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  • #31
    Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
    Or... Talk about bear attacks at the the campfire....that should keep them close. Sounds like you run a real tight ship. Congrats. How do you handle MB classes at the local BSA Mint? Require two scouts to have the exact same schedule? From what I have seen during session time Buddy System goes out the window and is just given lip service.
    In our area there really are bears, so one of the first conversations we have is one on bear safety.

    I don't run a tight ship, but the boys do. This year at summer camp, all 4 first year boys all took the same MB's, but at different times, but stayed together as buddies. I had no say-so in that process. The PL signed up the boys online. I didn't know what MB's they were even taking until I was asked to sign the Blue Cards. AND for the outdoor overnight for Wilderness Survival, one of the boys was homesick, so the PL notified the leaders at the overnight site, he and the homesick boy would be returning back to our camp. The PL knew he had to stick with his buddy and took a partial because he stayed back at camp with the boy. He couldn't leave him there alone overnight with just the two adult leaders (only 4 boys all first year at summer camp this year). My PL takes the leadership training in the Buddy System extremely seriously. When I reminded him he was going to have to take a partial by missing out on the overnight he just looked at me and said, "I know, but I have to take care of my boys." For an 11 year old boy, even I was surprised at that. My ASM is the PL's grandmother and told me later that she started to cry a bit when she heard him tell me that.

    Stosh Rule #2: "Look and act like a Scout". Tenderfoot Requirement #9, Take care of your Buddies, A scout helps other people at all times, is trustworthy, and somewhere wedged in some crack, a Scout leads by serving. This kid doesn't seem to think lip service will cut it for rule #2.



    • #32
      Originally posted by evilleramsfan View Post
      BTW, the author of the proposed policy is an engineer and not a lawyer....
      Oh, in that case just buy him a large supply of Twinkies and he will leave you alone.


      • #33
        Here is the original with my notes in bold that I sent back to everyone in the original send list:

        The purpose of troop owned tents is to ensure availability of quality tents that can service campers in three seasons and various weather conditions. Many tents on the market are not adequate or properly designed for inclement weather. Considering that our Troop camps as many as eleven months of the year, including snow and severe rain, good equipment is needed to protect primarily against leakage and also retain heat during cold weather.
        In accordance with the By-Laws of the Troop, boys and adults may utilize their own tents or they may use a tent owned by the troop.
        In the event that the scout or leader chooses to utilize a troop owned tent. The person who checks out the tent with the Quartermaster, will be required to return it to the quartermaster clean, dry, and properly folded. Any damage will be reported to the quartermaster so the tent can be repaired or replaced as needed.
        I have seen some check out/check in forms for the QM to use regarding tents. I think it would be a good idea to utilize this for our tents. We will need to somehow number our tents so we can figure out which is which. The check in/check out procedure and form should be part of this policy.
        In the event that the scout or leader choses to use a privately owned tent, the tent shall be in good condition, waterproof, and of adequate size for the people utilizing the tent.
        Scouts shall generally camp two scouts to a tent. No more than three scouts will be allowed in a tent, and then only if there I an odd number of scouts at the event and none are at least 14 years old and can tent by themselves. Scouts who have reached the age of 14, may tent by themselves. Provided that this does not create a situation where there are not adequate scouts to create pairing for the other scouts as needed.
        Scouts shall not tent with their parents, unless there are special circumstances, such as campsite space restrictions, or special need of the scout. This shall be waved for scouts who have been a scout for less than 6 months.
        The minimum tent size for a tent with two scouts shall be 7 feet by 7 feet. The minimum tent size for three boys shall be 7 foot by 10 foot, or equivalent (minimum 23 sq. feet per person). Adult leaders utilizing privately owned tents, or scouts 14 years of age or older tenting individually using privately owned tents, may use any size tent at their discretion. Maximum allowed tent sizes may be restricted on certain events due to campsite space restrictions.
        The scoutmaster or outing leader may, at his discretion, require the scout to utilize a troop owned tent, if in his unchallenged opinion the privately owned tent is not in a serviceable condition.
        It is my opinion that this has no place in our policy. Outing decisions are at the discretion of the scoutmaster or outing leader and it is not proper for us to set a policy for these things when they are better determined in the field. Policy preventing boys from tenting with parents is not advisable. While I do urge scouts to tent with other scouts, I realize that this may not work with all boys. Especially in middle school, boys are very self-conscious of themselves and may not want to be in a situation of staying with another scout in a tent.
        There are some boys who would elect to not go camping if they had to stay with another scout. These items are best dealt with by the parents and myself if there is an issue. We do not want to set a policy in this regard because if a boy has a psychological need to stay with a parent, we do not want to have to explain why he is doing so when it is “against policy”.
        The appropriate number to a tent is based on the size of the tent, the size of the boys, the type of campout, as well as other factors. I have tented with an entire patrol (it was a great experience and one I would like to see the troop try some time), and have been on campouts where everyone had their own personal tent. I have no problem with letting certain scouts stay by themselves, but prefer for safety purposes to at least pair them up. I have had scouts get sick or have asthma attacks and am glad they had a tent mate who came to get me.
        I can see where some may have issues with some of the tents used at [camp]. The storm that hit and collapsed some of the tents was unlike anything I have seen in all my scouting and camping experience. There were some solid tents that collapsed in that wind and others that would have collapsed if not for people physically holding them up from the inside. While it was an inconvenience to dry everyone out and some boys had to stay in the health lodge for the night, it was an experience that all will not forget and hopefully it taught a few lessons on the way.

