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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome! This section is designed to provide answers to some commonly asked questions relating to the Boy Scout Summer programming at Emerald Bay. If you have further questions not listed below, please contact us at We have broken this page down into sections for your convenience. Please click one of the links below to jump to your topic of interest.

fennel1. Program Information

     1.1 Merit Badges and Records

     1.2 Scuba Programs

     1.3 High Adventure Programs

     1.4 Senior Patrol Leader Training

     1.5 Trail to First Class

     1.6 Adult Leader Training

     1.7 Additional Activities

2. Registration and Payment 

3. Preparation, Travel, and Other Logistcs

4. Food

5. Medical and Special Needs

6. Facilities

7. Contact Information



Program Information

Merit Badges and Records

Q: Are there any prerequisites for Emerald Bay merit badges? If so, what are they?

A: There are a few pre-requisites required for some merit badges, including some online programming for the SCUBA merit badge, requirements 9A and 9B for the Camping merit badge, and Requirements 4A and 4B of the Energy merit badge. We also ask that each participant taking any Aquatics merit badges have Swimming merit badge completed prior to coming to camp. Safety is our number one priority, and as the ocean can be unpredicatble, we want every Scout to Be Prepared.

Download the Merit Badge Prerequisite Form here.

Q: What merit badges are offered at Emerald Bay?

A: Our Merit Badges and Awards are explained in detail in the Merit Badge Guide. You may also download the Merit Badge Schedule for your Scouts to decide which merit badges they can take during which sessions. This form will help adult leaders when registering the Scouts for merit badges later online. These forms can be found on the Forms and Packets page.

Q: How many merit badges can I get in a week at Emerald Bay?

A: The average Scout earns three to four merit badges during their week. In addition to these merit badges, Scouts will participate in a large variety of troop actvities such as snorkeling, mountain biking, a canoe overnighter, kayaking, and much, much more.

Q: Can I take the Scuba merit badge?

A: Scuba merit badge is offered as part of the Rugged Scuba program. Scouts who are Open Water Certified can also earn the merit badge at camp. Visit our Scuba section of this FAQ for answers to more Scuba-related questions.

Q: Are there age requirements for any merit badges?

A: The only BSA programs at Emerald Bay with specific age requirements are BSA Lifeguard (must be 14 years of age or older) and Scuba merit badge (must be 12 years of age or older). We do however have age recommendations for certain merit badges, as they tend to be more difficult either physically or mentally. A complete breakdown of these recommendations is available in our Merit Badge Guide.

Q: How do I sign up for merit badges?

A: You will be emailed merit badge sign-up information in March. Your unit must already be registered to attend camp before signing up for any merit badges.

Q: How can I make changes to my merit badge sign-ups?

Login information will be provided to your Scoutmaster, and he or she will register the individuals for the merit badges they would like to participate in. Changes can be made by the Scoutmaster up until the first day of camp. After that, changes will need to be made through the Camp Clerk in the Purser's Office. 

Q: I’ve lost my merit badge records from this summer or a summer in the past. Can I get an additional copy?

A: Digital copies are available upon request. Please email your request to for assistance.

Q: There was a discrepancy on our merit badge records after we left camp. How can I get it resolved?

A: Please email your issue to You will need to provide your name, the Scout's name, troop number, council, dates the individual attended camp, and the details of the issue. 

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Scuba Programs

Q: What SCUBA programs are offered?

A: We offer both week-long and half-day Scuba opportunities at Camp Emerald Bay. Our week long programs are: Rugged Scuba (PADI Open Water Certification and Scuba Merit Badge) and Rugged Oceanographer (PADI Advanced Open Water Certification). Guests can also participate in SCUBA BSA, a half-day dive program for non-certified divers, or in a variety of Discover Local Diving trips for certified divers.

Q:What's included in the costs for Rugged Scuba or Rugged Oceanographer?

A:The price of Rugged Scuba and Rugged Oceanographer includes your transportation from San Pedro to Camp Emerald Bay, meals, and lodging in addition to all needs for your week long SCUBA experience.

Q: What age is required for Scuba programs?

A: Anyone participating in a Scuba program at Camp Emerald Bay must have had their 12th birthday prior to arrival at Camp Emerald Bay.

Q: How do I sign up for SCUBA?

A: Please visit to sign up for Rugged Scuba or Rugged Oceanographer. Please make sure any campers signed up for Rugged Scuba or Oceanographer are not also signed up with your unit's Merit Badge Camp registration.

Please visit for Scuba BSA or Discover Local Diving registration.

Q: Can I earn the SCUBA Merit Badge if I'm not registered for Rugged Scuba?

