LHC Camping Program 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). Guidebooks can be found on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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 (DoubleKnot)?

A 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.

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 a parent can’t take the whole time off?

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.  In this case, where the two adults are not overlapping, one adult space will need to be reserved.  In cases where an adult that is not staying the entire session is overlapping, please contact the LHC Camping Department at 412-325-7921 and we can help you with the reservation.  In this case, the adult camp fee will be prorated for the days in attendance.  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?

The BSA requirement is a minimum of two adult leaders one of which must be a registered leader and the second either a registered leader or the parent/guardian of one of the Scouts in attendance.  In addition, for Cub/Webelos Scout programs, the BSA requires an adult to Scout ratio of one to four and every Cub/Webelos Scout must have an identified adult responsible for them.  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. Individual parent/son teams or parts of units may register for the session that best fits their schedule pending availability.  Individual Boy Scouts or Venturers can join a provisional unit as a lone Scout. Provisional opportunities for individual Cub/Webelos Scouts cannot be accommodated.

Administrative

Do adults who attend camp need to complete PA Background Clearances?
Yes. All adult PA residents who will be staying at camp, whether registered with the BSA or not, will have to complete and submit required PA background clearances. This helps ensure that camp is in compliance with Pennsylvania state 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. 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. For more information and required forms see the Summer Camp Resources page of this website under the Registration heading.

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

All adults attending camp must complete the BSA’s Youth Protection Training.  In addition we recommend at least one adult complete Risk Zone training and Hazardous Weather training. All adults must also meet PA Background Clearance Requirements prior to attending camp.

What are the procedures for problems/emergencies?

Our staff leaders are trained at National Camping School in how to deal with problems and emergencies. The entire 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.

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

No, but it is required that each unit has at least one registered leader in attendance. All adults attending camp must complete the BSA’s Youth Protection Training All adults must also meet PA Background Clearance Requirements prior to attending camp.

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.

Medical/Insurance

What kind of medical do I need for each session?

All campers must utilize the BSA Annual Health and Medical Record and LHC Supplemental Medical form both available on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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 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

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 camp. The form required is the same as for those attending the full camp session.

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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website to submit this requests. Our food service staff will follow up with each case. 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. 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.

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. To better accommodate adults work schedules we do have an adult daily rate of $37 for those that cannot share a week
with another adult.

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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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. I 2015 and 2016 all campership applicants received some amount of campership assistance.  This is not guaranteed.

When are camp fees due?

Camp fees must be paid in full 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 after June 1 you will pay the third tier “Late” rate. For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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

Yes. For every six Boy 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 and one free den chief. Free adults and den chiefs are calculated per unit per session.

For every six Boy 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 the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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?

For camp fee, due date, and available discount information go to the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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.  Higher fees account for the program costs charged by these vendors.

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?

Please use the form available on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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.

When will merit badge and activity sign-ups begin for the Boy Scout 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 serve.  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 are found on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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. 

Meals

Can we review the camp menus before arriving at camp?

Yes.  As soon as menus are available, they will be posted to the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website to submit this requests. Our food service staff will follow up with each case. 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. 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 – Boy Scout & 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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.

Where do we sleep and eat?

Eagle Base resident program participants will stay in the Gannet 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 Boy Scout. Also Trek 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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 of 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.

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 charge 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 – Boy 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 Camps Liberty and Freedom can be found in the current camp guidebook available on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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 contact 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 60 opportunities for merit badges, as well as rank advancement and special award opportunities including the Heritage Ironman. Or you can 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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 – Boy Scout & Cub 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website. 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 50 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website.

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

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

Most weeks we offer a Webelos session followed by a Cub Scout session or vice versa. Schedule both of your sons to attend this week and you will be there the whole week. Each parent is not required to attend. Your son can go with another adult from the pack as long as BSA adult leadership requirements are met. 

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 Boy Scouts 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 Boy Scout camps with his new Boy Scout Troop.  Also, missing the first year of Boy Scout 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 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 on the Summer Camp Resources page of this website 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.

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.