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Can I bring my younger son to scout campouts?

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  • #16
    Dear NewToScoutsDad, from AlmostNewToScoutsMom,

    I totally sympathize and understand your position. I have a younger daughter who had to attend with me when my son's Cub Scout pack needed me last year.

    My husband often works late, and is often called to work unexpectedly. We have no family where we live now, and I cannot afford to pay a sitter $50 so that I can go volunteer. Therefore, my daughter often accompanied me. She was quiet and well behaved, more so than some of the Tiger Cubs.

    I think every pack and every troop are a bit different. The comments indicating that younger children of either gender are an annoyance hit me in a sore spot due to the behavior of the leaders of my particular pack. Your mileage may vary.

    In our pack, only 3 dads volunteer: CM, CC, and the camping coordinator (whose son will bridge this year). Everything else is done by the moms. We all have younger children, boys and girls. Two of the lady volunteers have young babies.

    After leaving the post of Treasurer this summer (details in other posts), I started volunteering with American Heritage Girls this year on behalf of my daughter. It is a much more pleasant atmosphere in which to volunteer than Cub Scouts was for me. There are some things in AHG culture that I think would be a nice addition to Scouting:

    1. AHG Troops integrate different ages instead of separating them all the time. This is not to say that the older girls don't get a chance to focus only on themselves and age appropriate activities. They absolutely do.

    However, it is part of the older girls' training to lead the younger girls in activities from time to time. This fall, the older girls have organized a hike, leading the younger girls. They also organized a sleepover for the girls.

    I am grateful my 7 year old daughter has these very sharp and professional young ladies of 12-15 or so to look up to. They are wonderful role models. I believe it is also a good teaching experience for the older girls to learn to lead. Isn't leadership a trait Scouts should be learning?

    2. AHG does a better job of making it easy for parents to volunteer and integrate their other children than the BSA, in my opinion, having volunteered for both groups. My son often accompanies me to his sister's meetings because our family situation requires it. He sometimes participates, as he did with our "box of goodies for the troops" project this week. Sometimes, he works on his homework. Not once has anyone in AHG complained.

    What the BSA has communicated to me as a parent is that they expect me to be a BSA volunteer first, and a parent to my own kids (all of them) second. I can't do that. I got tired of my daughter being left out. I got her into a program that was good for her, and took my volunteer time along with me. So have many of the other very tired moms in our pack. Maybe some packs and troops are so flush with volunteers that they can afford to make it obnoxious to volunteer for the BSA. I don't really understand the BSA's reasoning.

    My son's CM and CC both need to pull their heads out. I fully expect they will be looking around in a year with no other volunteers at all dimly trying to figure out what happened and why they're stuck doing everything themselves.

    My jaw hit the floor when our CC this fall had the gall to call my friend whose son is in my son's den and ask her to do all the shopping for the fall campout (about 100 people). On 24 hours notice. She was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time with two younger children and was in pain just walking. But, hey, like the CC said, she has a Costco membership and can save the pack money. And she's been way too nice to them for the last two years. She has quit completely as a Scout volunteer. Maybe if they'd been a little more polite and reasonable, she might have been willing to come back. Now, she's pissed and will likely never volunteer for the BSA again, justifiably.

    So, when I read notes like the one in this thread complaining about how all those pesky younger siblings get in the way and the adult volunteers should make other arrangements so they can put the troop first, I just shake my head and hope the BSA will get a clue before they lose any more adults willing to volunteer.

    GA Mom


    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      One more person who conflates a bad situation with their local unit to "THE BSA." The pack you were with might be obnoxious, that does not make "The BSA" obnoxious.

    • moosetracker
      moosetracker commented
      Editing a comment
      True, and not true.. The SM did not bring along his daughters or under aged sons.. He brought along his boy scout aged sons.. The thing, is that the SM did not do the program for the scouts in the troop, he did it for his sons..

      The only thing we get from the OP is that he wants to bring his under aged son with him for father/son bonding.. He did not post any reasoning why this was necessary to help the troop out of some crunch, or consider pros and cons of the situation, and come up with some rationalization of why the pros won out.. But, just simply he and his son.. No thought to the effect on the troop at all.

      When that is all there is to go on, you show the guy the rule book, and that is that.. "NO". Please stay home with your son, if that is what you prefer.

