Laurel Highlands Council

Summer Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Camping

Summer Camp Frequently Asked Questions

Important!

The number one place for you to find the answers to many of your camp questions is in the current guidebook for the camp you are attending - Camps Independence, Liberty, and Freedom.

The Summer Camp Resources page includes the link to these guidebooks as well as links to many of the forms referenced below.

For questions that cannot be answered by the camp guidebook or in the list below, please contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921. 

COVID-19 Safety

When will COVID-19 Safety Plans be shared?

The 2021 Heritage Reservation COVID-19 Safety Plan is available now and linked below. It is important to understand that the nature of the pandemic and related restrictions are constantly changing and may change right through the beginning of the camp season. Any plans released will be subject to change.  Following release, updates will be provided leading up to the summer season through direct communication with registered groups and through scheduled update video conferences.

2021 Heritage Reservation COVID-19 Safety Plan

Will attendees be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19?

There are no current plans by the BSA or Laurel Highlands Council to require a COVID-19 vaccine in 2021 for in-person activities or events due mainly to the limited availability of the vaccine in many areas and the fact that currently available vaccines are not approved for use by individuals younger than 16. Each individual should consult their health care provider for guidance regarding vaccination.

Will there be any restrictions on out-of-state attendees?

As of March 1, 2021, Pennsylvania has lifted all travel restrictions for out of state travelers. Unless something changes again before the summer this means that testing and/or quarantine are no longer required for those travelling from out of state. See Gov. Wolf's news release here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-revises-mitigation-order-on-gatherings-and-lifts-out-of-state-travel-restrictions/

Registration

How can I learn more about the Online Registration System (scoutingevent.com/247scouting.com)?

The scoutingevent.com/247scouting.com online reservation platform was chosen over our previous platform, Doubleknot, because it is much more intuitive and easier to use.  That said, short tutorials are being prepared and will be added to lhcscouting.org/camping as soon as they are completed. Brief training will be offered at our pre-camp leader meetings in February. Otherwise, you are welcome to contact the LHC Camping Department at (412) 325-7921 for assistance. Several tutorials can be found on the Summer Camp Resources page.

Summer Camp Registration System (Scoutingevent.com) Tutorials

When is the registration cut-off?

We endeavor to support every Scout in attending camp. Late additions can be made to the unit roster up until one week prior to camp pending availability. See the Finance section below for information related to payment due dates.

Can I register after my unit has paid for camp?

We endeavor to support every Scout in attending camp. Late additions can be made to the unit roster up until one week prior to camp pending availability.

What if an adult can’t attend the entire camp session?

This is very common. We often see unit adults split weeks. For example, we see one adult come Sunday to Wednesday and another come Wednesday to Saturday.  Our new registration is set up with a “Part-Time Adult” registration option which will figure out prorated fees automatically when you register adults for the days they will be in camp.  If help is needed, contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921 and we can help you with the reservation.  Adult leadership is an important part of the Scout camp experience.  We will work with you to get your adults registered for camp.

What happens if we only have one adult able to attend camp?

From the Guide to Safe Scouting: Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided.  

All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.  

In addition, for Cub/Webelos Scout programs, the BSA National Camping Standards require a ratio of at least one adult to four Scouts and every Cub/Webelos Scout must have an identified adult who is responsible for them. This adult need not be a parent/guardian as long as the adult knowingly takes responsibility for the other Scout prior to attending camp.  

If your unit will not be able to meet these adult leader requirements, please contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921 as soon as possible so we can either help connect you with another unit to share leadership or recruit an additional provisional leader for your unit.

Can I attend at a different time than the rest of my Unit?

Absolutely. For Cub Scout programs, individual parent/Scout teams or parts of units may register for the session that best fits their schedule pending availability. Provisional opportunities for individual Cub/Webelos Scouts cannot be accommodated. For Scouts BSA and Venturing programs, individual Scouts or Venturers can join a provisional unit as a lone Scout. Give the LHC Camping Department a call at 412-325-7921 and we can help connect provisional campers with host units. For accurate reporting purposes, we ask that provisional attendees set up their own camp registration and are not included in the registration of a host unit. The LHC Camping Department can assist with this by calling 412-325-7921.