        Troop xxxx is NOT responsible for damage to privately owned tents.
        Troop xxxx does not guarantee availability of troop owned tents.
        Troop xxxx does not guarantee that troop owned tents are waterproof.
        Troop xxxx is not responsible for any damage to equipment due to tent leakage or other issues involving Troop owned, or privately owned tents.
        I don’t think it hurts to place some disclaimers like this so people know they are taking chances if they send their personal equipment out.


        • #34
          Here is his reply to my comments (I would mention that his reference to those elected to the OA are the sons of other adult leaders in the troop....I know that for one boy, just him going camping is pushing his comfort zone to the limit....The two boys, however, are determined to do the ordeal....I am hoping they accomplish it because it may open a door that maybe the two of them will be comfortable with tenting with each other....):

          I have not thoroughly thought thru your comments, but the meeting is the place for the open forum. Thanks for your input, but I would offer the following insight.

          What is the purpose of scouting? Are we supposed to be challenging young men to expand their horizons, comfort zones, minds, and provide opportunity go grow and learn critical life skills? If the answer is yes, then is allowing them to camp with their parents for extended periods of time doing a disservice to the boy? I did include a few exceptions to the parent rule, which seamed to cover most of the concerns.

          At some level, I am personally offended that boys, who are reluctant to camp without their parents are elected into the order of the arrow, a camping society. What message does this really send?

          While some decisions need to me made in the field, and their are, and should be, exceptions to all guidelines, having expectations previously set and clearly stated minimizes disruptions to the camping experience.

          Finally, will the addition of yet another form for the boys to use be helpful? The committee and the BSA provide may forms to help organize the troop and its activities. to my knowledge, most or all of the forms are not utilized by the troop. Would this new form be any different?

          I do not want to start an email war, but just wanted to try to present the reasoning behind some of the ideas in the policy. As always we will let the committee decide. See you on Monday at the Troop meeting.


          • #35
            Why is the committee messing around in the QM's job?

            Each patrol should have X number of tents assigned to it. It's up to the patrol QM to keep track of them. A Sharpie to write the patrol name and a number on it would take but a few seconds. End of discussion.

            If something needs fixing because they wrecked it, then the patrol had better start doing some patrol fundraisers.

            These things need to be dealt with at the patrol level in a patrol-method troop by the boys, NOT the committee. The troop QM is the liaison between the committee treasurer and patrols. But the committee has no business interfering in the operation of the troop.

            The committee, or at least the person making this stupid rule, need to go get training for their position.

            Sounds like this troop is well on it's way to an adult-led, troop-method troop.



            • #36
              No, it isn't. I am fighting this just as I have with other such attempts in the past. I have won every battle thus far, but have never encountered anything like this. Last time, the COR and IH said that they support all decisions I make as SM and that no playing around trying to undermine my authority as SM will be tolerated. I got some more news on it today, but will hold off until next week....there are rumblings afoot....


              • #37
                Why does anyone care what kind of tent a scout brings if it's his own? If it falls apart the scout has a problem to solve. That provides cheap entertainment for the adults. And then we watch the adult of said scout fume because his tent got destroyed. Two for the price of one.

                We enforce the buddy system. When you are in bear country and you're supposed to pee a hundred yards from camp (google bearmuda triangle) then it's actually quite easy to get disoriented when backpacking and there's no moon. As for kids that don't want to tent with another boy, they all can get changed in their sleeping bags anymore. Stupid, but they figured it all out.

