Crowdsourcing Better Snacks at Scout Camp

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little while now, you may remember that one of my side projects is helping improve the quality and nutrition at several popular Boy Scout Camps in Los Angeles.  (I had been previously only talking about one camp, Emerald Bay, but we’re expanding the conversation to include all three camps in the Council’s area! Hooray!)

Last week I had a meeting with Shawn, the Business Director. We discussed the various snacks and treats that we sell in the Trading Posts at the camps. This is where the Scouts go to buy snacks between meals, beverages, and various supplies and memorabilia.

The stores have always been stocked with typical junk food: Soda, candy, ice cream bars, Slush Puppies, nachos, and the like.

While we aren’t going to eliminate all of those (it’s still summer camp, after all!), we are going to start experimenting with offering and encouraging healthier options.  But it won’t work if the Scouts (and adult Scoutmasters!) don’t like them.

So here’s where I need your help. We need some brilliant ideas. What do you recommend for healthier options to replace the Snickers, Twix Bars, Cokes, and Slush Puppies?  

We don’t have full kitchens in the shops, so the best ideas will be in easy to serve, single-portion sizes.  I’m looking for ideas like specific brands of pre-packaged “treats,” or other creative ideas like having an occasional Made-to-Order Smoothie Bar.  Above all, it’s got to be things kids will be excited to purchase and eat.  (Bags of baby carrots or salted nuts just won’t do…)

Please also take a quick look at this excerpt of our (draft) Food & Nutrition Policy (PDF) — these are the guidelines we’re using for the offerings at the Trading Posts.

If you have any ideas, please share in the comments — with specific brand and product names if possible. I’ll compile the list and report back to Shawn.  Thanks for your help!

Photo by kungfubonanza.

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28 Responses to Crowdsourcing Better Snacks at Scout Camp

  1. Sara March 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I’m surprised no one has said Pirate Booty – my son loves it and it comes in small individual sized bags and multiple flavors.
    I think Ecowell is available in that area – they are a water vending machine. It was tested in my son’s middle school and the kids could not get enough – it’s a design your own water vending machine.

  2. Renee March 27, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Oskri mini coconut bars are my new obsession. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0069QW1RE/ref=redir_mdp_mobile

  3. Mitch March 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    Picky Bars!!! They are amazing and the people who created are world class athletes (and very cool people). http://www.pickybars.com/

  4. Geez Louise! March 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Andrew, this is a great question. My youngest son is in boy scouts and other group activities. What you said is correct, it won’t matter if the scouts and parents will not eat them. The problem begins with the parents. At every event the parents are the ones buying all of the horrible snacks. You should see what the kids take to school for “snack”- it’s bad! I’m going to check out the sites from your other readers… we bring fresh fruit and water, we aren’t popular.

  5. Chelsea March 29, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    How about string cheese? I loved that stuff as a kid (and still do)! I know they have already been mentioned, but the Clif Kid Z bars are pretty tasty – Clif tends to donate also.

  6. Nicole March 30, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Snapz are fruit and vegetable crisps that are not fried or baked. They are dehydrated and have no additives. They are a great healthy alternative to snack chips. We started carrying these at our small town hospital, and everyone is loving them.

  7. Laura M. April 3, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    http://paleozone.posterous.com/cooking-my-way-through-the-primal-cookbook-gr

    Grock Rocks: dried, pitted prunes dipped in dark chocolate. Maybe put them on a stick for easier handling? They get melty if you pick them up.

    Or maybe that freeze dried fruit? It seems like a cool, weird thing that kids would dig.

    Have you looked at the paleo cookbooks for kids? Eat Like a Dinosaur might have some good proven snack ideas that are made from real food.

  8. Tt in nyc April 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

    This may be a ludicrous and silly suggestion, but if you can price the healthier options cheaper than the “junk” food then that would be a verrryyy strong encouragement to a kid with a finite amount of pocket money. Not a triple or anything, but if a cliff bar is $1 and a snickers is $1.75, well you just made a sale to a kid who usually buys a snickers.

  9. Nd April 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    We like to eat ClifKids Twisted Fruit. They are fruit leathers. We always have them in the car or in the bag for long trips.

  10. Melissa April 20, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Try Bare Fruit chips too! Apples, peaches, asian pears… Snappy crisp like a chip, but sweet. My kids love them. http://www.barefruitsnacks.com/

    I love that you are doing this!

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