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: https://www.denverboyscouts.org/camps/peaceful-valley-scout-ranch/camp-cris-dobbins/