About the Buddy System
Scouting’s buddy system calls for Scouts to pair up with a friend or two for all activities. This helps ensure safety and accountability and teaches Scouts to have responsibility for others. The buddy system is a key part of Scouting’s Barriers to Abuse. Looking out for one another anywhere and everywhere is the keystone to the buddy system. Just because you’re in a populous place doesn’t mean you can’t get overlooked by those around you. Buddies are there to watch you when others may not. They stay nearby to monitor you, alerting a safety team if help is needed. (Learn More)
Buddy system guidelines:
- The buddy system should be used at all times, not just for aquatics.
- It’s recommended that buddies know and be comfortable with each other. No youth should be forced into or made to feel uncomfortable by a buddy assignment.
- It is strongly encouraged to pair Scouts of similar abilities, ages and maturity. Buddy pairs should be no more than two years apart in age and should be single gender. There are no boy-girl buddy pairs in any programs, including Venturing and Sea Scouts.
- A buddy team may consist of three Scouts when necessary, like an odd number in a group.
The Adventure Plan (TAP)
Just as young people grow, learn and mature in a continuing progression of experience so, too, do the camping and outdoor programs of the BSA. The BSA offers a continuum of experiences based on the age, interest and ability level of youth, and also offers recognition awards for all levels of Scouting outdoor Adventures. The Adventure Plan (TAP) is a tool to guide unit leaders through all stages of adventure planning.
The Adventure Plan (TAP)
Leave No Trace
Instilling values in young people and preparing them to make moral and ethical choices throughout their lifetime is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America. Leave No Trace helps reinforce that mission, and reminds us to respect the rights of other users of the outdoors as well as future generations. Appreciation for our natural environment and knowledge of the interrelationships of nature bolster our respect and reverence toward the environment and nature. Leave No Trace is an awareness and an attitude rather than a set of rules. It applies in your backyard or local park as much as in the backcountry. We should all practice Leave No Trace in our thinking and actions–wherever we go.
The principles of Leave No Trace might seem unimportant until you consider the combined effects of millions of outdoor visitors. One poorly located campsite or campfire may have little significance, but thousands of such instances seriously degrade the outdoor experience for all. Leaving no Trace is everyone’s responsibility. All participants are to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
- Plan Ahead and Prepare
- Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
- Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)
- Leave What You Find
- Minimize Campfire Impacts
- Respect Wildlife
- Be Considerate of Other Visitors
Winter Camping Tips
Sources: Winter camping tips and tricks to help you enjoy the fourth season, Eight essentials for staying warm while cold-weather camping, Outdoor Smarts: How to Keep Warm in Camping's Fourth Season; How to Stay Warm With the Right Winter Gear
- What are some winter camping tips?
- Dressing for the cold. When dressing for cold weather, focus on a layering system including the three Ws: wicking, warmth and wind. Your base layer should be wicking (like an athletic shirt), an insulating layer should be warming (like fleece or wool) and an exterior layer should block the wind. Use clothing you have, focusing on the right combination of fabrics.
The three W’s. Every cold-weather camper needs to dress for the occasion. You’ll need a wicking layer (long underwear), a “warm” layer (fleece), and a “wind” layer (waterproof shell).
Wicking Layer or Base. Also commonly known as long underwear, the base layer is worn closest to your skin. Its main job is to wick away sweat and moisture so your skin stays dry. Wear it relatively tight to the skin and use only wool or synthetic base layers. Never use cotton because it will not keep you warm once it’s wet, whether from sweat or precipitation. These base layers come in various weights, from heavy for frigid conditions to lightweight for warmer temps and activities that cause a lot of sweating, such as strenuous hiking and cross-country skiing. It’s a good idea to have one extra pair of base layers to change into every night at camp.
Warmth Layer or Insulation. The insulation layer is worn atop the base layer and is designed to provide the majority of your insulation. It should be made of fleece, wool, down or synthetic insulation and can be a pullover, zip-up jacket or vest, depending on how much insulation you need.
Windproofing Layer or Shell. The outermost layer, the shell jacket and pants protect you from wind and wet conditions. There are two types of shells: the hard shell is a lightweight layer that’s windproof and waterproof, capable of handling heavy rain and very wet conditions; a softshell is made of a more flexible, soft-faced material that’s windproof yet highly breathable, and water-resistant enough to protect you against everything except a heavy downpour.
Mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves. If insulated mittens get wet, they stay that way. Wool mitts worn inside leather or nylon shells are removable for faster drying. Wool gloves are needed for dexterity when cooking.
Sleeping. Be sure to change into dry clothes for sleeping — moisture retained in field clothes will cause chilling. For overnight warmth, wear wool, polypropylene, or polyester (never cotton!) long johns, socks, and a balaclava to bed. Place a scarf across your neck to seal drafts.
Sleeping bags. Two sleeping bags — one placed inside the other — should provide enough warmth down to about zero degrees. If you don’t have a closed-cell foam pad to use as a sleeping mat, try half-inch-thick foam carpet padding.
Ground cloth. In warmer months, a plastic ground cloth should be used inside your tent to stay dry. However, in winter, use the ground cloth beneath your tent to keep it from freezing to the ground.
Toes cold? Put on a hat. Your body loses up to half of its total heat in 40-degree temperatures. So, when it’s below freezing and your head is uncovered, you could be radiating more than three-fourths of your overall body heat from your head.
Baggy clothes are back in style at least in the freezing-cold wilderness. Your body heats itself most efficiently when it’s enveloped in a layer of warm air. If your clothes are too tight, you’re strangling the cold right out of your body. Dressing in loose layers helps aid this convection layer of air. Tight clothes or too-tight boots can also restrict blood flow.
Stay hydrated. In winter, you may not be aware of how much you’re sweating. A gulp of ice-cold water is hardly appetizing, but it is important to keep drinking. Hot drinks and soup are great ways to replenish liquids, electrolytes, and heat. Keep extra tea bags on hand, as well as bouillon cubes, and hand out hot drinks liberally, especially at the end of the day when energy is low.