You Give Me Shelter!

Nature: Camping
12-14 years, 14-16 years
Anticipate Time
2 hours min
2-5, 5-15, 15-30
Cooperation, Initiative, Respect, Thoroughness, Independence


Pathfinders set up a ‘bush shelter’ using a natural site and a piece of plastic and rope.

Through participation in this Pursuit, the Pathfinder will:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to build a shelter
  2. Choose a safe and appropriate site for a shelter
  3. Show respect for the environment
  4. Work successfully together as a team

Scripture Focus

Memory Verse

Psalm 91:1-2
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'

God has provided us with a shelter against all that the world can bring against us. We can hide in the shelter of his wings. Our ability to build a shelter is a skill that can protect us in times of trouble.


This Pursuit can be planned as a single campout night; as part of a longer campout; as a campout in itself, or as an afternoon activity.


Each team (2 or 3 Pathfinders) will need:

  • A large sheet of plastic and/or a tarp. A cost -effective way is get a roll of builders plastic and cut off a piece about 3-4m X 5-6m.
  • A roll of cord each… a roll of thin nylon cord is cheap and good.
  • Pathfinders may each want to bring a hand ax for cutting and hammering in pegs.


1. Take your Pathfinders to a ‘bush’ area where there is enough space for each group of 2 or 3 to find a place to build a shelter. 

2. Instruct Pathfinders on making shelters:
a. Choose a shelter site with as many natural features as possible which can be used to advantage:
Look for flat ground 
Natural shelter from wind, rain and sun. 
Look for safety – Are there any falling branches? Vermin, ants, snakes? Water gully? 
Look for access to water. 
Look for aesthetic appeal – View? Pleasant atmosphere? 
Look for features to help with shelter – Log? Tree? Rocks?
b. Build the shelter imagining the worst elements. Will it keep out rain? Run-off? Wind? Sun?
c. Use ‘golf ball’ attachment methods to put up plastic tarp. Make a golf (or tennis) ball sized wad of soft grass or leaves and bunch them in the plastic. Then tie the end of a piece of cord around the bunched plastic with the grassy ball inside so that it makes an attachment for the cord anywhere on the outside of the plastic that you wish to put it. This may sound difficult to understand, but it is simple when you see it. (If I wanted to tie a string on to the front of my t-shirt, I could reach inside my shirt and push a marble into my shirt. I could then grasp the marble from the outside and tie a string to it. Same principle.)
d. Put up the plastic keeping it taut and secure at a number of anchor points.
e. Use natural, dead materials to supplement the shelter. (ie… bundles of grass, bark or branches)

3. Have Pathfinders choose a site and specify the time they have to build a shelter.

4. When the time has expired, have all Pathfinders assemble and do a tour of all the shelters. Have each owner explain all of the unique and useful features of that shelter as if they were selling or promoting it. Score each shelter if you wish.

5. Inspect each shelter after pack up to ensure no rubbish, pieces of cord or plastic have been left behind. Check for any live foliage that may have been damaged. If they have damaged live flora, there should be some consequence.



  • Do you think your shelter would work? Or did it work?
  • What would you change about your shelter if you could?


  • How well did you work together as a team?
  • Can you draw a comparison between your shelter and how God is a shelter for us?

Application / Commitment

  • What is your next step in getting yourself in tune with God?