Camping and Outdoors

Camping Chair Dan Lentz

Howard County and the Baltimore area offer great opportunities for outdoor activities.  We are within easy driving distance of:

Learn about these opportunities, as well as the BSA guidelines for camping and hiking, by reading the sections below.

The BAC Camp Card program (more to come on this later) is designed to help the boys earn money to be used for attending summer camp.

Also, check out the Order of The Arrow Nentico Lodge Camping Guide

Outdoor Training & Information

Camping Chair Andrea & Ted Doederlein
Camping Co-Chair Cliff Lee

 Outdoor Training for Leaders

 Online BSA Guides

NPD Annual Outdoor Events

Watch for announcements of these exciting annual events.

Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation

Located on approximately 2,000 acres in Northern Harford County. It has three primary camps, Saffran, Spencer, and Oest, formerly known as Areas I, II, and III. Currently, Saffran and Spencer host Boy Scout Summer Camps, and Oest is home to Cub Scout Summer Camp. All three are used year-round, as well. Our camps have trails to hike, canoes to paddle, three Olympic-size swimming pools in which you can swim, rifles to shoot, and plenty of games, sports, field events, and endless hours of fun and fellowship for all. Our camp programs and facilities are diverse; they enable us to meet the special needs of any unit.

Programs For Older Scouts


This program will be run by Aquatics Connections, Inc. and conducted at the Camp Spencer pool.  Scouts must be at least 12 years old and older and be swimmers. This program will have all participants in the water with scuba gear. It lasts about 2 hours depending on the size of the group. It is run in 4 feet of water or less. This is a GREAT orientation to the full scuba program. 


This course is run at Guppy Gulch in Delta, Pa. It is about a 20 minute ride from Broad Creek. Transportation is provided by the camp staff or leaders. This week long program takes the scout’s full program time. The program is run Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 4 PM. Reading and studying is required in the evening. Completion of the course earns the learner PDIC Scuba certification. This program is open to all scouts and leaders 14 years old and older. Students must pass a written exam on Friday to successfully complete the course. The course is taught be certified dive instructors. 


Open to scouts and leaders 14 years old and older. Must be a swimmer and have swimming merit badge. This course takes all week to complete. Scouts must pass several skill tests to be certified. CPR certification is required to complete the course and earn the Lifeguard card. It is offered in both Camp Spencer and Camp Saffran. 


For 13 year old scouts who want to learn about being on the Broad Creek staff but are a year too young. While the troop is in camp this scout will participate as a staff member. The scout will live with his troop at night but serve in staff positions during the day. The scout will be serving in several positions during the week so he can truly get the flavor of camp staff life. Register with your camp director. 


For scouts who are at least 13 years old. The challenge of the COPE course is varied and can be a severe test. The challenges are physical as well as mental. The Broad Creek COPE Course offers 19 challenge stations. The program is run either each morning or each afternoon depending on scheduling. The sessions are limited to 24 scouts in each session. 


The Lost Pines Outpost is a high adventure program for older scouts who thought they have done it all. This program from Broad Creek’s past has been updated to today’s challenge and technology. The Lost Pines Outpost is run under the direction of Mike Sulewski who was responsible for revamping the Spencer First Year camper Program. This adventure will explore the camps back country along with trips off camp property that will physically and mentally challenge scout’s outdoor skills. 

This program that is half day and some evenings allows scouts to participate in cope patch or merit badges, eat and sleep with their own troop.  Scouts compete in patrol method, hiking, and climbing, black powder, ax throwing, kayaking at night, building a water slide, GPS hiking, Highland games, Outpost, Scuba, and much more.


The Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience, better known as C.O.P.E., is an opportunity for anyone 13 or older to challenge themselves and each other with an experience unlike anything they have ever done.  You will climb, swing, balance, and jump while thinking through a variety of challenges.  Most find that they can accomplish much more than they ever thought possible.

C.O.P.E. is an exciting outdoor learning experience designed to develop seven key skills:

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Decision-Making
  • Problem Solving
  • Communications
  • Trust
  • Self-Esteem

As a result of going through the C.O.P.E. program and the physical and mental challenges it provides, many individuals will gain more insight into themselves and others. Frequently, this will result in greater self-confidence and enhanced self-esteem.

Groups experience a new sense of trust and teamwork in addition to a willingness to take risks.  The sense of interdependence the program produces will enable them to work better.  Rather than competing against one another, everyone will be working together to achieve common goals. This sense of teamwork will continue to prevail in your group.

It has challenges but is not an obstacle course.  Traditional obstacle courses emphasize physical performance and exclude non-athletes from success.  COPE encourages "personal best" performance from each individual while increasing their awareness of their physical self.

As with all BSA High Adventure programs, a person must be 13 years of age to participate. Because of the difficult physical and mental challenges and the desire to provide the maximum opportunities for personal growth and development, the program is targeted primarily for older people.

Local Non-BSA Campgrounds & Trails

In addition to the links below,
check out the Order of The Arrow Camping Guide


Maryland State Parks

Howard County Parks


Maryland Greenways - Statewide Trails