you need to pack a lunch. It is a good idea to bring a backpack to day camps and you should avoid string backpacks as those may become uncomfortable if worn for a while. What you put in your backpack depends on the type of day camp you are going to and whether its inside or outside but here is a list of things to consider packing. No matter the type of camp you should always pack a water bottle.

  • Change of clothes
  • Good walking shoes
  • Swim gear (swimsuit, goggles, swim shoes, towel)
  • Bug protection
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer

Some fun things I brought to day camps as a kid include handheld fans and cooling scarfs. Both of these help keep you cool in hot weather and are small and easy to pack/carry for day hikes.

It would also be a good idea to pack a snack if the camp is not providing one. Some great snack ideas include apples, oranges, granola, popcorn, pretzels, and veggies with a dip. You should try your best to avoid snacks that have any sort of nuts in them as it is fairly likely someone at the camp is allergic to them.

Overnight Residential Camps

Just like the day camps, there is a variety of overnight camps that all call for different things to pack. Here is a base list of things to pack for overnight camping.

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Hammock
  • Card games, book, or journal, sport equipment
  • Headlamp
  • Flashlight
  • Layered clothing
  • Change of clothes
  • Good walking shoes
  • Camp shoes to lounge in
  • Hiking boots
  • Swim gear (swimsuit, goggles, swim shoes, towel)
  • Bug protection
  • A hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toiletries  (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.)
  • Two reusable water bottles
  • Day backpack
  • Portable charger
  • Waterproof camera or other photo device
  • Pillow
  • Fleece blanket
  • Socks (Pack 2-4 extra pairs)
  • Raincoat/rain pants
  • Shower shoes like flipflops or crocs
  • Letter writing supplies for longer stays (envelopes, stamps, paper, writing utensils, addresses)
  • Wristwatch
  • Prescription medications in Ziploc bag with first and last name written on it.

Campsite Rentals

Because campsite rentals don’t typically offer anything except the plot of land to camp on you need to remember to bring everything else like cooking equipment and any sort of entertainment you want.

  • Camping stove with fuel
  • Cookware
  • Utensils (Both for cooking and eating)
  • Two reusable water bottles
  • Water filtration
  • towel and soap
  • Small cutting board
  • Food
  • Bear Bin if backpacking
  • Toilet paper
  • Portable GPS
  • Compass and map
  • Portable Chargers
  • Pen or pencil
  • Two-way radios (If you’ll be in a larger group)
  • Flashlights or headlamps (And extra batteries)
  • Lightweight hat
  • Sun hat
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Wool socks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Shower Shoes
  • Camp Shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Long pants & long-sleeved shirts
  • Swimsuit
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Bug spray and itch relief
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletry kit (with a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap etc.)
  • Prescription medications
  • Pain Medication
  • Tent (Double check you have all the necessary poles and stakes)
  • Mallet
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • Folding chairs
  • Pocket knife/Multi tool
  • Camera
  • Playing cards
  • Journal/book/Sketchbook
  • Bikes/boats/ATVs

Scout Camps

Just like the other camps, what you bring drastically depends on which camp you’re going to. At the bottom of this blog will be a packing list for McNeil Scout Ranch At Peaceful Valley. I will include here some scouting-specific items you don’t want to forget!

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Pocket Knife with Toten Chip
  • Prescription Medications in a Ziploc bag with your first and last name written on it
  • Your scout book for rank requirements
  • A mess kit if you are patrol cooking
  • Money for the camp store ($10-50)

Questions to Ask Before You Start Packing

Here are a few things that could be helpful to know before you pack for summer camp:

  1. Where will you store your clothes?
  2. Is there laundry available?
  3. Will you campers need multiple outfits per day?
  4. Are there bathrooms in cabins or is there a separate shower house?
  5. Are there flushable toilets or latrines?
  6. Where will you put your clothes if they’re wet?
  7. Is there a camp store?
  8. Can an adult send packages to the camp?
  9. Are there any extra events or trips during the camp term that would require specialized gear?
  10. Are you able to bring your own snacks?
  11. If you have food allergies, how are those handled at camp?

Most camps will provide a welcome packet that includes most of this information. But you may also want to give them a call/send an email if it is your first year and you are unsure.

Tips and Tricks for Camp Preparation

Know your camp

Depending on the type of camp and the current fire safety regulations you may be able to have a campfire. If so, you should check the fire safety rules for the specific camp and the state you are in. Some camps have other special rules like what types of vehicles or boats you can bring to the campsite. Campsites even have rules on whether you can bring your pet so be sure to do your research before signing up for a camp if you plan to bring one. Most camps have a list of prohibited items.

Don’t forget to label

It is likely your belongings are going to get mixed up with someone else’s at some point or even lost. It is important to label all of your belongings with your first initial and last name in case this happens. Most camps have some sort of lost and found for you to check but you are far more likely to get the item back if it’s labeled. Some examples of commonly lost items that show up in our lost and found include backpacks, clothes, shoes, towels, water bottles, and pocketknives. You can prevent this by labeling your items with masking tape and marker, sewing a name in, or writing it in with a permanent marker.

Pack in cubes

You can separate your items by using fabric storage separation bags. This way you can combine like items together to stay more organized.

Consider different containers to pack in

A duffle bag or plastic bin are great options to pack your belongings in. We recommend avoiding suitcases as they will be hard to roll around camp. A large hiking backpack is also a good option for light packing. If you want to challenge yourself and pack light at the same time, try packing everything you need in a 5-gallon bucket, this can double as a seat for around the campfire.

