Scouts BSA Summer Camps: Prep, Tips, Costs, And What To Know

From awesome activities to fun times with friends, attending a summer camp has always been a one-of-a-kind experience. And as you likely guessed, BSA Scout summer camps are the same way! They’re designed to support the personal journey of every Scout, making them a key part of the Scouting experience.

What is a BSA Scout Summer Camp? Week-long BSA Summer camps offer Scouts a wide range of experiences such as merit badge classes, troop competitions, swimming, flag ceremonies, campfires, and outdoor activities. These fun and educational programs help Scouts to develop skills, deepen friendships, and make progress through their ranks.

P.S. This article is a guest post collaboration between Eagle Scouts, Michael M and Cole🙂

When I was a Scout, Sumer camps were one of the activities I looked forward to most. These events normally lasted a week, and I’d be sure to come away with some incredible memories. If you’d like a visual representation of some of the exciting activities you’ll find at Scout summer camp, check out the short video (0:41) below!

Looking to learn more? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, I’ll be going through all the things you should know before setting out for Scout summer camp. This includes covering the importance of these camps, the average cost to attend, the activities involved, and much more! Now, let’s get to it and find out what makes Scout camps so awesome. 😀

What Scouts Do at a BSA Summer Camp

There’s a whole lot that goes down at Scout summer camp, and merit badges are at the center of it all! Honestly, one of the best things about the summer camp experience is the wide variety of badges you can work on. And even better, the camping environment makes it much simpler to earn badges that would be hard to get elsewhere!

As you probably guessed by now, your schedule will be built around working on and earning these badges. This will expose you to all sorts of cool new facts and experiences, helping you learn cool skills, grow as a person, and tighten your bonds with your fellow Scouts. 🙂

BSA Scout Summer Camp Badges And Activities

Since your summer camp experience is in your own hands, you can be as active as you choose to be! With that said, the more active you are, the more you’ll get out of your time at camp. So, I’d encourage you to fill up your days with fun activities! That way, you’ll make so many more exciting memories to look back on.

Scout summer camp is a unique environment that’s geared toward merit badges, and there’s such a wide range for you to choose from! Plus, you can even earn the tricker Eagle-required badges. Here are just a few common badges that I’ve seen offered at Scout summer camps:

Amazing variety, right? Each of these badges will involve different activities that push you as a Scout in new and unusual ways! Not only will you pick up cool skills and knowledge, but you’ll also have so much fun with friends along the way.

I attended Camp Ranachqua every year when I was a Scout, and I was amazed by just how many awesome activities it had to offer! From handicrafts to hiking to archery, there was almost no limit to what a Scout could do. This might sound cheesy, but going to camp felt almost like stepping into another world! Check out this cool video (3:35) to see what I mean.

Summer camp also has activities that aren’t directly related to merit badges. In fact, there’s everything from flag ceremonies to massive competitions between troops! Each of these activities is bound to enhance your summer camp experience.

Of course, you won’t be spending all your time bustling around. Leisure time is an important part of the camp experience too, and Scout camps have lots of fun ways to spend your downtime! For example, the camp I attended had a neat little shop where you could buy items and supplies. They even sold some great slushies! 😀

Why Scout Summer Camps Are Important

Scout summer camp gives you a chance to have fun with your buddies and even build new friendships! As you all take part in the activities that camp has to offer, you’ll naturally grow closer through shared experiences. These activities will also push you outside your comfort zone so you can level up your Scouting skills!

And that’s not all. By letting you set your own schedule, Scout summer camp provides you with a great opportunity to make decisions for yourself. This theme of independence will show up in every aspect of your time at camp! You’re sure to be more mature and confident by the time you head home.

How Much Does a Scout Summer Camp Cost?

I wish we could just talk about the fun parts of camp, but costs are also important to consider when it comes to Scout summer camp. The cost to attend a Scout summer camp often falls between $400 and $500. Still, the price can vary a whole lot — as you can see from the camps below!

If this sounds like too much to handle, there is a way to lessen the cost: fundraisers! Troops that use Individual Scout Accounts can allocate money from fundraisers to individual Scouts, making it possible for Scouts to pay fees that would otherwise be too expensive. Summer camp is a great example of how fundraisers can help a Scout!

