Print Friendly

Canoe Trips for Boy Scouts

Into The Boundary Waters Canoe Area &
Quetico Provincial Park from Ely, Minnesota

North Country Canoe Outfitters arranges High Adventure canoe trips for literally hundreds of scouts. Our files contain dozens of thank you letters from satisfied adult Scout leaders (and a few Scouts themselves) who have been on our High Adventure trips.

North Country’s owner has served on several Boy Scout Council and Regional Training Staffs in leadership positions, as well as teach high Scout adventure skills. Read more about owner John’s Scouting experience.

It should be fully understood, however, that we are neither a part of the Boy Scouts of America, nor have they given us an endorsement.

Boy Scout Canoe Trip:  A quick description

Boy Scout High Adventure trips may start directly from our dock by just paddling away, riding out to a drop point by boat, or flying-off to Canada. Others start with Scouts riding to another entry point via van and paddling from there. Routes may return back to the starting point or to another pick-up location. Many Scouts work their way back to our lakeside base. This precludes having to set a pick-up time; rarely a problem, but certainly a consideration on a Scout trip.

Most trips involve several portages (moving your gear and canoe from one lake to another) each day. We teach how to use the equipment before the tripPortages range from a few feet to a quarter mile; a “long portage” may extend up to a half mile. They may take some effort for younger Scouts to do, as they are usually up or down hill to the next lake. But … isn’t that what High Adventure trips are all about … Scouts accepting a do-able challenge and then succeeding?

A travel day usually involves from four to six hours of paddling to get to your next campsite. We suggest about every other day be a layover for Scouts on our trips. This allows for fishing and exploring without having to take-down and set-up camp. Greater distances can be covered by Scouts as there is no gear to carry on portages. After a full day on the water, a Scout group can then return to their camp, have dinner, watch the campfire and the stars, and turn in, in true Boy Scout High Adventure fashion.

High Adventure

What is “High Adventure” ?

Only lightweight equipment for youth group canoe tripsMany High Adventure program opportunities exist for experienced, older Scouts and Explorers. This is the culmination of all of the things that Scouting should have taught to a boy: character development, citizenship, and personal fitness.

It is also the ultimate in outdoor experiences; beyond the exciting, but lower keyed summer camp programs. Most High adventure trips are expeditions with one or more purposes that involve a week or more in remote outdoor settings. Participants of a High Adventure trip should have mastered all of the basic outdoor skills and be ready for an outing that will offer new challenges. Adequate personal preparation and conditioning is recommended for all participants of High Adventure trips.

“Why should our unit take a High Adventure trip?”

If this question must be asked, the boys in your unit may not be getting everything they can out of the Scouting program. The question really should be, “Why aren’t we taking a High Adventure trip every year?”

Every program, whether Scouting or elsewhere, has a goal. It is the thing to strive for, the prize for a job well done. In the outdoor portion of Scouting, that goal is the privilege of taking a Boundary Waters High Adventure Canoe Trip.

It gives a boy the opportunity to put into real-life practice all of the camping and cooking skills, first aid preparedness sessions, and all of those knots that he spent literally years learning. It is the reason for “the patrol method: function as a team, or flounder separately.”

Somewhere between the ages of 13 and 15, nearly all boys undergo fairly rapid transition from child to adolescent. Physical growth is the most obvious and dramatic. Shoulders broaden, chests expand, voices change, clothes are outgrown.

If your unit is losing older boys because of “a lack of interest” or they “have other things to do,” it may be that your program is only addressing the 11-13 year old age bracket. The “monthly Saturday night campout” gets stale after three years. Older boys need more from their Scouting program than newer boys do. High Adventure can help fill that need.

The councils (and units) that have become the national leaders for keeping boys in the Scouting program focus on three main areas:

  1. An emphasis on honor camping programs such as The Order of the Arrow, or local programs like Kansas City’s Tribe of Mic-O-Say
  2. An emphasis on advancement to Eagle.
  3. An emphasis on annual High Adventure Trips.

Leader’s Guide to High Adventure Canoe Trips: an amazing resource available FREE

ATTENTION: Adult Committee Members

Leader's Guide to High Adventure Canoe Trips

The information on this web site dedicated to youth group canoe trips just scratches the surface of the many programs and services North Country Canoe Outfitters has available to assist you and your group. Our Leader’s Guide To High Adventure Canoe Trips was designed exclusively for our youth group customers covering topics in greater detail than we can include here.   Normally, this publication sells for $15 a book.  But IS YOUR GROUP:

  • Currently planning a canoe trip for this coming summer?
  • Currently evaluating possible outfitters?

If requested by the Facility Representative, Committee Chairman, High Adventure Trip Coordinator, Scoutmaster, or Assistant Scoutmaster, we will be happy to send one copy to your organization or troup FREE of charge.    (Additional copies = $15 incl USPS Priority shipping) (If you have already selected an outfitter, please contact them for their publications. Their policies and practices may differ from what we recommend.)

The best way to request a copy for your youth group is to have a committee member phone our office at 800-552-5581

The phone call is free, and one copy of the booklet is free. If you would rather, click here to send an online request for the Leader’s Guide. (Parties may photocopy any or all parts of this booklet for their own trip planning use. It may not, however, be used for any commercial purpose without the written consent of the copyright holder, North Country Canoe Outfitters, Ely, Minnesota.)