Purchasing Meals for a Campout
What's a Grubmaster
If you're the one responsible for planning and purchasing meals for a campout - congratulations! You're the Grubmaster! You'll also be in charge of coordinating meal prep, taking care of the food, and saying grace. Never fear, though, your Junior Patrol Leader is ultimately responsible for ensuring that everyone pitches in and of course the adults will be there hopefully watching from afar.
The Grubmaster is solely responsible for the meal planning AND the shopping. Of course, up until a certain age, boys can't drive themselves to the store, but the experience and opportunity to learn about grocery planning and shopping is intended to be a learning experience for you! Your parents already know how to do it. That doesn't mean you can't ask for help and advice, but YOU need to ask your parents for help and advice and not let them take the lead on getting the job done - after all, most of the time they're not going on the campout - you are and you know better than they do. You need to ask for help getting to the store. You need to ask for ideas when you go over budget. You need to understand cold and hot foods. You need to understand what's going to be doable for the campout (see below)
Always remember, if you have any questions about anything, look to your Trail Guide, he's there to help you.
For most campouts you will be providing four meals for the weekend - Saturday’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and Sunday’s breakfast. It's great if you've had a chance to do patrol planning and input, but sometimes that doesn't work out. In that situation, find out what you can and plan the best you know how.
You will need to make your purchases prior to leaving for the campout, so you need to leave yourself enough time to get the food, coolers, ice, special materials, etc. that you need for the trip.
Some campouts require different things, like a packed lunch, or a quick breakfast because of an early start to the day. Make sure to know if are any constraints on meal planning.
How do you know how much to buy? Clearly, that depends on the numbers of attendees. Typically, you purchase by attendees in the Patrol + dads who have sons in the patrol. That doesn't always work out, though. Sometimes numbers have to change and you'll end up needing to purchase for more people than were originally planned. It's important to be flexible and stay open for last minute changes.
This is a perfect opportunity for you to learn budgeting. Yes, there is a budget! The current budget is $12 per person (that's part of where your campout fee comes from!), which is reimbursed by the troop. That means if the Patrol chooses to have steak for dinner, they may need to end up with bread and water for breakfast. There's multiple ways you could solve this problem:
- Purchase wisely (See: Tips on Purchasing Wisely)
- Don't eat expensive!
- Charge the attendees a little extra if everyone in the patrol agrees.
You should never need to purchasing the following items:
- Snacks outside the normal four meals
- Paper products and paper towels. Paper towels are provided by the troop
Try to buy in bulk - you can stretch your money further. For example buy a family size bag of chips rather than individual sized bags. Buy a large container of juice or milk instead of individual cartons or juice box sized containers.
If you're wise with your money, there's often room for dessert Saturday night. Be creative and put your own spin on it!