      PS. The boys nor SM(Dad) were obnoxious. Personally everyone liked them just fine, and all was fine until he took the SM reins.. The SM(Dad) was just not troop oriented, he was family oriented, and that caused a problem.
      Last edited by moosetracker; 12-09-2013, 02:49 PM.

    • ScoutNut
      ScoutNut commented
      Editing a comment
      Georgia - As Scouter99 stated -Please do not generalize all of BSA based on your experiences with your own, local, Pack.

      Yes, there are dysfunctional Packs out there, yours is definitely one of them. But they are NOT following the policies of BSA (hence - dysfunctional).

      Also, your issues were with bringing younger siblings (boys OR girls) along to a CUB activity. The OP is talking about bringing a younger sibling to a BOY SCOUT activity.

      Different program, different rules, different policies, horse of a different color, apples/oranges. I think/hope you get the idea.

  • #17

    I feel for ya. Yep every unit is different and situations varies. And what you pack leadership did to the pregnant mom was uncalled for.

    Now in regards to what the BSA says, Cub Scouts is FAMILY (emphasis, not shouting) oriented, with families attending activities, and sometimes even a few meetings. Camp Outs are Family oriented, and a good pack and district/council event will have activities for Cub Scout siblings to do. Does it happen all the time, no. Best example I can give is my CSDC. National does permit a "tot lot" "sibling den" whatever you want to call it, and discusses it at National Camping School. Problem is not every district has the resources to pull it off. Last year was the first year we had one in the 4 years I've worked it. The siblings had the ability to do everything the Cubs did.

    Now Boy Scouts is completely different in that it is oriented to the INDIVIDUAL ( again emphasis). We try to grow the Scouts physcially, mentally, and morally. Our job is to guide and mentor, but THEY take charge and do the planning. And I can tell you from first hand expereince, if siblings ruin a troop's expereince, especially one that took a year for the youth to plan, involved a 14 hour round trip car ride because the parents didn't it think it was fair for the Scouts to do the activities in the rain and the siblings are not ready for it, and then the siblings cause several hundred dollars worth of plumbing damage at the place you are staying, the BOY SCOUTS ( again emphasis, not shouting) will consider their siblings an "annoyance" and will state no more siblings will be allowed on their trips.

    Yep the above happened in my troop, and it was 5 or 6 years before the youth allowed siblings along on camp outs again. All the youth at the time of the original incident either quit or were adults before the PLC again allowed another family camp out.


    NewToScoutsDad, why don't you ask the Patrol Leaders' Council, the ones who plan, prepare, and execute the camp outs to see if they want your son tagging along or not.


    • #18
      Here is how the FAQ on the subject is worded. Source page: And yes, it directly quotes the GTSS. However, to the OP, would you think differently if you had a wolf age or even a 16 yr old daughter? Would you bring her along?......Neither situation is part of the Boy Scout Program, it is just not scouting. There are some specific family oriented events by design - like Day Camp tot lots or PTC where family programming is included. This would not be one of those.

      Q. Can a leader bring his or her younger children on a troop campout?
      The Camping section of the Guide to Safe Scouting states:
      “If a well-meaning leader brings along a child who does not meet these age guidelines, disservice is done to the unit because of distractions often caused by younger children. A disservice is also done to the child, who is not trained to participate in such an activity and who, as a nonmember of the group, may be ignored by the older campers.”


      • moosetracker
        moosetracker commented
        Editing a comment
        BP This rule is definitely not new, and really if you read it. It doesn't say you cannot... period... It just says it is discouraged, because it is not healthy for the troop or the under aged youth..

        Therefore, if you want to ruin your troop with pack level campouts, go ahead.. But, basically National really sees things more the way myself and Eagle92 see it.. It really should be used as a last resort, that the boys can not go on a trip without the parent with youth in tow..

        So you have the control and the say.

      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        When I was a Scout I found it annoying when siblings tagged along. But the leaders allowed it. Now as an ASM, if bringing a non scout youth along is the only way to deliver the trip I'd say that's a fair exception. But by and large I agree with moose.

      • RichardB
        RichardB commented
        Editing a comment
        Not sure I understand what a pencil pusher is since I typically type or use a Pentel Energel .7 mm ball these days. I really used to love my Pentel .3 mm mechanical pencil though. I also have one of my Dad's and Uncle's drafting sets from the late 50's. Now those were some well built mechanical pencils back then but you still had to sharpen the lead.....