Bring a laundry bag

Bringing an empty laundry bag is a good idea so you can separate your clothes after they are dirty and stay more organized. You should do this even if there isn’t a place to wash your clothes there.

Packing List for McNeil Scout Ranch


  • Lightweight hat
  • Sun hat
  • Fleece Jacket
  • Rain Jacket
  • Rain Pants
  • Wool socks
  • Hiking Boots
  • Shower Shoes
  • Camp Shoes (Must be closed toed)
  • Sunglasses
  • Long pants & long-sleeved shirts
  • Swimsuit 
  • Scouting class A
  • Scouting class B
  • Belt

Personal Items

  • Wristwatch
  • Sunscreen (you can not share sunscreen with other campers)
  • Lip balm with SPF
  • Bug spray and itch relief
  • Hand sanitizer
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletry kit (with a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, soap etc.)
  • Prescription medications you need to take in a Ziploc bag with first and last name written on it (Scoutmaster or parent should drop with off at Med Lodge)
  • Your scout book for rank requirements
  • A mess kit if you are patrol cooking
  • Prescription glasses if needed and a glasses strap

Camp Necessities

  • Compass
  • Portable Chargers for any device you bring
  • Pen or pencil
  • Flashlights or headlamps (And extra batteries)
  • Tent if you don’t want to share or are not using provided tents (Double check you have all the necessary poles and stakes)
  • Mallet
  • Sleeping pad if you aren’t using our tents
  • Pillow
  • Folding chairs
  • Pocket knife (only if you have your toten chip, make sure to bring this with you)


  • Camera
  • Travel-sized board games
  • Playing cards
  • Journal/book/Sketchbook
  • Bike (Don’t forget a helmet and remember to sign our bike agreement upon arrival)
  • Money for the camp store ($10-50)


For more information on McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley visit:

Cold Weather in Colorado: Advice, Tips, and Tricks


Colorado is well known for its outdoor adventure persona with a multitude of nature-filled activities to participate in. You might first think of our popular summer activities but there is no shortage of fun winter outings that are sure to fill your need for adventure. Whether you’re skiing, Snowshoeing, Ice Fishing, Snowmobiling, Sledding, or Camping it is important to be prepared for whatever snowy obstacles you might come across. In this blog we will discuss some winter outing advice, safety, gear and location recommendations, and tips and tricks of cold activities. So, pull up your snow boots and strap in for this wild ride into the depths of Colorado in the winter.


Although you should do your individual research on how to be safe for each specific winter activity you choose to partake in, there are some general rules you should follow to ensure your safety with any winter activity.

1.     Don’t go out alone.

It is always a good idea to participate in outdoor activities with at least two other people because high adventure also means high risk. The risk of outdoor activities in the winter such as hiking or camping is even higher because if you get lost you could easily freeze to death overnight. Going with a group of people is a safety measure where everyone is keeping an eye out for hypothermia, frostbite, and making sure everyone drinks tons of water. A general rule should be that if you aren’t going to be in a populated area such as a ski slope you should not go alone. You should always let someone know where you will be and when you plan on coming back.

2.     Know the signs of cold weather injuries.

Frostnip, Frostbite, and Hypothermia are three of the most common injuries in cold weather outings and all can be serious. Hypothermia signs include severe shivering, dizziness, confusion, exhaustion, stumbling, incoherence, loss of motor control, and slurring of speech. Often someone with severe hypothermia will try and take off clothing layers, complaining they are too hot when it is obviously freezing to others.

Here’s a field test: make the person walk a straight line. If they can’t navigate a straight line, initiate first aid steps. Move the person out of the wind and cold if at all possible. Get warm (not hot) fluids and food into the body. Put on warm dry clothes. If the person is in the early stages of hypothermia keep them active. If the case is advanced, keep them quiet while treating.

Symptoms of frostbite include tingling, numbness, itching, burning, cold sensations, and blue or white pigment of the skin. If you experience any of these symptoms you should plan to leave immediately and seek medical help. Do not try to rewarm in the field, if the tissue refreezes during evacuation the damage will be greater.

Frostnip symptoms include bright red skin. Treat frostnip by skin-to-skin warming and no fast warm-ups or rubbing of the skin.

3.     Cross check multiple weather news outlets before going on your trip.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a reliable source to get specific weather information for any given location and can be found here:

You should be checking the weather several weeks or days before your outing based on the length of the trip and it’s always a good idea to pack for the worst even if it’s not predicted in the forecast. Make sure you check for wind chill because exposed skin can get frostbite in less than 30 minutes when the wind chill dips to minus 180 F.

For longer trips in the wilderness, it is a good idea to carry a radio that can access the National Weather Radio Frequencies NWR Stations ( Use the radio to check for changes in the weather a couple of times each day.

4.     Study up on all of your first aid and survival skills.

As a general rule, you should always know some basic first aid skills, especially if you often participate in outdoor activities. When going on any outdoor adventure during the winter it is crucial that you understand the risks, symptoms, and treatments of several injuries. Pay special attention to treatment for cold-related injuries. On any overnight trip you should have basic survival skills and should bring tools to help you in case things go awry. When going on adventures that have a low chance of you seeing other people, even if you aren’t planning on spending the night, you should always be prepared for the worst.

Tips and Tricks

1.      Warm your clothes.

If you are camping, heat up your clothes in your sleeping bag in the morning before you get up to prevent unnecessary coldness.

2.     Sleep Smart.

Always change to fresh clothing for sleeping. Clothing, such as socks tend to compress their loft and absorb sweat. Fresh socks and a fresh knit hat will provide much more warmth than clothing that has been worn all day.

