Camping in Cubs is the natural progression for those who come through Beavers, but remains easy to engage with for the 8-10’s who are new to Scouting, as the young people build and develop all important #skillsforlife.

Frequently Asked Questions – Parents

Newbie Campers and What to Expect

Below is a web version of the Beaver Newbie Nights Away document created by Badger, there is also a Cubs version Cubs Newbie Nights Away the FAQ’s in the documents will become their own FAQ’s. Local variations may derive from this, but it’s a good starter for 10

We are very aware that for some this will be their first ever time camping, or camping as part of anything other than a Family Camp through scouting. Here’s some really basic information we thought we’d share with apprehensive Beavers and nervous parents alike! Whilst aimed at those new to nights away with scouting it might help a few more experienced campers too.

In Preparation

  • If your child has not yet slept anywhere except with family then why not have some fun at “practice” events with fellow Scouters? One weekend at your home and another at theirs….
  • For those booked to attend (and who have never camped before) maybe see if you can fit a practice in, any back garden is ideal!!
  • Often Groups offer an indoor introduction before the outdoor events start.


  • Unless otherwise stated it’s traditional that all members (adult and child) arrive and depart in uniform.
  • Please, please, please,please resist the temptation to pack their bags for them! Believe it or not even at 6 years old most boys and girls are quite good at getting things together, even if they aren’t the neatest packers in the world. In letting them pack it helps them remember where things are when looking for them, and at the end of camp they will be expected to pack their own things anyway! Nothing to stop you checking it once they are asleep of course…
  • All equipment and clothing must be clearly marked with the owner’s name, and we take no responsibility for loss or damage of any personal property.
  • Electronic games, phones, radios, mp3 players etc are all banned items and not really needed (in Cubs and Scouts too) unless otherwise stated ~ the only thing they should bring with batteries is their torch!
  • We do normally carry on in the rain, all be it with an amended programme, so please make sure footwear / clothing is appropriate if the forecast is soggy. When we say waterproof please note that’s what we mean—not “can cope with a shower on the walk to school” proof 🙂
  • Suitable sleeping bags need to be provided. Please note that it is highly unlikely that the ones sold in supermarkets with characters on will be of sufficient warmth. If camping Sept -June then a 3 season, with a 2 season minimum for summer.
  • Exact kit required will vary from camp to camp but please see the generic list at the end.

All About Tents

  • Before bed time we do get them all to clean their teeth and pop to the toilet.
  • Lights out varies from camp to camp, but we always make sure they know what time they have to be in their beds by, and what time they then have to be quiet by.
  • Out of courtesy to other campers (especially the leaders) and any neighbouring residential properties we also explain what time they have to remain quite until, and what time they can leave their tents / get up. Some sites have specific rules covering this.
  • If they need to go to the toilet during the night that’s fine (but a reason why they need to sleep with their torch close to hand). They don’t need to ask permission but are simply expected to try hard not to wake the others, and to make sure they do their tent up properly when leaving / getting back in (especially when it’s raining). Sometimes they will be going into a building and sometimes using toilet tents—but we always ensure they know.
  • When pitching tents we arrange them so that the Beavers know exactly where the adults are, so that if they need to wake us during the night they can (although some of us don’t sleep much anyway).
  • Leaders are normally up after / before the children so check all is ok before going to bed /on getting up. If an adult gets up during the night we do the same sort of walk round to check. We do not stay up all night (although sometimes it can feel like it!).

On Camp

  • Respect for fellow campers is important. For example we do not walk through other people’s camping areas, we do not go into other people’s tents and we do not wake people up early by running round outside when we should at least be quiet if not asleep.
  • Everyone is responsible for clearing up after themselves, from washing their own kit up after a meal to clearing up something they drop or spill.
  • We always operate a “leave no trace” policy—the site should be left exactly as it was found. Any items moved (natural or man-made) should be returned to where they came from, all rubbish should be disposed of correctly.
  • When catering for large numbers we do not factor in “likes” and “dislikes” (only food intolerance and allergies) as to do so would be impractical (we’re sure many of us also know that when on camp it’s amazing what young people will eat when they are hungry and away from parents…). Rest assured there will be something they will eat!


  • If you do get a call from us during a Nights Away event please do not panic! Quite often it can be something as simple as your son or daughter can’t find something, and not because of any issue requiring them to be collected.
  • Please do not contact any of the adults taking part during the event unless there is an emergency, such as a sudden medical problem with a close family member which means you will need to collect them, or “pop in” outside the times stated for the event. Both of these can distract the adults present from the children in their care.

And a final few words…….

  • We give you advance warning now that they will probably come home tired, grubby and may say very little until they have had a good sleep. The question “What did you get up to?” will probably only be answered with the word “Stuff” for at least 24 hours……..
  • A large number of adults taking part have children, so please believe us when we say that we will care for your child like our own, we know it’s often the parents who worry whilst the boys and girls have an absolute blast!

Why are Sleepovers / Camps offered?

