Yomechas Federation Indian Guides and Princesses

The Yomechas Federation services the Downers Grove and surrounding area.


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Campout Planning

Nation Chief Training and Orientation

Campout planning is mainly just common sense. But it is easy to overlook details. If you are responsible for planning a campout the checklists below might make your job easier. Eight steps are all it takes. (See also Tips and Suggestions at the end of this document and check the attachments at the very bottom for additional documentation.)

  1. Delegate responsibilities to your tribes.
  2. Read your camp contract.
  3. Contact your camp director.
  4. Write your camp plan.
  5. Share the plan with your Tribe Chiefs.
  6. Finalize your registration counts.
  7. Fax your final documents to the camp
  8. Be ready for checkout.
Delegate Responsibilities to Your Tribes
Give your tribe chiefs and their members have ample time to think about their jobs. You will get higher quality results if you delegate as early as possible.


At your first Nation Chief Meeting of the year, get commitments for all campout responsibilities -- all three campouts!

  • Check-in (see Tips and Suggestions).
  • Afternoon games.
  • Snake dance
  • Campfire
  • Evening activity
  • Sunday worship
  • Trophies and awards

If you plan to have special entertainment (such as a DJ or story-teller) at a specific campout, you will probably need to call the entertainers several months in advance -- do it as early as possible.

Read Your Camp Contract
At least a month before your campout, you should receive a copy of your camp contract from the Yomechas Camp Scheduler. Before you go to camp you will need to tell the camp director how many members you expect to have at camp - the contract should state how much variance is allowed without penalty. Pay particular attention to that detail. Also pay attention to the attendance maximum. If other groups are sharing the camp with you, the contract might tell you which cabins you will be in.


Contact Your Camp Director
Call the camp director six weeks or a month before your campout. Before you make the call, think about what you need and what you want. When you talk to the director, find out all you can about what the camp has to offer.


DO NOT MAKE ASSUMPTIONS! Learn what is available, when it is available, where it is located, capacity, camp-staffing conflicts, special costs, rainy day options, possible problems.

  • Learn about the Camp Activities
    • Archery?
    • Rifles? (tickets? prices?)
    • Boating?
    • Swimming? (swim caps?)
    • Fishing?(license requirements?)
    • Sledding?
    • Ice skating?
    • Cross-country skiing? (cost?)
    • Crafts? (what kind? cost?)
    • Staff-run indoor/outdoor games?
    • Tennis? Volleyball? Baseball diamond? Basketball courts?
    • Hayrack?
    • Climbing tower? (age restrictions? cost?)
    • Horses/Ponies? (age restrictions? costs?}
  • Learn about the camp facilities
    • Meal times and menu choices?
    • Cabin locations and capacities? (Which are "best"? Have indoor plumbing? Closest to the washrooms?)
    • How are cabin assignments handled?
    • If you need special equipment (sports, video, music, etc.) can the camp provide it?
    • Evening snacks? (Cost? This must be paid out of your Nation funds!)
    • Facility for your evening activity?
  • Discuss your campfire
    • Where is the campfire held? (Is there an indoor option? If so, can you throw ceremonial corn, etc. into it?)
    • Does the camp provide wood? How much?
    • Does the camp prepare the fire or is the Nation responsible?
    • Do you want the camp staff to lead songs, etc?
    • If you plan to use torches (snake dance), has the camp Director been informed?
  • Learn about the camp's Friday night arrival policy.
    • What is included?
    • What is the cost?
    • How should the camp be notified? (Can individual members can just call the camp?)
    • How is the camp to be paid for Friday Night arrivals?
  • Before you hang up the phone
    • Have you and the camp director agreed to a basic plan?
    • Do you understand the camp's deadlines for menu selections, final attendance counts?
    • Have you discussed Saturday morning arrival check-in procedures?
    • Are you sure activities will be open when your members first arrive on Saturday morning? Will activities be open Sunday morning? (What time? How long?)
    • If you need any special help or facilities, did you discuss your needs? Afternoon games? Evening activity?
    • Have you discussed rain plans or other weather-related contingencies?
    • Do you want the camp staff to lead a short prayer before meals? Do you need help with a worship service?
Write Your Camp Plan
  • A day or two after your phone discussion with the Camp Director, prepare a written plan for your campout.
  • Include a one-page activity schedule.
  • Include a summary of everything you expect the camp to provide.
  • Fax or email the plan to your Camp Director.
  • Follow up with a short phone call. Be sure the plan has been received and read. Resolve any minor problems.
Share the Plan With Your Tribe Chiefs
  • Bring copies of the written plan to your Nation Chief Meeting.
  • Discuss the plan with your Chiefs.
  • Make meal menu selections.
  • Add any final details or changes (phone the Camp Director if any changes are significant).
Finalize Your Registration Counts
  • After camp registration closes (2 weeks prior to your campout) obtain your Nation's camp signup sheets.
  • Review the sheets for clerical accuracy. (If a Trbe is missing entirely, call their navigator immediately! They may have forgotten the deadline.)
  • Calculate your final registration counts and Tribe totals. Adjust downward for no-shows (2 1/2% is typical).
  • Make cabin assignments (or prepare information necessary for the camp to do so for you).
  • Phone the Camp Director and communicate your attendance expectations.
Fax or Email Your Final Documents to the Camp
Your campout attendees will expect to find a schedule and activity information when they get to camp. And it is wise to confirm your attendance counts and cabin assignments in writing.