Make sure your sleeping bag is not too tight to move around in comfortably. A tight sleeping bag will restrict warm air insulation. A sleeping bag liner or light blanket will add warmth and comfort. Make sure there is enough room in the bag for the extra layer.

When sleeping in a sleeping bag you should never cover your face in the bag because the condensation caused by your breath will create a cold wet environment for you to sleep in.

A thick, closed foam sleeping pad is essential to insulate you from the cold ground.

For extra warmth use a reflective space blanket. Wrap yourself into the blanket shiny side in to reflect body heat back into your sleeping bag. 

Have a proper 3 or 4 season tent with a weather fly that runs all the way to the ground to keep wind, rain, and snow off the tent, a good ground cloth to keep moisture from coming up off the ground and stiff aluminum poles to prevent the tent from collapsing under the wind or snow. Never pitch a tent under snow-laden tree limbs, the snow may drop off the tree onto the tent or worse the tree limb could break away under the weight of the snow and hit the tent.  

3.     Prepare your activities and equipment ahead of time.

Always have several layers of clothing for all winter outings. Colorado’s Weather can change rapidly with little warning so although it might be sunny when you start your trip, you could be stuck in a snowstorm in less than an hour. Always pack a top layer that is waterproof and another layer that is fleece. It is a good idea to take off any layers of clothing that have gotten wet and are up against your skin. Waterproof snowshoes are a good option for the winter but avoid fabric or leather boots. Gaiters to keep snow out of your boot tops is also a very good idea.

4.     Move.

Wearing layers of clothing isn’t enough to keep you warm as it simply protects the heat your body is already making. In order to stay warm, make sure you are constantly moving during your outdoor activity. Avoid becoming uncomfortably hot as this will increase perspiration and cause your clothes to get wet.

5.     Avoid wearing cotton clothing.

When cotton is wet it has a hard time drying and stops providing any warmth. Cotton socks can easily get wet from sweat and cause you more harm than good. Instead, opt for Fleece or wool clothing.

6.     Keep doing the basics.

It might seem like you need less water because it’s cold and you aren’t sweating as much as in the summertime. You should still be drinking plenty of water but avoid freezing it or putting in ice as that will only aid in getting colder faster. You should also still wear sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. Both clouds and snow magnify and reflect the sunbeams and can cause a nasty burn if you’re not prepared.

7.     Plan for more breaks

Winter cold saps more energy just keeping your body warm, so plan for more breaks in the activities. Use the breaks to check on everyone, are they staying warm and well hydrated, are they dry? Setting up a warming station with drinks and snacks should be considered when you are going to be out all day.

Gear Recommendations

Warmth depends more on the type of materials you’re using than the brand of material.

Outdoor fabrics to choose from:

Cotton                            Worst                Natural fiber

Wool                               Good                Natural fiber

Poplin                             Very good       Poly/Cotton blend

Polypro                           Best                   Synthetic

Polar fleece                   Best                   Synthetic

Supplex/nylon             Best                   Synthetic

Clothing Layers

1.     Base Layer

The main function of the base layer is to wick away moisture from your body. The base layer should consist of a Thinsulate hat, capline or polypropylene shirt, thermal bottoms, and polypropylene sock liners.

2.     Middle Layer

The main function of the middle layer is to trap body heat. Over the base layer wear a wool hat, fleece jacket, wool pants, wool socks, and wool mittens.

3.     Outer Layer

The main function of the outer layer is to repel water and wind. The outer layer shell should consist of a hooded Gortex parka, nylon pants, rubber pack boots, and over mitts. You may want to add sunglasses and a nose and cheek face protector.

Make sure that all clothing layers fit comfortably and loosely with each other. Bundled up too tight constricts blood flow and will make you colder. Loose clothing will allow warm air to circulate and insulation work to keep you warm.

Keep spare clothing such as hats, socks, and glove liners to change out during the day should the ones you are wearing get wet, either from snow or sweat.

Now that you know the right materials to choose from you can start shopping.

Places to Go Winter Camping and Learn About Winter Safety

Colorado has endless places to enjoy the winter weather with a multitude of activities including winter camping. The Denver Area Council offers two locations for camping in our off-season (not during the summer). Both offer campsites, cabins, and more, that are available for Scouting and non-Scouting organizations to rent. 

Tahosa High Adventure Base has been a part of the DAC since 1938. It is nestled in the Rocky Mountains, near the town of Ward, at an elevation of nearly 9,000 feet, making it one of the highest Scout camps in the United States. Tahosa consists of 320 acres, which includes several high alpine meadows, a large lake stocked with trout, and access to adjacent national forest lands. Tahosa is currently open for unit camping year-round. Heated cabins are available for various group sizes. Tahosa also hosts the winter camping program Okpik.

