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  • Adults helping during setup?

    I know the answer to what this would be in a properly Boy Run Troop, but I need opinions on this. I am also interested in opinions on this arrangement, which I will ask in a different Post. So lets keep this on topic and not rant about how things should or should not be run. Remember, as future SM, I would like to see some of this change.

    When Troop goes on an outing, the Trailer is in tow. Upon reaching the site, Scouts unload Trailer, set up dining fly (20' by 30' which the whole Troop sets up cook stations under), set up Patrol cook stations, Troop outhouse, then they are able to set up their tent. I have seen it take between 40 minutes to one hour and a half for the boys to finally have their tents up. The adults set up their tents during this, then set up their cook station when the dining fly is put up.

    Once again, forget the fact that this may not be the optimum way for Scouts to do their camping (That is another topic). My question is

    Is it wrong for the adults to sit and watch the boys set up the dining fly, considering that we are also using it? Or, should they not be helping with things that are joint use?

    I am not talking doing it for them or telling them how to put it up, but holding a pole, twisting a wing nut, attaching the roof, etc. when asked. I understand that they need to learn things for themselves, but I have a problem with sitting and watching other people work for my benefit.
    What are we teaching the boys? Wait till I get older so I can make the boys do the work. I know for a fact that one boy that aged out and has been helping as an adult made the comment "I sure am glad I am an adult so I don't have to do anything anymore". Some of the boys see us sitting in our chairs and they want to do the same thing.

  • #2
    I think I can see what you believe to be the right answer, and I believe I agree with you 100%. I'll put it this way. If there was a fly that the adults were going to use 95% of the time and the boys 5%, would it be right for the boys to do all the work? Since it's shared benefit, I see no problem with shared work.

    Kind of like an adult throwing trash on the ground and expecting a boy to pick it up because "policing the campsite is their job".


    • #3
      If it's a concern, I would go to the Scout in charge (SPL?) and say, "let me know how I can help. Just tell me what you want me to do." Then do exactly that. Become another worker bee and do just as the youth leaders ask.

      Better yet, why not start a new tradition through the example of setting up an separate adult dining fly and campsite about 100 yards away?


      • #4
        Sit and watch? Yeah, that's wrong. They should focus on getting the coffee pot percolating, arguing over the price of tea in Maurutania, and discussing what program items might need their help that weekend and how they should support them.

        If a dad wants to help, he may ask to join in IMHO, but if the boys ain't crying no problem. If they are, let them know the fly's optional.


        • #5
          My rule is that adults pitch in on setting up and breaking down camp as long as all scouts are helping. If I see scouts starting to drift away from the work or goofing off I quitely let the adults know it's time to stop helping.


          • #6
            Hmmm - let's look at it from a different angle. The question seems to be about fairness (is it fair for the adults to get use out of something they didn't help set up) but I think it's really a question about the division of labor. Now there there should be no doubt that adults shouldn't expect the lads to set up the adults tents but can a reasonable case be made that the boys should set up the dining fly and kitchen areas on their own without adults helping out? I think, if you take into account that the adults have just spent however long it took to drive to the campsite while the Scouts were playing with game boys, or reading books, or whatever they do on drives, then, yes, I think it's reasonable to suggest that the boys setting up the kitchen area on their own is equalizing the division of labor.

            Just a thought.

            Now about set-up - I wonder if it would be better to either reverse the order, or think of a way to be more efficient. Instead of setting up the fly first (unless it's raining or threatening to rain imminently), then set up all the tents first, then set up the fly and kitchen area. Alternatively, if you have a fairly good size Troop, would there be anything wrong with each Patrol supplying a couple of Scouts each for kitchen set-up duty, while the Patrols set the tents up?


            • #7
              We have 3 similar flys with poles 10x20. The lads set up two flys, one for the lads and one for the adults. We typically have 15+ scouts on a campout. With all 15 helping it should not take more than 15 minutes to set up. They do it every campout, 11 times a year. The flys are the same ones and the task should be easier after you have done it more than once. Seems to take forever. Too many chiefs, not enough indians, stick throwing, nose picking etc.

              The adults are busy doing other things. We do not sit and watch the entertanment, we find ways to be active and give the lads a chance to work it out. The adults do not set up their tents before the lads. Most of the adults can pitch their individual tent is less time than it takes an entire patrol to pitch one tent.

              The SM and all the active ASMs do every task the lads do except pitch and lower the dining flys. We go on every hike, paddling, backpacking, cooking, climbing, or any other task. I personally believe I should not ask any boy to do anything I can not or will not do. The only exception seems to be a troop tradition of having the boys set up the dining fly.

