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Camping Merit Badge - Front Country vs. Back Country Camping

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  • Camping Merit Badge - Front Country vs. Back Country Camping

    Hello, I'm a SM and Camping MBC for a relatively new troop. We worked on the camping MB last year as a troop and capped it off with a weekend backcountry backpacking trip. We brought in our own water and had to treat some too. Hiked over six miles and the scouts packed in their food, and patrol equipment. All meals were trail meals cooked with backpacking stoves. We had several scouts complete the MB that weekend. We encouraged all of our Scouts to go but we had one scout that didn't go because he doesn't like to rough it. He is a member of the PLC and voted down a backpacking trip for this year. Now, he has decided he wants to complete camping MB and wants to satisfy several requirements on our next car (front country) camping trip.

    The requirements don't specifically state you must be on a backpacking trip to satisfy requirements (7B, 8C, 8D). He wants to bring his pack, show his gear, and cook one trail meal using a light weight stove.

    I totally believe in the "nothing less and nothing more" policy, but I don't want to cut corners on a Eagle MB. I'm Inclined to approve his plan providing he gets his patrol to forgo their chuck box with dutch oven and plan and pack in trail meals and trail equipment since 7B & 8D requires him to pack in some of the patrol gear and his patrol agrees to eat a trail meal instead of car camp meal.

    I know this is going to rub some of the other scouts that took pride in roughing it and earning the mb without question.

    I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

    p.s. this is the same scout that insists on email interviews instead of face to face or telephone interviews because the requirements do not say you can't.

  • #2
    Camping "does not" require backpacking, though backpacking counts towards the nights. The requirement is under canvas or the stars and doing the work and so on themselves. So cabins or similar shelters are not allowed, but a campout on the church lawn with tents could. Only one summer camp can be counted in full as long as it is in tents and not cabins.

    As far as rubbing some the wrong way, that is your opportunity to encourage scout spirit and so on. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and what others do or don't do is not important to their pride in their own accomplishments.

    It does appear you may have some work to do with the young man though in relation to leadership. Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      my only additional thought might be to point out to him that he could steer the patrol or troop to do another backcountry trip in the future for the pride in accomplishment.
      Last edited by blw2; 01-30-2014, 09:09 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Email interviews? For an SMC?
        I don't do eMail interviews.
        How can he show me a bowline via eMail? How do I know if he has the book open on another screen?

        Comment


        • delway
          delway commented
          Editing a comment
          Sorry, I wasn't very clear with the email interview comment. For Cit Community req 4B , this Scout insisted on doing a email interview rather then face to face or telephone interview. Always seems like he is trying to bend or cut corners.

        • ScoutNut
          ScoutNut commented
          Editing a comment
          Since this Scout is such a "stickler" for the exact requirements - I would have pointed out that requirement 4-B also states - clearly - "With a counselor's, and a parent's approval". As a counselor you would have been within the rules to withhold your approval for email interviews.

          Why was he so set on ONLY email?

          My first guess would be that he did not, in fact, do the interview himself, and email, which can be done from anywhere, by anyone, AS anyone, was the easiest way to accomplish this.

        • delway
          delway commented
          Editing a comment
          Scoutnut - "With a counselor's, and a parent's approval". As a counselor you would have been within the rules to withhold your approval for email interviews."

          Can you point me to these rules?

      • #5
        My first thought was he is pushing the patrol to plan a front country trip because he doesn't like to backpack. So now he want the patrol to act as though it was a backpacking trip. sounds like he needs to learn more about being a member of a patrol and not push his own way. perhaps another patrol which doesn't like to backpack would be more to his liking.

        Comment


        • #6
          Did you guys all flunk Wood Badge?

          Delway's Scout understands the true meaning of "inclusiveness." Ask any Den Leader with a plush toy critter!

          The whole point of Camping Merit Badge requirement 9b is to get parlor boys to Eagle without ever walking into the woods with packs on their backs.

          If a Scout hates camping (as it is defined by Baden-Powell), then he can ride his bike around a parking lot for four hours, rappel at the mall, or float downstream for four hours. That's what camping is!

