Skip to main content

Vancouver Island Fall Skills Camp

Wild West

The GVA Fall Skills Camp takes place annually at Camp Barnard, and is widely recognised as one of the major Scouting events of the year. This camp aims to provide participants with a unique and diverse learning experience, with several stations relevant to Scouting. Unlike Spring Challenge, Fall Skills is geared to be a learning experience, where Scouts will practise and perfect their skills over a three day time period. 


Participant and Volunteer registration for the GVA Fall Skills Camp 2023 is now open! See the links below to register for camp. 



This year our theme is Wild West, bringing alive the spirit and grit of the 17th to 20th century in the midwest. Throughout the weekend, Scouts will take part in several stations of vital Scouting skills, along with challenges to promote further learning, teamwork and fun. Stations will be run by Venturer and Rover volunteers, promoting friendly competition and performance. Seven stations will take place on Saturday, along with the Cooking Challenge, and Campsite Gate Challenge. The Catapult Challenge will take place on Sunday, although it is recommended to begin work on this challenge as soon as you can. 

Awards and prizes will be handed out during the camp closing, to not only recognise expertise and success, but also camaraderie, teamwork and selflessness. 


Arriving at camp

Campers will arrive on Friday around 1830 hrs, and will hike into camp. All Scouts must hike in their personal gear. Campsites for Scout Troops are available at Yukon and McKenzie, with Venturer and Rover volunteers camping at Columbia. 

Due to limited parking, only two vehicles per troop will be allocated parking in Fraser Field. 

At 2000 hrs on Friday, an information meeting for Scouters will take place in Skeena shelter. 


Please Bring:

To contribute to the pantry for the Cooking Challenge, all Troops are requested to bring non-perishable food items such as canned beans, canned vegetables, or others. All remaining non perishable food items will be donated to charity following the conclusion of the camp. 

  • 1st Aid kit

  • 5-6 staves

  • 1-2 medium sized tarps

  • 1-2 axes

  • 1-2 hatchets

  • 1-2 saws

  • A sign or banner displaying your Group name

  • Non perishable food item for the cooking challenge

  • Twine and rope

  • Something to hold projectiles on catapult (like a colander)

On Saturday night a magic campfire will take place in the opening circle next to Skeena. Here Scouts Troops may be called upon to conduct a song, skit or cheer. 

For questions regarding GVA Fall Skills Camp 2023, please contact Camp Chief James Petersen (, or Camp Chief Paul Nicholson (


Station Overview

There will be seven stations that Scouts will take part in throughout the day, located throughout Camp Barnard. These stations will focus on specific Scouting skills, with demonstrations and coaching from the volunteers at the station. Scouts will be scored based on their performance, improvement and team spirit at the station (see scoring explanation below). Scouts will use tickets they earn based on their score at each station to buy ingredients for the cooking challenge (details below). On the final morning of camp the Scouts will compete in the catapult building challenge (more details below). Scouters are permitted to assist Scouts at stations, within reason.


  1. First Aid

  2. Fire Building

  3. Knots & Lashing

  4. Temporary Shelters

  5. Axes & Saws

  6. Hike

  7. Canoeing

Fall Skills Station Scoring

Each Scout group will be marked on their performance at the station, their improvement of skills demonstrated during the station, and their Scouting spirit. Additionally, bribing the station leaders could earn the group more points. 


Performance refers to a Scout group’s ability to complete a station, to the standard outlined by the station leaders. A Scout group’s performance at a station shall be marked out of 15, with a 1 for minimal performance, and a 15 for maximum. If a group fails to complete the station, they shall receive a 0. 

Scouting Spirit

Scouting Spirit refers to a Scout group’s ability to work together as a team, while maintaining good morale and enthusiasm. A Scout group’s Scouting spirit at a station, shall be marked out of 10, with a 1 for minimal teamwork and enthusiasm, and a 10 for maximum. If a group fails to complete the station due to lack of teamwork, they shall receive a 0. 


Improvement refers to a Scout troop’s positive change in ability while at a station. When first beginning a station, if a troop improves throughout their time there, they will receive a higher improvement score. A Scout group’s improvement at a station shall be marked out of 5, with a 1 for minimal improvement, and a 5 for maximum. A group shall not receive below a 1 for improvement. 


