Skip to main content

Family camps

Family camps are a brilliant way for the whole family to give Scouting a go. If you keep adult recruitment in mind from the get-go, you can use a family camp to convince parents to volunteer.

You don’t need convincing how wonderful Scouting is and how offering it to more people is a good idea. If you need more adult volunteers, then using family camps to involve adults should be part of your recruitment process.

We have referred to ‘adults’ rather than parents, as this covers the range of adult roles that can be present in a young person’s life.

Inviting adults along to a successful recruitment drive at camp starts with you, and how much you put into the planning phase. Talk to all of the family members you can, invite them along and make it fun.

Engaging adults before the event

Think about the tasks that need to be done for camp. This could be anything: cooking,
photography, admin...
Before the camp, try to get all of the adults together to get them involved. Adults are more likely to enjoy camp and volunteer again if you give them tasks based on their skills and interests. Ask the adults what tasks they’d like
to do – if they don’t know, give them something they might enjoy.

All adults attending the event will need to be disclosure checked. This means that parents will need to have signed up in enough time for these checks to have been completed and returned.

Before the event

Adults are most likely to enjoy the camp and volunteer again if you give them a role based on their skills and interests. There are many things that need doing at camp including cook, running bases, take photographs. Ask parents what they’d like to do beforehand. 

Make sure everyone knows what their role is before you get to camp. This is really important, as it will help adults to feel useful during the camp, and give you a starting point for when you do the follow up. 

Remember, you’ll need to do disclosure checks on all adults who will be staying overnight.

Don’t be afraid to show them how much fun they are likely to have on camp! 

Engaging adults during the event

Start the camp in a way that involves your parent volunteers. If you’re planning to do an
opening ceremony or other group tradition, make sure you teach it to the adults, so that they don’t feel left out.
Give everyone a name badge at the start and make sure your adults all have neckers to make them feel part of the team. Be careful how you talk – avoid jargon that new adults won’t understand. Make sure adults are enjoying their time. You may find that an adult is not enjoying their tasks – be flexible and you will keep people happy. Let Scouting do the talking. If you have fun, stay positive and enjoy yourself others will too. Towards the end of the event, talk to people about their experience, find out what they’ve really enjoyed and see if they want to come and enjoy more. If an adult is unsure about being part of your team, have details of the four week challenge ready. Don’t forget to say thank you to all adults for coming along.

During the event

Is everyone happy? Don’t be afraid to change things if someone isn’t enjoying their tasks. With lots of people, it can be hard to keep track of everything and everybody so link new adults up with a more experienced ‘buddy’ and make sure they all feel like part of the team. 

Start the camp in a way that includes your parent volunteers.  If adults are responsible for a lodge, six or patrol help them get to know the members. It’s a good idea to present all the adults with a group necker at the start of camp so they feel welcomed.

Above all – have fun! If you’re enjoying yourselves, others will too.

Engaging adults after the event

Shortly after, say thank you to the adults who were on your team. This could be an email with photos attached or even a text.

After the event

Don’t forget to say a personal thank you after the camp. This could be a card made by the young people, a gift, or a photograph of the adult enjoying the camp, signed by everyone. Gather the adults together towards the end of the camp or shortly afterwards to find out what they enjoyed.

Make sure the right person from the group is talking to the adults – this person needs to be positive and confident and could be anyone in the team (it doesn’t have to be the GSL or the camp leader). Listen to what they say and talk them through ways they can get involved on a more regular basis. If people are keen to try out volunteering, you might want to run the Four Week Challenge.

Checklist for recruiting adults using family camps

Here are some things you may want to consider when planning and carrying out your event. They may not all be appropriate for the specific camp you’re planning but they act as a guide

How a family camp differs to a normal camp?

  • You’ll have a bigger team. Make the most of it.
  • You need to let go. Don’t do it all yourself.
    You’re more likely to recruit adults if you give them a defined role that they’re comfortable with.
  • You’ll have more time. With more adults actively involved, you’ll have less to do. Spend that time with your parent volunteers.
  • Its about recruitment – don’t forget why you are doing the camp!

Top tips

  • Keep recruitment in your mind from the
    early planning stages all the way through to
    the wrap up.
  • Stay positive during the event and with your interactions with adults.
  • Give tasks to adults that reflect their interests and skills and allow them to take on responsibility for these tasks.
  • Make sure you introduce the adults to each other at the start of the event.
  • Say a genuine thank you to adults and follow up any actions after the event (Don’t leave adults hanging!)
  • Be ready for a positive response and
    embrace small commitments and flexible