Scout Camps

Looking for the perfect site to host your troop’s scouting events? Look no further than the Yellow Sign. Participating KOA Campgrounds offer the facilities and access to nature you need for scout camping trips, group events, service opportunities, and merit badge activities.

Scout Camps

Scout Camps

Looking for the perfect site to host your troop’s scouting events? Participating KOA Campgrounds offer the facilities and access to nature you need for scout camping trips, service opportunities, and merit badge activities.

Through your local KOA, you can gather your troop for a wide range of activities while choosing from various accommodations. Special rates and opportunities through the scout program are available to all Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and Girl Guides and their troop leaders. Put your scouting skills to the test in the fun, safe environment of a KOA Campground.

Discounts for Scouts

Why rely on KOA for scout camping trips? One major reason is the discount your group receives at participating KOA locations. When you make your reservations directly through the campground, you receive a camping fee rate of $5 per scout or troop leader. This rate is valid on RV and tent sites as long as your group includes a minimum of 5 scouts and 1 troop leader. If your scout group prefers to stay in KOA Cabins or Deluxe Cabins, you receive a 10% discount on the rental fee.

Your troop also receives free use of the group pavilion facilities at participating KOA locations. Use these facilities to hold your events, so you have enough space for all your members.

KOA Scout Program History

Kampgrounds of America has a special connection to the scouting world. Jim Rogers, our former CEO, is a proud Eagle Scout — one of 10 in his family. You could say it runs in his blood. A self-proclaimed “lifelong scout,” Jim still takes an active role in the Boy Scouts of America organization.

KOA wants to play an active role in how your scouts build their skills, earn merit badges, and make memories with their fellow scouts in the natural world. With hundreds of locations throughout North America, KOA offers the settings that fit your needs. Choose an urban oasis to expose city scouts to nature, or head deep into the mountains or other rustic natural areas for a unique experience. Whatever scout camping trip ideas you choose, KOA is proud to be a part of the scouting experience.

Badge-Specific Activities at KOA

A trip to your selected KOA location is the perfect time to help your scouts earn those coveted merit badges. The natural setting sets you up to fulfill a number of badge earning opportunities. Camping is an obvious merit badge opportunity when you choose KOA for your scouting events. Opt for tent camping for a rugged experience. While camping, it is a natural fit to work in preparedness, fire skills and survival skills.

The facilities at KOA Campgrounds provide an ideal setting for other badge opportunities as well. Most campgrounds offer wooded areas with trails, which serve as home to local wildlife, so that scouts can earn badges related to hiking, forestry and animal studies. Swimming facilities, fishing holes and water sports rentals provide additional facilities for completing various badges.

With free access to group facilities at the campground, you can organize additional opportunities for your scouts to work on their merit badges or complete other tasks.

Some of the merit badge opportunities at many KOA facilities include:

  • Camping
  • Nature
  • Canoeing
  • Bird study
  • Insect study
  • Hiking
  • Forestry
  • Fire safety
  • Swimming
  • Wilderness survival
  • Fishing
  • Emergency preparedness

Tips for Camping at KOA With Your Troop

Before you roll into your selected KOA campground with your troop, take time to prepare for the trip to help your trip run as smoothly as possible. Choosing the best accommodations for your needs, packing properly, and planning your scout camping activities helps you make the most of your time with us.

What Scouts Should Bring

Creating a scout camping checklist ensures everyone in the troop shows up with the tools they need to make the trip a success. One major factor in what you need to bring is the type of camping accommodations you choose for your scouts. Tent camping requires more equipment than sleeping in a cabin, for example. Choose your accommodations before you finalize the packing checklist so you can include everything you will need.

What Scouts Should Bring

What Scouts Should Bring

Creating a scout camping checklist ensures everyone in the troop shows up with the tools they need to make the trip a success.

Another factor is the weather and timing of the trip, as well as the climate of your selected KOA location. Summer trips generally call for cooler clothes, swimming gear, and other warm-weather essentials. If you plan a fall or winter camping trip, you will need appropriate clothing, and other gear to keep you sufficiently warm. The climate of the KOA location may alter those plans somewhat. If you camp at a southern KOA, you may enjoy warm weather even late into fall or early winter, so you will not need as many cold-weather essentials.

Help your scouts prepare for the trip with a packing list including the following.