Can linked male and female Scouts BSA units just register as one big unit for camp? 

No. Although linked and possibly sharing leadership, male and female Scouts BSA units are separate units. Separate registrations will need to be set up for each unit and both will need to pay the registration deposit. Linked units will be able to share a campsite if they wish pending space availability. It will be the responsibility of unit leadership to ensure youth protection guidelines are enforced within the campsite and behavior is monitored.  If both units will be sharing leadership, please list half of the adults on each registration so that adults are not double registered for camp.

Can I see campsite availability anywhere? 

Yes. Campsite availability camp be seen by looking at the Campsite Matrix found on the registration page of the camp you are interested in attending.

If my unit is camping at Camp Liberty or Freedom and we have Scouts that want to participate in Day Trek, will we have to make a separate registration for them like previous years so they can register for activites?

No. Due to a new feature in our registration system, it should no longer be necessary to set up a second registration for Day Trek participants for them to be able to select activities.  More information will be shared closer to the activity sign up date.

Administrative

Do adults who attend camp need to complete PA Background Clearances?

Yes. All adult PA residents who will be staying at camp overnight, whether registered with the BSA or not, will have to complete and submit required PA background clearances and the BSA's Youth Protection Training. Please attach copies of clearance forms and youth protection training completion certificates to adult medical forms for check-in. This helps ensure that camp is in compliance with Pennsylvania law and helps ensure the highest level of protection for youth participants. Parents simply dropping off or picking up their children or visiting do not need clearances. Any adult who is not able to provide these clearances by 8:00 p.m. on check-in day will be asked to leave.

Volunteers from outside of Pennsylvania are exempt provided they do not work with youth in PA more than 30 days in the calendar year and meet background check requirements of their state of residence. All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive.  

LHC camp background check policies and forms can be found at Summer Camp Resources.

What training do adults need to have to go to camp?

All adults attending camp, regardless of BSA registration status, must complete the BSA’s Youth Protection Training and have current training through the entire term of attendance.  In addition, all registered adults must meet current training requirements for their position. This may vary depending upon the council in which they are registered. Youth protection training is available at my.scouting.org.

Do parents/adults have to be registered Boy Scouts of America leaders to attend camp? 

All adults accompanying a Scouting unit who are present at the activity for 72 total hours or more must be registered as leaders. The 72 hours need not be consecutive. Depending upon the council in which the individual is registered or the state in which they reside, there may be additional registration requirements such as training or background clearances. 

Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader 21 years of age or over must be present for any activity involving female youth. Notwithstanding the minimum leader requirements, age- and program-appropriate supervision must always be provided.  

What are the procedures for problems/emergencies?

Safety is everyone’s primary concern at all times during camp. Our staff leaders are trained at National Camping School in how to deal with problems and emergencies and extensive emergency procedures have been developed for each camp in coordination with emergency officials. The entire camp staff trains for possible emergencies during staff training. We also work closely with local authorities and emergency services as needed. If you become aware of an emergency while in camp, immediately report it to the nearest staff member and follow their directions.  Please do not directly call emergency response. Please follow all camp staff directions promptly and without question.  

What if our unit does not fill/overflows the campsite we have chosen? 

We understand that many units have a favorite campsite.  Campsite capacities are determined based on location, available equipment, an impact on the environment among other things.  It is important that we follow the set site capacities.  If a unit does not completely fill their chosen site, it must be understood that another unit may be placed in the same campsite so as many Scouts are given a camp opportunity as possible.  If a unit overflows their chosen campsite, they may be reassigned to a campsite that will fit their numbers, may have a portion of their unit moved into a nearby site with space, or, may have to provide their own camping equipment to set up additional tents in their chosen site.

Does every Cub/Webelos Scout have to be accompanied by one of their parents/guardians?

Cub Scouting is a family program and it is always encouraged that Scouts and a parent/guardian come together and participate together to make lifetime memories.  That said, it is not required that every Cub/Webelos Scout is accompanied by their own parent/guardian.  As long as two-deep leadership and the one adult to four Scout ratio is met, another adult attending can assume responsibility for a Scout whose parent/guardian can not attend.  This must be coordinated prior to camp.  Scouts cannot simply be dropped off at camp.

