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Siblings at week long Summer Camp...

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  • #31
    This appears to be another of those odd unanimous situations!

    5year, you said early on that your COR disagrees with the SM on this issue. That's your trump card. This may not be a hill worth dying over, but it's also not something the CO should ignore. If the COR sees the problem here, he or she should reach out in two directions: first to the SM, to gently and firmly inform him such practices are to stop; and secondly, to the CD and SE, expressing disappointment that the camp allowed such a thing to take place.

    There is a time and a place for family camping. Neither is at a Boy Scout camp during a Boy Scout summer camp program. We do not run a family vacation service.

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    • #32
      Not sure what you guys do at summer camp when the boys are out in the camp.......

      but is certainly is not a vacation....the SM and I spent the week working on the list of ranger projects. I came home last week and I am still sore from swinging a hammer all week.

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      • #33
        Wow... simply amazingly bad judgement call on all parties except for those who said no.

        I'm shocked the CD allowed it. If they drove up separately, it's not like the adults involved were required to drive the troop or enforce 2DL.

        I'll be happy to take some of the heat and drop a note to the Council involved... The leaders' guide I got isn't specific on the issue, but certainly can be for next year.(This message has been edited by eolesen)

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        • #34
          Yeah it really shouldn't have to be in the camp guidebook/leaders guide that siblings and cubbies aren't supposed to be at day camp.

          I know it started because a volunteer commissioner many years ago couldn't come up without bringing their boy scout aged kid. so then they let boy scout age kids come up with the volunteer commmissioner come up for the week and basically do summer camp for free. then occassionally a not quite boy scout aged kid would come up with the commissioner and they'd kind of look the other way as long as the kid stayed out of the way. Then I know some people took this and ran with it to the point the family in question tried to go up as commissioner and bring the whole fam damily-- dad, mom, 2 boy scouts, 1 cubbie, and a daughter of age 14(not registered in a crew). They went round and round with the camp director then, and he let them keep up a couple of the family, but not everyone and not the girl. but he may have let the cubbie stay I don't recall. Now they think they own the joint, and are advising other people to do the same for commissioner, and well if it's ok as commissioner to bring your kids it's ok as a unit leader (ASM) and committee member to do it as well.

          I think there will need to be a few letters to council to work out that problem.

          of course a camp staff tried to bring their baby up to work in headquarters with her for the summer too --not sure how that worked out.

          I think family camp is working on taking over this council camp if they don't put a foot down.

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          • #35
            The baby at the headquarters wasn't a problem -- mom was working the office, and it wasn't stopping her from doing her thing. They were staying in the health lodge, and we did get an evil eye when coming in to do one of our Scouts' meds during the baby's nap time...

            I'm still looking at my feedback form, and will add some of this. I know that at least one of the commissioners had his wife and two daughters, and they took up the last two spots in the line for one of the evening open shoots, denying a couple of paying Scouts the opportunity to shoot. It's probably a bit petty, but like you say, it's a slippery slope, especially when you consider that the commissioner is supposed to be setting the example moreso than the staff...

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            • #36
              Yeah while it seems the baby wasn't interfering, the staff isn't able to function as staff usually does cause they are taking care of baby. When the baby needs her, she's not able to function as staff at all.

              yes, they've really gotten obnoxious with the commissioners bringing up whole families and siblings. Maybe they just need to remember that non-registered people aren't covered by insurance. So if they get hurt at camp, or while shooting, or whatever, they aren't covered by the BSA insurance, but certainly council or camp or camp director may have some fault in a court of law. Hate to think of making rules based on who is covered by insurance and who is not, but it has to at least be taken into account when setting policy.

              I don't think commissioner kids especially non-scouts should be able to take merit badge counselor and facility times away from paying people during open shooting, or the free time to work on merit badge stuff later in the afternoon. If a sibling is taking up the time of the leatherworking or pottery merit badge counselor and a scout comes up to work on their required for merit badge items, the sibling should not take precedence. They are using the resources (time and facilities) without paying.

              I think the week after you left camp is when the crud hit the fan for vomiting and diareah. I know a dozen boys and adults in the troop got sick, and all of the cope course, most of the trading post, and many of the areas had all the staff out sick for days. You just missed the worst of it.

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              • #37
                I will add this to the recent comments: Unless camps become more friendly to staff families, the pool of experienced, mature adult instructors and directors is going to continue to shrink. There are plenty of teachers who would love to work at a Scout camp teaching their hobbies and interest during the summer - but once they get married and have a family, they're not going to embrace the idea of living on site, away from their family the whole summer, and working 7a-9p. At some camps, friendliness may indeed involve staff family quarters and participation for kids in some programs. I happen to believe camps should be more open to hiring 8-5 or 9-5 staffers.

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                • #38
                  I have attended summer camps where the Camp Director or Camp Ranger had their family with them, including a number of kids - usually grade school age and younger. And this worked out fine - the kids knew where home was and where they could go and couldn't go. They were usually to be found around their house, the Camp office, or the dining hall. They stayed out of the merit badge areas and camp sites. Never caused any problems.

