Summer Camps

Troop 28 scouts participate in two BSA camps during the summer: Camp Ma-ka-ja-wan and a high adventure camp. These camps are optional, but are a great way to learn more about scouting, make advancement progress, and most importantly, have fun!

Ma-ka-ja-wan Scout Reservation

Each summer. Troop 28 joins thousands of Scouts from the Northeast Illinois Council who spend a week (or two) at the Ma-ka-ja-wan Scout Reservation. Ma-ka-ja-wan is the Northeast Illinois Council's Boy Scout camp and is located in 1,560 acres of pristine forest near Pearson, in north-central Wisconsin , about 25 miles northeast of Antigo.

The camp comprises two lakes, a natural creek, numerous trails, two full-service Scout camps, a wilderness camp, an outdoor climbing wall, a horse ranch and a family camping area (among many other things). Troop 28 has historically visited during “Week 5” of the summer (approximately the 3rd week of July).

New scouts are particularly encouraged (but certainly not required) to attend. Newer scouts — especially scouts whose term-time commitments limit their ability to participate in weekend campouts and weekly troop meetings — can spend a week at a Ma-ka-ja-wan participating in a program like Trailblazers where they can complete many of the requirements required to advance through First Class rank, earn one or more merit badges, all while participating in a variety of recreational activities including white water rafting, horseback riding, ziplining, and rifle shooting.

Older scouts can spend a week making good progress on Eagle-required merit badges, and completing multiple additional elective and Eagle-required merit badges at the nature lodge, the waterfront, the Scoutcraft area and the rifle range. Older scouts also have the option of participating in Ma-ka-ja-wan's Coureurs des Bois (“runners of the woods”) daily high adventure program, while still camping with the troop and building leadership skills. Older scouts can also be Counselors-in-Training or Counselors at Ma-ka-ja-wan or at NEIC's week-long Cub Scout camp programs at Camp Oakarro.

Summer camp is a particularly good venue for earning the Environmental Science, Swimming and Lifesaving merit badges, which can be difficult to work on during the long Glencoe winter! Adult Scouters supervise all activities, assisted by qualified Varsity Scouts and senior Boy Scouts.

Troop 28 usually joins the rest of the camp at the mess hall for all of its meals. We also try to take a day to do some whitewater rafting together on the nearby Wolf River.

For more information, start here:

You can also check out the troop photo archives from past summers:

  • Makajawan 2018
  • Napowan 2019 (this was the summer Makajawan was hit with a massive storm just before our arrival, so the troop attended a similar BSA resident camp run by a neighboring Council
  • No camp in 2020 due to COVID pandemic

BSA Medical Form Requirements

Current BSA medical forms are needed by all who attend camp. Like all BSA activities, summer camps require Medical Forms Part A and B. However, for extended camps, the BSA also requires Part C, which needs to be completed by a physician within the last year. Additional precautions may be necessary for High Adventure trips.

Packing Lists

Phil, a scout from Troop 68 created a handy summer camp packing checklist as part of his Communications Merit Badge:

You can also find some good suggestions from fellow NEIC Troop 672's website and Troop 96's website as well as some specific gear buying suggestions.

High Adventure

Troop 28 hosts a week-long summer High Adventure Trip for older scouts (usually aged 13+ or 14+ depending on the program). Recent destinations have included:

