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How often should we go camping?

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  • #16
    Soccer will gut a weekend schedule. I'm not one for Sunday sports, but was so thankful when my kids grew into the Sunday leagues. (It left Friday and Saturday's free to camp.)

    The boys in Son #1's den were the same way. Skit after skit after skit! Even after they were in their tents. We could count on him coming home Sunday and wanting to do nothing but shower and sleep. Anyway, if your daughter is coming home whipped after every outing, that could be a reason why she's not keen on doing too many. Sleep hygiene is a serious challenge at this age.

    For some reason, folks frown on 10 year olds and matches. You'll probably hear some such advice in training. We cut son #2 some slack at that age one summer because he and his buddy had cleared a perfect fire ring, made a small teepee, with tinder in the middle, larger logs at the ready to the side. They asked if they could light it, and his buddy's dad and I gave them some slack and handed them the matches -- no doubt violating the letter of some camp rule in the process. But there has to be a greater law out there about honoring flawless execution.

    Anyway, fire starting is best practiced at meetings in a nearby campfire ring. With 8 kids, it takes a lot of teamwork to let only one of them light the match. And that applies to my venturers at times! My co-advisor (also a GS mom) always let her girls build fires. Never had a problem with young women being able to accomplish this on their own. I'll gather wood, but I personally only bother to light the fire anymore when everyone else gives up: e.g. rained all day, temps dropped, or discord has wrought failure and the risk of hypothermia is high. (BTW, in many 3rd world countries, fire starting is women's work.)

    I would jump at the chance to hike 5 days straight with my crew or troop. (Doing that on a hike across my county with my SM and two other boys at age 18 was one of those formative experiences.) But beyond summer camp my youth only seem to make time in their schedule if it's an expensive high adventure week. I know other guys manage to schedule weeks away with their units. [envy]

    Anyway, sounds like you have a decent plan that can flex with the girls' interest as they grow. Have fun!

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    • #17
      Ooo... five days of hiking... There's a trail around here (Oregon) that some people hike all summer long. Pacific Something. I think goes all the way from Alaska to Mexico. I'll bet we could pick out a piece of it and hike it for five days. We would need all that light weight gear. I'll get on the list of things to do, but push it out to about sixth grade.

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      • #18
        The Pacific Crest Trail?

        Sounds fun. But you'll likely need a longer range plan.

        It's a rare group of sixth graders who are fit for such an adventure. And usually, you need monthly hiking weekends about eight months in advance so your team gets conditioned to the concept, the terrain, their limitations, their gear. (Doesn't matter how light it is, you still gotta be real comfortable using it.) Usually 8th graders start to be able to get their heads around that kind of challenge -- thus the age range of BSA's venturing program.

        Of course if they haven't kicked each other legless on the soccer field, they'd be physically fit ... But that's only part of the equation.

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        • #19
          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.

          For the first few months after we started our new Boy Scout Troop, we had one Boy Scout who hated camping. Only went because his mother made him. At Summer Camp last year he loudly proclaimed it was TORTURE.

          Sixteen months later, that same scout has just earned the National Outdoor Award for Camping with a gold device, camped outside every month of the year including thunderous downpours, heavy snow, and freezing tempuratures, has completed a 50 Miler, and when home prefers to sleep in his backyard under the stars.

          Beyond that, it's perfectly reasonable to create a troop that has the goal of camping. Girls who don't want to camp can join another troop, but girls who do want to camp will probably flock to yours.

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