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The Outdoor Program

Scouting works best in the place that boys want it most: the outdoors.  It is often said that three-quarters of Scouting is "outing."  There are a number of reasons why the outdoor program is so special.  Here are some that are especially good:

1. The outdoors is the best place for learning outdoor skills.  How could it be otherwise?  In the outdoors, Scouts get an immediate chance to use the skills they are learning. 

2. The outdoors is a great place for learning something about living with others.  When Scouts walk on the same trail, cook and eat together, and share triumphs and troubles together, they learn important things about patience, respect for other points of view, doing their full share, and developing lasting friendships.  These are some of the "personal growth" skills we want from every Scout.  The outdoors is where they grow up best.

3. On the trail or in camp, the boy leaders will be challenged by the real thing - getting their patrols fed and sheltered, keeping them warm and safe, solving the problems they can solve, and knowing how to get help for those they can't.  It is a time when leadership skills can deepen, patrols grow closer, and the troop grows stronger.

4. The outdoors is also a place where a Scout can get closer to the natural world around him - the land, the forests and their wildlife, the lakes and rivers, the mountains and the seas.  In the outdoors, he will learn "outdoor ethics" -- the understanding and respect for the environment we all share, and he will develop an active concern for it's health and a willingness to work to keep it healthy.

We have several camping trips per year plus a week of summer camp at a Boy Scout camp, usually in early July.  On camping trips, we usually plan, cook and eat meals by patrols; on smaller group outings, we may cook and eat as a single patrol.  We also have one-day or part-day activities during the year. Our goal is to have at least one featured activity each month. Our activity calendar for the year is prepared by the Scouts in early summer and finalized in early fall.  However, it is always subject to change.  Scheduling updates will be placed on the website.

Past Troop 208 outings have included whitewater rafting on the Lehigh River, hiking on the Appalachian Trail, camping at the "Melmar" site in Lorimer Park, orienteering, geocaching, indoor rock climbing, tubing and rafting on the Delaware River, and snow tubing.   Ideas for new activities are always welcome.  

Outdoor Equipment:
The troop has camping gear such as tents, lanterns, camping and backpacking stoves, utensils, pots and pans, and other general camping supplies.  Boys should have a decent quality sleeping bag and a ground pad to go under the bag, both for padding and insulation.  A backpack is also useful for carrying gear on shorter trips and a real necessity on longer ones.  In some cases, a school backpack is sufficient.  Hiking boots are also useful, but not required for most outings.  A mess kit with cup, knife, fork, and spoon are essential.  If you don't have experience buying any of the equipment you need, talk to experienced Scouts and parents before you buy.  Good equipment is not necessarily expensive, and expensive equipment is not necessarily good.  

Medical Forms:
Each Scout must turn in a completed Annual Health and Medical Record form filled in, signed by his family doctor, and submitted to the Scoutmaster before participating in any camping trips, summer camp and high adventure activities.  You can download and print out the form from BSA's national website by clicking on the link in this paragraph.  Parents who attend summer camp will also need to complete the same medical form.  These forms come with us on camping trips and are critical for obtaining medical care in an emergency.  The
form is  available for PDF download:   Annual Health and Medical Record.  Hint: the form is data-enabled.  You can fill most of it out on your computer and save it before printing it out.  This will make it easier to complete the form the following year.
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Medication:
All boys' medications will be handled by an adult leader participating in the trip or activity.  The medications should be provided in a labeled, sealable container and have instructions for dosage and schedule.  Except for "Epi Pens" (if the Scout is trained to use one), medication should not be left with the Scouts themselves.  Please make sure the adult leaders know ahead of time if you son has any special needs.

Parents:
Parents are always needed to help make the troop program successful. This goes double for the Outdoor Program!  WE NEED YOU to take part in camping trips, to drive for camping trips and other activities, and to help us deliver a quality outdoor program.