A: Divers who are Open Water Certified can complete the coursework required for the SCUBA Merit Badge while at camp.

Q: What do I need to bring for Rugged Scuba or Rugged Oceanographer?

A: The Rugged S and O packing list will be available in January.

Q: Are there any prerequisites for Rugged Scuba or Oceanographer?

A: Participants must be able to complete the Scuba swim check and must also complete all pre-camp online coursework given by Malibu Divers. Please contact Malibu Divers with additional questions.

Q: Will I have time for other activities while participating in Rugged Scuba or Oceanographer?

A:The Rugged Scuba and Oceanographer participants often spend time as a group doing some activities that are not Scuba related during the week, but please do not expect to have time to participate in any additional Merit Badges or unit activities. Participants can plan to join the unit for the Parson's overnight, though they will hike to Parson's late with a group and can return to camp in a canoe as long as there is room.

Q: Can Provisional Scouts participate in Rugged Scuba or Oceanographer?: 

A: Yes. Provisional Scouts are welcome to attend for Rugged Scuba and Oceanographer and will be supervised throughout the week.

Q: What medical forms are required for SCUBA?

A: The official BSA Medical Form is required for all Camp participants- Download hereAll SCUBA participants in addition also include  Medical Release

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High Adventure Programs

Q: What High Adventure programs do you offer?

A: We have four High Adventure Programs during the summer at Emerald Bay:

Rugged Explorers- A rugged island adventure with kayaking, canoeing, biking, snorkeling, hiking, and more! For individuals ages 14+

Rugged Canoers- A canoe trip around Catalina Island while camping on deserted beaches throughout the week. Must be age 14+

          Rugged Scuba Divers- Earn your PADI Open Water Scuba Certification and the Scuba merit badge. Must be age 12+

          Rugged Oceanographers- Earn your PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Certification. Open Water Certification                     required prior to participation. Must be age 12++

For FAQs about either of our Scuba programs, you can jump to that section here.

Q: How do we register for a High Adventure program?

A: There are different registration pages for each program. Click the registration link on the program page you would like to register (in the previous answer). 

Q: Some of our Scouts are participating in a High Adventure program. Will they stay in our campsite or eat with us at meal times?

A: When a Scout registers for the Rugged Explorers or Rugged Canoers program, he or she will stay in the High Adventure campsite and cook all meals with the other Rugged E or C participants. They will become their own patrol focusing on leadership and team building techniques. Don't expect to see too much of these Scouts while they're off learning indpendence and ethical decision making. 

If your Scout is in either of the week-long Scuba Programs, he or she will stay in the campsite with the troop, but eat separately in accordance with the class's dive schedule.

Q: Do you or can you earn merit badges in any of the High Adventure programs

A: The Scuba merit badge can be earned during the Rugged Scuba and Oceanographer programs. Rugged Explorers and Canoers will not earn any merit badges during their week at camp, but instead receive intense leadership and ethics training they would not receive elsewhere.

Q: What do I need to bring if I’m participating in a High Adventure program?

Please refer to the What to Bring List, also available in the Rugged Leader Packet available on the Forms and Packets page.

Q: Where can I get more information on High Adventure programs at Emerald Bay?

The links have been provided above for each Rugged Adventurer Program. There will also be an informational packet available at these links in the Spring.

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Senior Patrol Leader Training

Q: What is the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) Training program?

A: The SPL Program begins on the Thursday before the troop is scheduled to attend camp. These three extra days of training help the SPL not only learn how to effectively lead your unit through camp, but will teach him inumerable useful skills to become an extraordinary leader. Many units have regarded this as the best program offered at Emerald Bay. We pride ourselves on our incredible staff to lead the SPLs through this life-changing experience.

Q: How much does the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) program cost?

A: The cost for the SPL program was $200.00 per participant.

Q: Is the Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) program required?

A: The SPL program is not required for each unit, though it is highly recommended. Experience has shown that troops with the most qualified and capable SPLs have the best experiences at Emerald Bay.

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Trail to First Class

Q: Do you have a Trail to First Class program?

A: We do have a Trail to First Class program. The structured program is offered during sessions one and two, and takes up both sessions. If your Scout would like to work on just a few requirements, they can stop by the Scoutcraft area any time during forth and fifth session for a drop-in program.

Q: How do I sign up for the Trail to First Class program?

A: Scouts can sign up for the Trail to First Class program at the same time as their merit badge registration. The Scoutmaster will be emailed this information in the Spring. 

Q: Will Scouts be eligible for First Class rank after participating in the program?