To make a reservation at Tahosa:

Okpik is a 2-day/2-night adventure that provides the opportunity for Scouts to develop confidence and gain skills to camp and live outdoors during extreme weather conditions. Participants receive preparation training for the physical challenge, cold weather dress, first aid and emergency procedures, food and water control, cross-country skiing equipment use, snowshoeing, and winter shelter building. Okpik provides state-of-the-art training for leaders, (both youth and adult), to gain confidence in taking groups into a cold environment and surviving year-round camping. This cold-weather training is appropriate only for those leaders and campers who have basic Scouting skills and mild weather camping experience. Training includes building skills that can ensure a successful, fun, and safe cold weather camping experience. These must-know skills are important because cold weather camping mistakes can be serious and certainly are not something upon which to build young Scout’s experience. Okpik Winter Camping is a physically vigorous weekend. All gear and food for the weekend is pulled on sleds and most of the day is devoted to shelter building and it can be very cold. Youth should have the mental and physical ability to complete and enjoy the weekend. All participants should undergo physical training to condition themselves for a very invigorating and challenging weekend. This camp is full for the winter of 2022 but you can find more information for next winter at

McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley is the larger of the DAC’s two camp properties. Located in Central Colorado on the edge of the Black Forest, MSR is 65 miles southeast of Denver, near the town of Elbert. The property includes 3,316 acres of mountain park terrain and sits at 7,000 feet in elevation along the Palmer Divide. It is home to Camp Cris Dobbins, Camp Dietler, and Magness Adventure Camp. In addition to summer opportunities, there are numerous opportunities for weekend camping during the off-season, including unit use of the shooting ranges. To learn more about year-round camping at McNeil Scout Ranch visit


This article is only a starter and guide for outdoor winter activities, and you should always do your own research and prepare for each individual winter activity that you do. The Emergency Service Corp of the Denver Area Council works to prepare those in the Council to conduct activities safely. Their monthly meetings are often combined with training such as CPR, Stop the Bleed, and Winter Camping. For more information about the ESC and their trainings contact Brad Johnston at

For more information on the Denver Area Councils best winter practices visit these links:

Cold-Weather Gear Suggestions:

State of Alaska Guide to Cold Injuries:

ESC Winter Camping Tips and Tricks:

10 Secrets to Winter Warmth:

Meet DAC Eagle Scout Adeline Pulioff!

Meet Adeline!

Meet Adeline Pulioff, one of the DAC’s newest Eagle Scouts!

Adeline Pulioff began her scouting journey in 2019 when girls were first invited to join. She journeyed through the scouting program with focus and determination, earning Eagle rank within three years. Along with her scouting achievements and awards, she has participated in service projects to benefit the local food pantry, schools, and the community.

Adeline along with her fellow contestants on Chopped Jr.

Scouting BSA has given Adeline opportunities to build leadership, confidence, and try new things. In addition to being a founding member of the Girl’s Troop 737, she’s competed on The Food Network’s Chopped Junior, won the CSNA One Plate Challenge, and is an honor roll student at Conifer High School.

For her Eagle Project, Adeline created 24 lap desks along with a storage wagon for Marshdale Elementary. The desks were utilized to enable flexible learning options like outdoor class for the students. She acheived her Eagle Rank on November 28th, 2021, less than three years after joining Troop 737G.

Learn more about what Scouting means to Adeline below!

Why is Scouting important? What does it mean to you?

Scouting is important because it teaches you life lessons and it helps prepare you for your future. It has taught me leadership, confidence, and skills for survival. I have had many experiences and adventures I will always remember.

Describe Scouting in three words.

Leadership, Experience, Growth

Words of Advice for New Scouts

Stick with it. There will be tough parts in scouting, but it gets easier and is worth all the effort. Camping, camps, and high adventure are amazing experiences you’ll never forget. Your troop is like a family of friends.

Way to go, Adeline!

Want to share your Scout’s story with the DAC? Submit your Scouting Story to!

Meet Some of the DAC’s Older Youth Leadership for 2022!

Join Sea Scouts!
Join Venturing!

The Denver Area Council is proud of it’s membership of older youth in Scouting, including unique programs like Sea Scouts as well as Venturers! Recently, the leadership for our Sea Scouts and Venturers was announced for 2022. Please welcome your new leaders for the Older Youth Programs in the DAC! Our youth Venturing Officers Association (VOA) President is Lolo Marshall and new youth Sea Scout Quarterdeck (QDK) Boatswain is Luke Nortman, advised by new Council Venturing Officers Association Adviser Pattie Nortman and Curtis Letson. Jon Strauss is the incoming Council Commodore for Sea Scouts. Learn more about them below!

Meet Lolo!

2022 Council Venturing Officers Association President Lolo Marshall

Lowri (Lolo) Marshall is the 2022 Council Venturing Officers Association President. She is an Eagle Scout, and proud to be a founding member of Troop 2119. She is the incoming Ordeal Chair for Order of the Arrow, has achieved her Apprentice rank in Sea Scouts Ship 444 and Discovery rank in Venturing with Crew 444. She has gotten to experience NYLT Bighorn, NAYLE at Philmont, Leave No Trace, Kodiak and Powderhorn training.

She loves Scouting and says that “Scouting has been my life since I was allowed to start joining my brother on all his adventures. Once girls were allowed into scouts I knew I would be excited to join. I have been active with my troop since February 2019 and I’m loving it!”

Meet Luke!

2022 Council Sea Scout Quarterdeck Boatswain Luke Nortman

Luke has been involved in Scouting as long as he can remember, having gone to Scouting events with his older brother since he was little. While he enjoyed Scouts, it was in Ship and Crew that he found access to more adventure and his true Scouting calling. He loves the physical components of Sea Scouts that still facilitate him improving his leadership skills, such as his rafting experience at Whitewater SEAL. It was experiences like Whitewater SEAL that inspired his ascension to president of Crew 444, a position he sought so that he could create more active experiences for Crew members.

While his entry into Scouting was inspired by his brother, he says “When I was younger, I wanted to follow in my brother’s footsteps, but I couldn’t truly enjoy what I was doing until I created a path of my own. And that is what has made my present day scouting experience, the way it is.

Meet Pattie!