Camp FAQs

How do I sign up?
If you would like to join the Troop for Week 5 at Ma-ka-ja-wan, please do NOT sign up directly on the NEIC site ( That link is for scouts attending as individuals as part of the Provisional Camping program.  If you would like to attend with the troop, please reach out the troop Summer Camp Coordinator for more information.
I have summer school/sports camp/sleepaway camp/family travel commitments/other activities planned for the summer. Do I have to attend Ma-ka-ja-wan?
No. Not at all. Ma-ka-ja-wan is an entirely optional summer activity. However many Scouts enjoy participating in Ma-ka-ja-wan camp programs and it is a great opportunity to work on rank advancement and merit badges – including many of the time-consuming Eagle-required badges. While many scouts, including troop Life and Eagle scouts have not attended summer camp due to scheduling conflicts, most scouts who have been with the troop for more than 2-3 years have spent a week or two at a scout summer camp.
I am interested in Ma-ka-ja-wan, but the price is too steep for our family. What can we do?
NEIC offers Camperships for participation at Ma-ka-ja-wan. Camperships are available both for Troop 28's week-long stay, as well as for a week of “Provisional” Camping as an individual scout. If Council Camperships are not available, troop funding via Friends of Glencoe Scouting may be an option. Please contact the Troop Treasurer or Financial Assistance Coordinator in confidence for more information on how to make a request.
What additional costs will there be?
Unless scouts are on scholarship, scouts typically pay the troop for camp fees and troop costs including transport, adult leader fees, evening snacks, and additional activities.  The troop subsidizes these costs for all scouts and families are asked to pitch in to help defray the costs as well. You will be notified of any additional costs (<$100) as soon as activities are finalized. Makajawan provides all meals and semi-permanent tents and cots for sleeping.

Scouts are expected to bring their own sleeping bags as well as personal clothing and toiletries. In addition, you will want to purchase a mosquito netting to sleep in.  The permanent tents are not mosquito-proof. These are available at the NEIC Scout Shop in Vernon Hills or you can purchase from Amazon or any camping supplies dealer like REI,  or Uncle Dan's in Highland Park. All scouts and adult leaders MUST have Class A (beige) shirts or they will feel very conspicuously out of place.

Finally, the camp features a trading post where scouts can purchase scout gear, souvenirs, or snacks, so some families send their scouts with a small amount of spending money ($20-40).

I'm interested in attending camp but am not available for Week 5. Does that mean I can't attend?
In addition to troop camping, Ma-ka-ja-wan and other area scout reservations offer a “Provisional” camping program where individual scouts (or sometimes small groups) are matched up with an experienced Scoutmaster to camp as part of a make-shift “troop” for the week. Please visit the Ma-ka-ja-wan FAQ Page and scroll down to How and where can I go to register for Provisional Camp. Please note: NEIC only provides bus transport to Pearson on odd-numbered weeks (e.g., “Week 5.”)  If your scout would like to attend Provisional Camp during an even week and/or transport is an issue, please contact the Troop Summer Camp Coordinator for assistance in finding a ride share or in considering an alternative camp (there are several camps for other Chicago-area councils that are a shorter driving distance).
What is Trailblazer (formerly known as Wayfinder?
Trailblazer is the name of Ma-ka-ja-wan's week-long programs for new Scouts. Trailblazer has been offered for many years at Ma-ka-ja-wan. This is typically a half-day program where scouts learn basic scouting and life skills such as knots, outdoorsmanship, and citizenship. The camp counselors teach these skills but do not “sign off” in scout handbooks. New scouts are encouraged to reach out to older scouts and adult leaders to demonstrate what they have learned (before leaving camp!) to get credit for work completed.
If I complete Trailblazer will I be ready for my First Class Board of Review when I am done?
Probably not. While many of the requirements from Scout to First Class are covered at Ma-ka-ja-wan, there also many requirements that usually are not covered at Ma-ka-ja-wan. This includes many of the safety, citizenship, camping, and cooking requirements plus requirements for troop activities, and Boards of Review. The counselors at Ma-Ka-ja-wan will provide instruction on a number of requirements, typically listed on the weekly program schedule. However, the counselors do NOT sign off on requirements — that responsibility falls on troop leadership. Scouts are encouraged to seek out more senior scouts or adult troop leaders to get requirements signed off while at Ma-ka-ja-wan. If a Scout does not have requirements signed off in their handbook while at Ma-ka-ja-wan, the Troop will receive an advancement report at the end of the week and will provide opportunities after the camp week to allow Scouts to demonstrate their mastery of the skills learned.
What Merit Badges should I choose?
The main answer is “whatever interests you!”  Scouts are encouraged to pick badges that interest them. If they have a friend in the troop who is also attending, they are encouraged to pick classes together, as often there is a walk to the various program areas, and it will make it easier to know in advance who their buddy will be.

