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  • Soda on camping trips

    Camporee is coming up and my son, who's 11, was chosen to do the shopping for his patrol. The patrol sat down and wrote out their menu for the weekend. The closest they came to fruit or vegies was orange juice and blueberry muffins. I know they'll survive the weekend without those valuable nutrients, but what really had me concerned was that "soda" was also written on the list. I questioned the patrol leader, and he said "that's what the boys wanted." I'm glad the boys are making decisions on their own, but how do you encourage them to make some healthier decisions when it comes to food and drink choices?

  • #2
    A box of baking soda shouldn't cause that much trouble ....

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    • #3
      Seriously, it's a matter of proportions. Did they specify how much? 8 oz per person (for, say after lunch) is one thing, a liter per person per day is another.

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      • #4
        They'll soon figure out that lugging around a 12 pack is not as much fun as a packet of Kool-Aid.

        Stosh

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        • #5
          patrol leader, and he said "that's what the boys wanted."

          Fail. This is not leadership and it is a serious misconception of "scout-run" to allow scouts to get anything and everything they want. The scout program and we adults set expectations such as My Plate (replaced food pyramid) guidelines. Sorry no Red Bull rather juice, bug juice, hot chocolate,... Weight and resulting trash are other considerations.

          My $0.02

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          • #6
            Speaking of bug juice, Bryan has a post about this yesterday. Nothing like a 5 mile hike to prep a can of soda for lunch. Some of those hydration bladders are 2L as well.
            When Scout Executive Michael Riley made the choice to eliminate bug juice at the Cape Cod & Islands Council's summer day camps, he braced for a revolt. But no uprising came. Sugar-saturated bug juice was available one summer, and the next summer only water was served. "Surprisingly, we got no pushback from the parents," he told me. "They said,…

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            • #7
              We have a soda ban because some of the younger boys will over indulge and it just causes trouble; like a kegger for 12 year olds. We have done watered down bug juice to encourage them to stay hydrated. For some kids it is the sugar and others the caffeine. We also avoid Gatorade.

              Yes we do have guidelines and the SPL reviews the lists. We ban a few things (soda and candy) with an occasional allowance (some candy on a hiking trip). We recommend limiting others-chips, etc. The smart boys figure out loopholes fast that you can make fattening hash browns instead of chips and pancakes with chocolate chips. We strongly discourage 'picky eaters' from bringing there own food--it always seems that they bring 3 bags of Doritos. Oh course food allergies and religious preferences are accommodated.

              While pop-tarts is an ever ending battle we tried to ban Ramen but some boys started researching 101 ways to make Ramen and have made some pretty tasty dishes. So they one upped those there which is right and proper.

              I have noticed some Patrols getting some bottled juices on the base camp trips--I guess they are getting their sweet spot that way,

              Funny thing is that if the boys are hungry and no snacks are available they will actually eat apples and oranges!

              Since I have joined OA I am very impressed on how my lodge provides tasty and affordable meals. It helps one guy is the cook at a public high school. Learning many tips.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                Speaking of bug juice, Bryan has a post about this yesterday. Nothing like a 5 mile hike to prep a can of soda for lunch. Some of those hydration bladders are 2L as well.
                Yeah, I read that blog post yesterday. It prompted me to email the Scoutmaster just to "inquire" about what the troop's policy was on soda. Kind of hoping it will put a bug in his ear to take action on this. There were several posts on Bryan's blog about how some boys will become dehydrated because they refuse to drink enough water, so things like making lemonade packets available was encouraged. But soda really has no redeeming qualities unless you're looking for a caffeine fix, so I just don't see allowing soda as good policy.

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                • #9
                  Our thinking is that it’s the PLs responsibility for the health of the scouts, so as long as they can prove they are providing nutritious meals, they are good to go. SOOO, when the soda question came, we let the PLs decide and watched. Sure as the world the scouts drank too much and left cans all over the place. I asked the SPL how the liter and scouts hyped up on caffeine fit within the PLs health responsibilities. He took the issue to the Patrol leaders and they change the policy to two liter bottles per campout. Pretty reasonable response I thought. The liter bottles fixed both problems because the scouts just didn’t like messing with that size of drinks. The sodas faded away after three months without anyone saying a word.

                  I also think the coke fad in our troop was just an expression of freedom. Our troop is a backpacking troop, so after the fun wore off, the work of carrying around liter size bottles, a cooler and ice just for the sodas motivated the scouts to choose the easier path of not hassling with it. One law of boy humanism I can always count on is that they will always take the path of least resistance.