          Watch any Wood Badger explain our Congressional Charter and you will see that Delway's Scout understands "innovation:" The ability to break the spirit of the law by playing word games with the letter of the law (which is only six words to define the backpack option). I know one adult Eagle who has his Scouts walk around a family campground with empty packs and a pedometer to log the four mile "backpack" for option #2. Another adult Eagle Camping Merit Badge counselor has Scouts walk with empty packs around the block at Scout meetings to accomplish the same end.

          Now really, why is it that Camping Merit Badge is the only badge with an option for Scouts who hate the subject of the badge?

          In a perfect world, every indoor Merit Badge would have the same option we give boys who hate camping:

          "Explain to your merit badge counselor the concepts of simple interest and compound interest, OR float downstream eating cupcakes."

          Comment


          • Kudu
            Kudu commented
            Editing a comment
            The requirements are precisely the program:

            "The real Patrol Leader will...find that the requirements are not something separate from Scouting. On the contrary, Scouting is the Requirements" (Green Bar Bill).

            http://inquiry.net/patrol/index.htm

          • scoutergipper
            scoutergipper commented
            Editing a comment
            That's an interesting take. So once a boy has completed all the requirements, he can't do "Scouting" anymore. We should come up with some other name, I guess.

          • Kudu
            Kudu commented
            Editing a comment
            Hillcourt's use of "real" is as a technical term. In the "Real Patrol" method, Advancement is not a Method of Scouting, but one of the two elements of the "Activities Method." In other words "7. Advancement" it is a list of "Activities" to do while a Patrol seeks "6. Adventure in the Out-of-Doors." So a Scout who "has completed all the requirements" is teaching younger Scouts while out on patrol.

            http://inquiry.net/adult/methods/index.htm

            In the Wood Badge Troop Method, the "Real" Patrol Leader's job is done by the TROOP Guide, or by a stranger at summer camp in an outdoor classroom setting like ItOLS.

        • #7
          Arrange to be with his SM four miles into the middle of nowhere. Scout and patrol have to hike there to present his gear and cook lunch for you. Tell him to bring his blue card and you can complete your interview their. Really, you could do anything. He can always choose a different MBC.

          Comment


          • #8
            I know my CO's troop really struggles with some of the intensive camping stuff... not because they are parlor scouts, but because the numbers are small, and the Jewish Unit, plus Florida's weather, presents a bunch of challenges.

            Can't setup a camp or cook after Friday at nightfall, so it's often a race to get Campsites up.

            Can't build/construct anything on Saturday, carrying items becomes an issue in Back Country, etc.

            So the obvious thing would be Winter/Spreak/Summer Break. The Jewish Day Schools are on a different calendar than the Public Schools, no overlap for breaks. Summer is simply not really camp weather in South Florida. Extremely hot is common in the country, but our Mosquitos and Noseums are out of control in the summer.

            Combined with poor adult leadership (the have a great SM and CC, but the rest of the positions are mostly empty), they end up with too simple a program during the year, and using Merit Badge College and Summer Camp for merit badge mills for advancement. By the time my son crosses over, I expect to see more stuff, as we're pushing the Cub Scout program to be more intense, but it's a process.

            Every unit has challenges. I understand people skirt requirements, and that's not ideal. In the end, are we turning out good citizens with a sense of self accomplishment, duty to God, and duty to Country? If so, we're having a positive impact on the world, even if our programs are underwhelming in an ideal sense.

            Comment


            • #9
              I totally believe in the "nothing less and nothing more" policy, but I don't want to cut corners on a Eagle MB. I'm Inclined to approve his plan providing he gets his patrol to forgo their chuck box with dutch oven and plan and pack in trail meals and trail equipment since 7B & 8D requires him to pack in some of the patrol gear and his patrol agrees to eat a trail meal instead of car camp meal.
              It seems that while you refuse to allow "nothing less", you are not opposed to adding something "more".

              If you follow the requirements - as they are written - you will not be "cutting corners". Nowhere in the requirements does it state that the camping, or cooking, MUST be done while on a specific kind of camping trip. Nowhere do the requirements state that dutch oven cooking is not allowed.