A: No. While we teach most of the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks, there are some requirements that need to be met at home. Our staff only teaches the skills needed to complete the requirements. They will not sign off the requirements in the Scout Handbooks. Boys participating in the program will need to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities to their troop leadership in order to meet the requirements.

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Adult Leader Training

Q:  What trainings do you offer for adult leaders?

A: We offer Safe Swim Defense, Safety Afloat, This Is Scouting, New Scoutmaster Essentials, and Introduction to Outdoor Leadership at Camp Emerald Bay. We also have computers and internet access in the Helm for Leave No Trace, Hazardous Weather, and other online trainings. Please remember that Youth Protection Training is required for all adult leaders prior to attending camp.

Q: How do adults sign up to take a training class?

A: There is no need to sign up in advance. Just show up during the scheduled times!

Q: When do the training classes take place?

A: Please refer to the Program Planner for a complete schedule.

Q: How will we receive certification of our adult leader training? 

A: Our staff will contact your local council and give them the certification information. They will then update your profile in the Scouting database. We will also provide you with certification cards either at the end of the week or by mail.

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Additional Activities

Q: What activities can we participate in as a unit?

A: In addition to the activities outlined in the Spring Leader Packet, units will be able to sign up for troop kayaking, snorkeling, mountain biking, ultimate frisbee, troop beach cooking, and more.

Q: What activities can one participate in as an individual? 

A: Please refer to the Activity Sheet for a complete list of activities at Emerald Bay. This is also available in the Spring Leader Packet, which will be posted in the Spring.

Q: Who do I contact if I have special requests?

A: Please refer to the Special Request Form for any requests Camp Emerald Bay may be able to accommodate. 

Q: When do we sign up for troop activities?

A: Your SPL will sign up for all the troop activities for your unit on the first evening of camp. 

Q: What is War Canoe and does our unit need to sign up for it?

A: War Canoe is Emerald Bay's signature overnight experience. Your unit will canoe over to the secluded Parsons Beach on either Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday and participate in a variety of activities throughout the day. This experience will help your troop learn to work together and grow as a unit. You will sleep under a blanket of stars on the beach and return to camp the next morning.

Q: Will I miss merit badges when I go on War Canoe?

A: All of our merit badge lesson plans are designed on a four-day schedule, so you will not miss any class. Some classes, like Oceanography merit badge, may require you to attend a makeup session. Please pay close attention to your intructors' specifications about this on the first day of class.

Q: What activities can adults participate in?

A: Adult activities can be found on the Activity Sheet and in the Spring Leader Packet.

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Registration and Payment

Q: How do I register for camp? 

A: Registration for Summer Camp is located HERE.

Registration for the various Rugged Adventurer Programs can be found on our homepage at . 

Q: What is the cost to attend camp? 

A: Several factors are included in determining your cost of attendance. Please refer to our pricelist to see the cost for the week you would like to attend.

Q. This cost is too much for some of my boys. Is financial assistance available? 

A: We do have camp scholarships available.  You can download the Campership Form here, and submit it to:


Camping Department

16525 Sherman Way, Unit C-8

Van Nuys, CA 91406

Q: Do you offer financial assistance to boys who are not in the Western Los Angeles County Council?

A: While we do offer some priority support to boys from the WLACC, we do not make our support exclusive to them. Our campership awards are based on need and availability. In the past we have been fortunate enough to fulfill many out-of-council funding requests. However we cannot guarantee support at any time.

Q: I submitted a financial Aid Application, when will I hear a response?

A: While we reserve the right to make decisions earlier, the current date for campership awards is April 15. After that date we will begin making decisions and notifying recipients.

Q: My boys want to participate in the Rugged Explorer, Canoe, and SCUBA programs. Are the costs of those programs IN ADDITION to the cost of camp, or IN PLACE of the camp fee?

A: The cost for any of our Rugged Explorer and Canoe programs, including SCUBA, is the only fee you pay. You will not pay the camp fee.

PLEASE NOTE: You SHOULD NOT include the Rugged participants from your troop in the headcount on your summer camp registration. The troop will be charged twice for those boys. 

Q. Does the cost include the trip to the island?

A: Yes, travel from San Pedro to Camp Emerald Bay is included in your fee.

Q: Can I change the number of participants on my reservation

A: You may certainly change your participant count at any time. To do so,  fill out a Change Request Form .

Additions are always allowed and do not incur any additional fees.

