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How often should we go camping?

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  • How often should we go camping?

    Our troop leader is forming a troop committee this year to help her out. She has asked me to be the camping person. We have six 4th graders. I think we ought to go camping about four times a year. I asked my daughter and she said that we ought to only go about once. What do you think? The Cub Scouts seem to really only go just once a year, but here are opportunities to go more often. But, I think the Boy Scouts have camping goals. I hear someone say they had to have a certain number of nights camping in a year in order to join the order of the arrow. Do they have similar requirements for rank advancement?

  • #2
    What we think does not matter.

    This is not Cub Scouts, or Boy Scouts.

    What do the GIRLS in the Group want?

    Has the Group done any camping at all up to now?

    Why does your daughter only want to go camping once a year?

    Have you taken any of the required GSUSA camping training, or first aid training?


    • #3
      Those are our future venturers, so what we think does matter.

      Many Webelo I's do not camp all that much. But, for that age, IMHO, you should have a tent weekend in the fall and spring, get a cabin someplace in the winter, and attend a week long GSUSA summer camp.

      Your daughter might be overwhelmed by the numbers. To see if she's right, you need to work with her to see how much free time she has throuout the year. Don't rule out the possibility at you are running her ragged with too many activities. But most likely she will see that this this is just a drop in the bucket. Plus, it amounts to more time with her friends.

      The opinions of other girls and the availability of adults fit into the equation as well.

      Like SN said, get trained.


      • #4
        "Ask the girls." Juliette Gordon Low

        I would propose spring and fall tenting and a winter cabin/lodge. Point out fun things to do and what types of cooking and bathroom accommodations there are. However, if the girls don't want to go, there is no sense in pursuing it.

        Girls go to GS resident camp independent of their troops. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are not mirror programs.


        • #5
          Many Webelo I's do not camp all that much. But, for that age, IMHO, you should have a tent weekend in the fall and spring, get a cabin someplace in the winter, and attend a week long GSUSA summer camp.

          Yah, this seems about right. Fall & spring outdoors, winter cabin, summer camp, plus day-trips, sleep-overs and other activities.



          • #6
            >>"Those are our future venturers, so what we think does matter."


            • #7
              Fine. I'll just talk to the hand

              Hand, what is a reasonable number of outdoor overnight activities that should be offered to the average group of 10 year olds?
              [Hand raises four fingers.]
              Does that include some kind of week long summer camp.
              [Hand puts thumb up.]
              Should I tell someone to lower their bar if one girl says one overnight/year is enough? OUch!
              [Hand slaps.]

              Get the training you all need. Take the girls camping once. Have fun. Go the next time they ask.


              • #8
                Hand - You can offer any number of overnight opportunities to the girls in your Troop. The key is to "offer". The girls make the decision.

                Hand - As has been pointed out, GSUSA does NOT DO week long summer camp by Troop. It is an individual thing, not a Troop thing. The summer camps are usually based on some kind of theme (horses, water activities, acting, etc). Girls sign up individually for what interests them. Some Troops, if that is what the girls decide on, will do week long trips on their own, but those are usually not done every year.

                Hand - No one said to lower any "bar". No one stated to choose activities based only on what one girl in a Troop wants. However the adult leaders in a GSUSA Troop/Group also do not dictate to their girls what activities the girls MUST do. Decisions are made by ALL of the GIRLS.
                (This message has been edited by ScoutNut)


                • #9
                  When my daughter, and several daughters of other Scout Leaders were in the Girl Scouts, I became the Troop Camping Adviser, and was a registered Girl Scout Leader. The girls were all very jealous of their Boy Scout brothers and wanted to go camping just like the Boy Scouts. So we did go camping 4 times a year, although our winter camping trip was in a cabin, it wasn't camping to me, but since they had to use the outhouse, it fully qualified for them! Especially on one trip at -9F!!

                  We took the girls to the same camping places we took the Boy Scouts to, and they loved it. Girls like to play with fire and knives just as much as boys do! And they love to cook and sit around the fire after a nice long hike and stare into the embers.

                  But, as others have said, ask the girls! Our girls were stoked to camp, and thoroughly enjoyed the outings. Girls in fourth grade may like to start out with a gentle late spring or early fall camping trip along with an encampment with lots of other girls their age. Start them slow -- they have plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors! Our Troop lasted until all the girls had graduated from high school and went off to college.