        Is the real issue here "rules" and their real or percieved applicability or is it just pointing back to the fact that the Boy Scout program is for male youth of a certain age, doing certain things. Again, what is being asked by the OP is a good question, one that that has been asked, answered and supported with reference material. If you disagree feel free to work on a change to the program, that would be scoutlike.

        Cannot agree that there are always simple and practical solutions with those who profess to be delivering one program and providing something different. Complicates matters.

    • #19
      It's weird even though there have been others who have written after RichardB, he stays displayed as the last person to make a comment. I don't have anything to add, just seeing if a new message rather then a comment to RichardB will kick it out of being hung up on Richard.


      • BadenP
        BadenP commented
        Editing a comment
        Moose- You have to remember that the moderators here protect Richard B because he works for National. If anyone says ANYTHING negative to him they quickly delete their posts as they did with mine on this topic. In other words the administrators for this forum have become as weak minded as those at National who are determined to destroy the true scouting program and turn it into a classroom badge mill experience. Of course they will delete this post quickly so Richard B will not get upset and report them to National, lol.

    • #20
      Wow! I can't believe that this topic has generated so much heat. Everyone needs to step back and realize that their troop is not the "norm". No troop is. Each one is unique and individual. I've learned this by being in a troop of about 15 boys, another troop of about 5 boys and another troop of 80 boys. I've been an ASM for 2 Jambos. I've served as a Campmaster and visited with many, many troops of every size and sort imaginable. Heck, I visited on one "troop" when I was Campmaster and there wasn't a boy in sight. I asked where their boys were and they told me that none of the boys could make the campout, so the adult leaders came by themselves. A to Z doesn't cover the different types of troops out there. I've seen troops where the boys and adults camp together and do nothing all day but poke sticks in the fire or nap. I've seen troops like my 60 boy troop that had every minute of the weekend program scheduled by the boys and they did things like climb/rappel, day hike, wilderness survival, canoeing, etc. Regardless of the size and type of troop, as long as the boys are planning their program, carrying it out and camping by patrol with a minimum of interaction by the SM and ASM's, who is at camp and who isn't should be fairly transparent. In our troops, the boys camped by patrol and did their own cooking, set-up, tear down, KP, etc. The adults and any younger children who came along did the same. They don't interact with the scouts. They don't participate in the program. They are merely camping in their own area and cooking as an adult patrol. It in no way interfers or interrupts the program being delivered. I know this to be true because I was involved in this method for 7 years.

      As a side note, our Cub resident camp has a new camp director. I helped staff the kitchen at the fall weekend camps they hold each weekend in October. We typically have around 350 to 400 campers on any given weekend. She did her job with her 6 month old daughter in a carrier on her back. I'd never seen that done before, but she did an outstanding job. I realize it isnt Boy Scout camping, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do and you find a way to make it work. If a leader needs to bring a younger child on a Boy Scout outing, it isn't the end of the world as long as you lay down some ground rules.
      Last edited by SR540Beaver; 12-17-2013, 07:33 AM. Reason: edited for typos


      • #21
        SR540, you have pummeled the capped iron rod on its topknot.
        I just read thru the thread and I can say that there is nothing inherently wrong with bringing along a younger sibling on a Scout activity, so long as (1) the Unit agrees to it, (2) the parent keeps control of the child and does NOT expect the child to be allowed to participate in everything the older boys do, (3) the parent is not disappointed when the child gets tired and says "I wanna go home/take a nap/not do this" three miles into the woods. I found the story of the plumbing damage telling. I hope the parents realized their responsibility and held the children accountable and paid up.

        The local unit is just that. BSA has standards and guidelines , but it is all the local folks that make it happen (or not). AHG, I dare say, if you look far enough afield, you might find some uncomfortable events there, too. I have heard the same for GSUSA, too. Some really exceptional units, some not so. It all depends on the Adult Leader Attitudes.

        Not only may your mileage vary, the shocks on the rear axle may need replacing.


        • #22
          At the cubbie level its a family event so yes. At the the boy scout level. No, unless your the 2nd leader and the event will be cancelled with out you, even then. If you go as an adult leader your there to pretend to not watch the boy scouts, your younger son will need attention and so forth. But as someone above mentioned ask the SM.