Camp Policies

Sam Houston Area Council Camp Guidelines and Policies (updated August 2020)

Scope: These guidelines apply to use of council properties for unit level camping or day activities. Guidelines for district or council activities are outlined elsewhere.
  1. Safety: All BSA's Guide to Safe Scouting policies must be followed and all Scouting activities be conducted in a safe and prudent manner including the Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities. Where council policies are more restrictive than national policies, the council policies apply.
  2. Medical Forms: Every participant must have a current BSA Annual Health and Medical Record.
  3. Reservations: Reservations for the use of council camps can be made online.

⇒ Cub Scout Overnight Family Camping:
    •​ Bovay Scout Ranch
    •​ Camp Brosig

⇒ Scouts BSA and Venturing Weekend Camping:
     • Tellepsen Scout Camp
     •​ Camp Brosig
     •​ Camp Strake

  1. Leadership: Each registered unit must provide a minimum of two-deep leadership. Sharing adult leaders during council activities by two units in order to satisfy two-deep leadership requirements is NOT allowed. Each registered unit must have two-deep leadership.  The Guide to Safe Scouting defines two-deep leadership as “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. (Youth Protection and Barriers to Abuse FAQs) 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. One-on-one contact between adult leaders and youth members is prohibited both inside and outside of Scouting. (Youth Protection and Barriers to Abuse FAQs)
  2. ScoutsBSA Units: During camping activities at council properties, girl troops will be assigned to different campsites from boy troops. Venturing crews and ships will NOT share campsites with ScoutsBSA units.
  3. Adult ratios for Cub Scouts
  • Pack camping: Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children, and Youth Protection policies apply.
  • Webelos den camping: A Webelos Scout may participate in overnight den camping when supervised by an adult. In most cases, the Webelos Scout will be under the supervision of a parent or guardian. It is essential that each Webelos Scout be under the supervision of a parent-approved adult.
  • Joint Webelos den/troop campouts including the parents of the Webelos Scouts are encouraged to strengthen ties between the pack and troop.
  • Den leaders, pack leaders, and parents are expected to accompany the youth on approved trips.
  1. For council Cub or ScoutsBSA resident camps, all adults staying in camp must have a completed background check on file with the council. Beginning in 2020, all registered adults will have a current background check completed as part of their recharter for the year. Non- registered adults staying in camp must complete an Adult in Camp Compliance form online. This information will be used to conduct background checks on the adults prior to camp. The council reserves the right to deny participation by any adult based on the information obtained through the background check.
  2. Training
  • YPT: All registered BSA adults must take Youth Protection Training (YPT) online. All parents attending a campout are highly encouraged to take YPT.
  • Hazardous Weather: Every adult leader in camp must have current Hazardous Weather Training taken online.
  • For pack camping/overnighters: At least one adult on a pack family campout/overnighter must have completed Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) to properly understand the importance of program intent, youth protection policies, health and safety, site selection, age-appropriate activities, and sufficient adult participation. Find a BALOO course near you.
  • For Webelos den camping: At least one adult must have completed Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO) to properly understand the importance of program intent, youth protection policies, health and safety, site selection, age-appropriate activities, and sufficient adult participation. Find a BALOO course near you. Leaders who took previously took Outdoor Leader Skills for Webelos Leaders may count that course.
  1. Roster: Every group must submit a camp roster listing all participants to the camp master or camp ranger.
  2. Incident Reporting: Any incident that requires the intervention of medical personnel, involves emergency responders, or results in a response beyond Scout-rendered first aid must be reported. Near miss incidents (does not result in injury, illness, or damage by definition, but it had the potential to do so) should also be reported. Report any known or suspected abuse or significant violations of youth protection policies that might put a youth at risk. using the Scouts First Helpline (24-hour helpline: 844-SCOUTS FIRST (844-726- 8871). The Scouts First Helpline is for reporting abuse or significant violations of the BSA’s youth protection policies only. While all youth protection policies must be taken seriously, minor, non-recurring infractions with no indication youth are at risk can be addressed at the unit level. Any other questions should continue to be directed to the BSA’s Member Care team at 972-580-2489.
  3. Transportation: Seat belts are required for all occupants. Passengers may not ride on the rear deck of a station wagon. Trucks may not be used for transporting passengers except in the cab. Trailers must never be used for carrying passengers. Use of ATVs, UTVs, or golf carts at camp other than at approved facilities (Camp Strake only) is not allowed. Staff use of these types of vehicles in any camp will be approved and supervised by a camp ranger or camp director.
  1. Trash should not be buried or burned. All garbage should be placed in the dumpster.
  2. Damage to equipment and facilities: Report all lost or broken equipment to the camp ranger or camp master. Living trees at council properties may not be cut down without approval of the camp ranger.
  3. Bikes: All cyclists must wear a properly sized and fitted helmet. Use of motorized bicycles, skateboards, or scooters at council camps is not allowed.
  4. Fires must be attended at all times, and when allowed, must be contained in existing fire rings set up for that purpose. Extinguish all fires before leaving camp. Do not use liquid accelerants. The use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited. Use of liquid-fueled stoves and lanterns is not permitted on council properties except as allowed during high adventure activities (e.g. backpacking stoves). Permission to use liquid-fueled devices must be obtained from the camp ranger before use. Government-issued fire bans supersede camp policy without exception.