              Requirement 7-B does NOT "require" him to CARRY his pack in anywhere. Requirement 7 is about PREPARING for an overnight - not actually going on one (although that does usually follow it is not required). It also does not require that the pack be backpacked in to remote backpack site. The Scout, and the boys in his patrol, can carry their patrol stuff, in their backpacks, 100 feet from the car to their camp site.

              Requirement 8-D requires this Scout to cook 3 meals for his patrol. These meals do NOT all have to be on the same trip. Only ONE of the three meals must be a "trail meal requiring the use of a lightweight stove". Notice the requirement does NOT state that the trail meal must be done while on an actual trail. Nor does it state that the trail meal must be done on a backpack trail. The Scout can cook his "trail meal" at base camp overlooking the parking lot if necessary. He can also take his patrol on a hike to the nearest picnic shelter and cook them a "trail meal" lunch.

              Comment


              • Sentinel947
                Sentinel947 commented
                Editing a comment
                While those things are within the requirements, MBC or whoever is advising the Scouts should encourage the requirements to be done in the context of a trip .

                When Scouts do what Scouts do, the requirements and rank advancement falls into place more naturally and is less of a chore.

              • ScoutNut
                ScoutNut commented
                Editing a comment
                Very true.

                However, "encourage", and "require", are two very different things.

            • #10
              My Godfather was a Eagle Scout (1936) and as far as I know spent most of his adult life camping every weekend from late March through late October (Wisconsin). He spent 4 years of WWII in a Japanese prison camp having been a Marine captured at Wake Island. Then he spent a few years in the US Army in Korea. He was a fuel oil distributor spending most of his time outdoors year around. When he wasn't working he was riding his bike around town. I really think he hated to be indoors. Before becoming an Eagle he was a "city-boy". Maybe he was a city-boy, but he surely wasn't a Parlor Eagle in any sense of the word. I like to think of myself as an avid outdoorsman, but compared to him, I'm really just a Parlor Scout myself.

              People have lost all concept of what adventure really is all about. Any scout who plots how to fulfill a camping MB while sitting on the sofa talking on the phone, really doesn't get it.

              Stosh

              Comment


              • Eagle92
                Eagle92 commented
                Editing a comment
                Stosh,

                One of the Eagles I know did a collection of oral histories for his service project. He got the info on how to do it from the state archives, got tape recorders and tape donated, and sent folks folks out to interview vets. The transcribed it and turned it over tot he state archives.

                Unfortunately 1 vet I know refuses to talk about anything he did in Vietnam until it becomes declassified, by which time he'll be dead. I had the opportunity to read his full biography that the wife gave me when I nominated him for the Silver Beaver, and I was like "DDDDAAAAAANNNNGGGGG!"

                I take that back, one thing he did say was that the VC and Vietnamese Scouting officials in his area had an unofficial truce not to attack scouts on camp outs, which the VC honored
                .

              • jblake47
                jblake47 commented
                Editing a comment
                I know a very elderly gentleman who served and when I asked him about his "exploits" he just shrugged and smile and said, "Not everyone can be a hero, I mended shoes." I told him, those soldiers who had their boots mended wouldn't agree with you." He said, "Maybe not." and smiled.

                Stosh

              • qwazse
                qwazse commented
                Editing a comment
                A former Vietnamese scout told me that their 1st class journey was an all-night solo "camp out" on a stump in the jungle. Unknown to the scout, they arranged for the dad to keep an eye on things just a few feet away (close enough to intimidate big cats, but far enough to be completely unnoticed until morning.)

            • #11
              The simple reality is that going out and camping is harder to do today than it was 50 years ago. A local scouter talked about when he was a boy scout in Sacramento, the boys would just grab their gear and hike down to a clearing next to the river. They would bring their fishing gear, and 22 rifles and camp there for a week. Every day or so the scout master or a local cop would drop by to see how they were doing. Other than that they were on their own. They did this off and on most of the summer. If any group of scouts tried that today, a bunch of people would probably end up in jail. When I was a boy scout, I remember being allowed to camp in places that normally didn't allow it because we were the Boy Scouts. I remember some troops and patrols doing overnights in local city parks (almost impossible today).