New Council Venturing Officers Association Adviser Pattie Nortman

Pattie is the new Venturing Officers Association Adviser. She has almost 20 years of volunteer experience in Scouting. She credits her participation and enthusiasm to Scouting providing ” a necessary outlet for [her] inner 12 year old child. [She] thinks Scouting should be a healthy dose of fun, mixed with experiences made of successes, failures, do-overs, and, as a result, growth. And not just for the youth we serve.”

In her own words: ” As an adult leader, I would like to believe that my mold is not yet cast… I still cherish the lessons I have learned along the way… from Scouts and Scouters alike.  I hope that my willingness to take chances, to explore new ideas, and to challenge my own preconceived notions of the ‘right way’  not only supports my attempts to become the best version of myself, but that my examples of success and failure – in full view of my own sons as well as other Scouts – inspire others to be daring in their own adventures.  An ideal well supported by the quote ‘Progress, not Perfection.’ “

Incoming Council Commodore for Sea Scouts Jon Strauss

Meet Jon!

Jon Strauss is the incoming Council Commodore for Sea Scouts. He has been involved in Scouting since he became the Cub Master for his son’s Pack in 2014. Since then, he has logged over 18,000 miles around the country going on trips, trainings and other Scout travels. With all of that travel and experience, his favorite part of Scouting is still connecting with his son, Michael. As he says, those memories range from “watching [Michael] win a Pinewood Derby to having him lead a weeklong winter trek at Philmont. I feel there is no better program for youth on this planet, and getting to be a small part of it is rewarding as it is enriching.”

Jon is excited to working on growing the Sea Scouts program in the DAC!

Get Involved!

Inspired by these accomplished young people? We are looking for YOU to help us lead the older youth programs at Council for 2022. Both Luke and Lolo are looking for Boatswains mates or VOA Vice Presidents. Youth – please email your interest and for which program area. Sea Scouts or Venturing! Please email Pattie Nortman ( or Jon Strauss ( with your interest!

Additionally, calling all adult Scouters- Pattie is looking for 2-3 Associate Advisers for Venturing. If you are interested please email her at ( .

Top 5 Camp Skills That Will Help You In The Real World


Have you ever thought about what happens after camp? You just spent all week in the sun laughing, smiling, and having fun with your friends and now what? Yes, you completed some Merit Badges and maybe even some rank requirements but what about the more permanent effects of going to summer camp? Here at McNeil Scout Ranch at Peaceful Valley, we believe that summer camp offers more than just a fun week and some BSA requirements. We believe that camp provides life skills that you will use far after your time in scouting, whether you become an Eagle Scout or not. In this post we will be counting down the top 5 skills you will learn at camp that will benefit you for the rest of your life.

Not only is McNeil Scout Ranch the adventure of a lifetime, through it you’ll acquire skills that will last you a lifetime!

1. Plan, Prepare, and Participate

Summer camp is a great way to be introduced to these three life skills: Plan, Prepare, and Participate. Once you got these down, life as you know it will change for the better. Having the ability to plan will create more time for you to relax in life and not worry about the uncertainty. Then being able to prepare can alleviate unwanted stress and anxiety. Participating in life without fear of being judged will ultimately improve your quality of life no matter where you end up.

Before scouts even arrive at camp, we have them plan out what activities they want to do. Scouts have the opportunity to pick out several Merit Badges that interest them. The troop also does quite a bit of planning for camp without our help. Planning a packing list is a crucial step for any scout to enjoy their summer camp experience.

Now that we’ve discussed the importance of a good plan that leads us right into our next point which is prepare. Preparing for camp can happen in many different ways. Maybe preparing starts with getting outside and walking more. At camp, we offer several outdoor opportunities for physical activity and preparing for the physical exertion might be beneficial. Another way to prepare for camp is with that packing list you made. By gathering up all of the supplies you need early on, you can save yourself the stress of needing something and not having it. Imagine coming to camp without a rain jacket only to have it start pouring on the first day as you’re setting up camp. When a scout prepares for camp, they are ready for any obstacles they might come across.

Lastly, Participate. This is the part we actually do at camp. Coming to camp and spending the week without a parent can be rewarding for a child as they gain responsibility. Camp creates a safe environment where you’re bound to try something new. Our staff is trained in teaching new skills and helping scouts practice these skills. When a child comes to camp, they are given to opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and participate in an activity that they might not have the chance to any other time. When a child gets used to participating regularly it becomes easier for them to try new things and participate later in life.

All three of these skills create a place to exercise time management. This important skill will build the foundation of who you are as a person and how you will choose to succeed in life. Many people go about time management in different ways but when given the space and opportunity to practice it in a stress-free camp environment you to master it. Planning, preparing, and participating are all part of many necessary skills that are used to succeed in future endeavors.

2. Overcome obstacles

As mentioned earlier, camp offers a chance for scouts to overcome obstacles. Whether this is stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, or problem-solving with a peer you had a disagreement with, camp will always provide obstacles and foster an environment for safe and smart solutions.

When overcoming obstacles, scouts are taught to use teamwork and adapt to the situation. Children will almost always learn leadership skills when problem-solving and will begin to think outside of the box. Overcoming obstacles allows a child to become a quick thinker which is a very beneficial skill to have later in life. As you can see overcoming obstacles requires several other important skills to do. While a scout is at our camp, we provide a safe yet flexible space for children to work out difficult tasks and problems.