They often give young people their first experience of a night away from home without their parents / guardians. They are the young person’s first taste of residential Scouting. They offer the fun and excitement of spending time with friends, more time for extended activities, completing part of the Outdoor Challenge, contributes towards the Nights Away Activity Badge, helps prepare them for further camps in older Sections and gives a sense of independence.

What happens about sleeping arrangements given there are boys and girls attending?

You hopefully all remember this bit—which is on the registration form you filled in when your child joined us—

“ Due to the accommodation arrangements and provision of facilities at some camp sites, or gender ratios of participants, it may be necessary for boys and girls to share tents / dormitories for reasons of practicality and/or safety. Where this option is required, young people will always have access to private washing and changing areas. Any concerns on this matter should be addressed with the section leader prior to the event.”.

In effect what this usually means is we, for example, may place two girls in one “room”of a tent and two boys in the other.

How do I know you will cope with the fact my child ….?

There are very few “issues” that we have not already dealt with whilst away. Examples include:

  • Bed wetting
  • Night terrors
  • Sleep walking
  • Home sickness
  • Allergies
  • Behavioural issues
  • Sickness

and ……(not to mention some serious snoring!)

But we can only help if you tell us so when you fill in the form please list everything, no matter how minor it may seem.

What happens if they want to come home?

We have never made a child stay at sleepover if they really haven’t wanted to, although we have a wide range of tried and tested distraction techniques that normally work well anyway!

That’s why we always need an updated contact number for an adult available to drive, just in case we need you to come and collect your son or daughter at any time day or night.

My son or daughter would love to come but we just can’t afford the cost.

We are very aware that as Scouts we offer lots of opportunities and are keen for everyone to take part irrespective of parental ability to pay. Please discuss hardship options with your Group to help your child join in with their friends. Groups, Districts and Counties have financial accessibility funds for areas of deprivation and hardship, but they cannot help you if you don’t ask.

Frequently Asked Questions – Cub Leaders, Supporters & Managers

How do I become a Nights Away Adviser?

First off, you need to think that Camping is best, ideally have camped lots, led camps etc. Have a chat to your relevant Commissioner and your Training Manager.

If you complete Mod25N validation using a Damboree event to assess someone for their Nights Away Camping Permit, then you can apply for one of our Gold Badges, which for the 2022 cycle are sponsored by Online Scout Manager

Does Damboree do Nights Away Assessments?

NO! We don’t. Not as active support unit members. We may have other roles in Counties or Districts that enable us to do assessments, however the ASU does not offer Assessment-As-A-Service.

This is often a common misconception of Damboree, we’re here to support and encourage, not deliver. We don’t organise Damboree events, we cheer from the sidelines, and help break down barriers to leaders taking young people camping.

So what can Damboree do to help me promote nights away in my Group/District/County/Region/Country?

  • Well, we have a cracking badge scheme that supports Beavers, Cubs & Scouts, broadly aligned to the Outdoor Challenge with some Damboree magic thrown in.
  • We have Gold Badges for those who get their first Campsite Permit, so your leaders can join a prestigious alumnus of around 350 Gold Badge owners.
  • Golds for those who step up to become Nights Away Advisers, and support you in your manager/supporter role ensure you’re delivering minimum standard with competent well mentored & supported permit holders.
  • We have a network of Active Support Members to support and encourage engagement with Damboree & Nights Away Permits
  • Our Active Support Members can challenge those out-of-date notions that some adults in your District/County may harbour without affecting your local dynamics. Allowing us to annoy your people instead of your team.
  • Attend County Rallies, District Conferences to promote Nights Away Damboree Stylee

Emerald Badge Requirements

Complete 5 OPTIONS & all of the ESSENTIALS section.

– [ ] Help to pitch and strike your tent
– [ ] Cook a Backwoods meal with your tent buddies
– [ ] Show you know what things you need to do to look after your campsite and kit
– [ ] Make, name and look after an imaginary camp pet…
– [ ] Build a shelter/bivvy for two, and sleep in it for at least one night of your camp
– [ ] Make a useful camp gadget
– [ ] Erect and use a weather stone to give local weather forecast.
– [ ] Make a woggle out of something you have on camp, e.g. wood or cord, using knife skills or knots.
– [ ] Invite a member of the Damboree Active Support Unit, Assistant County Commissioner – Cubs or County Nights Away Advisers (UK), or relevant equivalent Commissioner from your Scouting organisation, to your event
– [ ] Perform a campfire skit or teach a new song

Essentials – do ALL of these
– [ ] Cubs sleeping outside for 2 or 3 nights 
– [ ] Spell out Damboree in camp items
– [ ] Post pictures, or it didn’t happen, to Facebook using #DamboreeCubs #Cubsintents

What are the basic rules about running Sleepovers / Camps?

  • There is first aid and catering provision.
  • There is a minimum ratio for children to adults at such events, and all those sleeping overnight have full scouting DBS clearance.
  • The person responsible for the event must hold a valid Nights Away Permit.
  • We follow the Policy, Organisation and Rules (POR) of the Scout Association in all that we do.
  • We do not plan anything we are not happy for our own children (if we had/have them) to do.

Latest News

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