              I agree that I spend money out of my pocket to buy fuel and maintain my vehicle to shuttle around the lads. I spend time driving, taking and teaching training for adults, as well as be available for the individual lads. Adults are providing a service that the boys cannot, and they payback by setting a dining fly once a month.


              • #8
                The scouts are not going to respect the adults as wise mentors until the adults respect the scouts as equal brothers preparing for life. Shifting the state of mind from dad to big brother requires practice.



                • #9
                  Yah, hmmmm...

                  He among you who would lead must be the servant of all, eh?

                  I wonder what your adults would say to a patrol leader who just sat and watched and perhaps occasionally gave orders or instructions to his patrol mates.

                  Sometimes, perhaps, it might be appropriate. When folks are learnin' and practicing how to do it, havin' to do it on their own or with some verbal coaching can be important. But in that case, da Patrol Leader is still engaged with the task, eh?

                  Most of the time, I reckon you'd expect da patrol leader to lead by example. Either pitchin' in or doin' somethin' else of benefit to the group.

                  No different for adults, eh? Leastways, not if yeh respect your youth leaders and they respect you.



                  • #10
                    At the risk of blowing the horn of an African antelope, I would suggest you get patrol sized dining flies, and let each patrol set up their gear and fly as they choose.

                    Being in such close proximity leads to a blending of patrols, gear, food, labor, at the expense of not getting to learn the sometimes hard lessons caused by insufficient planning. Patrol spirit suffers.

                    Who said never do for a boy what he can do for himself?


                    • #11
                      Hello resqman,


                      Personally, I wouldn't make any exceptions.

                      It's just a bad example for the Scouts to do for the adults.

                      The same thing is true with the one big tarp for all, in my opinion.


                      • #12
                        Depends on circumstances.

                        Depends on who has been doing what leading up to this moment and doing what at this moment. Scouts' level of familiarity with the task... is it a novel task they should learn or a familiar chore? Is this a "many hands make light work" situation or is it a "too many cooks spoil the broth" situation? Will adults be "helping," or helping? Will they be crowding out boys already leading tasks?

                        Whatever the case, anyone who considers themselves completely exempt from lending a hand, deserves, at mealtime, to be relegated to that outhouse mentioned in the OP.
                        (This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)


                        • #13
                          I agree with Second Class, shared kitchen setups are trouble.

                          "That's not my pot. I didn't make that mess. I already cleaned up my stuff. Hey, that's not your Peanut Butter..."

                          Whenever we've been crammed for space so that patrols had to share a kitchen area, we've had that sort of bickering, and generally sub-par KP performance (which isn't exactly their strong point anyway...).

                          And then there's the main problem you are asking about - that adults are generally a lot more efficent so if you have anything shared with the Scouts, you either end up doing jobs for them or sitting around setting poor examples waiting for them to do it.

                          Personally, I don't think there's a good solution to that - if you're sharing, then the adults need to help, but that means you'll probably end up doing it all since the scouts will be slow.

                          A sepearate adult area is the right solution - then think about separate patrol areas too.


                          • #14
                            I keep going back to these giant flies. Our troop used to do all car camping. We did a backpacking trip and suddenly things changed. Soon we had a high adventure program. Whenever we do a car campout with cooking areas close together--or worse yet, combined--I feel we are back-sliding. To me the troop trailer (our troop doesn't have one but has occasionally rented one from U-Haul), the giant fly, the huge cookstove (we do have one of these) are all the devil's tools to draw us away from the patrol method. OK, maybe that is over the top but you get my drift. With the exception of the occasional dutch oven, I am opposed to just about any piece of gear that you can't take backpacking. The older I get the ornerier I get on this subject. Leave the cars behind! Replace the phrase campsite parking with trail-head parking.

                            Peach cobbler alone justifies the dutch oven and you can still take a dutch oven on a canoe trek.

                            As to the original question about helping, it is a slippery slope. One of my fellow assistant scoutmasters is a life long outdoorsman and he loves to cook. He is a great guy and a good friend but it is amazing how quickly he can go from advising to helping to cook. I ultimately showed him a picture of him self, pot in hand while the scouts watched from a discreet distance. He got the hint. As adults we do have to step back. We should help when asked by the SPL, Patrol Leader or Crew Chief but when you realize the scouts are looking to you not him for direction, then you have crossed the line. During set up we are often observing from a distance to see if the scouts are observing LNT and bear safety in the site setup. We also look to see if there is trouble brewing between any two scouts and if the PL handling it.

                            BTW, in our troops the leaders do not usually do a separate cooking set up. We split up and eat with the patrols, we change up so that we can experience and rate each patrol's cooking. A camp one year the scouts asked the leaders for a cheer at our evening campfire. We came up with, "You Work, We eat, We think That's neat." Sounds lazy but the scouts aren't complaining.