                With our tents, which technically are three man tents, we'd rather see two per tent, three is ok if the scouts are small, and we'll say no to four. If scouts damage tents then they will pay for repairs. there's no need to measure anything.

                As for scouts camping with parents, usually we'll let it slide the first few campouts and then gently push. There are very few scouts in special situations where I'll let it go for a few years. On our winter campouts, where it will get down to -20, we don't mind if scouts want to sleep with a parent for a year or two. It's no use writing down lots of rules, there are always exceptions.

                As for the real problem, you're in charge of the boy program and the CC is in charge of the adult program.


                • #38
                  IMHO, long policies are reactionary and rarely needed. Worse yet troop unique policies are ...

                  - not read because it's just too much
                  - not remembered because people come and go
                  - not enforced because when you are dealing with an issue ... you're dealing with the issue
                  - not consistent across troops or with other policies
                  - not balanced because now you have some long policies and other topics are ignored

                  IMHO, focus on coaching and less on creating the perfect set of rules.

                  Also, forms are rarely needed. We have two. A parent permission form (always used). The other is a meal planning / shopping form (used by new scouts).

                  SUGGESTION - How parent handbook comments that is with the equipment list ... example ... Scouts are hard on things and need to take responsibility for their own equipment and for troop equipment. We suggest your scout doesn't bring anything that you value significantly. In addition, scouts must recognize their responsibility to care for troop equipment.


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by King Ding Dong View Post
                    Tahawk it is certainly within the rights of the CO to make program rules that do not conflict with BSA policy. As you know the CC is appointed by the COR and serves at the COs pleasure. If the CC is making rules against the wishes of the CO that is the only problem. The SM needs to discuss this issue with the COR and IH if necessary.

                    Respectfully, B.S.A. does not say so. It says what is says, Advising on policy is not dictating policy. The word "rule" does not appear in any description of the role of the Troop Committee that I can find.


                    • #40
                      In our Troop if a boy brings an insufficient tent he will either tough it out or improvise. The Improvisations (a tarp by the sea shore or the rain fly made of (a lot of) duct tape ) are some of the best memories.


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Tampa Turtle View Post
                        In our Troop if a boy brings an insufficient tent he will either tough it out or improvise. The Improvisations (a tarp by the sea shore or the rain fly made of (a lot of) duct tape ) are some of the best memories.
                        Yep, too many rules do nothing more than suck the fun out of any activity. Who really cares if a boy wants to bring blankets instead of a sleeping bag, a tarp instead of a tent, a Frizbee instead of a mess kit, a duffel bag instead of a backpack, etc. I did a makeshift camp setup and was the only one that didn't get wet in the torrential downpour we got in the middle of the night. I had a poncho that I used as a rain fly, and slept in a blanket sheet combo with nice ground pad.... and when I zipped the body-bag shut, I stayed nice and dry.

                        Let the boys run the show, after all, it's their program!



                        • #42
                          If I were in your place...

                          I'd let the CC write his rule and add it to the troop paperwork where it will be forgotten and seldom applied. If he wants to come to the woods and enforce it, fine.

                          Having a few of your tents collapse in a record frog-strangler has been a great learning experience for your boys, and they now understand their vested interest in selecting good tents pitched correctly in a good site.


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by TAHAWK View Post
                            Respectfully, B.S.A. does not say so. It says what is says, Advising on policy is not dictating policy. The word "rule" does not appear in any description of the role of the Troop Committee that I can find.
                            So what happens when a program refuses to follow the policies of a Chartered Organization for their youth program? "Thank you for your service. Your services are no longer required."


                            • #44
                              Stick to your guns Evil, as I think everyone here is urging.

                              Your CC's issue seems to be primarily scouts tenting with their parents and to a lesser degree the problem of people bringing low end tents to a campout.

                              On the first he's just flat wrong in his statement. "What is the purpose of scouting? Are we supposed to be challenging young men to expand their horizons, comfort zones, minds, and provide opportunity go grow and learn critical life skills?"

                              The Scouting program has three specific objectives, commonly referred to as the "Aims of Scouting." They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. If sleeping in the same tent as your parent is bad for your character then I've been developing bad character in my sons since they were born. I rarely tent with them on scout outings, but there are a couple of exceptions where it just made more sense than any alternative. You would like scouts to grow out of their need to stay with a parent, but as you said, better they keep camping until that happens than that they stay home.

