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  • Boy Scout Overnight Trips

    My son will be evaluating Boy Scout Troops with my husband to decide which one to join. One thing I've noticed is the wide variety of overnight trips that different troops take.

    I see the HA based trips, which my son would be excited to do when he's old enough. I've also heard about other trips that you would not be able to take outside of scouting. The St. Louis Council has an outline of a trip to Shiloh Natl. Battlefield where the boys research and take on sharing the experience of a combatant who fought there.

    One nearby troop has gone on a sight-seeing trip to Atlanta. I would not be excited to send my son on something that I could do myself. However, I don't want to be too judgmental. I know that for some boys, that would be more interesting to them than HA trips.

    Please share your opinions on trips as well as any scout trips that were especially great.


  • #2
    Usually what will happen on HA trips is that in addition to the trip component, there will be other activities as well.

    For example, When I did my 64 mile canoe trip in Canada, we stopped in Washington DC for sightseeing and to visit the Jamboree. We then went on the 64 mile trip in the Canadian Wilderness, then did sightseeing in Ottawa, and Montreal.

    So trips will vary. Weekend trips are great for learning for new scouts and teaching skills by the older scouts. Also that is where the scouts show their independence and maturity, away from the adults. I like the 100 yards rule, i.e. each patrol is 100 yards or more away form each other AND adults, but sometimes that is not allowed in parks.

    The HA trips usually test those skills and have lots of prep trips involved. I know we had about 3 or 4 canoe trips prior to Canada to make sure everyone knew what they were doing, could handle emergencies, and decide who would buddy up with whom.


    • #3
      Thanks for sharing, Eagle92. I would LOVE for my son to go on a trip like the one you described. Certainly, the stops along the way that you described would be great. You added good insights for me to consider.


      • #4
        Yah, welcome CPAMom!

        Boy Scoutin' is a great thing to get your young lad involved in. As he looks at troops, most boys will find a group of lads and adults that he seems to "click" with and just like best. That's often the best way to go.

        Each troop has different "character", dependin' mostly on their adult leaders. Older, "well-rounded" adults tend to do more car camping, with work projects and big fires and lots of tales. Younger fellows or those with a lot of backpackin' stamina and skill will tend to run troops with more adventurous activities. Amateur historian adults will run delightful trips like the ones yeh mention to Shiloh. That's how "Adult Relationships" in Scoutin' works, eh? Adults share their interests and experiences with boys. What they do as a troop matters less than how they do it, eh?

        Remember, a trip with a group of peers and friends and some adult scouters is going to be a very different experience than a trip with the family. So even though you could take your boy sightseeing in Atlanta or backpacking the Alps or whatnot, it's not going to be the same for him as if he does it with his fellow scouts as a co-leader or significant contributor to the trip. Dat's why yeh choose to involve your boy in Scouting. Not because you can't take him camping, but because he gets so much more from having a broader range of experiences with other youth and adults, each of whom offers different perspectives that complement and reinforce da lessons you want him to learn as a young man.

        So I know great troops who mostly just car-camp within a couple hours' drive of home base, and I know some great troops that seem to be goin' on really challenging outdoor adventures every other week, and some that are deeply involved in outdoor citizenship and service work. Each of 'em serves a range of kids that seems to "fit" with that style, eh?

        If there's anything to recommend, though, it's that yeh always do what yeh can to send your lad on "long" trips. Weekends are nice, but the longer and deeper a lad digs into the outdoors without interruption the stronger the impact is. So always send your lad to summer camp, right from the start. When there's a chance to do another long trip or a second week of camp or a Jamboree or an OA Conclave, take it! When he's of da right age and rank and there are longer high adventure trips or long cruises available that he's interested in, send him! Those trips build lasting confidence, skills, and friendships better than anything.

        Welcome to Boy Scoutin'!



        • #5
          I am constantly suprised at the number of 11 year olds that have never spent a night away from their parents. Never had a sleep over with the kid next door. Never spent a night at grandma's while the parents had a night off.

          The first campout with the troop, the parents are the most nervous. The boys are excited about the adventures they think they will have. When summer camp comes around, it is mostly the parents who are nervous about what will happen to their son during a WHOLE week away. These are the parents who have forgotten their job is to prepare their children to become self sufficent adults who will run the world someday in the very near future.

          As mentioned earlier, it is not where the scouts are going, it is the fact the mommy and daddy are not there. The scout must learn to rely on himself and others. This builds self confidence in his own ability to tackle the unknown, to develop plans to overcome obstacles, and to build relationships with people his own age to accomplish things he never thought he could.

          Can I take my kid to the mueseum? Sure. Will it be the same experience he gets when he goes with the school or the troop? No way. Often when troops visit locations they are given behind the scenes tours. They often interact with professionals who show them special stuff or let them do, touch, or otherwise experience more than the typical visitor. The fact that Mom and Dad are not there to say No a million times also changes the experience. Instead they are interacting with the public and are are treated more like adults.

          If the troop is ONLY going to visit cities, then I would be concerned. One trip a year to see a special event or special location rounds out a scouting experience.


          • #6
            My son's troop is a well rounded troop.

            We have a HA trip every-other summer. Last summer they went to boundry waters, but my son was too young. 2011 they are headed to Philmont and my son is signed up and already working out at the gym until the snow melts and he can do a lot of hiking to prep himself.

            We camp every month including the fall and spring camporees and summer camp. In the winter some of the trips are tents and some are cabin just depends on the boys plans.

            They have had a trip to South Dakota in the past, but nothing like that since my son has joined. but they do mix up their trips: canoeing, caving, hiking, swimming, fishing, biking, and some are just hang out and have fun.

            key is to find a troop that is active and that does offer what your son would enjoy the most.