If scouts aren't sure, here are a few other aspects to consider:

  • How easy is the badge to complete outside of camp?  Some badges are much easier to complete at a summer camp than otherwise. Examples include Wilderness Survival, Metalcraft, Climbing, Shotgun Shooting (Rifle Shooting is more commonly available), and most of the aquatics badges (Swimming, Canoeing, Kayaking, Motorboating, Lifesaving). Others are fairly easy to complete independently or online (e.g., Art, Music, Photography, Chess, Entrepreneurship, Fingerprinting) or via local merit badge programs (e.g., Fishing, Archery).
  • Is completing the badge important? Many badges cannot be completed at Camp.  These include most of the Eagle-required badges.  Plus some badges like Orienteering, Wood Carving, Basketry, and Leatherwork may not be completed due to the number of projects required. If a scout is interested in the subject, but not so interested in advancement, it may still be fun to sign up for these programs. If a scout is interested in advancement but will not be motivated to complete the final requirements independently, it may make sense to select a badge that is more likely to be completed during the weeklong program.
  • How much free time would they like? Summer camp should be fun, not just a fully-programmed schedule of merit badges. Downtime is fine, as are non-merit badge activities which could include paddleboarding, horseback riding, or just swimming in the lake and hanging out with friends.

If you need help, please reach out to the Scoutmaster or Advancement Chair for suggestions.

Will I be camping and cooking over a campfire?
Unlike Troop 28's weekend campouts, scouts will not need to bring or set up their own tents. Makajawan provides tents which rest on wooden platforms with cots inside. Scouts should plan to bring their own sleeping bags and pillows, and a “popup” mosquito netting for sleeping is highly recommended as the tents are not mosquito proof.

Adults leaders are welcome to claim one of Makajawan's tents for themselves, or to bring their own tent to set up.

Makajawan provides meals in their dining hall so there is no planned troop cooking at Makajawan.

What is Coureur des Bois?
Coureurs des Bois is Makajawan's name for a “daily high adventure” program for scouts aged 14 and up. It is not being offered in 2021.

This program allows scouts to camp with their troops and provide youth leadership in the evenings, while participating in day-long high adventure trips (e.g., canoeing, hiking, backpacking, biking, etc.). This is ideal for scouts who do not “need” merit badges for advancement or would prefer a longer outdoor activity vs. programmed workshops/classes. The scouts for each week will have some ability to help dictate the program for the week, and activities include both on-site and off-site trails and other adventure options.