                  That's not what the issue being discussed here is. The kid at issue in this post clearly did not know his place and was disruptive in merit badge areas. Had he just stayed at the Troop's campsite or under the close supervision of mom or dad, it likely wouldn't have been an issue. The problem is that the Scouts taking merit badges were made to act as baby sitters for the kid, and had to take care of him when they should have been concentrating on their merit badge work. Unless mom and dad were willing to take care of the kid and keep him from being disruptive, they should not have brought him.

                  shortridge, the problem is not so much all kids - especially not (in my experience) staff kids, but kids that come with a Troop where the expectation is that they will have free reign and can be cared for by the Camp or Scouts. Boy Scout camp is for Boy Scouts -- not babysitting younger kids who are unable to be left on their own.

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                  • #39
                    Our crew has had similar issues, although younger sibs were reasonably mature. I made a compomrise, that a younger sib could come along so long as the parents came as well with the very clear understanding that HS students didn't not shell out $ to come all this way from home to be babysitterts. Moreover, if you are helping me with the two-deep aspects of the tour, the other parent has to be available for little sis/bro.

                    So far this has worked out well.

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                    • #40
                      SMT every camp ranger I have met live on the camp with their families......The kids ride their bikes around camp, swim in the pool and such. I view it as a perk of the job.

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                      • #41
                        shortridge, I see your point and completely understand, but I think the issue here is completely different.

                        While I can understand a young child of a staffer running around and being supervised (somewhat) by his parent(s), I would not be ok in any way, shape, or form with my son being used as a babysitter. I paid very good money for my son to attend camp and have fun and learn and grow as a scout. For sure I am not paying hundreds of dollars for him to be distracted or forced to buddy up with a younger kid.

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                        • #42
                          Well for camp staff, up to a point, sure they can bring their kids and settle in for the summertime. But I sort of expect the kids to be old enough to HELP at camp, or keep themselves busy and out of the way and at that point maybe a bit of seen and not heard. And yes there is a bit different feeling if it's a boy or girl. Guess been around boy scouts so much with things being totally male oriented it's shocking to see the little girls.

                          I do have a problem with underfoot staff little ones at a camp that doesn't have a program to babysit the little ones. Day camp there is a place for the little ones to go but they have to be potty trained and under age 13 or 14. over that they can volunteer to help or be staff if over 16. But at a boy scout camp that doesn't have anything to keep the little ones occupied, it can be awkward and seem um, unprofessional at times to see babies, toddler or even cub scout aged kids running around.

                          The Camp Director brought up his family but they live in the house on camp and there is a lot to keep the kids occupied. I know they do go out and join in some of the stuff--but they are older and "fit in" so to speak.

                          Commissioners don't have the luxury of a cabin or even a nice wall tent. they bring up their own family tent and there just isn't anything for their kids to do for the week unless they participate in everything going on at camp. when they are scout aged, it's ok, a bit weird when it's scout age daughters doing the merit badges in class with the boys. And then toss in a few cub scouts sitting there and a few cub scout aged girls too. Weeks where the merit badges are overcrowded I'd like to NOT see those extra people there.

                          I heard several reports that campers and scoutmasters got grief for disrupting the baby's nap time to go into the health lodge sick or needing medicines. that shouldn't happen whether it's a family friendly camp for staff or not.

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                          • #43
                            Younger siblings do not belong at scout camp and I say this as a mom of 4 sons who spent several summers scrambling for day and other care for younger sibs when 5scoutdad went to camp for 2 weeks with the sons who were boy scout aged.

                            I would have actually had a bit of a vacation had my husband taken the younger boys along but it wasn't right or fair. Instead, one summer, I would wake up at the crack of dawn, feed my youngest son, drive him and a friend to another town to catch the bus for cub scout day camp, drive home, walk a mile and a half to the train station, go to work and then run home to retrieve my son from his friend's house (the other parents did pick up duty). It was tough but the older boys enjoyed having their dad at camp with them and they still talk about it. They would not have enjoyed it had their younger brother been there needing them to babysit.

                            My sons have said that they might like to work at scout camps as adult leaders when they are grown and that they would want to take their families. At the camp they've gone to, there have been younger kids from families who work there and they do some activities with the scouts but not merit badges - they'll swim but not do the badge work. They are not allowed to shoot or do archery if a paying camper is on line and I know this was enforced because one of my sons was an achery counselor one year.

                            I would inform the family in question that this will not happen again...

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                            • #44
                              CDs who are going to tolerate a parade of siblings at resident camp need to have a plan for those siblings. Either give them their own station area with spare stuff and instructions, charge to blend them into the program, or maybe both depending on age.

                              Out at Philmont, non-conference spouses are able to sign up for quite a few day trips etc. Same could be done for commissioner families at camp.

                              Whatever a CD decides to do, he needs to make it clear that these are the boundaries, and they are not to be crossed. Families who think they are just special need to be asked to comply or leave.

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                              • #45
                                I am entertained by the thought that Boy Scout camping is family camping.....

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