Bribes refer to foods or other small gifts given to the station leaders by the Scout group. They are not required to complete a station, but if considered, may result in extra points. A Scout group’s bribes, shall be marked out of 5. If a Scout group does not offer bribes, they shall receive a 0. 



Campsie Gate Challenge (Signpost)

The Campsite Gate Challenge encourages Scout troops to personalise and decorate their campsite, which promotes creativity and helps serve as an identifier for that troop. A campsite must have a gate for judges visiting the camp to enter/exit, and should display the Scout troop’s name if possible. 

The Campsite Gate Challenge will be scored based upon creativity, and will be judged at the same time as the Cooking Challenge.

Cooking Challenge (Harvest Dinner)

The Cooking Challenge will give Scouts a chance to demonstrate their culinary skills, with the added challenge of choosing from a limited supply of ingredients. Scout groups will use tickets, received from stations throughout the day, to purchase food with which to prepare a meal. The pantry will stock several base ingredients, along with donated non perishable food items. 

Participants in the cooking challenge will have approximately 1 hour to prepare their meal, and must use only ingredients purchased from the pantry, with the exception of cooking oil, salt or pepper. 

The cooking challenge will be scored based on presentation, taste, and creativity. Please note that if your dish is not prepared by the time the judges come around, you may lose marks. 

Catapult Challenge (Artillery)

The Catapult Challenge presents Scout troops with the task of building a catapult or trebuchet capable of launching small projectiles to a distance of approximately 30-40 yards. Scout troops must construct their catapult using materials that they have brought with them, as scavenging from the campground is not permitted in this instance. 

The Catapult Challenge will take place on Sunday, and will be the final event before the closing of the camp. The Catapult Challenge will be scored in two parts, construction and performance. A catapult or trebuchet must hold up to an inspection of its construction, including sound lashings, stable beams or staves, and teamwork in construction. For performance, a Scout Troop will be given three projectiles of varying compositions to launch at targets, scoring based on any hits. 

Scout Troops must construct their catapult/trebuchet at camp, and may do so in their free time. For the inspection and performance, each Troop will be given a 5 minute time slot to report with their catapult/trebuchet to the designated location. If your troop misses their time, they will be disqualified.  

Wanted Poster Challenge

The Wanted Poster Challenge is a theme related challenge which will take place on Saturday, which will have Scout Troops scour the wild west for wanted criminals and bring them to justice. Several posters of individuals wanted for genius crimes will spread throughout the camp. Findhese posters, and the criminal depicted, and take a photo with your Troop, the criminal and the poster. Please do not physically harass these individuals. By the end of Saturday, the Troop who has brought the most crooks to justice will receive a prize at the end of camp. 



Friday October 13th, 2023

1830 - Intake 

2000 - Admin meeting led by Camp Chief 

2100 - Scouter info meeting led by Camp Chief

Saturday October 14th, 2023

0700 - Wake up call

0900 - Opening horseshoe 

1000 - Stations begin 

1200 - Lunch break 

1300 - Stations resume after lunch break 

1600 - Stations end and free time begins  

1700 - Cooking challenge starts 

1800 - Cooking challenge ends and dinner time/free time begins  

2100 - Camp Fire 

2300 - Quiet time begins

Sunday October 15th, 2023 

0700 - Wake up call 

0900 - Catapult challenge instructions

0930 - Catapult challenge begins 

1130 - Closing horseshoe and prize winners etc:

1230 - Exhaust 


Volunteers Needed!

The Fall Skills Camp Chiefs are asking for volunteers to run stations for the GVA Fall Skills Camp. The initial plan is for seven stations, but if we have more volunteers, then additional stations will be considered. 

Venturer Companies or Rover Crews that would like to run a station are advised to consult the list of available stations (see above), and register before the end of September. 

If your Group volunteers to run a station, you will be responsible for formulating how that station will run, marking Scout participants at your station, and organising your team to run the station. 

Each Scout Troop will have a maxi 20 min at your station. Since this is a skills focused camp, these stations must have a demonstration period for volunteer at your station to show the Scouts what they will be doing. This will be at your discretion, but it is recommended that this take between 5-10 minutes, and fully explain the skills at your station. 

Please contact Camp Chief James Petersen (, or Camp Chief Paul Nicholson ( to volunteer or for further details.

Stay safe and be prepared!

When: October 13, 6:30pm - October 15, 12:30pm 2023

Where: Camp Barnard, 3202 Young Lake Rd., Sooke

Register Now

Camp Barnard