Can parents attend?
Yes! Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend for a full or partial week along with the scouts.  Having “extra” parents ensures continuity of leadership from year-to-year and also helps ensure two-deep leadership and safe scouting. In general, the troop covers the cost of up to four adults attending. Please reach out to the Scoutmaster or troop Summer Camp Coordinator for more details. Note: All adult chaperones are expected to wear a Class A (beige) Scouts BSA shirt, available at the NEIC Scout Shop or online at Please see the uniform guidelines for more details, or the patch sewing resource page for assistance affixing troop insignia.
I'm a parent interested in attending but have work commitments. Can I still attend?
Yes! The troop needs at least two adult leaders on site for the duration of the week to meet Youth Protection and Two-Deep leadership requirements. Depending on the number of scouts, a third adult may be needed to help transport all the scouts and their gear to and from camp.  However, these do not have to be the same two adults for the full week, and additional adults are welcome to help juggle scouts across a geographically large property. There is wifi at the camp, and once scouts are out and about for the day, there will be downtime for adults to get some work done, or take advantage of the camp facilities. We have also accommodated adult who have only been able to stay for part of a week.  Please reach out to the Scoutmaster or Summer Camp Coordinator with questions about attending.
I don't have scouting training; can I still participate as an adult chaperone?
Yes! The majority of adult parent responsibilities will be helping to get scouts organized and pointing them in the right direction. No scouting experience is required.  There will be at least one camp-veteran adult present for the duration of the week to help first-time scouts (and parents!). Adults interested in learning more about scouting also have a variety of training opportunities during camp as well.
What is the BSA Swim Test?
To participate in any aquatics activity, including Canoeing, Kayaking, Swimming, or Lifesaving merit badges or the Stand-up Paddleboard program, scouts must demonstrate that they are able to pass the BSA swim tests.  These tests will be conducted in the lake at Makajawan within the first 24-36 hours of arrival.  Capable swimmers cannot “waive” the test by showing written or video proof; the test must be completed on-site.  Makajawan does not allow scouts to take the swim test in advance.  Scouts who are unable to pass the Beginner or Swimmer tests may retest, and if still unable to pass, may be restricted from Aquatics programs. Learn-to-swim instruction is available to help scouts with basic swim skills.

Parents of scouts who are not confident swimmers can reach out to the Advancement Chair with questions about badge selection or local opportunities to improve swim skills outside of camp.  In non-pandemic times, the Glenview BSA Tuesday Swim Night program is a great learn-to-swim plus merit badge program.

I am already a capable swimmer/on the swim team; should I still sign up for the Swimming Merit Badge while at camp?

If a scout is considering pursuit of Eagle rank, they will need to complete either Swimming, Hiking, or Cycling at some point in their scouting career. Hiking and Cycling are great badges, but require a concerted effort and cannot be completed in a typical summer camp situation.  To complete Hiking, scouts must complete multiple 10- and 15-mile hikes, as well as a continuous 20-mile hike.  For Cycling, scouts must complete multiple lengthy rides including a 50-mile road trip or 22-mile mountain trail trip. Because of the additional effort needed to complete the additional requirements, most Troop 28 scouts elect Swimming to meet this requirement.

Also, note: Swimming Merit Badge is a pre-requisite the Lifesaving Eagle badge (scouts can choose Emergency Preparedness for a ground-based alternative), but NOT for the other aquatics badges (Canoeing, Kayaking, etc.).  For the aquatics badges, scouts only need to pass the BSA Swimmer Test (see FAQ, above).

When there is not a pandemic, there are local opportunities to complete the Swimming Merit Badge. However, these programs have not been offered during the 2020-2021 timeframe, so at this point in time, summer camp is the best known opportunity to complete the Swimming Merit Badge, even for capable swimmers. The summer camp program is not intended to be an instructional/learn-to-swim program, so scouts are expected to have basic swimming skills; they will, however, provide instruction on water rescue, which may be less familiar, even to capable swimmers.

I worked on a merit badge. What next?
Each day of camp, the Troop adult leaders should receive an update on the requirements each Scout has completed in their merit badge programs. Scouts are encouraged to ask to see the reports to verify that their accomplishments have been recorded. If there are any errors, it is MUCH, MUCH easier to correct during the week while still fresh in mind for the Scout, the counselors, the Troop leaders, and for any potential “witnesses.” At the end of the week, the Troop will receive a final advancement report. At that time, there is a small window to attempt to correct omissions. If the Ma-ka-ja-wan advancement report shows a completed badge, the Troop Advancement Chair will record the badge in Scoutbook with an effective date as of the Ma-ka-ja-wan week. If a Scout completed part of an Eagle-requirement merit badge, or completed most of a merit badge, the Advancement Coordinator will create a partial blue card and recommend a local Merit Badge Counselor for the Scout to work with to completed the badge. If the Scout completed the additional requirements prior to Ma-ka-ja-wan, the Advancement Coordinator will recommend a Merit Badge Counselor to verify completion of the badge.