Please be advised that any cancellations result in a forfeiture of the amount owed for those spots at the time of cancellation. Therefore the cancellation cost is:

$100 per person after the 2nd Friday in January

$200 per person or full price to receive the early bird discount after the 1st Friday in March

NO REFUNDS are available for cancellations within 16 days of the first day of camp

Q: I have a boy who is suddenly ill. Can he get a refund if he cancels?

A: We will issue refunds for cancellations resulting from illness or family emergencies. In order to receive this refund, you must submit medical documentation to .

Q: One of our boys must go to summer school, can he get a refund?

A: Typically the Camp Emerald Bay cancellation policy is applicable to those cancelling because of requisite summer school. However, we will evaluate these on a case by case basis. Please send any relevant documentation to .

Q: Can I pay with my credit card?

A: Unfortunately we do not accept payment by Credit or Debit Card. Our accepted methods of payments are Cash, Check, or Electronic Funds Transfer (online check).

Q. When will registration open for the following summer?

A: Registration for our next summer season will open when our current season begins. Please check back on our website at that time for further information. 

Preparation, Travel, and other Logistics

Q: What reservations do I need to make to get to the island?

A: The good news is, we take care of all of those arrangements for you. The cost of the trip to the island is included in your fees. Your only responsibility is getting to the USS Iowa parking lot on time.

Q: When and where does the boat depart on Sunday and arrive back on Saturday?

A: The boat to camp leaves each Sunday as soon as troops are checked in and loaded up. The terminal is located at: 

USS Iowa, Berth 87, San Pedro, CA.

You should plan to arrive at the terminal at 7:30 am to ensure proper check-in.

Participants will return to the same location no later than 11:30 am the following Saturday.

Q: How early can I check in on Sunday?

A: Check-in begins at 7:30 AM.

Q: What will I need to check in?

A: In order to receive the boarding pass for your group you must present a passenger manifest with the names of all of your participants. Additionally, your entire account must be paid in full. We ask that groups do their best to check in only after their entire group is present. Partially checked-in groups risk leaving participants behind.

Q: We are coming from out of town, how do we make sure we make it on time?

A: If you are flying into LAX or Long Beach, make sure your flight arrives no later than 6:00 am in order to get to the terminal on time. If you would like to fly in the night before, there are plenty of places to stay nearby and make it to the terminal in the morning. When planning your return flight plan on the 11:30 am boat arrival in San Pedro.

Q: How do I get to the terminal from the airport?

A: Shuttle services are typically the most cost-efficient way to travel from the airport. Super Shuttle has been a reliable provider in the past. You can contact them for reservations at

Q: Is there a lot to leave our vehicles while we are at camp?

A: The Catalina Express Terminal has plenty of parking available for $16/day.

Q: We are unable to travel on Sunday. How do we get to camp?

A: Traveling into camp on either Saturday or Monday requires a 14 day advance planning and will require an additional cost. Initially you will need to reserve a one-way trip into Two-Harbors on Catalina Island. There are several companies in San Pedro and Long Beach that can assist with this. Catalina Express and Harbor Breeze have been reliable options in the past.

Once you arrive in Two Harbors you must charter a shore boat to the camp. The cost of this service is approximately $16 per person one-way. You should call ahead to ensure availability at (310) 510-4205.



Q: Where will we sleep when we are at camp?

A: Your unit will sleep in one of our campsites, containing numerous two-man army style wall tents. Each tent contains two cots and two mattresses. In order to allow every Scout to come to camp, your unit may share a campsite with another troop. We thank you for your cooperation.

Q: We have one or more female leaders. Will they stay in the campsite with us?

A: Female adult leaders do stay in the same campsite as their unit, as we can make separate accomodations for them. If you let us know one week in advance, we can make the accomodations more efficiently. Feel free to email with any campsite concerns or updates.

Q: Can we reserve a campsite?

A: You are more than welcome to let us know your campsite preference, and we will do our best to accomodate, but we do not take campsite reservations.

Q: How far is it from the boat to my campsite?

A: Distances vary based on which campsite your unit may have, but most are about a five minute walk from the beach.

Q: Do you have cabins available?

A: We do not have cabins available for campers during the summer season.

Q: What are the bathrooms like?

A: All bathrooms have flushable toilets and are separate for adults and youth.

Q: What are the showers like?

A: The showers are also separate for adult and youth, and are separated in stalls with shower curtains.

Q: Are there separate bathrooms and showers for female leaders?

A: Yes.

For more information about our Facilities, please visit our Facilities portion of his website.

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Q: Are meals provided?

A: Yes. The cost of camp includes all of your meals while at Camp Emerald Bay.

Q: Can units cook their own meals?

