Meeting Plans & Ideas: WILDERNESS SURVIVAL

Wilderness Survival Information Troop Meetings Main Event

Printable PDF file of Meeting Plans & Ideas for Wilderness Survival

This month’s activities should:

  • Teach Scouts priorities in wilderness survival.
  • Build on basic outdoor skills.
  • Enhance skills in using natural resources to survive.
  • Help Scouts understand the value of a positive mental attitude in the face of uncertainty.
  • Let Scouts practice basic survival skills.
  • Teach Scouts how to survive in special circumstances.

As a leadership team, you may want to discuss the following items when choosing wilderness survival as your program feature during your planning meetings:

Troop Meeting Planning Form
Click above for fillable troop meeting planning form.
  • Who in our unit has completed survival training or earned the Wilderness Survival merit badge?
  • Do we have adult resources in our unit or community that could help bring this subject to life?
  • What special survival situations do we need to consider based on our area of the country?
  • Where can we go to practice survival techniques?
  • How can we practice survival techniques and still follow Leave No Trace guidelines?
  • To meet our needs, what should we change in the sample meeting plans?


Preopening Ideas on Troop Program Resources

  • As Scouts arrive, show Internet videos from survival television shows like “Man vs. Wild.”
  • Set up a display of survival gear such as personal locator beacons and high-end signal mirrors.
  • Challenge each Scout on arrival to catch a spark on some charred cloth and set fire to tinder using a flint and steel set.
  • As groups of Scouts arrive, challenge them to complete a wilderness survival simulation game such as “Lost at Sea” or “Lunar Survival” that requires players to rank items in terms of their use in a survival situation.


Opening Ideas on Troop Program Resources


Survival Basics

  • Introduce the seven priorities of survival from the Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlet (1. STOP; 2. Provide first aid; 3. Seek shelter; 4. Build a fire; 5. Signal for help; 6. Drink water; 7. Don’t worry about food).

Survival Kits

  • Review the Scout basic essentials and how they can contribute to survival.

Fire and Shelter

  • Review the basics of starting fires without matches.
  • Set up stations where Scouts can try flint and steel, fire by friction, and other techniques.


  • Review basic distress signals, including noise, fires, mirrors, lights, and ground-to-air-signals.


3 Categories

Survival Basics

  • EssentialDiscuss ways not to get lost, including the points of Trek Safely.

  • ChallengingReview the information above.
  • Discuss first-aid techniques that could be important in a survival situation.

  • AdvancedReview the information above.
  • Discuss special considerations for these survival situations: cold and snowy; wet (forest); hot and dry (desert); windy (mountains or plains); water (ocean, lake, or river).

Survival Kits

  • EssentialMake a list of items that should go in a personal survival kit.

  • ChallengingReview the information above.
  • Make a list of items that should go in a unit survival kit.

  • AdvancedReview the information above. Using catalogs or the Internet, rate several commercial survival kits on completeness and cost-effectiveness. Decide whether it would be cheaper to buy or make a survival kit.

Fire and Shelter

  • EssentialDiscuss how to make shelters with found materials and clothing. If possible, practice outside your meeting place (keeping in mind the Principles of Leave No Trace).

  • ChallengingDiscuss the information above.
  • Discuss natural features that enhance or detract from a site’s ability to keep you warm and dry.

  • AdvancedDiscuss the information above.
  • Discuss how to make a shelter visible to search parties.


  • EssentialPractice signaling with mirrors, CDs, or other shiny objects. If inside or at night, use a strong flashlight to simulate the sun and signal a person across the room who represents a potential rescuer.

  • ChallengingReview the information above.
  • Review the common ground-to-air signals shown in the Wilderness Survival merit badge pamphlet.

  • AdvancedReview the information above.
  • Discuss how color, motion, and shadows can enhance visibility.
  • Discuss the importance of conserving flares and voices until the most opportune time.


Getting Ready for the Main Event

  • Menu Planning (if applicable)
  • Duty Roster Planning (if applicable)
  • Patrols discuss what special items they will need for the main event.

Preparation for the meeting’s game or challenge


Library of Games and Challenges on Troop Program Resources

    • Shipwreck
      Materials: For each patrol team of four to six Scouts, a ½-inch-thick plywood circle, 3 or 4 feet in diameter, to
      represent a ship
      Method: Teams line up at one end of a long playing area. On the leader’s signal, team members hold the sides of their “ship” and run toward the other end of the playing area. When the leader yells “Shark!” each team must jump aboard its ship. Repeat this process until one team reaches the finish line.
      Scoring: The first team with all members’ feet off the ground when the leader yells “Shark!” earns 1 point. The first team to reach the finish line earns an additional 3 points.
      Variation: To extend the game, have teams return to the starting point.

Note: Be sure to sand or rasp any sharp edges and splinters on the plywood circles.

  • Survival Kit Kim’s Game
    Materials: Two boxes; 20 to 30 assorted items that would be useful in a survival
    situation; paper and pencils for each team
    Method: Before the game, put all the items in one box. While teams watch, one leader takes an item out and tosses it to a second leader, who places it in the second box. Repeat until all objects have been moved from one box to the other. Teams must then list all the items they saw.
    Scoring: The team with the most correct items listed is the winner.
    Variation: To make the game more challenging, mix in items that would not be useful in a survival situation, and deduct points when these items are listed. You could award extra points when teams list items and explain how they could be useful.

Survival Items


Back to top of page

Wilderness Survival Information Troop Meetings Main Event