                  • #10
                    Howe, let me rephrase.

                    I have the dubious privilege of dealing with young women whose troops did not camp frequently between ages 11 and 13. They resent it vocally, and we need to encourage them to tone down the anti-GSUSA rhetoric. Only because they couldn't get "ALL" their fellow scouts on the camping train.

                    If you want to produce more of those girls, let them settle for a campout a year.(This message has been edited by Qwazse)


                    • #11
                      I am going to paraphrase BP:

                      Never ask an adult when you can ask a youth.


                      • #12
                        That's a stretch.
                        I'd find out how much the Heritage Girls camp, then try to match it.


                        • #13
                          find out what the girls want - is easy answer, but if none of them have camped as a troop before then they have no real way to know if they would enjoy it or not.

                          my girls didn't want to camp until we went and camped. we tented twice a year and cabined once - summer camp was totally up to them. the summer before our next year of camping in south dakota we camped 4 times as a troop that summer - we wanted to try out different tent arrangements for comfort and packing. And that was even as high schoolers.

                          many have only family camped where they have to find their own fun to do while parents sit around play cards and have their drinks and many of those they have a tv dragged out of the trailer - so tenting and having everything dedicated to girls having fun can be a nice change for them.


                          • #14
                            Of course I intend to ask the girls, and I will not be dragging anyone along who doesn't want to go. Too many other fun things to do to bother with that. But the girls have leaders for a reason, and I find your opinions very helpful. Thank you. And I promise not to forget to go to all my training meetings.

                            We have participated, as a troop, in the spring camp offered by the service unit every year since my daughter was a Daisy. This has always been two nights, sleeping in cabins, eating in cafeterias. I hope we continue to do that. This year my daughter and I are the only two participating in the fall camp offered by the service unit. This is also two nights cabin camping but we are cooking outdoors. I'm not sure why no one else is coming except that EVERYONE is on a soccer team this fall.

                            This year we added one night of tent camping at a state park with just our troop. I think the girls had fun, but I was surprised at how exhausted my daughter was when we got home. I realized that she (and the others) had spent a great deal of energy trying to be the star of the show. Are all girls just like that? I think I remember being like that. Anyway, we are committed to adding more troop campouts like this, but I think we should focus on more scout craft if we can. This year we "cooked a meal on a stick" for our cooking or our camping badge. Next year, I would like all the girls to lend their hand to building a fire because that is a skill I wish I had. Every time I've been on a campout, the women all step back while one man or another steps forward and builds the fire, even when its a girl scout campout. The program director always seems to invite a man along so that someone can build a fire. I hope I'm not coming off as sexist. It just seems to me that in a camp of 100 girls scouts, one of them ought to know how to build a fire.

                            This coming year we hope to add two nights at Gilbert Ranch. This is a BSA camp for Webelos, but it features real horses, so the girls should LOVE it. I think we will be in canvas tents and eating in a cafeteria, but the girls will get to shoot bb guns and practice archery. My daughter is always complaining that her little brother's camp is more fun because he gets to do that and she doesn't.

                            The council offers winter camping (in cabins) to Cadetts and above. Our girls are only Juniors, but I'm content to wait on that one.

                            A full week (five nights) of camp would be something very new, and I think I will keep my eyes open such an opportunity. Do you ever take your boy scout troops for five nights, just your troop? OR is it always a council camp?


                            • #15
                              Check the safety checkpoints for BB gun usage by Girl Scouts. And get out of the dining hall.

                              You can practice outdoor cooking at meetings or at after soccer lunches. GS prefers the use of camp stoves to grills or open fires. Anything you can cook at home can be cooked at camp! If your council has an outdoor cooking class take it. Your camping training should cover several different types of outdoor cooking. Box ovens, solar ovens, and Dutch ovens really expand your capabilities. Our girls made chocolate cake at day camp this year in the box ovens. I cooked a whole chicken in a 5 gallon popcorn tin. It was exceptional.

                              Juniors is really when you can begin outdoor cooking, camping, and fire starting skills.

                              Soccer is the bte noir of weekend activities. Thank goodness my kids hate it.