We have adults who may need to stay in contact with home/work. Is there cell coverage and/or internet access available at camp?

It is very common that we have adults attend camp who may need to be available to take care of home or work commitments.  At Heritage Reservation, cellular service depends on the specific camp.  At Camp Independence, cellular service is very poor.  Service is generally pretty good in Camp Liberty and Camp Freedom with AT&T tending to be a bit better than Verizon.  Internet access is available for adults at each camp's Program Hall while open and  in the central administration Keystone Building from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. 

Medical/Insurance

What kind of medical form do I need for each session?

All campers must utilize the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record and LHC Supplemental Medical form both available at Summer Camp Resources. All campers staying in Camp Seph Mack, Camp Liberty, Camp Freedom, and Eagle Base must complete the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record parts A, B, and C plus the Supplemental form. This requires a doctor’s examination within 12 months of attendance.

At Camp Independence or Camp Seph Mack’s Cub Scout program, campers staying 72 hours or less must complete the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record parts A and B plus the Supplemental form.  Campers staying more than 72 hours (Camp Independence Webelos 4 day programs) must complete the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record parts A, B, and C and Supplemental form.

Do adults need to have a medical form?

YES

How long are BSA Annual Health and Medical Records good for?

BSA Annual Health and Medical Records must be updated annually.  Parts A and B should be reviewed and updated as needed.  Part C, which requires a doctor’s physical, is good for one year through the end of the month from when the form is dated.  As an example, if a physical was conducted and the form signed by your health care provider on May 10, 2019, it is valid until May 31, 2020.

Can we use a different form from the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record?

No. Our medical staff deals with hundreds of BSA Annual Health and Medical Record forms each summer and know them very, very well.  In the event of an emergency, it is important that they be able to find the information they need as quickly as possible and not have to search for it on a form they are not familiar with.

If a parent/leader is only coming overnight, do they need to bring a medical?

Yes.  All overnight campers are required to have a BSA Annual Health and Medical Record on file with the camp. The form required is the same as for those attending the full camp session and must be turned in when the individual checks into camp.

What if a family has chosen not to have their child immunized, including tetanus which is required by the BSA?

The family will need to complete the BSA's Immunization Exemption form and attach it to the individual's Annual Health and Medical Record. The Immunization Exemption form is available at Summer Camp Resources.

What if a family does not believe in the use of doctors? How can they complete the Annual Health and Medical Record?

The family would need to complete Parts A & B of the Annual Health and Medical Record. They would also need to complete and attach the BSA's Medical Care Exemption Request form which is available at Summer Camp Resources

Where can I learn more about the BSA Health and Medical Record?

The BSA has a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Health and Medical Record available at https://www.scouting.org/health-and-safety/ahmr/medical-formfaqs/.

I have a special dietary request/necessity, how can that be accommodated?

The Laurel Highlands Council is committed to accommodating reasonable requests.  To do this, we must know about any special diet requests at least two weeks ahead of camp attendance. There is an online form linked at Summer Camp Resources to submit these requests. Our food service staff will follow up with each case to discuss specific needs. We will do everything we can to meet your health needs. In extreme cases, it may be necessary for you to provide your own food. Due to the large volume of campers, we cannot accommodate requests that are not due to health issues or religious requirements. Our food service staff has plans developed each year to address the most common special diet requests we receive such as gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. It is also important for individuals who request special diets to personally identify themselves to the food service staff as part of the check-in process so the staff can properly connect requests with requestors.

What are the insurance requirements for camp?

All camp attendees should be covered by Scouting’s sickness and accident insurance. Scouts, Scouters, and parents in Laurel Highlands Council units are covered by the council’s sickness and accident insurance and information will already be on-site at camp. Units from outside of Laurel Highlands Council should bring with them a copy of their council or unit’s sickness and accident insurance policy and claim form.  

Finance

What does the camp fee cover?  Are there any additional fees?

Camp fees cover all program supplies, meals, lodging, recognition items, staffing, and facility costs.  Participation in the Order of the Arrow brotherhood conversion while at camp will have an additional fee.

If I can only attend for a partial session, what is the cost?

