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  • I've got a new Scout!

    My son went on his first campout as a Scout this weekend. He was really looking forward to it because his grandfather and I thought he'd have a great time. The 14 kids and 4 adults all stayed in a 1-room cabin. Temperature was below 50 and it was raining. The problem was that a few of the boys would not go to sleep. It sounds like they were up until 3 or 4 in the morning, and kept everybody else awake. My son was a wreck when they got home; and the Scoutmaster told me that the weekend was "rough." My wife wanted to let him drop out of that Troop, but is willing to let him go on the April campout as a last chance. I intend to talk to the Scoutmaster this week. Any suggestions about what I should tell him?

  • #2
    Boys can be unpredictable. Our troop is mostly older boys, and I wasn't looking forward to our last cabin weekend. But, they were in bunks and lights out before I knew it!

    Do talk to the SM. Some boys pose more challenges than others. And tents often work better than cabins. If your son is unhappy and it doesn't look like things will be different, changing troops is a possibility. But problems like these come in cycles, the SM may have been as blind-sided by this one too.

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    • #3
      Welcome to the forum!
      I think your wife is likely to find that boys will sometimes stay up until 4 AM regardless of which numbers are on their sleeve; this is no reason to alter the entire course of your son's scouting career.

      If the SM called this weekend rough, then that's your first indicator that this isn't normal. The cabin thing almost always makes for late or even late, late, nights, so maybe ask him how often the troop spends nights in cabins.
      Last edited by Scouter99; 03-30-2014, 11:34 PM.

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      • #4
        Did they stay inside and hide from the rain all weekend, or did they don raingear and make the best of it?

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        • #5
          Oh, by the way, welcome to the forums! Let us know how this pans out for you.

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          • #6
            You should tell him what you and your wife would have done differently. Explain to him your techniques for getting a bunch of teenage boys to go to sleep when they don't want to. Maybe you can share your thoughts for fund raising opportunities so the troop can afford for all the boys can have single-occupancy rooms. Personally, I'd like to know what you would have done about the weather. End the conversation by handing him your and your wife's adult leader applications and offering to attend all future campouts.

            We're often accused of being tough on first-time posters here, so let me apologize for the sarcasm, but here's my point:

            Welcome to Scouting. They don't put this in the recruitment flyers, but part of the program is learning to deal with adversity and overcome obstacles. Some of my best memories of my days as a Scout are built around overcoming the "rough" times. Like my first campout at 10 degrees with a Sears sleeping bag more appropriate for a sleepover on the living room floor. Or halfway up Mt. Phillips with our crew huddled under a huge Ponderosa pine dodging half-inch hail stones. Sure, it would have been nice if your son's first couple campouts had been sunny and 75-degrees with little blue birds flitting around his tent, but it is what it is. Could it be that the troop anticipated the weather, realized they had a first timer with them and stayed in the cabin to accommodate you son? Honestly, my experience, the little guys will sleep through tornados when they are really zonked out. My guess is your son was probably enjoying hanging with the big dog and staying up way past mama's bedtime. The next day, when he was a grump and mama was fussin' at him for staying up, it was easy to throw the older boys under the bus.

            Secondly, it's interesting to me you didn't say a word about whether or not your son had fun. There's your answer.

            Your job is to support your son and the troop. Talk to your boy and draw out the fun he had and get him to focus on that. If you and/or your wife are stomping around the house p.o.'d that your kid was up late, he's going to reflect that. Instead, tell him about a similar experiences you had as a kid. Emphasize to him that part of growing up is making the best of difficult circumstances and having fun despite the weather and the noisy bunkmates. Talk about what he can do to control the situation next time, like taking a tent so he can camp away from the talkers or pack earplug.

            And when you talk to the Scoutmaster, thank him for taking a weekend away from his family and spending it in a cold, damp cabin with 14 noisy boys.

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            • #7
              Way to go TwoCub. Couldn't have said it better. Scouting is what it is, and "making the best of it" is , or ought to be, the 17th point of the Scout Law. Or something.

              I was on a campout with 6 beginners and the SM. SM had a tent, I had a tent (both well used and trusted), boys divied up in three two boy tents, two Troop tents, and one boy shared his NEW tent. New tent was not seam sealed, it seemed. It poooouuurrreeed down rain. New tent became a covered bath tub. One troop tent had a corner leak. I gave up my tent to three of the boys, SM moved his son in with him, I slept in the car. We "the made the best of it". The next morning, sun came out, we had a hot breakfast (oatmeal and maple syrup as I remember). Dried things out, went home late. Soggy, muddy, sleepy, but Scouts still. Two of those six, come to think of it, became Eagles.

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              • #8
                I'm sorry fellas, but when a couple of boys are up at 3am, it's time for them to leave the building. I got spare tents (and if not, plenty of tarp and rope) in the van. That last cabin weekend, *I* left the building at 3am because the boys quietly kept the stove stoked, and if I was going to wake up to 85 degree temps, it had better be on a boat in the Bahamas!

                The boys were not disciplined, plain and simple. That said, it doesn't hurt to talk to the SM and figure out what he's up against. And, be a little forgiving. Like 2C said, your lil' Johnny may have been one of the contributors!

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                • #9
                  SSScout, love it! I had a similar weekend last fall with Webelos... one of the rainiest weekends ever... 2 Webelos sharing a tent were doing ok but went in and out of their tent too often and though it did not leak, they were tracking water and mud every time, and by bedtime it was uninhabitable (and they were a little short in the dry clothes department)... so I pulled up my suburban, folded down the seats, and let them sleep in the back. One was surprised I didn't let them use my tent- he felt it would have been fine for me and his Dad (male leader) to share a tent!

                  As far as what the OP shoudl tell the SM.. "thank you" is a good beginning. This is far from a reasonable reason to switch Troops!!

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                  • #10
                    Maybe the first talk should be with your son. If your son had fun staying up until 3 or 4am then maybe a discussion about consequences is appropriate. If he couldn't get to sleep because of a couple of self centered scouts, then that's a different thing. It could be time to coach him on some options. Is there anyone he could talk to about asking the scouts to keep quiet? Is there an option for him to sleep outside in a tent? Maybe with you? At least until he gets bigger or finds another buddy to share a tent with? My guess is the SM understands that the average 11 year old can't deal with 3am nights. If he said it was rough then he probably agrees with you. If so, putting him on the defensive won't help your son's problem. That all said, if it were my troop and a couple of older scouts were being that selfish I'd ask the SPL what happened. If it was the SPL we'd have a different talk about looking out for everyone in the troop. In the meantime, I'd ask the parents to have some patience, making mistakes and learning from them is part of the process.

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                    • #11
                      hi new to scoute hope that have some fun here..

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                      Last edited by benniewilson; 04-03-2014, 12:04 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Of course, we could talk about Discipline, Expectations, Plans, Activities on a cabin camp. What was expected? Were there outdoor activities planned that didn't come off? Was the Plan B not well thought out? SPL and PLC should have things in hand...
                        Home Troop has a winter cabin camp at Broadcreek, MD. Expectations are that there WILL be hikes, map & compass, Totin' Chip instruction (wood stove to stoke), cooking requirements passed (both indoor and out) and for the evening, board games, the famous "I Doubt It" tourney, and a late movie (last time it was "Second Hand Lions" and Popeye cartoons). Too much snow or rain? Well, they are Scouts and the hikes and compass course still go out. You have a dry, warm cabin to come back to. Come sleepy time, ( 12 midnite ?) Scouts are detailed to serve the woodstove, and Scouts are tuckered out and sleep.

                        Like every other boy, Scouts will tend to live up to expectations. If there are any.

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