A: Troops will have the opportunity to plan a meal menu and cook their own meals during a Unit Get Together. Additionally, units will cook their own meals over a beach campfire during the Parson's overnight experience. Due to fire hazards, we do not allow units to have fires or cook meals in their campsites.

Q: Are there vegetarian options?

A: In addition to a salad bar at most lunches and dinners, each meal provided at Camp Emerald Bay includes a vegetarian alternative.

Q: Can Camp Emerald Bay provide food for campers with allergies or special diets?

A: If notified prior to arrival, Camp Emerald Bay can accommodate many, but not all, allergies and special diets. We routinely serve meals to guests with peanut, gluten, and dairy allergies. For special requests, dietary restrictions or food allergies please fill out the Special Request Form

Q: Can I purchase meal upgrades?

A: We currently do not offer any upgradeable meal options at Camp Emerald Bay.

Q: Can I bring my own food?

A: While units are welcome to bring food to keep in their campsite, we only allow food to be stored in our kitchen under special dietary circumstances and provide no access to the kitchen for cooking personal meals. We also cannot refund or discount a portion of camper fees for guests who bring their own meals.

Q: Which meals are served during a week of camp?

A: Camp Emerald Bay provides meals from Sunday lunch through Saturday breakfast. For troops arriving early, please see the Transportation section of the FAQ.

Q: Do I need a mess kit?

A: Scouts will need a mess kit only for their Parson's Overnight. The Emerald Bay dining hall provides plates, cups, and silverware for all in-camp meals.

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Medical and Special Needs

Q: I have a CPAP, can I run a power cord to my tent?

A: We can accommodate guests with CPAP machines. Please fill out the Special Request Form before your visit so we can make sure you get a campsite close to an outlet.

Q: I have daily medication that needs to be refrigerated.

A: Our health lodge has a refrigerator and we are happy to work with you to ensure you have access to your medication.

Q: I have daily medication (non-refrigerated) do I need to turn it into the camp Doctor?

A: We ask that your adult leader take responsibility for medication. With so many people in camp we cannot take responsibility for dispensing medication.

Q: What happens if there is a medical emergency?

A: During the summer camp is staffed by a physician who is on call 24/7. In the event that a patient needs to be transported to the hospital Baywatch (paramedics) will respond in approximately 15 minutes.

Q: I am in wheelchair, can I come to camp?

A: While not fully ADA accessible we are eager to work with you to make sure we can serve your needs. Please email to help arrange your visit.

Q: I have food allergies; can I eat in the dining hall?

A: We can generally serve all food allergies, please see the Food section of the FAQ for more details.

Q: We have a camper with special needs, what accommodations can be made?

A: Our staff has experience working with a wide variety of special needs campers, including those with ADD, ADHD, Autism, Asperger's syndrome, hearing loss, blindness, movement impairments, and those with other needs. We strive to serve every camper and are eager to work with you. Please email to help arrange your visit.

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Contact Information

Q: I have general questions about camp, who can I call?

A: During the fall or spring please call or e-mail our camping registrar at 818-933-0130 or

During the summer please call or e-mail our camp clerk at 310-510-1795 or

Q: I need to get in touch with a camper in an emergency (EMERGENCY ONLY):

A: Please call 310-510-1795

Q: I have questions at Merit Badges, who can I call?

A: Please e-mail or call 818-933-0130

Q: I want to mail in a payment, what address do I use?

A:Western Los Angeles County Council Boy Scouts

Unit C-8

16525 Sherman Way

Van Nuys, CA 91406

Q: We are flying into LAX, how do we get to camp?

A: We recommend

Q: What is the address of the terminal?

A: USS Iowa, Berth 87, San Pedro, CA

Q: I want to mail a package to a camper, what address do I use?

A: For USPS:

(Name of person) Troop #, Council, Session #

Camp Emerald Bay, B.S.A.

 P.O. Box 5066

 Avalon, CA 90704-5066

 For U.P.S, DHL, and Fed Ex Air delivery for packages:

(Name of person) Troop #, Council, Session #

Camp Emerald Bay, B.S.A.

1 Cove Road

Avalon, CA 90704-5066



Note: Mail sent to Catalina Island by U.S. Postal Service, including Express Mail, takes 1-2 days longer than normal. For faster service please use UPS or FedEx Air

Q: We need a place to stay the night before camp, where do you recommend?

A: There are two options we recommend:

Our sister camp, Camp Josepho, is only 40 minutes from the dock and is wonderful staging point for your trip to the islan. Visit, or call 818-933-0130.

Many units also stay at the BSA Cabrillo Youth Center in San Pedro. They can be reached at 310-831-1984 or by visiting

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