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 – Camp Seph Mack or Heritage Reservation (Camps Independence, Liberty, Freedom, and Eagle Base).

The Summer Camp Resources page also includes 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.

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.

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.

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 Camp Seph Mack, cell service is generally pretty good but varies depending on where you are in camp. We do not have internet access available.  At Heritage Reservation, cellular service depends on the specific camp.  At Camp Independence, cellular service is very poor.  Service is generally pretty good in Camps Liberty, Freedom, and at Eagle Base with AT&T tending to be a bit better than Verizon.  Internet access is available for adults in the central administration Keystone Building from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. but not in the individual camps.

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, 2017, it is valid until May 31, 2018.

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. Some special camp programs (Shotgun, Waterskiing, Day Trek) do incur additional fees. Participation in Order of the Arrow brotherhood conversion while at camp also has 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. In 2016, 2017, and 2018 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 six Scouts that you bring to Camp Liberty, Camp Freedom, or Camp Seph Mack you will earn one free adult. For every six Cub/Webelos Scouts you bring to Camp Independence or Camp Seph Mack’s Cub program you will earn one free adult. Each unit registration for Cub/Webelos camp entitles you to one free Den Chief. Free adults and den chiefs are calculated per unit per session. For every six Scouts/Venturers you bring to an Eagle Base resident program, you will receive a $180 discount toward one adult. 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.  

Is there any kind of discount if a family has multiple Scouts attending summer camp? 

Yes. New for 2019, LHC is offering a 15% discount off second and subsequent youth Scout camp fees. This discount will be applied automatically by the online registration system to the second/later registration and will apply across different LHC summer resident camps. Day Camp and NYLT attendance does not qualify. For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to Summer Camp Resources

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

Eagle Base and 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?

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? 

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.

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 food service 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.

How will meals be served?

Meals are served differently depending on which camp you attend.  At Camp Independence, Camp Seph Mack, and Eagle Base, 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 the difference between Eagle Base and Day Trek?

Eagle Base is the high adventure camp at Heritage Reservation.  Through Eagle Base, there are two participation options. The first is the full Eagle Base resident program.  Groups sleep and eat at Eagle Base, participate in high adventure activities on and off-reservation during the day, and get to participate in fun evening programs.  The second option is Day Trek.  Day Trek is for older Scouts attending Camps Liberty and Freedom.  Day Trek participants register with their troop in Camp Liberty and Freedom, sleep and eat with the troop in that camp, and participate in on and off-reservation high adventure activities during the day.  Eagle Base evening programs are not available for Day Trek participants.

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 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 resident and 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. Scouts interested in attending both Camp Liberty or Freedom and Eagle Base can return for a second week and receive a $100 discount to do so. If an Eagle Base resident or Day Trek 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?

Eagle Base resident program participants will stay in the Earhart campsite near Heritage Reservation’s Pathfinder Lodge.  The campsite will have nylon wall tents with cots on wooden floorboards.  Meals will be served cafeteria style in Pathfinder Lodge. Showers are also located in Pathfinder Lodge.  Day Trek participants will stay with their home troop in Camp Liberty or Freedom.

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.

How many adults are required?

Eagle Base resident program units will need to provide one 21 or older male leader for male participants and one 21 or older female leader for female participants. Each unit will need to provide a minimum of two adults unless you will be sharing leadership with another unit (this must be pre-arranged through the LHC Camping Department). Units with Scouts participating in Day Trek do not need to provide adult leadership.  Eagle Base Trek Guides fill this role. Adults are always welcome to come along.

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.

Camp Liberty and Camp Freedom - Scouts, BSA Resident Camp

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.

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. Scouts will have time to take first-year appropriate merit badges in the afternoon as well. 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.

Why do merit badge classes stop mid-afternoon? We want our Scouts to earn more merit badges.

The Laurel Highlands Council Camping Committee believes strongly that summer camp is about much more than just earning merit badges.  Scouts should have time to enjoy the outdoors, have fun, and try out new and different activities they may never get to do outside of camp.  Afternoon open program time facilitates this. 

Camp Seph Mack - Scouts, BSA & Cub/Webelos Scout Resident Camp

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

A full schedule of merit badges and activities offered through Camp Seph Mack 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 nine campsites and stay in canvas platform tents with cots. Each campsite has a latrine and hot showers are nearby. At Camp Seph Mack, all meals except for optional campsite cookout meals are eaten in the Dining Hall and are prepared by the camp’s food service staff.  If a troop chooses to provide all of its own food for the week and cook in their campsite, they must notify the LHC Camping Department ahead of time and will receive a discount on their camp fee. This discount is only offered at Camp Seph Mack.

Is there something for older Scouts to do?

Yes. There are more than 40 opportunities for merit badges, as well as rank advancement and special award opportunities. In addition, Camp Seph Mack’s Mountain Man program is just 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. Scouts will have time to take first-year appropriate merit badges in the afternoon as well. 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.

Why do merit badge classes stop mid-afternoon? We want our Scouts to earn more merit badges.

The Laurel Highlands Council Camping Committee believes strongly that summer camp is about much more than just earning merit badges.  Scouts should have time to enjoy the outdoors, have fun, and try out new and different activities they may never get to do outside of camp.  Afternoon open program time facilitates this. 

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, the camp schedule for 2019 has been greatly changed from previous years. During July, there are three weekend “Pack Camp” sessions. Pack Camp is designed to have Scouts of multiple ages all attend at the same time.  Check-in is being pushed back later in the day so adults can work a half day if they wish.  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. Camp Independence will be holding a Family Adventure Camp session at the end of the summer for the entire family to attend.

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.  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. There are limited cabin spaces available in Heritage Reservation's Potomac Homes.

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 2018 can attend summer camp during the summer of 2019.  As of the beginning of June 2019, they are considered Tigers.  All Tigers must have an adult partner accompany them to camp.  Scouts who join in June of 2019 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 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.  Plans are in development to renovate at least one of Camp Independence’s shower houses to be able to accommodate youth female campers with the goal of having the shower house renovated prior to the summer 2018 camp season.  If the project cannot be completed in time, several alternative plans to provide separate showers for youth female campers have been developed.  Latrines in Camp Independence already include separate stalls which can accommodate male or female, youth or adult campers.