3. Expand Interests

As many of you already know, McNeil Scout Ranch offers an adventure like no other. Below is a list of just some of the amazing activities we offer at camp. We offer an easy and accessible way for youth to try out several new activities that they may not have a chance to try ever again. By expanding your interests you are more likely to be motivated to try other new things. Through camp you might just find something that you really enjoy and then you can explore further. Camp offers unique experiences in activities that translate directly to real careers that children often aren’t exposed to in school.

Our ATV Program is taught by a certified ATV director and the course covers the safety, upkeep, and use of ATVs. For this program, youth need to be at least 14 years of age & successfully complete the e-learning course prior to arrival. This is a great opportunity for scouts to let go and get down in the dirt with ATV fun!

Our Aquatics Program offers several opportunities for participants to have fun in the water! Participants must successfully pass the BSA Swim Test prior to attending. In addition to this year’s swimming and lifesaving Merit Badges, we will be offering Lifeguard Training and Swim Lessons. Our Aquatics program allows scouts to complete several requirements for Eagle Scout all while learning valuable water safety skills!

McNeil Scout Ranch is proud to announce the building of our new duel ziplines! Participants must be at least 14 years of age to participate.

We will also be offering a new Older Youth Shooting program which is a weeklong program that is all about shooting sports!

Lastly, we will be bringing back our Horse program this year! Through this, we will offer trail rides throughout the week!

We also offer an extensive list of Merit Badges and will even be offering several new Merit Badges this upcoming summer. The new Merit Badges that will be offered are Game Design, Movie Making, Radio, Geology, Reptile Amphibian Study, Weather, Hiking, Architecture, Fingerprinting, Textiles, Engineering, and Public Health. To see a full list of all the merit badges and other fun adventures we offer visit:

4. How to Cook

Cooking is a much-needed life skill for obvious reasons. Although learning to cook might not seem like the biggest concern in a young person’s mind, it is the biggest lifesaver when becoming an adult. After high school, there are many roads to go down in life – most of which involve being able to feed yourself. Sure, it’s easy enough to throw a frozen pizza in the oven or even boil some hot water for ramen but knowing what goes into a balanced meal and how to actually cook one will help create a successful life.

At our summer camp, we offer a Patrol Cooking Option. Patrol Cooking involves the entire troop cooking and cleaning up their own meals all week. This is a great way for scouts to gain responsibility and knowledge with cooking equipment while adults are still watching over them. Patrol Cooking also takes all of the stress out of figuring out what to cook. We provide the food, portions, and recipes and the participants just need to make it and eat it. Hands-on learning is arguably the best way to pick something up fast and enjoy it. By having kids making food alongside their friends they associate cooking with good memories and are more likely to want to cook later in life.

If this sounds like the life skill for you then check out our website to sign up for either sessions 1 or 5 for a chance to Patrol Cook with your troop!

5. Outdoor Survival and First Aid

Lastly, and probably the most well-known skill when it comes to summer camp: outdoor survival and first aid. Although in the real world there are trained professionals when it comes to serious injuries, I have known several scouting individuals who have saved lives by knowing first aid and CPR. It may not happen often but knowing how to perform effective first aid could change your life forever. Aside from the more serious medical skills you learn in scouting, you also learn very practical skills such as how to clean a wound, how to treat a burn, and how to remove a bee stinger. There is tons of information on the internet that is contradictory and can be unhelpful when you need it the most so knowing basic first aid from a trusted source like camp is key.

If you’re reading this article, then it’s likely you are involved in the great outdoors one way or another. You probably have always loved the outdoors and always will. Children who go to summer camp often participate in other outdoor activities such as hiking or a watersport. When participating in these activities it is not incredibly unlikely for something to go wrong and having the knowledge of outdoor survival skills can be a real lifesaver. Here at camp, we have all of our staff trained in several different survival skills and scouts are sure to pick up a few skills throughout the week. If you are interested in a more in-depth idea of the skills you need to survive if a situation goes awry, then check out any of our merit badges at our scoutcraft lodge. All of these outdoor skill badges will definitely help in a life-or-death situation in the wilderness.


These are just some of the many amazing skills you will obtain at our summer camp! For more information on the programs we offer and how to register visit:

Patrol Cooking at Camp


Scout camps all across the world typically provide food through a dining hall system where kitchen staff cook and serve the meals, but there is another way for troops to get their daily dose of nutrients. Here at McNeil Scout Ranch, we offer an alternative method that promotes leadership skills and team building all while creating memories through cooking.

Amongst the morning breeze rustling through the grass, one might also hear the sound of sizzling bacon cooking on a camp stove as scouts prepare breakfast for their troop patrol. Although dining hall meals offer an easy and reliable way for participants to eat before their exciting day full of adventure, the patrol method teaches youth valuable life skills. First used by Baden-Powell in 1907, patrol cooking is an easy and fun way for troops to cook, eat, and clean during their weeklong camping experience at McNeil Scout Ranch! In this post, we’ll define Patrol Cooking, describe a typical patrol cooking setup, and provide 4 tips and tricks to get started with Patrol Cooking in your troop.


Patrol cooking stems from the root source of the Patrol Method: youth working together towards a common goal where each participant has an important role and adults act as guides that supervise. The patrol method allows Scouts to lead each other through teamwork.

A Scout patrol is a small team of normally six to eight youth from the troop and can be made up with a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) or a Patrol Leader (PL) who organizes and leads roles and assignments for the members. Having a troop split into smaller groups leads to self-accountability and responsibility for troop success.

Patrol cooking is set up where each person in the patrol has a job. Two scouts might be in charge of getting the food from the drop-off location and bringing it back. Another scout might be responsible for preparing the food and another cooking it. Lastly a scout or two sets up the wash line for all the scouts to clean personal mess kits and cooking equipment. Every person must complete their task for the patrol to be able to eat and continue on with their day.