                  Adults tend to look at these things in a purist perspective, cokes and boy scout camping don’t mix. Same with Gameboys, cell phones and stuff like that. But there is really nothing wrong with cokes, or candy, or chips or other junk foods in responsible doses. So I don’t want the adults coming down as tyrants because of our old fashion ideas, I want them to serve each other by acting responsibly and health is part of being responsible. But like anything, humans have to push over the line to find the line. The scouts pushed too far then pulled back. I was proud of them and the coke issue solved itself.

                  The challenge of these things is not trying to find a way to stop the scouts, but to be creative enough to use the opportunity for growth. However, it requires so much patience. So much patience!

                  Barry

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                  • #10
                    Yes, the program is youth ran, however within clearly defined parameters. Setting standards for each activity the scouts engage in is key. For example, in our troop menu expectations are al follows:

                    1. All meals are to well balanced, and nutritional, with appropriate portions. (See Current Cooking Merit Badge Pamphlet for additional information).
                    2. All meals are to be prepared and cleaned up in a way that is in full compliance with leave no trace. (See Boy Scout Handbook)
                    3. All meals should be chosen with program times and restrictions in mind. (See PL for Event Agenda )
                    4. All meals are to be chosen with thought being given to transport, preservation, and preparation based on location of event and mode of travel. (See PL for Event Details)
                    5. Two patrol members will be assigned by the PL to shop and transport the food to the site (this will be on a rotation)
                    6. The Grub Master is responsible to ensure these guidelines are followed
                    7. The SPL must approve all patrol menus and be prepared to answer any questions the SM may have

                    Soda does not have a place on a scout outing, but what you're seeing may be a part of the learning process being used.

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                    • #11
                      Just a couple of comments.

                      1) Gaterade will bring you back on your feet twice as fast as plain water. I carry it as part of my first aid kit. I have had my people go down in the heat, and Gaterade is the first thing I reach for.

                      2) SPL approves Patrol menus? When do you plan on teaching leadership to the PL's. Another example of top down management control vs. real leadership from those trying to lead. And to make it worse, the SPL is accountable to the SM? Obviously the troop has only one real leader and that's an adult.

                      A bit more mentoring and a lot less rules goes a long way in building real leadership among the boys, where it should be.

                      A few instructional classes by the SPL to help the patrols plan better menus might be in order. The first lesson on empty calories might be a good start.

                      Forcing the boys into compliance on nutrition will only encourage contraband. It is far better to eat well so that the junk food doesn't become a necessity to the boys.

                      Stosh

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                      • #12
                        Car camping: No sodas or other bottled water or drink products. Make your own with the potable water at the site. This is a Troop policy mainly around trash and LNT, plus weight. We had Scouts showing up with cases of bottled water, and multiple jugs of soda dragging down the cars and resulting in way too much trash to haul out.

                        Backpacking: If you want to carry it, you can have it - but only on your SECOND trek after you have proven your abilities. This was a PLC policy set after the SPL helped out a Scout (took his sleeping bag), and then the Scout pulled out two cans of Dr. Pepper at the site.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dedkad View Post
                          Camporee is coming up and my son, who's 11, was chosen to do the shopping for his patrol. The patrol sat down and wrote out their menu for the weekend. The closest they came to fruit or vegies was orange juice and blueberry muffins. I know they'll survive the weekend without those valuable nutrients, but what really had me concerned was that "soda" was also written on the list. I questioned the patrol leader, and he said "that's what the boys wanted." I'm glad the boys are making decisions on their own, but how do you encourage them to make some healthier decisions when it comes to food and drink choices?
                          Well, we have a budget, and soda would really cut into it.

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                          • #14
                            We don't ban soda, but I strongly, strongly discourage it.

                            Three years ago, our first backpack with the new Scouts was about 3 miles, relatively flat, but a decent hike for the NSP 11-year-olds. A couple of the boys chose (for the first and last time) to bring canned soup and 2 liter bottles of soda. A learning experience

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                            • #15
                              So sorry for the tangent, but I found this funny. A few years ago we went to a Council summer camp. One of our boys wanted coffee but was told he could not have any because of the caffeine. Later I took a trip to the trading post and you'll never guess what they sold there. Monster, Red Bull, Mountain Dew, etc. I asked the camp director about the logic of denying coffee to Scouts but allowing them to buys stuff with 3-4x the amount of caffeine of coffee. His reply? The "visual" of a Scout drinking coffee was worse than that of one drinking Red Bull or Monster. Never went back to that camp. The result was a troop policy where parents must give permission for any such drinks to be allowed for their Scout during travel or camp. Can you imagine an ADHD kid on Monster and Skittles?

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