  • Prepare a final Activity Schedule. Prepare any supplemental pages.
  • Summarize your final attendance counts and cabin assignments.
  • Fax or email the documents to the camp along with instructions re number of copies of handout materials that need to be prepared.
  • Follow-up with a final telephone call to the Director to be sure the material has been received.
Be Ready for Checkout
Before you leave the camp, you must meet with the Director to settle the final bill.


  • Know your actual camp attendance count.
  • Be sure the billing calculation is based on actual attendance numbers.
  • Recompute the billing calculation (to avoid clerical errors).
  • Keep a copy of the final bill. After you get home, send a copy to the Federation Treasurer and a copy to our Camp Scheduler.


Materials Checklist
Be sure you take needed items to camp:


  • Schedule and planning documents (including cabin assignments)
  • Roster of your Chiefs, their Tribes, their Indian Names
  • Sign-up sheets (to help you check actual attendance)
  • Patches (graduation medallions, etc.)
  • Ceremony scripts for the campfire, worship, or other special events
  • Ceremony materials (corn, torches and fuel, etc.)
  • Other equipment (drum, hat, staff, special items of any kind)
The kids love a good show! Camps should be special. To the kids, this is all BIG STUFF!


  • Encourage everyone to wear vests at all times. (Offer a special award for "best-dressed" tribe.)
  • Encourage Chiefs to wear their Headdresses at all ceremonies and meals.
  • Whenever you are "on-stage" in your role as the Nation Chief wear your Headdress, carry your Staff! Make ceremonies, award presentations and announcements as exciting as you can!
Camp Arrival Check-in
Don't force any of your members to miss activities by sitting at a check-in station. Instead try this:


  • Understand where the Camp expects members to go when they first arrive.
  • Be sure an adequate supply of your Schedule and other handouts will be set out.
  • Be sure your cabin assignments will be prominently posted.
  • Tell the Camp Director you do not plan to provide coverage at the check-in station. Ask if a camp-staff member will be present. (Some camps have check-in procedures of their own -- staffing those is their responsibility, not yours!)
  • Conduct your actual "check-in" at a Nation meeting after dinner Saturday night (see next topic).
After-Dinner Nation Meeting
Schedule a "Nation's Meeting" immediately after dinner on Saturday night. What you really want is a short one-on-one meeting with each Chief (not a group meeting). List the meeting in your formal schedule. Discuss it at your monthly meeting prior to the campout. Be sure your Chief's understand the plan.


Be prepared for the meeting! You will need your camp registration list, camp patches, pen, notepad, etc. During your before-dinner announcements, remind the Tribes that each must send someone to meet with you right after dinner.

  • Have each Chief provide the final attendance count for their tribe -- and names of any no-shows.
  • Collect names and payments for all Friday Night arrivals.
  • Have the Chiefs tell you what their tribe has done to win a trophy.
  • Give the Chief the campout patches for their members.
  • Take care of any other administrative matters that might need attention.
Mealtime Announcements, Prayers, etc.
Anticipate making a few short announcements before each meal. The best time is after everyone is assembled, before the food is served. Do not wait until after the meal -- you will lose your audience!


  • Use the opportunity to welcome everyone, ask it they are having fun, etc.
  • "Advertise" the activities that are coming up next. Mention critical times. Mention special signups (such as horses). These announcements will help keep your campout running smoothly.
  • Usually the camp staff will lead a mealtime prayer, but if you are going to do it yourself, do it at the end of your announcements.
Snake Dance and Campfire
Like everything else, your Snake Dance and Campfire will benefit from a little advance planning. (See Ceremonies)


  • Have you figured out your route for the Snake Dance? Do you have a list of the cabin assignments, Tribe names,Chief's Indian names?
  • Do you have an opening and closing ceremony for your campfire?
  • Will your Tribes contribute campfire skits, jokes, etc.? (Don't just let the camp-staff "passively entertain" your members!)
  • Are you prepared to ad-lib at the campfire if necessary? (If you need some "filler", ask kids to come up and tell a joke -- as they tell it, repeat their words loudly for all to hear.)
Sunday Morning
A typical Sunday morning schedule includes Breakfast, a Worship Service, Trophies and Awards, then Camp Activities. It works best if your worship service and awards are held in the mess hall immediately after breakfast.


  • Hold your audience. During your announcements, remind everyone to remain in the mess hall for worship and trophies.
  • Keep things moving. Get the worship started as soon as possible after breakfast -- even if some tables are not entirely cleared. Final cleanup can be finished later. But if you wait too long, your members (especially the kids) will leave the mess hall! The worship service should last about 10 minutes, have a non-denominational theme, usually include one or two songs.
  • Save the Trophies and Awards until last. Every Tribe should get a trophy for something. When you present the trophies -- praise the quality of the trophies, praise the efforts of the kids who "earned" them. Make the presentation as exciting as you can.
FileFile size
 Camp Settlement Checklist56 Kb
 Chief Hunt Rules24 Kb
 Campout Game Ideas2 Kb