                              On the quality of tents, it's true that a cheap tent from a big box store won't hold up like a good Alps, REI, or Timberline. You can educate people about this, but sometimes only mother nature can convince them. And your CC is no expert so I wouldn't put him in charge of the educating. When he says "good equipment is needed to ... retain heat during cold weather..." he's demonstrating his lack of knowledge. Unless you're talking about $500 true 4 season models the tent doesn't function as a heat retainer. Just like in clothing the tent is the outer shell that keeps out the wind and wet, heat retention comes from the insulating properties of your sleeping bag and your tent will have almost no effect on that.

                              For how many scouts in a tent, leave that to the patrols with the caveat that they can't exceed the manufacturer's specs and all decisions and behaviors need to be scout-like, i.e. if too many scouts means too much noise then it has to change.


                              • #45
                                Folks seem to have missed something in the list of committee responsibilities that Tahawk thoughtfully provided as they're tearing apart the Committe Chairman for "interfering":

                                "Obtains, maintains, and properly cares for troop property."

                                Yeah - that's right - part of the job of the Troop Committee is to obtain, maintain and properly care for troop property - I'd call troop-owned tents "troop property", wouldn't you?

                                Now, in general, most Troops have a lad in a POR known as Quartermaster who maintains the troop equipement and makes sure they are properly cared for. In many Troops, the QM works with either an ASM or (more properly) a member of the committee who takes on the responsibility to make sure that the committees role in obtaining, maintaining and properly caring for troop property is met. But in many Troops, the committee may just delegate the roles to "program" while creating or helping to create policies on maintenance, care and usage. Yes, usage too since usage actually affects maintenance and care, doesn't it?

                                Evilleramsfan - I'm afraid you're coming at this the wrong way - especially as you've mentioned that the CO is a good buddy of yours and that you seem to view this as yet another battle to be won. Sure, the proposed policy seems to be a bit much - if anything, it's a bit too extensive, trying to think of every possible issue - but it's a draft that can be reworked down to something a bit simpler that still gets the point across. Most troops have at lease a minimal policy of the "you break it, you replace it" variety - that's not for accidental damage, it's for deliberate or negligent damage - at the very least, you want a policy that states that Scouts using a troop tent is responsible for it. If a tent pole shatters through no fault of their own, then the troop replaces it - but the lads need to inform the troop, not just pack it up and return it to the quartermaster - but if they're playing star wars light sabers with the poles and break them, then yeah, they need to replace them. If a lad just packs up a wet tent and returns it without properly drying it, then yes, they should be responsible for replacement. Nothing wrong with a written policy from the committee, who is, after all, ultimately responsible for obtaining, maintaining and properly caring for troop property, that outlines that and makes it clear to parents and scouts.

                                I see nothing wrong with a policy stating the occupancy of a tent though I would probably word it something like "No more people than the stated occupancy level of a tent may share a tent" In other words, if you buy a three-person tent, no more than 3 people can stay in it overnight. One would think that is common sense, but then again, common sense isn't that common anymore.

                                If the Committee wants to adopt a policy providing for minimum space per person per tent, I see nothing wrong with that since it should properly be used to help the committee purchase tents or review tent suggestions from the lads, if you get them involved in researching tents. If you have a troop of 30 people, it would help the committee know if they have enough tents for that number of Scouts - and if they have just the right amount and gain 10 more people from crossover, it signals that its time to buy some more tentage - what's wrong with that? But again - simplify it - ie "It is the policy of this Troop that we provide a minumum of XX sq. ft. per boy in a tent. Of course, you could argue that if they limit users in a tent by the stated occupancy of a partcular tent, then this would be superfluous.

                                In these times, it also makes a lot of sense to have disclaimers about troop tents - there are too many parents nowadays that will start screaming because Johnnies sleeping bag got wet because the tent leaked.

                                Take a closer look at some of his responses. I particular agree with him on this: "At some level, I am personally offended that boys, who are reluctant to camp without their parents are elected into the order of the arrow, a camping society. What message does this really send?" He's right, don't you agree? In fact, his entire response is reasonable and thoughtful and pretty much captures what Scouting should be about. It is the Boy Scouts of America - it is not the Boy and Parent Camping Club of America. It seems to me he's got a good handle on what Scouting should be. When I was a Scoutmaster, I would have given my left arm to have a Committee Chair like this one. If you can't see that in him, if you can't work with him, then maybe its time for you to ponder and reflect and think about your own role.