Patrol cooking creates jobs for each person in the patrol where if incomplete the system doesn’t function. It encourages the scouts to rely on each other for the success of the group. Without a scout preparing the food, cooking, and cleaning, a patrol can’t continue in their day at camp. Having scouts cook their own food cultivates a love for cooking and creating the food that fuels their bodies. Cooking one’s own food fosters memories and connections among youth. The hard work and effort put into making a meal leads to satisfaction that the dining hall simply cannot replicate. By cooking their own food youth gain a sense of accomplishment all while honing their communicative and leadership skills. Patrol cooking cultivates an environment where youth gain valuable life skills.


Scouts need to work together timely to complete all their tasks on time for them to eat and clean up.


Each patrol is a team that works together towards a common goal.


Scouts might need to overcome the challenges of cooking or working well together if arguments arise.


Youth are encouraged to take action for what needs to be done in order for the food to get made and the site cleaned up. Patrol cooking fosters leadership skills.

Planning and Organizing

A Patrol needs to plan who does what job and who is responsible for certain aspects of the cooking process. A great way to do this is by making a duty roster that alternates jobs.


People learn so much through hands-on interaction like cooking for themselves. Patrol cooking is the perfect opportunity to create a learning environment.


Who decides which participant is going to gather supplies, prep, cook, or clean for each meal?

Each patrol is led by a patrol leader who is typically in charge of making something called a duty roster. This is a list of job assignments and a space to write the name of the person doing that assignment for their specific meal. These assignments should be rotated every meal so that a scout isn’t stuck doing a specific job the entire week. Duty rosters keep the patrol organized and running smoothly during mealtimes.


Food Runners

These scouts are in charge of going to pick up the food from a pre-assigned meeting location. If a patrol doesn’t know where this is already, they should ask a counselor ahead of time to show them. This crew needs to be made up of at least two individuals for the buddy system as they are leaving their campsite to go pick up the food and bring it back. This crew is also in charge of making sure they have the right amount of food for their patrol when picking it up. Typically, the ingredients are split up into bags with the number of servings written on the bag. The scouts are responsible for making sure this number matches the number of scouts in the patrol while also reading the ingredient list to make sure they have all the ingredients they need before heading back to camp.

Cook Crew

The cook crew is responsible for preparing the food and cooking it. This crew should ideally have at least two individuals but can be done with one if the patrol is small. Here they are tasked with reading the cooking instructions and following them accurately. They must follow all food safety procedures such as washing their hands before starting and making sure meat is cooked thoroughly. This crew holds a large amount of responsibility as they are the ones using knives to cut the food and fire to cook it. It is important for these scouts to give their full attention to the cooking process. If they aren’t sure of what to do it is important that they first problem solve, then discuss the issue with their PL or SPL and as a last resort reach out to a counselor or adult leader.

Cleanup Crew

Here the scouts are in charge of cleaning any leftover food, trash, and dishes. Ideally, this crew has at least two people to carry water buckets. These scouts should start a pot of hot water as soon as they can so they can pour it into the wash line. Cleaning can be a chore done during cooking. Putting up packages and unused utensils as well as throwing away waste as the food is being cooked cuts down on the time cleaning up after the meal. Placing a pot of water on the stove ensures hot water is ready for rinsing dishes by the time people are done eating. There are four buckets in a wash line, and everything but hot water can be prepared ahead of time. The Goober Bucket needs cold water and a scrubby. This bucket is for getting any food residue from the dishes. The Soap Bucket needs warm water, soap, and a scrubby. This is for scrubbing the dishes clean. The Rinse Bucket just has warm water in it and is used to rinse off the soap. Lastly, the Sanitize Bucket has cold water and 2 sanitation tablets. This bucket sanitizes the food from germs. All the scouts should be helping clean the actual dishes and are responsible for cleaning their individual mess kits. The cleanup crew needs to dump all the water into the sump at the end of the cleaning process. To do this they should first dump the Goober Bucket, then dump the Soap Bucket into the Goober Bucket and re-dump that into the sump. Then dump the remaining buckets into each other in order until the Goober Bucket has had all the other bucket’s liquids dumped into it. Then the cleanup crew can set the buckets out to dry.


Plan out job assignments for each meal.

Having this set up ahead of time eliminates confusion and anger about who’s doing what. Be clear about what the responsibilities are for each job as well to minimize conflict. It is important to change up the job assignments each meal so each scout can experience different responsibilities and learn different skills.

Work together as a patrol.

Everyone should have a job in the patrol so that the cooking can run smoothly, and the youth can work together as a whole to achieve a common goal. Dividing up tasks gives everyone the opportunity to participate and learn while also not putting the weight of the group’s success on one individual.

Leave any drama at the campfire

Remember you’re here to learn to work well with your patrol. Problem solving and communication are arguably the biggest parts of a successful patrol and knowing when to let something go is essential. A scout doesn’t want to waste all of their cooking time arguing with their patrol about something.  

Cook the right amounts for your patrol.

Leave no trace is an important part of the outdoor code and applies to when you’re cooking too. By making the right amount of food and eating all of it, a patrol can prevent critters from making a home in the campsite and assures each participate is full of nutrients for their busy day of scouting!


Patrol Cooking is a great way for a troop to become closer and it instills valuable life lessons into each scout. If you are interested in signing up for one of our Patrol Cooking sessions you can sign up for either session 1 or 5 here:

Does your troop have any patrol cooking tips or recipes you would like to try? Leave them in the comments below!