  5. Vehicles: All vehicles must have a vehicle pass. These are available upon arrival at check-in. Speed Limits are 25 mph on main roads and 10 mph in campsites areas. Vehicles must stay on improved roads and parking areas. Do not drive or park in campsites or on the grass.
  6. Pets are not allowed in camp except for service animals. Permission to use service animals must be approved/granted by the camp ranger. Any service animals in the camp must be secured by the owner at all times.
  7. Schedule: Check-in for weekend camping begins after 3:00 pm on Fridays and check-out is no later than 2:00 pm on Sundays. Check-in and departure for resident camps will be noted on the registration.
  8. Fishing: Catch and release fishing is allowed at council camps except for Camp Brosig. Bring your own poles. Fishing licenses are not required.
  9. Departure procedures: Scouts should conduct a “police line” where Scouts stand within arm’s length of each other and walk the entire campsite picking up all trash. Make sure the campsite, restrooms, showers, and pavilions are undamaged and clean, and that all gear and trash is removed. Ashes from campfires should be removed from the fire rings and disposed of in ash barrels next to dumpsters.
  10. The following items are not allowed at council camps:
  • Alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs
  • Fireworks
  • Skateboards
  • Skates and roller blades
  • Personally owned firearms, archery equipment, and crossbows. Normally, personally owned firearms and archery equipment may not be taken to council properties. However, there are certain circumstances related to high adventure programs that are best facilitated by using equipment not owned by the council (e.g. high caliber rifles, black powder firearms, pistols, and compound bows). In these cases, a permit to use personal firearms or archery equipment must be filed with the Council Shooting Sports Committee. When approved, this form will be presented to the camp master, ranger, or camp director at the time the equipment is brought to camp. While at camp, this equipment will be secured in approved council storage facilities.
  • Personally owned slingshots or projectiles
  • Personally owned offroad vehicles (ATV/UTV/Golf Carts)
  • Personally owned watercraft. Normally, personally owned watercraft (e.g. rowboats, canoes, kayaks, jet-skis, sailboats) may not to used at council properties. However, there are certain circumstances related to high adventure programs that are best facilitated by using equipment not owned by the council. Venture crews and ships may own watercraft that are well suited for use at council properties. Permission to use such equipment must be obtained from the camp ranger at the appropriate property. This approval must be presented at the camp before launching any watercraft. Appropriate precautions must be taken to clean such watercraft prior to use in order to prevent contamination of council properties. Non-council owned watercraft are not permitted to be stored on council properties.
  • Personally owned generators except as approved by the camp director or ranger.
  • Personal climbing harnesses and helmets, if inspected and approved by the Lead Climbing Instructor at the time of use may be used on council properties. All other personally owned climbing gear may not be used on council properties, except equipment used to support high adventure programs or trainings that are best facilitated by using specialized equipment not owned by the council (e.g. Protection, Ascenders, etc). In these cases, requests must be submitted to the Council Climbing committee for approval prior to use. Approved requests will be provided to the camp ranger at the council property prior to use of the equipment.
  • Radio-controlled boats, aircraft, or vehicles other than for council-approved programs.
  1. Drones. Personally owned drones (i.e., UAS or small-unmanned aircraft systems) may be used only by adults on council properties with the approval of the camp ranger. The camp ranger will specify no-fly or restricted zones on the property (e.g. shooting ranges, climbing facilities, showers). The ranger will also specify permissible times for operation in order to prevent interference with other camp activities. Drone flyers (remote pilot in command) must:
    • Present proof of The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) test passage to the ranger. Certified remote pilots must also present proof of FAA Part 107 certification.
    • Use a registered FAA Drone Zone if the drone weighs more than 0.55 pounds.
    • Fly only for recreational purposes, not business, unless the pilot has Part 107 certification (certificated remote pilots).
    • Follow the BSA’s drone safety guidelinesFAA rules, and all local laws and ordinances.
    • Always keep the drone in eyesight at all times and use an observer to assist if needed.
    • Fly below 400 feet.
    • Ensure the UAS is not flying at night, over people or moving vehicles, or from a moving vehicle, and remains at least 25 feet away from individuals and vulnerable property. Only drone pilots operating under Part 107 (certificated remote pilots) may fly at night or over people and moving vehicles following FAA rules.
    • Ensure the UAS is not flying in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.
    • Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in the operation of the sUAS.
    • Ensure the UAS is not flying near or over sensitive infrastructure or property.
    • Ensure the UAS is not conducting surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of privacy without the individual’s permission.
  2. Aquatics. All individuals participating in aquatics programs on council properties must have successfully completed an appropriate BSA swim test as outlined in Chapter 5 of the BSA Aquatics Supervision, pamphlet No. 34346. The test must be administered after January 1st of the year of participation in aquatics activities. The test may be conducted by units prior to their attendance at a council aquatics program provided the test is validated by qualified supervision using the BSA swim test (Form 430-122). Qualified supervision includes those leaders who have successfully completed BSA Aquatics courses (Instructor, Lifeguard, Cub Supervisor, Swimming and Rescue), or Red Cross or YMCA Lifeguard qualification. A current copy of the supervisor’s certification must be attached to the swim test record form. Completed and validated swim test records must be provided to camp staff before participation in aquatics programs will be permitted. The council camp aquatics program director or camp director will review all unit swim test forms, and determine what, if any, retests at camp may be required.
  3. Tape: Only painter's tape can be used on buildings or pavilions; do not use any other tape (e.g., Duct tape).