Trip Planning

Advanced Planning

Typically in late August the Troop holds it Annual Planning meeting where the Senior Staff and Patrol Leaders develop the schedule for the next year’s outdoor program.  As soon as schedule is finalized the Advance Planning activities can begin.  The most critical of these long range planning activities is making the reservation for the group camp site.  The Troop outdoor program typically includes high-use areas such as the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park which can require reservations up to one year in advance.  The follow list includes other planning activities that can be accomplished well in advance of the campout.
Campout Dates:
Camp site reservation
Date reservation made:
Point of Contact:
Review the previous trip plan if the Troop has camped at the site before.
Maps of the area
Highway maps
Campground maps
Topographic map
Photos & Images of the area
Local area guides
Park Service Brochures
Overhead imagery (Google Earth)

Risk Management

Risk management is an important part of planning a Troop activity.  Remember you may be planning a trip for upwards of 70 people.  Knowing ahead of time how to contact emergency services and how long it will take them to get to the Troop’s location are important things to know before anything goes wrong.   Listed below are some of the risk management activities; however, some form of risk management planning occurs during all phases of trip planning.
Emergency Phone Numbers
Estimated response time (i.e. minutes, hours or days…)
Nearest hospital
Phone Number
Estimated travel time

Sir Robert Baden-Powell
“A Scout is never taken by surprise; he knows exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”

Before Campout (45 days)

As the campout date draws closer, the detailed planning activities can start.  Now is an ideal time to start developing the transportation plan and the daily program activities during the campout.
Sunrise & Sunset times
Campout location
Detailed transportation plan
Driver maps
Travel time
Fuel cost estimates
Departure time
Estimated arrival time
Develop Program schedule
1st& 2nd Class skills
Merit Badge activities
High-adventure activities
Specialized adult leader training/certification to support program activities
 (Safe Swim, Safety Afloat, HAT, Climb-on-Safely, CPR & First-Aid trained adults
Determine Campout cost
Fees, Food, Fuel, etc…
Promote campout on Troop website

Before Campout (3 Weeks)

Promote Campout during Troop meeting
Permission Slips
Driver Plan
Seat-Belt Plan
Trailer Drivers
Troop Quartermaster equipment check
Identify advanced departure adults (if available)
Local Area Tour Permit
Bag check (if required)
Reminder to bring patrol boxes to next Troop meeting
Patrol Planning
Menu planning
Food buyers shopping list
Duty assignments
Quartermaster equipment check

Before Campout (2 Weeks)

Coordinate permission slip & money turn during Troop meeting 2 weeks prior to campout.
Finalize drivers
Finalize seat belt count
Coordinate Local Tour Permit submission
Patrol food buyers take patrol boxes home
Finalize Driver package
Permission slips
Cell phone listing
Primary and backup FRS radio channels
Coordinate Troop trailer(s) delivery to STM

Departure Day

Hopefully this is day all the planning work pays off!  If possible, plan to arrive early to departure location before the scouts start showing up to get things started out smoothly.  
Weather report (National Weather Service detailed forecast & discussion)
Touch base with the advanced departure adults (if possible) for last minute updates on road condition, weather, camp site information, etc.
Plan to arrive 15-20 minutes prior to the Scouts show time for last minute prep,
Coordinate adult supervision for the trailer loading
Coordinate with the Scoutmaster and SPL for roll-call and line-up
Conduct a drivers meeting and hand out drivers packages
Ensure accountability of all Scouts and adults attending
Identify any planned late arrivals or early returns that may impact the return seat belt count.
Ensure drivers depart using the “buddy system”

Returning from the Campout

Coordinate adults to supervise trailer loading
Finalize seat belt plan for return trip (late arrivals or early departures may impact the original seat belt plan)
Ensure drivers depart using the “buddy system”
Coordinate the trailer unloading
If possible, have the Patrol quartermasters take their patrol boxes home for cleaning, equipment inventory, restocking, etc
Ensure all the vehicles returned to STM
Make sure all the scouts are picked up from STM
Ensure the Troop trailers are returned to their storage locations
Gather up any forgotten equipment for ‘auction’ at the next Troop meeting
Post Campout
Submit copies of any relevant campout planning materials, such as maps, driver’s packages, web-site links, etc that might be useful for future trip planners.