              Today, scouts can't go camping without a train of adults providing transportation and supervision. For many urban and suburban scouts, the nearest camping locations are an hour away by car. How many troops have a camp location they can reach with public transportation of some kind? Or simply hike too? Very few. How many camp grounds no longer allow open fires of any kind? Or don't allow wood gathering (usually for very good reasons)? The real "costs" (in effort, time, equipment and money) to go camping is higher than it used to be. So we shouldn't be surprised that there is less of it than in the "good old days".

              None of which means that troops shouldn't try to have fun and challenging camping programs!

              Comment


              • #12
                Perhaps camping is harder now in some parts of the county; but in this particular case it appears to be a situation of doing the bare minimum. For a lot of kids theses aren't isolated cases but a pattern. They only end up hurting themselves and often times look back later in life and wish they had applied themselves more. I bet in this particular case there will be lots of future opportunities to do these requirements as part of a backpacking trip.

                Comment


                • #13
                  I remember 50 years ago as well, and there is a point to be made for BSA today and what it was 50 years ago. There were plenty of times my buddies in the patrol and I would go camping without adults around. Some of the best outings we had. We had a few farmers in the area that were scouts or former scouts and had plenty of "woods" around to find a spot to camp. I wonder if they would even allow the boys to dig latrines anymore. We had to for ALL scout activities except summer camp. We never camped in established campgrounds. Not that they were full, because I remember a 4th of July weekend in a state park in Wisconsin where my folks had a 8mm film projector and the ranger just had a camera, but no way to see his home movies. We threw up a screen and put on his home movies for him and his family on Friday night and Saturday morning there was a pickup load of firewood dumped next to our site. By the way, the four families in our group were the only ones in the park that weekend. My godfather was one of them, he loved to build 8' council bonfires! The ranger came back with family on Saturday and we all had sodas and popcorn and watched the movies again but this time around a huge bonfire.

                  Stuff like that remains in the realm of memories because one isn't going to find many pulling that off today. I do know, however, remote areas where one can hike back in so far that no one can find you and you can sill primitive camp within 20 miles of my house. Just gotta look around and ask a few of the guys "sneaking out in the woods" to camp.

                  I haven' primitive camped since... well last summer with the Mrs. 2 day kayak paddle with overnight along the shore.

                  Stosh

                  Comment


                  • Rick_in_CA
                    Rick_in_CA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    moved
                    Last edited by Rick_in_CA; 02-04-2014, 02:56 PM.

                  • Rick_in_CA
                    Rick_in_CA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    moved
                    Last edited by Rick_in_CA; 02-04-2014, 02:56 PM.

                  • jblake47
                    jblake47 commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I know that, but I really don't think it's much different today than it is today. It might take a bit more planning to find campsites, but wilderness camping is still in full swing in our area. As a matter of fact much of the sandbar camping in the area is getting pretty much filled up, just like the parks. We have national wildlife refuges in the area that still can find nice sites and it's all free. With a map/compass one can bury themselves deep into the woods and with modern equipment, like back pack stoves or small wood fires, no one even knows you're there.

                    My last outing, last fall, I was on a backwater river and had plenty of space on the sandbar to accommodate a full patrol easily.

                    With satellite images available, one can find a clearing in just about any woods to camp the night. If national forest/preserves, no need to hunt up permission, on private land, there's a lot of rural people out there that still support scouting.

                    My first Boy Scout activity was to hike 5 miles out of town to some farmer's woods, make a meal and hike back. I'm not seeing that as being impossible today.

                    Maybe if I had a troop situated in downtown NY I might have to drive out of town to start, but I'm sure there are those in the more rural areas that would have some woods available to scouts. Check with the councils/districts in the target area you are thinking about.

                    Stosh

                • #14
                  Originally posted by Rick_in_CA View Post
                  The simple reality is that going out and camping is harder to do today than it was 50 years ago.
                  Baloney.