Tips for BSA Scout Summer Camp

When it comes to summer camp, there are lots of helpful tips and tricks to learn! Each of them will make your time outdoors so much more enjoyable. Here are a few of the best:

  • Do all the prep work for your badges beforehand. Prerequisites are an essential part of earning a badge, so make sure not to neglect them! You’ll be thankful you did when you’re holding your awesome new badges in your hands 🙂
  • Focus on merit badges that would be hard to complete outside of camp. By prioritizing badges like those, you take full advantage of the unique opportunities for advancement that summer camp has to offer!
  • Don’t forget to stay hydrated. You’re going to be staying active beneath the hot summer sun, so please remember to drink plenty of water. Not only is it healthy, but it’s also important for your own safety!
  • Take plenty of showers. Sweat and dirt accumulate quickly, especially when you’re being active outside. Plus, the heat can get pretty intense in the summer months. That’s why it’s so important to shower regularly!
  • Manage your money properly. A Scout is thrifty, and that’s especially important here! You don’t want to blow through all your money at the trading post during your first few hours 😬 Keep an eye on your funds and make sure you have plenty to last the week!
  • Use lots of sunscreen. Nothing puts a damper on a fun trip quite like a sunburn! It’s hard to focus on time with friends when you’re in pain and discomfort. So, don’t let that happen to you! Keep your sunscreen handy, and be sure to put it to good use.
  • Most important of all, have fun! Summer camp isn’t just about learning new skills and earning cool badges. It’s an opportunity to have fun with your troop and other Scouts like yourself. Being productive is just as important at camp as anywhere else, but please don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

What to Wear at a Scout Summer Camp

Now, time to talk about clothes! When you’re packing for a trip, clothing is one of the most important topics to consider. If you bring along the wrong clothes, there’s no doubt that you’ll have a less than ideal experience! That’s why I’m going to tell you which clothes you ought to bring along to summer camp. 😀

Since summer camp takes place during the hottest time of the year, it’s important that you bring along lightweight clothing to reflect that. Here’s a handy list of all the clothing essentials to bring to Scout camp:

  • Your Class A Scout uniform
  • Class B Troop Uniform/Shirt
  • Neckerchief and Slide
  • T-shirt
  • Shorts
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Sleeping clothes
  • Cap
  • Closed-toe shoes or hiking boots
  • Water shoes
  • Poncho
  • Swimsuit

Your Class A uniform will have its place in some situations when you’re out camping, but there are plenty of times when you’ll dress more casually as well! So, make sure not to leave out any of the items on this list. The poncho is an especially important one, as you can never know for sure when it’s going to rain!

Gear Scouts Should Pack for Summer Camp

As every Scout knows, there’s more to packing than just clothes! Camping won’t go well at all without the proper gear. The gear you should bring to summer camp isn’t all that different from what you’d take on a normal camping trip! You can pack a bit lighter though, since summer camps typically provide large items like tents and cots.

Here’s a quick list of the gear you ought to bring along to summer camp! Each item has its place, so I’d definitely recommend you pack them all:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Pillow
  • First aid kit
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight
  • Extra batteries
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • Pocketknife and Totin’ Chip

Like I said before, it’s extremely important to stay hydrated! For that reason, I’d say that the water bottle is one of the most essential items to pack. Also, remember to bring along your first aid kit! Emergencies have a tendency to happen when you least expect it. For more info on gear and my top picks, be sure to check out this Scout camp packing list!


As you can see, summer camps are a uniquely amazing experience for every Scout! Its focus on merit badges makes it perfect for advancement, and the way it’s structured encourages you to grow as a person. As you build your skills and gain new knowledge, you’ll find that your character will naturally strengthen and mature!

There are lots of ways to spend your time at camp, which means you can set a schedule that suits your interests and fits your needs. Pick the badges that interest you most, and you’re bound to have a great time! Have a ton of fun out there, and thanks for reading 😀

I really hope this article helps you to have an epic Summer camp. Now, get ready to make some incredible memories with your troop buddies! Next up, be sure to also read any of the following articles if they catch your interest:

That’s all for now! Thanks for stopping by ScoutSmarts. We hope to see you back here again soon and, until next time, we’re wishing you nothing but the best during your Scout Summer camp!


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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