Fourth Generation Eagle Scout Guyton becomes Youngest Eagle in 50 Year Troop History

On October 10, 2021, Tyler Guyton of Evergreen, son of Dr. Brad and Allison Guyton, achieved the unique honor of becoming the youngest Eagle Scout in Troop 888 history while continuing his 90+ year family legacy in scouting.

Tyler and his Troop leadership.

His great grandfather Harold “Pappy” Guyton, his grandfather Thomas “Pappy” Guyton, and his father Dr. Brad Guyton all also received their Eagle Scout rank as young men. Tyler Guyton joined Troop 888 just after his 11th birthday and made an early commitment to achieve his Eagle on the same day as his grandfather August 17, 1956, exactly 65 years later.

He formally completed all requirements and qualified for Eagle Scout on August 17, 2021, just a few weeks before his 14th birthday. By achieving his goal and this rank by that date, he also snagged the added bragging rights of beating his dad to Eagle by three days.

“I am just getting started in scouting. Everything worth having takes work and a village of people to complete. I have a connection with these people that will last a lifetime.”

-Tyler on his journey to Eagle

His Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremony was celebrated this past month by 90 fellow scouts, leaders, friends and family members held in the outdoor amphitheater of the Lutheran Church of the Cross. Dinner was Cowboy Casserole, root beer floats, and real time homemade Dutch oven cinnamon apple donuts made by scouts in the troop. Presenters included Emcee Scout Lochlan DaRonco, Brad Guyton (Tyler’s father), the Honorable Robert Wilson (Eagle Scout), Manan Shah (Eagle Scout) and Mitch Goldenberg, Scoutmaster of Troop 888. Mentorship acknowledgments were awarded by Tyler to Mitch Goldenberg, Keith Leswing, Greg Hartman, and Landon Hartman. Some family members in attendance were Tyler’s parents Brad and Allison, his sister Ava, Barbara Guyton (his grandmother), Tyler and Elsa Maas (his Aunt and Uncle), and Kristin Sayre (his Aunt).

Tyler and his family.

During his time Scouting, Tyler has served as troop guide and patrol leader, in addition to other leadership roles. He was also awarded a bronze palm during this ceremony, the first palm awarded in his Scoutmasters tenure. In addition to his certificate and Eagle medal, Guyton was awarded a commemorative engraved axe and a flag that flew over the US Capitol on his 14th birthday this year.

Only four percent of boy scouts ever achieve the rank of Eagle Scout and of those that do make it, it typically takes about six years. To achieve Eagle, a scout must earn 21 merit badges, advance through six prior ranks, and lead a team through a community-based Eagle Scout project.

For his project, Guyton led other scouts in building an outdoor COVID classroom at Evergreen Middle School. Now that he has achieved his personal scouting goal, Guyton plans to continue on in scouting with his fellow scouts at Troop 888 in leading younger scouts and looking outside the troop for other ways to contribute. “I am just getting started in scouting. Everything worth having takes work and a village of people to complete. I have a connection with these people that will last a lifetime.” said Guyton.

Troop 888 is non-denominational scouting troop that welcomes all young people between the ages of 11 and 18 that love to camp, cook, challenge one another, and serve the Evergreen community.

To learn more, please visit Guyton Family: Ava, Brad, Tyler, and Allison Scoutmaster Goldenberg, Leswing, Guyton, and Hartman Brad Guyton, DDS, MBA, MPH | Chief Dental Officer Delta Dental of Colorado and Delta Dental of Virginia UCSDM, Associate Professor CO Email: VA Email: Phone: (720) 766-5853

Triple Crown Accomplished by Eagle Scout Braden Johnson

Outdoor adventures are a key part of any Scout’s journey. For local Eagle Scout Braeden Johnson, this summer’s adventures took him from the sands of Sea Base to the rushing waters of the Northern Tier and finally to the awe-inspiring views of Philmont. It’s a summer that represents many of the pinnacle experiences of Scouting.

Eagle Scout Braeden, from Troop 788 in Castle Rock completed a Triple Crown this summer.  The Triple Crown of National High Adventure Award was created in 1995 to both promote the Boy Scouts of America’s national high adventure programs and help identify those Scouts with a thirst for high adventure who may be interested in serving on the staff of Northern Tier High Adventure and other national high adventure bases. Recipients have participated in at least one qualifying high adventure program at three of the BSA’s four national high adventure bases. 

He started with Sea Base in June where he completed the Scuba Dive adventure, at the end of June he went to Northern Tier as part of a Wilderness Voyage where he paddled over 175 miles in 2 weeks.  In July he completed a 9-day trek of 50 miles at Philmont. 

Braedon at Philmont, where he completed a 50 mile trek in 9 days.

He stated that each High Adventure Camp offers something so unique, Northern Tier gives you the best wilderness experience, while Philmont gives you the best Scouting experience.  Sea Base and scuba diving was so much fun he wants to go back when he is 18 and be a Dive Master for Sea Base.

Braedon at Sea Base, completing his Scuba Dive Adventure.

Next year he will complete the Grand Slam with the OA Summit Experience doing an ATV Experience and will stay to do another OA Trail Crew at Summit.  He has ambitions of completing an Order of the Arrow Grand Slam in the next two summers. 

Braedon at Northern Tier, where he paddled 175 miles over the course of 2 weeks with the OA Trail Crew.

He wants to be an ambassador to younger scouts letting them know how different the High Adventure Camps are from Summer Camp.

Way to go, Braeden!