Camping Checklist Item No. 1: Tent

If you choose tent camping for your scouts, you need to bring enough tents to accommodate all of your campers. If you do not have enough tents to accommodate all of the campers, ask parents for volunteers to bring their tents.

Camping Checklist Item No. 2: Clothing

Ensure your scouts pack clothes appropriate for the weather and the activities you have planned. If you are hiking, scouts may want long-sleeved clothes and pants even in the summer. If the plans involve swimming, kids need appropriate swimwear. Comfortable, supportive shoes are a big part of the outfit, especially if you are hiking or doing other rigorous activities. Pack extras to cover cooler evenings and any outfit changes that may be necessary if scouts get their clothes soiled during activities.

Camping Checklist Item No. 3: Outerwear

If your scouting trip falls during cooler weather, pack outwear to match the season. Even summer trips in some locations may call for a sweatshirt or light jacket at night. Rain gear is also a good idea if you think there may be a chance of rain.

Camping Checklist Item No. 4: Protection from Insects and the Elements

Pack sunscreen, sun hats, insect repellent, and other protective items necessary to prevent injuries or irritations.

Camping Checklist Item No. 5: First Aid Kit

Bring along first aid kits to help in case of an accident or injury. You may need to include an epi-pen or other medications for kids, depending on the health needs of your troop. Extra first aid supplies can become part of an activity on how to handle emergencies and injuries in the wilderness.

Camping Checklist Item No. 6: Bedding

Scouts need to pack sleeping bags or other bedding options. If you are staying in a KOA Cabin, check with the specific location to determine if any bedding is provided.

Camping Checklist Item No. 7: Toiletries

Have the kids pack their personal toiletries to fit their needs. Clean bathrooms are available at all KOA locations, so the scouts will have facilities to use those toiletries to get ready in the morning and before bed at night.

Camping Checklist Item No. 8: Cooking Items

Designate certain people to bring cooking gear, utensils and food for the trip. The specific needs depend on your accommodation type. Tent camping requires you to bring any cooking supplies you might need, while staying in a Deluxe Cabin means you may have access to basic cooking tools in the kitchenette; when you make your reservation be sure to ask what amenities are available. Have each child bring a refillable water bottle for easy access to water at all times.

Camping Checklist Item No. 9: Tools

You may need tools for setting up tents or completing activities to earn merit badges. Have kids bring flashlights and a pocketknife or other tools if you feel it is appropriate. You may also need a rubber mallet to pound in tent stakes. Maps and compasses are also useful tools for various scouting activities.

Camping Checklist Item No. 10: Fire Starting Supplies

Pack matches and any needed fire starters to ensure you can create a campfire in the evenings.

Tips for Planning Ahead

A little preparation well in advance of your scout camping dates makes the trip go smoothly. You will feel better prepared to handle a camping trip with a group full of kids, and the campers’ parents know what to expect.

Tips for Planning Ahead

Tips for Planning Ahead

A little preparation well in advance of your scout camping dates makes the trip go smoothly. You will feel better prepared to handle a camping trip with a group full of kids.

The first aspect of the planning process is choosing your KOA location and making reservations. Remember, you need to book directly through the chosen campground to get your scouting discount. Talking to the helpful staff also helps you better understand the facilities available and ask any location-specific questions you may have.

Book well in advance of your preferred date to ensure you can reserve a large enough space to accommodate all of your members. This early reservation is especially important during busy times like summer months and holidays when kids are off from school, when the campgrounds often fill up quickly.

Research the accommodation options at your selected KOA location. Determine the best place to sleep based on your goals for the trip and your budget. For example, if you are camping with older scouts who want a rustic experience, choose tent camping. If you are camping with young scouts who have not camped before, a Camping Cabin may be an easier option.

Here are some other ways to plan ahead, so your scout camping trip goes smoothly.

Make a Checklist

Create a formal checklist of the things mentioned above for all of your troop members well in advance of the trip. Notify parents of the specifics their kids need so they have time to gather those materials. Let parents know if any items are restricted, such as cell phones or other electronic devices.

Gather Troop Health Information

An important part of planning for the camping trip is to ensure you have the appropriate health information about each child. Knowing about allergies ahead of time can prevent potentially dangerous situations. Have all participants complete a health information sheet to cover all of the basics.

Do a Test Run

Your trip to a KOA Campground could be the first camping experience a child has had. Even experienced campers may not know everything about the process, especially if their parents usually handle setup at the campground. Set up a camping area at one of your meetings, so kids get a chance to pitch a tent and complete other camping tasks.

