The Junior Campers is a Scouting-style organization in Springfield. Its aims include teaching Springfield's children outdoor survival skills and encouraging them to be involved in community service. Its headquarters is a single room in an unknown building — possibly Springfield Elementary School, but not verified to be so.
The early history of the Junior Campers is unknown; the organization was not seen or mentioned before Bart Simpson became a member.
Bart's involvement with the Junior Campers began when he and Milhouse Van Houten found a $20 bill on the ground. The two of them then went on a spending spree, among other things purchasing an all-syrup Squishee from the Kwik-E-Mart. After consuming the Squishee, they went hyper from all of the sugar in it. When Bart woke up the next morning in his bedroom, suffering from a sugar hangover, he discovered to his mortification that he was wearing a Junior Camper uniform. Apparently, he had joined the organization while in the throes of his Squishee-fueled binge.
Bart took his uniform to school, intending to turn it to the Junior Campers and back out of joining, explaining that it had been a mistake. However, Mrs. Krabappel announced a surprise quiz, prompting Warren to ask to be excused as he had to attend a Junior Campers patrol meeting. Mrs. Krabappel consented, and Bart, seeing the opportunity to get out of the quiz, hastily donned his uniform and told her that he also needed to attend the meeting, as "this uniform carries certain responsibilities".
Having dodged the quiz, Bart cheerily went to his first meeting, only to be greeted (to his shock) by patrol leader Ned Flanders, his annoying next-door neighbor, and the rest of the group bathing Jasper Beardly. When Ned said that Bart had arrived just in time for "Sponge Bath the Old Folks" day, Bart screamed and ran out of the room. However, he caught his bandanna in the door and fell to the floor, knocking himself out cold.
Minutes later, Bart came to and found a boy performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on him while Ned gave him instructions. Now fully awake, Bart threw the boy off and the meeting resumed. Bart quickly grew bored, however, and when Ned explained how to make a pinecone into a makeshift bird feeder by applying a smidge of peanut butter, Bart decided he'd had enough and headed for the door. But when Ned asked everyone to take out their pocketknives, Bart regained interest and turned back. Ned handed Bart the group's knife safety manual and told him he had to read it before he would be allowed to handle a knife. Now disgusted, Bart left, but as he walked through Springfield, he noticed that in addition to being cool, knives were very important and useful. Bart then read the manual, returned to the group and passed the knife safety test, eager to be allowed to have a knife. For his trouble, however, rather than a real knife, Bart received a rubber training knife and a promotion to the rank of "Pussy Willow". Offended as well as disgusted, Bart nearly left (yet again), but when Ned told the group that they would be taught how to trap wild animals, Bart was enticed back in.
In spite of Ned's admonishment that "This should only be used in life-or-death situations", Bart quickly saw the prank potential of the animal-trapping skills. He set a noose trap in the kitchen for Homer, baiting it with a piece of pie. The trap was a total success as Homer went for the pie, got caught in the trap, and ended up dangling upside down by his ankle, able only to watch helplessly as Santa's Little Helper ate the pie.
After this, Bart enthusiastically embraced his newly acquired Junior Camper skills: He earned five merit badges, caught Homer in another pie-baited trap (this time, a pit trap in the driveway), commented knowledgeably about a knot that Itchy used to tie Scratchy's tongue to a tent spike in an Itchy & Scratchy cartoon, and ended up on much friendlier terms with Ned than before. All was well until Ned announced that the group's annual father-son rafting trip would be the next weekend.
Both Bart and fellow Camper Warren were upset at the announcement: Bart because he felt that Homer was certain to embarrass him on the trip, and Warren because his father was in prison. Ned told Warren that "celebrity dad" Ernest Borgnine had already been hired to accompany him on the trip (despite Warren's wishes to take his older brother), which left Bart to figure out how to deal with Homer.
Bart decided to go ahead and ask Homer to go on the trip, figuring he would say "No". Homer, however, was figuring that Bart would say "No" if Homer said he wanted to go. Bart grudgingly asked Homer to go on the trip, and Homer equally grudgingly said "Yes", so they ended up going together in spite of neither of them wanting that outcome. Adding insult to injury, they ended up sharing a raft with Ned and Rod Flanders.
Bart's fear that Homer would embarrass him proved to be more than warranted as Homer lost the map due to making it into a sailor's hat only for the wind to blow it off his head. The loss of the map resulted in Ned taking the wrong fork in the river. The raft then went over several waterfalls and ended up at the river's mouth at the ocean. While Ned and the boys tried to fight the current to get to shore, Homer told them they should just wait and let the current take them back to land. To everyone's chagrin, however, the current swiftly took them out to sea and far out of sight of land.
Out at sea, Homer got irritated, ending up throwing Rod's tape player into the sea, using the last of their drinking water to wash his socks, and eating most of the rationings. Meanwhile, the rest of the patrol were travelling down a river in a secluded, frightening, woodland area. Homer then failed the rest of the group again, using the flare gun to try and catch the attention of someone in a plane flying over the sea, but ending up making it destroy his plane and use a parachute to drop onto another plane flying nearby. Later, they were greeted by some dolphins who Ned thought were going to help them, but actually chuckled in their own language "You're going to die", and left. Ned then went crazy, knowing they were done for, and Homer exploited the situation by slapping Flanders repeatedly. Then, Homer used their last cheese doodle to catch a fish, which swam away with the not-attached line. Thinking they weren't going to survive, Homer gave Bart a present – a Swiss Army Knife he stole from Borgnine – whose group, at that moment, was being come on to by a bear. Homer then accidentally dropped the Army Knife while its appendages were out, but ended up resting nicely on the surface of the dinghy, only for the sun to emerge, shine onto the mini-magnifiying glass and burn a hole in the dinghy. The group then later got the smell of hamburgers. Using a map of Krusty Burger locations Homer had brought, they found there was one located on an off-shore oil rig; Homer instructed the group to row towards the source of the stench, which they did, and Homer ordered 700 hamburgers at the branch, much to the delight of employees.
Meanwhile, in an abandoned summer camp, which the other members of the patrol had set up camp in, they were singing around a campfire, while something was in the trees watching them, and attacked the group. It is unknown what happened to the patrol after this; Bart most likely quit as he is not seen wearing the uniform or participating with the organization again.
After Bart first joined the Junior Campers, he obtained the following five merit badges for his sash:
Bart was later seen obtaining the following six merit badges, albeit in a pranking / rebellious fashion:
- Knot Tying
Behind the Laughter
- The Junior Campers are based on the Boy Scouts.
- Comic story – Bart's Junior Camper Demerit Badge Manual
- Comic story – Ralph vs. Wild
- Book – Greetings from the Simpsons (2007)
|Bart Simpson1 • Adrian1 • Rod Flanders|
|Former members (most likely dead)|
|Warren • Junior Camper|
|Homer Simpson • Ernest Borgnine (most likely dead)|
|1As of "Boy-Scoutz 'N the Hood"|