The importance of Scout camps

Whenever I write about Scout camps, people say to me that they couldn’t bear it if their kids went away. They don’t know how they would cope without them. They’re dreading the day their kids are old enough to go away…

I’ll be honest, I don’t look forward to it either. Sometimes I dread it too. I really miss them when they’re away. Sometimes I’d like to just keep them at home, all wrapped up in cotton wool.

But I don’t. Because I know just how important Scout camps are.

Scout camps (and Guide camps and school residentials) give kids so much. So much more than they would ever get on a family holiday, even a family camping holiday.

They do activities they’ve never done before. They have to work as a team, be brave, use their strength or their intelligence. They have to go out of their comfort zones and come to terms with getting dirty.

They learn independence. They know what they can do and where they can go safely. Everything is risk assessed to the nth degree, but they are allowed a certain amount of ‘safe’ freedom. They don’t have leaders with them every step of the way. They have to make their own decisions, usually with their friends.

They have to learn to look after themselves and each other. They get involved in cooking and washing up, which they might not do at home. And even if they do cook at home, cooking on a camp stove in a mess tent is a very different experience.

They build even stronger relationships with their friends. Being with friends 24 hours a day every day for a week is a very different experience to just seeing them at school or meeting up with them for a few hours at the weekend. They cheer each other up and support each other if someone is feeling a bit down.

They work with kids of different ages who aren’t related to them. Scouts are aged 10-14. Where else outside the family home do kids get to work with kids who are that much older or that much younger?

Your kids will come home different people – better people, who have learned a bit about the world and maybe who appreciate the comforts of home and what you do for them a bit more!

Taking all of that into account, letting them go and missing them for a week is a small price to pay. So if your kids get the chance to go on a Scout camp, think about their needs, not your own. Of course, not all kids will want to go, but let it be their decision, not yours. No child should be forced to go on a camp, but every child should be given the opportunity.

They won’t regret it and nor will you.

Scout camp, The importance of Scout camps, Scout badges, Scouts


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I love this! As a Beaver Leader I can’t wait until M is off up into Scouts on an adventurous camp without me there.

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    • Thanks, he will have the best time! And huge respect to you for being a leader, it is such a big job, but I’m sure it’s very rewarding. Our leaders are amazing!

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  2. Great post. This is pretty much how I feel about CC going on camp next summer. I’m nervous but as he’s only ever been away from me while I was in hospital (and then he had daddy at home) I expect the nervous side is perfectly normal. And he will only be a couple of hours away in Weymouth so if the worst comes to the worst I could collect him early. But I’m very excited about all the opportunities that he will get there and so is he.

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    • It’s great that he’s excited. The opportunities really are incredible! They’re usually so busy they don’t have time to miss home.

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  3. My Dad used to be a Scout leader, as did my partner’s, so it’s a shame there aren’t any nearby and neither of us are in a position to take one on. I do think it’s such an excellent way to foster independence and self-reliance, and a huge sense of pride in your own achievements.

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    • Scouts is absolutely brilliant and huge respect to your dad and your partner’s dad for being leaders. What a shame there are no Scout groups near you.

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  4. There’s such a strong culture of summer camps here in Canada. We’re hoping the kids will go on a residential camp next summer (our daughter is keen, our son not so much as there will be no minecraft!).

    I have friends whose kids go to camp for a *month* every summer from age 9! We’re looking at 3-5 days…

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    • It seems crazy to me that kids that young go away for a month. I think three to five days sounds far more sensible! My younger son went away for 12 days at the age of 11, which was tough (for me, not him!). He had an amazing time, but I wouldn’t have wanted him to go at that age without his brother.

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  5. I’m not sure my two will go to scouts / brownies etc because they seem very into other activities such as sport so we may not fit it in. But I totally agree with the concept – being away from home is important for everyone and teaches them a lot. I certainly wouldn’t stop mine from going, although I’d hate them being away!

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    • It is horrible when they’re away, but when you hear what they’ve been up to, it’s just amazing!
      My daughter went to Rainbows, but then had too much on in the way of dance lessons to do Brownies or Cubs. As Scouts is later in the day, we’ve been able to fit it around dance classes.

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  6. I couldn’t agree more with this – I used to go on every Girl Guide camp I could – I adored every moment. It was the freedom, independence and friendships that became so important. Carrie x My Circle UK

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