A campout is a perfect pledge event. By eliminating all outside influences the fraternity can accomplish the main goal of a retreat – building brotherhood.
Finding a suitable location for the campout is sometimes difficult. It is best if the location is a place that doesn’t allow the brothers to come and go as they please. The fraternity should want everyone who attends the campout to be engaged and that is difficult to do if people are coming and going. The fraternity might also want to eliminate cell phones at the campout for the same reason. Another benefit to a location like this is it eliminates the possibility of drinking and driving.
There should be some thought into the planning of the event. Drinking in the woods is a great time, but it probably will not accomplish everything the fraternity desires. Any type of competition that forces the pledges to work as a team is a great idea. Big brother, little brother themes always work well. Building a huge fire and telling the pledges stories is a great way to build brotherhood. Honestly, it is pretty hard to screw up a camp out, and you should have a great time regardless of how well the event is planned.
Finally, the fraternity should watch out for a few things. Authorities tend to frown on breaking the law in state/national parks, and are not very lenient with fraternities. Be sure to be smart if you are on public land. Also, this type of event can turn into a night of hazing if the chapter isn’t careful. As I have stated in my other articles, hazing only tears down the bonds you are supposed to be building. Finally, it is a basic courtesy to leave whatever area in the same or better condition that you found it.