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Pilot programs at summer camp - did they become merit badges?

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  • #16
    funscout: Was the fact that there were 18 Scouts a function of the interest, or that there were only six instructors? From what you said, there was plenty of interest, so I think you just proved my point. More instructors = more Scouts.

    Running it as a small program, like COPE, may attract interest, but it's still a self-limiting program that requires far more staff than any other program area in camp. I just don't see how it's practical or worth a camp's investment.

    PS Moderators don't pull threads back on track. We routinely go all over the place, just like a real campfire discussion. It's part of the fun.


    • #17
      shortridge: Yes, you are right, the 6 boys per time slot was due to the number of instructors, not due to lack of interest. I wasn't offended by anything you said, but I didn't appreciate my boys' interest being called "silly" by someone else. That has nothing to do with whether or not pilot programs become merit badge programs. As I tried to say in an earlier post, if Pistol shooting doesn't become a merit badge, it's okay, because any interested boy still has the chance to try pistols if he joins Venturing some day.

      I know it's been a while since I've posted on this forum, but who would have thought that a topic that has nothing to do with politics, religion, race, sex (am I missing any other controversial topics?) would generate a backlash towards me? Actually, I am surprised that no one commented with the obvious complaint of not liking guns at all.


      • #18

        I don't anticipate it becomming a MB anytime soon. The first big hurdle is to get it approved as an activity for Boy Scouts (I think that would be great!). Once that is done, then maybe if there is enough interest. I have spoken to several in my Council about this and the general feedback is 'we would love to, but...'. It usually hinges on staffing levels. Even at Philmont they only had 2 stations (1 RSO and 2 instructors) for 2 crews a session and with several sessions a day the staffers were beat by the end of the day.



        • #19
          Ya know fun...

          If shooting pistols is that big a deal for the boys......YOU could do it with them outside of scouting, most indoor ranges offer hand guns for rent.....Taking your son and another scout or two is no big deal. One handgun at a time, rent one lane, one boy at a time....Do it a couple of times a year.

          I have one scout that got a partial on rifle shooting at summer camp and needs to finish his shooting....he has asked me to take him to the range to finish......I will.....

          I take boys outside of scouting to shoot....To play paintball and laser tag..... Because they don't have Uncles, Dads or Grandfathers to do it.....


          • #20
            Basementdweller: The only gun I have ever fired is a BB gun, so I wouldn't be much help to our scouts! My husband hunts, so our sons have lots of opportunities, and one of our ASMs worked at camp as an NRA pistol instructor, so I guess our scouts do have opportunities if someone who knows guns will take them.

            I realized how gung-ho our scouts were about guns when I read some of their camp evaluations before turning them in. One wanted the camp to offer fully automatic pistols!, another wanted to see Air-soft gun battles, etc. They were just being funny, though, as they know these will never happen in BSA. I guess boys can dream.....


            • #21
              Even though pistol shooting may never become a merit badge program, it has already generated renewed BSA interest in some former scouts. During my 5th-6th grade Sunday School class, a scout was telling others about the pistol program and you should have seen the eyes light up in those nonscout boys! I let the boys know that they could always join/rejoin Boy Scouts and that they, and the girls, could join Venturing when they were older. Boy Scouts are looking cooler, now, then some of those kids had realized.


              • #22
                Camp Loud Thunder has a problem, they went thru way too many rounds of .22 on this pilot program about 3.5 times the original estimate. But they found a way.

                Pretty neat set-up they did two types of shooting (please review the shooting sports guide) - an experiential program - safety briefing and instructors load - kids fire; and a weeklong "merit badge" style program which included NRA "first steps".

                They also have an "unusually high" (my words) shooting sports culture, property to develop in close proximity to their membership base, and a goal of 60 volunteer NRA instructors by next summer. During the week we were there many of the current instructors found the time to show up for the experiential program to suppliment staff. Thus increase range capacity to the fullest extent.

                As a first year pilot, pretty sure it will be called a success but that is only a preliminary guess / rumor / non-fact. But the pilot process is a lot more than just shooting pistols. Evaluations from the council and participants are being gathered and will be evaluated for future continuance and the possibility of expanding the pilot to others who are interested.
                To my knowledge there is no proposal on the table for a pistol shooting MB. Not the purpose of the pilot.


                PS: Really cool patch was given to participants.


                • #23
                  "Handguns also require one instructor per shooter, plus an RSO. That is a lot of staff for camps...."
                  So don't open up the full range. As I understand it, currently for black powder rifles only one can be shot at a time, no matter how many staff you have sitting around the rifle range. Basically, it seems like a pistol program would work the same as a black powder rifle program. With that sort of limitation on numbers, though, it seems like a person would be rather unlikely to be able to shoot enough to get a merit badge in it, but I could see an activity patch for it -- something like polar bear swim, but with pistols.


                  • #24
                    As far as a Program with firearms, why not just use the existing NRA qualifying awards for Pro Marksman, Marksman, Marksman 1st Class, etc... There are several courses of fire to choose from in the Winchester sponsored Program.


                    We have several NRA instructors in the Troop and recently started a Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Affiliated program where we will offer it up to both the Troop and Crew (Rifle/Shotgun). The Pistol Program right now is for Crew members. We won't use the firearm target course that uses animal silhouettes.


                    • #25
                      I wandered into the pistol shooting range while I was at Michigan State University one evening.

                      I had fun shooting a .22 automatic pistol that evening.

                      It was a blast, although I didn't go back.

                      I'm guessing that the single shot rifles that BSA uses make it a lot easier to keep track of where boys are pointing firearms and reducing the risk of boys firing when not planning to do so.

                      I imagine that pistols would make it more difficult to control those kinds of issues.

                      If Scouts ran the camps, they would be shooting with Maxim machine guns!