All youth fees are based on attending for the full session. Parents and leaders should share weeks to fill that space all week. Our new registration is set up with a “Part Time Adult” registration option which will figure out prorated fees automatically when you register adults for the days they will be in camp. If you have further questions, please contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921.

How do I apply for a campership? When will we find out if we received one? Can that fee be transferred to someone else? How much will my campership be?

Campership application forms are available online at Summer Camp Resources. Applications are due by MARCH 1. Awards will be announced by the end of March. Camperships are not transferable and are dependent upon the available funds, the number of qualified applicants, and the length of stay. Camperships are awarded upon merit. Campership amounts are determined by a volunteer committee. From 2016-2019 almost all campership applicants received some amount of campership assistance.  This is not guaranteed. 

To aid in crediting campership awards to camp attendees, campership applicants should be entered into unit camp reservations by March 1.

When are camp fees due?

Camp fees must be paid in full no later than two weeks prior to camp attendance.  To receive the lowest “Early Bird” rate, fees must be paid in full by April 1.  If paid in full between April 2 and June 1 you will pay the second tier “Regular” rate.  If paid in full June 2 or after you will pay the third tier “Late” rate. For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to Summer Camp Resources

Do we still get free Adults and/or Den Chiefs?

Yes. For every eight Scouts that you bring to Camp Liberty or Camp Freedom you will earn one free adult. For every eight Cub/Webelos Scouts you bring to Camp Independence during the same camp session you will earn one free adult. Each unit registration for Cub/Webelos camp entitles you to one free youth Den Chief. Free adults and den chiefs are calculated per unit per session. For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to Summer Camp Resources.

Are advancements earned at camp included in the price of camp?

Program materials to meet advancement requirements are included in the camp fee. Some of the actual awards can be purchased in our camp trading posts and all can be purchased at your local Scout Shop.

Can I get a discount if I am going to more than one camp session? 

Yes. LHC offers a 25% discount for individuals attending multiple camp sessions at LHC summer resident camps. This applies to youth and adult camp fees. Day camp, NYLT, or national high adventure base attendance does not qualify. For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to Summer Camp Resources.  

Why are Day Trek costs higher? Why do Day Trek adults pay the same as youth?

Day Trek programs are coordinated with partner vendors who have set costs for their programs.  Higher fees account for the program costs charged by these vendors. Adults are needed to participate in Eagle Base programs help maintain BSA required adult leadership requirements. Our vendor partners charge for adult participation.

Program

Do adults have to complete a camp swim test?

YES. Any and all campers, youth and adult, who wish to participate in any aquatics program while at camp must complete a swim test. Swim tests can be completed prior to camp or can be completed as part of check-in on arrival day at camp.

How do I take a pre-camp swim test?

Pre-camp swim tests can usually be arranged at your local pool. Please follow the guidelines found on the Pre-Camp Swim Check form located at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources. Bring the form with you when you check in on arrival day and turn it in at the aquatics area. This is encouraged as it will save your unit valuable time during check-in. Our camp aquatics staff reserve the right to retest any individual if they have any concerns about their swimming ability.

When will merit badge and activity sign-ups begin for the Scouts, BSA programs?

Merit badge, special activity, and Eagle Base activity sign-ups will open at 6:00 a.m. on April 15th. Sign-up is first come, first served.  Some badges and activities fill extremely quickly. We encourage you to be prepared ahead of time with a list of what each Scout wants to take and backups.  Forms to help you collect this information can be found at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources. Directions are also available on that page.

What do we do if a Scout receives a “partial” on one of their camp merit badges? Can we contact the summer camp counselor to complete the badge? 

First of all, keep in mind that receiving a “partial” is not a failure on the part of the Scout. It just means that they have a bit more to do. “Partials” are good until a Scout turns 18. Please remind Scouts and parents of this.  Following the camp session, Scouts who receive “partials” should work with their unit leader to locate a local merit badge counselor with whom the Scout (and a buddy) can complete the badge. Districts and councils keep lists of approved merit badge counselors and there tend to be more counselors for summer camp and Eagle required badges than any other badges. Many of our summer camp merit badge counselors and instructors only serve in these positions during the summer camp season and many are away at college the rest of the year. Due to this, LHC does not give out contact information for summer camp merit badge counselors/instructors.

