After being forced to leave the amusement arcade for being out of money, Bart and Milhouse find $20 that Homer lost and order a Super Squishee made entirely out of syrup from Apu at the Kwik-E-Mart. With their senses reeling from the high sugar content of the drink, they spend the rest of the money on a night out in town. The next morning, Bart wakes up with a hangover and realizes that in the revelry of the night before he joined the Junior Campers, a Boy Scout-style organization that is not affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America.
Although Bart initially intends to drop out of the group as soon as possible, he decides to attend a meeting to avoid a pop quiz at school. Bart dislikes the first meeting, but when he finds out that he gets to have a pocket knife, he decides to keep attending. After a while, Bart starts to enjoy being a member of the Junior Campers, which Homer mocks him relentlessly for. Next, a father-son rafting trip is to be held, so Bart has to bring Homer. Homer does not enjoy the experience, especially when he learns that he and Bart have to share a raft with Ned Flanders and his son, Rod. Due to Homer losing the map after making it into a makeshift hat, they accidentally take the wrong turn and find themselves lost at sea. They stay stranded with no food or water for several days, as no rescue is forthcoming; the Springfield Police Department refuses to search for them because the Coast Guard boat they were using is out of refreshments. After several other failed attempts at being rescued or finding food, the raft springs a leak after Homer accidentally drops a pocket knife he was intending to gift to Bart. All seems lost, but then Homer smells his way to a Krusty Burger on an off-shore oil rig. They are saved, and Bart is proud of his father.
Meanwhile, the other Junior Campers, led by Ernest Borgnine, take the correct route, ironically they end up in an even worse position: after finding themselves trapped in a dark, tangled swamp (while being hunted by mountain men), they are attacked by a bear that Borgnine tries but fails to fight off (due to Homer stealing his Swiss Army Knife), and they finally flee to an abandoned summer camp. At the camp, they start singing songs, but are soon attacked by an unseen figure lurking in the woods, and their fates are left unknown.