The club director has just told you that on the next campout you will be cooking by units – Help!
Camping by units can be a lot of fun and a great learning experience. Some clubs do most of their cooking that way. This would be similar to cooking with a family. There are some questions that you need to have answers for:
- What will you be cooking with? Fire, one-burner stoves, or a two-burner stove.
- Does the club supply cooking utensils or will you and the Pathfinders need to supply them?
- How much experience does everyone have when it comes to doing their own cooking?
Put together a small loose leaf notebook for your unit. Before deciding on the menu for the upcoming campout, have everyone brainstorm every possible breakfast, lunch and supper menu combinations that they can. Write them in the notebook to have for future reference (some of the more off the wall ideas may need to disappear). If you have any camp cooking books bring them and let the Pathfinders look through them. Have them pick out a few recipes to try. Make sure that you wait to use the more complicated recipes until the Pathfinders are experienced at cooking.
After a campout go through the list with the unit and delete things that didn’t work, and add ideas that everyone thought might be good. There are several mistakes that many counselors make when cooking by units.
Mistake #1 – Counselor does everything. This should be a learning experience for the Pathfinders. Your goal as a counselor is
to help them learn how to do things and then eventually be able to teach others.
Mistake #2 – Counselor does nothing, maybe doesn’t even eat with their Pathfinders. While we want the Pathfinders to do
most of the cooking, for those that have never cooked for themselves before this scenario could be a recipe for disaster.
If the experience is a disaster this will be very discouraging and turn the kids off from cooking. Everything does not have to turn out absolutely perfect. But if things go wrong make sure not to blame anyone. A number of factors will determine how the food is purchased. Here are a few options:
- Counselor buys the food and divides the cost between the unit members
- Each Pathfinder brings an entire meal
- The ingredients are divided between unit members
- Be sure not embarrass any Pathfinders that may have a difficult time financially. Think of creative ways for them to bring the least expensive meals.
- The club purchases the food for the meals. This cost may be covered by the montly dues.