I believe one of my Scouts completed a badge while at camp, but the card was not signed off, what do we do? 

Contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921 and we will look through the records kept during camp. The LHC Camping Department will follow the records, meaning, that if a badge is not marked as complete in the camp records, we will not sign off on it after camp. In this case, a Scout will need to work with their unit leadership to locate a local merit badge counselor with whom to complete the badge.  

We lost a summer camp merit badge blue card. What do we do? 

Completed requirements will be recorded online and unit leaders can access those records through their summer camp registration.  Replacement blue cards can be printed directly from the registration system. If you are unable to access your registration, contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921 and we will look through the records kept during camp. The LHC Camping Department will follow the records, meaning, that if a badge is not marked as complete in the camp records, we will not sign off on it after camp. Based on the available records, the LHC Camping Department will prepare a replacement blue card and mail it to you.  Current records are only available back to 2015.

Will Cub and Webelos Scout programs include advancement opportunities?

Yes. Where possible we build completion of Adventure requirements into camp activities.  Entire adventures, however, may not be completed while at camp. Information on requirements covered will be provided to an adult in each group during check out.  

Meals

Can we review the camp menus before arriving at camp?

Yes.  As soon as menus are available, they will be posted to lhcscouting.org/camping/resources. For various reasons, sometimes planned meals are changed.  Current menus will be posted at camp.  Menus are approved by a registered dietician annually.

Who prepares the food? Do you have a Food Service Management Company?

The Laurel Highlands Council does employee a Food Service Management Company due to the large scale of the food service operation at Heritage Reservation. Beginning in 2021, Aramark will serve as our summer food service vendor.

What if my Scout/I do not like what is on the menu?

Due to the large number of individuals being served at camp, it is extremely difficult to offer a number of different options at each meal.  Substitutions will only be made for those with documented medical needs who make a special diet request at least two weeks prior to attendance. Fruit and materials to make Sun Butter and Jelly sandwiches will be available at all meals.  Cereal will be available at breakfast.  Additional options will be available through the camp trading posts.

I have a special dietary request/necessity, how can that be accommodated?

The Laurel Highlands Council is committed to accommodating reasonable requests.  To do this, we must know about any special diet requests at least two weeks ahead of camp attendance. There is an online form linked at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources to submit these requests. Our food service staff will follow up with each case to discuss specific needs. We will do everything we can to meet your health needs. In extreme cases, it may be necessary for you to provide your own food. Due to the large volume of campers, we cannot accommodate requests that are not due to health issues or religious requirements. Our food service staff has plans developed each year to address the most common special diet requests we receive such as gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian. It is also important for individuals who request special diets to personally identify themselves to the food service staff as part of the check-in process so the staff can properly connect requests with requestors.

What is Sun Butter? Why not Peanut Butter?

In 2016, all peanut and tree nut products were eliminated from the dining facilities and meal plans at Heritage Reservation for camper safety. Some allergies can be extreme and this was done to keep everyone safe.  Sun Butter is a safe, sunflower seed based alternative that looks, smells, and tastes almost exactly like peanut butter.  Please do not bring any products that include peanuts or tree nuts into our dining facilities at Heritage Reservation.

Camp trading posts may contain products that do contain peanuts or other allergens.

How will meals be served?

Meals are served differently depending on which camp you attend.  At Camp Independence, meals are served cafeteria style in a dining hall.  At Camp Freedom, meals will be served family style in the camp dining hall.  At Camp Liberty, campers will pick up their food from the camp commissary and cook it themselves, patrol style in their campsite.

Eagle Base Day Trek - Scouts, BSA & Venturer High Adventure

What is Eagle Base?

Eagle Base is the high adventure program at Heritage Reservation.  Beginning in 2020, there will no longer be a stand alone resident camper option for Eagle Base. All individuals/units interested in participating in Eagle Base programing will need to register through Camp Liberty or Camp Freedom and select the Day Trek option.  Day Trek participants register with their unit in Camp Liberty and Freedom, sleep and eat with the unit in that camp, and participate in on and off-reservation high adventure activities during the day.  Various options for evening older Scout programs will also be availalble.