                  50 years ago (1964), few if any Boy Scouts had ever heard of a backpack waist belt, which changed Delway's back country travel as radically as the invention of the stirrup changed the history of warfare.

                  If anything, the worldwide test of a First Class Scout, a 14 mile overnight backpack Journey with a heavy pack hanging directly off our shoulders, was harder 50 years ago.

                  But the whole point of backpacking is that a Boy Scout's direct experience of nature can be the same now as it was 50 years ago.

                  Note that the "simple reality" apology for Parlor Scouting is a description of front country Patrol camping, not Delway's back country backpacking. As such:

                  50 years ago we did not take rifles backpacking. Those of us with Svea 123 stoves did not bother with campfires. Or hatchets. Or gathering firewood. No law then or now prohibits unsupervised teenagers from backpacking in national forests (or most state wilderness areas). Such venues are free, not "more expensive." State-of-the-art backpacks from the 70s & 80s can be purchased now for $5. We never stayed in one place for a week in the back country, and no adult ever checked up on us. We did not use public transportation for backpacking: When I got my driver's license we drove 100 miles to the Adirondacks on school vacations (oh, DuctTape, I lost your Email). I know "21st century" Scouts who drive 200 miles after I get them addicted to backpacking.

                  So why can't "21st century trained" Boy Scout leaders tell the difference between a backpacking trip and a Patrol outing?

                  48 years ago the father of modern Wood Badge, John Larson, won the battle to replace outdoor leadership with indoor leadership:

                  http://www.whitestag.org/history/history.html#1965

                  So now Wood Badge is designed for Den Mothers, the "Patrol Method" presentation of Scoutmaster training replaces Patrol Leaders with adult-led EDGE theory (nobody noticed), and we pay our Chief Scout Executive a million dollars a year to bash camping.

                  But Delway the good news: If you stick to your guns (and also give your most mature Scouts some freedom on two-deep back country trips), your Troop's backpack program can become popular beyond your wildest dreams.

                  Check out our January backpack "Cumberland Island National Seashore: Day One" (and Day Two)

                  https://plus.google.com/100437668559826261011/posts
                  Last edited by Kudu; 02-01-2014, 11:17 AM.

                  Comment


                  • DuctTape
                    DuctTape commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Kudu,

                    Resending original so you have it.

                    dT

                  • Rick_in_CA
                    Rick_in_CA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It's not Baloney. There are more restrictions now.

                    "50 years ago we did not take rifles backpacking." The point wasn't that they were taking rifles, it was that they were camping without direct adult supervision - something the BSA no longer allows.

                    "No law then or now prohibits unsupervised teenagers from backpacking in national forests (or most state wilderness areas)." - incorrect. California state law (which applies even in national forests here) makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to be "out in public" without adult supervision between 10:00 pm and sunrise (there are exceptions for traveling home from a movie, etc.). I've been told camping in a state park is considered "out in public" (I haven't consulted a lawyer on that point however).

                    "When I got my driver's license we drove 100 miles to the Adirondacks on school vacations (oh, DuctTape, I lost your Email). I know "21st century" Scouts who drive 200 miles after I get them addicted to backpacking."

                    In California at least, it is illegal for a driver under the age of 18 to drive with any passengers under 20 years of age unless they are accompanied by a licensed driver over 25 years old. Plus they can't drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

                    So yes, it's much more difficult for teens today to just pick up and "go camping" than it used to be.
                    Last edited by Rick_in_CA; 02-04-2014, 02:56 PM.

                • #15
                  It's not stretching the requirements to request that - because of your extreme claustrophobia - counseling sessions be held as far away from within four walls as possible. The boy could earn Disability Awareness in the process of getting Camping.

                  Comment


                  • Kudu
                    Kudu commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That's how I did it.

                    "Arrange to be ... four miles into the middle of nowhere. Scout and patrol have to hike there to present his gear and cook lunch for you. Tell him to bring his blue card..."
                    Last edited by Kudu; 02-01-2014, 03:03 PM.
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