Go Over the Rules

Prep your troop by reviewing the rules of camping; you can cover things like safety, food storage, wildlife in the area, and how to behave at the campground. Share your expectations with the scouts for the trip.

Go Over the Rules

Go Over the Rules

Prep your troop by reviewing the rules of camping; you can cover things like safety, food storage, wildlife in the area, and how to behave at the campground. Share your expectations with the scouts for the trip.

Discuss Specific Activities

Another way to prepare your scouts for the trip is to explain the specific activities they will do while there. Cover the merit badge earning opportunities kids will have. They can start preparing and deciding which activities they want to do.

Choosing Your Accommodations: Tent Camping vs. Cabins vs. Unique Ways to Stay

The accommodations you choose for your troop sets the stage for the camping trip. Some types of camping offer a rustic experience, while others incorporate some comforts of home. When choosing a type of camping site, determine the goals of the trip. Are you focusing on survival skills and “roughing it”? Tent camping provides a good match for these needs. If you are more focused on activities or bonding as a troop, you might opt for a Cabin or one of KOA’s more unique accommodations.

Age is also a factor. Young scouts who have never camped before may have difficulty setting up tents or feel nervous sleeping outdoors for the first time.

Tent camping is the traditional option that gives your scouts the opportunity to rough it and practice key camping skills. KOA tent camping sites are level and spacious, so your campers can easily set up their sleeping quarters. Picnic tables and fire pits offer additional resources right at the camping site to make the trip a little easier. Your scouts also have easy access to clean bathroom facilities and hot showers.

Pros and Cons of Scout Camping Using Tents

Keep the following considerations in mind when tent camping with scouts:

  • Kids get the experience of "roughing it"
  • This option provides additional responsibilities for setting up camp
  • Ideal for older scouts who can handle setting up tents
  • Cooking options limited to cooking over a fire or bringing your own camp stoves
  • Need more gear to meet basic needs
  • Tents are relatively small spaces
  • You get very limited protection from weather
  • More work involved to set up camp

Benefits of Cabins for Scout Camping

KOA Campgrounds offer Camping Cabins and Deluxe Cabins as another option for your camping accommodations. Camping Cabins hold four to six people in one or two bedrooms with full beds and bunk beds in the space, depending on the Cabins available at the specific campground and the floor plan you choose. You get the cozy feeling of home with four walls and a roof. You have access to the clean, shared restrooms and hot showers at the campground.

Deluxe Cabins provide an even greater sense of home for scouts. Deluxe Cabins sleep four to six people, depending on the floor plan. These Cabins offer the convenience of private bathrooms with showers, and many have kitchenettes. Gas grills, patios and fire pits round out the home-like accommodations of Deluxe Cabins and provide additional cooking options. Always be sure to verify which amenities are available at your local KOA campground, as some amenities are not available in all Deluxe Cabins.

When considering Cabins for your scouting group, keep these things in mind:

  • Greater protection from wind and weather elements
  • A more home-like environment
  • Ideal for younger kids who may have trouble setting up a tent or may be uncomfortable camping for the first time
  • Ability to cook inside with Deluxe Cabins featuring kitchenettes
  • Kids miss out on some of the "roughing it" aspect of the activity

Other Accommodation Options for Scouts at KOA

Some KOA locations offer unique accommodations to make your scouting trip special. Some of the options include Airstream campers, train caboose cars, tepees, yurts, tree houses, and wall tents. These options can spice up your scout camping trip, and they are already set up when you arrive, so you can jump right into the scout camping activities.

Other Accommodation Options

Unique Accommodations

Some KOA locations offer unique accommodations. Options like Airstream campers, train caboose cars, tepees, yurts, tree houses, and wall tents.

If you are looking into the unique camping accommodations available at some KOA locations, consider the following:

  • Kids get a unique experience out of the trip
  • Tepees, yurts and wall tents give the feeling of tent camping without requiring as much equipment
  • Ideal for troops of younger kids because they require less work
  • Various cooking options depending on the type of unique accommodations you choose
  • Some degree of a rustic experience depending on the accommodations
  • Availability is often limited, which can be an issue with a large troop

Give Your Scouts a Memorable Experience at KOA

With so many accommodation options and activities available, participating KOA locations are ideal for holding your scouting events, helping your troop earn merit badges, and making memories. Get in touch today to make reservations for your troop’s upcoming camping trip.