Where can I get a detailed schedule of the activities offered?

A full schedule of activities offered through Eagle Base can be found in the current camp guidebook available at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources.

Is there something we should do in preparation for our Eagle Base adventure?

Yes. Eagle Base programs are high adventure in nature and are physically demanding.  Make sure all participants from your group are in good physical shape, meet the height and weight guidelines found in the current camp guidebook, and come prepared with any required personal items and waivers listed in the current camp guidebook. Additional preparation information can be found in the current camp guidebook available at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources.

Can we still participate in the programs at Camp Liberty and Freedom?

Day time Eagle Base/Day Trek programs are separate and most times off-site from Camps Liberty and Freedom. Day Trek participants will generally be out of camp from just after breakfast until just before dinner and then will be able to participate in Camp Liberty or Freedom’s evening programs with their home troops or in scheduled older Scout programs. Scouts interested in attending both Camp Liberty or Freedom and Eagle Base can return for a second week and receive a 25% discount to do so. If an Eagle Base participant chooses not to participate in an Eagle Base program one day of the week, they may join merit badge courses depending upon available space. There is no guarantee that camp staff will be available at other times to help those Scouts complete badges. 

Where do we sleep and eat?

Beginning in 2020, all Eagle Base/Day Trek participants will camp and eat in Camp Liberty or Camp Freedom. There will no longer be a separate Eagle Base resident camper option.

Are there any age or other requirements for the high adventures?

Yes, participants must be 13 years old and a registered Venturer or Scouts, BSA member. Also, participants must be able to complete the BSA Swimmer Test. Experience in boating is encouraged. Other activity specific requirements can be found in the current camp leader guide available at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources.

Are there separated accommodations for male and female leaders?

Following the BSA’s youth protection guidelines, adults must sleep in separate tents from youth. Males will sleep in separate tents from females. The only exceptions to this are married couples or a parent with his/ her own child.

Can our unit take all the spots in a given week?

Yes, pending availability and meeting adult leadership requirements.

I’m an adult leader with Scouts participating in Day Trek. Can I tag along?

Yes.  Adults wishing to participate all week with their Day Trek participants will be allowed to do so but will need to pay the higher, Eagle Base adult fee.  If an adult wants to participate just in one day, they will be charged the balance due for that day’s activities.  Activity and transportation space is limited and youth are always given preference.

At times, adults may need to be recruited by Eagle Base staff to ensure two-deep leadership requirements are met on treks. 

If my unit is camping at Camp Liberty or Freedom and we have Scouts that want to participate in Day Trek, will we have to make a separate registration for them like previous years so they can register for activites?

No. Due to a new feature in our registration system, it should no longer be necessary to set up a second registration for Day Trek participants for them to be able to select activities.  More information will be shared closer to the activity sign up date.

Camp Liberty and Camp Freedom - Scouts, BSA Resident Camp

 

How will the new block schedule work?

Under the new block schedule, there will be morning and afternoon class blocks that each last three hours. Most classes will last two days, for example Monday and Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Several classes will only be one day. Class blocks will be Monday/Tuesday and Wednesday/Thursday. Friday will be an open program day so Scouts can enjoy camp, try new things, or go make up requirements or assignments from classes earlier in the week.

Why are you changing to a block schedule model for merit badges instead of the schedule from past years?

Following summer 2020, numerous units that participated in the Alternative Summer Camp Program offered in partnership with Summit Bechtel Reserve came back and raved about the block schedule used at Summit. A team from the LHC Camping and Outdoor Program Committee evaluated this program delivery model and made the recommendation to make the change to a block schedule at Heritage Reservation.  As the LHC Camping and Outdoor Program Committee saw it, the benefits of moving to a block schedule inclue:

  • More concentrated learning time for Scouts.
    • A longer period would allow more opportunities for Scouts to learn and do all in the same time period. Too often, due to travel times and Scouts arriving late, counselors lose 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of each class with Scouts rolling in, taking attendance, and other daily opening activities.  Over five days, this can amount to about an hour of lost time. In the block schedule, with Scouts travelling to an area then staying for a longer period, it minimizes that lost time. It  also helps reduce the learn one day, do the next that happens. Counselors will have longer amounts of time to expand teaching options to improve programs.
  • Travel time issues addressed.
    1. Since we started down the path of consolidating areas to try to improve programming and deal with continued staffing challenges, we have continually heard that things are two far away from one camp or the other, especially if every hour a Scout has to go back and forth. Good leaders help counsel their Scouts into staying in further areas for several classes but plenty do not do that.  From the groups that attended Summit, where you really do have to walk a long, long way between activity areas, the reports we received were that Scouts really didn’t mind the distance because they knew they would be staying there longer.
  • Program flexibility
    1. If a Scout has an issue with a counselor or a counselor with a Scout, they only have them for two days then they move on to something else.
    2. For older Scouts, each year we get asked if Day Trek participants can also earn merit badges. With our current model, that is really hard because Scouts could miss multiple days of a class and have to try to find time to make it up, if a counselor is available. With the block schedule, for example, a Scout could work on merit badges Monday/Tuesday then do day trek activities the rest of the week. We may implement this program flexibility option beginning in 2022.
  • Friday Fun Day and Wrap Up
    1. At least using the Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday/Thursday schedule all day Friday is left open for open program, fun activities, and make up time if Scouts need it. 

What happens to afternoon open program with the block schedule?

Unfortunately, moving to the block schedule limits the amount of afternoon open program that can be offered.  Opportunities will be made available throughout the week to particiapte in the fun activities around camp and Fridays will be open program days for Scouts to enjoy camp or make up requirements they may need to complete from earlier in the week.

Where can I find out what merit badges and activities are offered?

A full schedule of merit badges and activities offered through Camps Liberty and Freedom can be found in the current camp guidebook available at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources. When available, an activity planning sheet will also be added to the same webpage to help you with scheduling.

Where do we sleep and eat?

Troops choose one of fourteen campsites and stay in canvas platform tents with cots. Each campsite has a latrine and hot showers are nearby. At Camp Freedom, all meals except for the campsite cookout are eaten in the Dining Hall and are prepared by the camp’s contracted food service staff. At Camp Liberty, we have patrol cooking. You pick up the meal ingredients at the camp commissary and, as a patrol, cook the meals in your campsite.

Is there something for older Scouts to do?

Yes. There are more than 50 opportunities for merit badges, as well as rank advancement and special award opportunities including the Heritage Ironman. You can also check out Day Trek for high adventure programs for Scouts 13 and older. New for 2020, several evenings during the week will also have exclusive programs for older Scouts.

What do you recommend for the first year campers?

The Trail to First Class program helps Scouts work on the basic Scout skills from the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks. The program will also include working on several first-year appropriate merit badges. We encourage troop adult leadership to help out in this area. More information can be found in the current camp guidebook available at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources.

Camp Independence - Cub Scout and Webelos Scout Resident Camp

I have a Cub Scout and Webelos and one week of vacation – What should I do?

To help families with multiple Scouts and limited vacation, during July, there are four weekend “Pack Camp” sessions. Pack Camp is designed to have Scouts of multiple ages all attend at the same time.  Check-in begins at 1:00 p.m. on the first day of the session.  On Sunday of these weekend sessions, families can leave following the closing campfire if they wish to allow them to head back to work Monday morning.

Can a sibling of a Cub Scout go to Camp Independence?

All youth participants must be registered Scouts. Camp is not outfitted to support siblings who are not registered. 

Can a Webelos crossing over to Scouts, BSA attend Camp Independence one last time?

No. The activities at Camp Independence are specifically tailored for the age of Cub and Webelos Scouts. He would have much more fun at one of the Scouts, BSA camps with their new Scouts, BSA troop.  Also, missing the first year of Scouts, BSA camp may put him behind the rest of the Scouts in his patrol on his advancements.

Can adults stay over between sessions of Camp Independence?

Yes. This will need to be arranged with the Camp Independence leadership. 

Can Webelos attend Cub Scout Camp or vice versa?

Each camp is geared toward that specific age range and will have activities and advancement particular to those ranks. Webelos attending a Cub Scout camp will likely be bored with the program.

Where do we sleep and eat?

Campers choose one of eight campsites and stay in canvas platform tents with cots. Each campsite has a latrine and hot showers nearby. If you prefer, campers may also bring their own tents from home.

 All meals except for the campsite cookout for the Webelos four-night sessions are eaten in the Dining Hall and are prepared by the camps contract food service staff. 

What is in the foil cooking meal?  Do I need to bring anything?

The final menu for all meals will be posted at lhcscouting.org/camping/resources when they become available.  All needed materials are provided but you may want to bring extra heavy duty foil, hot pads, tongs, a paring knife, cutting board, utensils, cups, and plates. This program is only offered for Webelos four-night sessions.

Do we get an opportunity to visit Heritage Reservation’s Scouts, BSA Camps?

A hike to either Camp Liberty or Camp Freedom is part of the program during Webelos four-night sessions.  During other Webelos sessions, groups can choose to visit one of the Scouts, BSA camps under their own leadership. These visits will not have Camp Independence staff support and meals will not be available at the Scouts, BSA camp.  Participation in other programs will be missed during these visits.

What if I don’t want to go to Nature?  Can I do something else?

The camp program is written with several things in mind. Our goal is to offer a wide variety of programs for each Scout. Camp also has up to 350 campers each session and we need to schedule where campers are so areas do not get overwhelmed. Our camp staff are often needed other places or simply need to take a quick breather when their specific programs are not running.  If you choose not to participate in a particular program, do not expect an opportunity to be made for participation another time.

Can Lions attend summer camp?

Scouts who joined as Lions in the fall of 2020 can attend summer camp during the summer of 2021.  As of the beginning of June 2021, they are considered Tigers.  All Tigers must have an adult partner accompany them to camp.  Scouts who join in June of 2021 as Lions, unfortunately, will not be able to attend Cub Scout or Webelos Scout summer resident camp sessions. They may attend Rookie Camp. Because of their age, development level, physical abilities, and stamina, Lions should only participate as their family feels comfortable with the age appropriateness of the activities.

What is Pack Camp?

Pack Camp is a three-day session for packs to come to camp all together instead of having Tigers/Wolves/Bears attend a Cub Resident session and Webelos/Arrow of Lights attend a Webelos Resident session.

If we choose to attend Pack Camp, will Scouts receive age-appropriate programs or will every one do the same thing?

If sufficient participants sign-up, which is expected, the plan is to divide packs in half - Wolf/Bears and Webelos/Arrow of Lights. Those two groups will rotate through activities separately and will participate in age-appropriate activities when they arrive in specific program areas. As an example, the Wolf/Bear group would shoot bb guns while the Webelos/Arrow of Light group would shoot pellet guns. Webelos/Arrow of Lights will still get to participate in activities like BMX and climbing.

What if our pack is a Family Scouting Pack? Can we bring girls to camp? 

Cub Scout Packs approved as a Family Scouting program may bring registered female Cub Scouts with them to summer camp.  All youth attending camp must be registered members of the Boy Scouts of America.  Packs must also ensure that they meet Family Scouting leadership requirements. Activities involving both boys and girls must include at least one adult male, aged 21 or over, and one adult female, aged 21 or over, one of whom must be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.

Will the camp program be different for female Cub Scouts who attend camp?

The program will be exactly the same for both boys and girls attending camp.

What are the requirements for adult leadership if our Pack brings female Cub Scouts to camp?

Packs must ensure that they meet Family Scouting leadership requirements. Activities involving both boys and girls must include at least one adult male, aged 21 or over, and one adult female, aged 21 or over, one of whom must be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.

What if each female Cub Scout attending camp will be accompanied by their own father/legal male guardian? Do we still have to have female leadership?

Yes.  Any activity involving female Cub Scouts must meet BSA two-deep leadership requirements and include at least one registered adult female, aged 21 or over. 

Will there be changes to the showers and latrines at Camp Independence to accommodate female Cub Scouts?

The Laurel Highlands Council Properties Committee has made the preparation for the Family Scouting program its top priority.  A brand new modern shower house has been built across from the camp Program Hall.  Latrines in Camp Independence already include separate stalls which can accommodate male or female, youth or adult campers.