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Opinion on "1st year" programs ?

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  • #16
    I like the first year program simply because it allows the boys some activity time instead of getting sucked into regulated MB classes. I don't care if he doesn't learn anything in the program and spends all of his time "playing" with some knots, first aid stuff, and hanging out with his buddies. That's what camp is supposed to be anyway...fun with your buddies!

    If the program keeps them interested, then it's a success in my book, but if the boys come back bored to death, then the program is a failure. If that be the case, we'll just stay in camp and do our own first year program. With a boy-led program, I really don't have anything else I have to do that week anyway.

    Stosh

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    • #17
      My Experience:

      We tried it at our troop's first year of summer camp last summer. We worked it as it was described to us. Since the camp staff (rightly) does not sign off on rank advancement, we blocked time for scoutmaster sign offs at the end of the day.

      This camp had programming from just after breakfast to 9:30-10:00pm. Boys were not interested in a sign off session and the ones we were able to convince to sit down a spell so we could sign off on things could not remember anything. The others we sat down after camp was over, maybe remembered one or two things.

      My Thoughts:
      I still think the T-FC programming is valid programming for first year at summer camp as long as it is engaging and fun. Just keep expectations in check. You simply can not go from Tenderfoot through First Class in four days. Too much stuff. However, there is an off chance a scout may really pickup on something, or learn a skill.

      I hereby validate what Stosh said.

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      • #18
        We have done the Mountain Man program at Woodruff 4 years in a row, It varied a bit and they got reports saying they did a lot of T-2-1 requirements. A lot of boys did not retain what they learned but what I found was 3 things:

        (1) The go-getter scouts considered it a taste of things to come and wanted to do more fire starting, cooking etc as soon as possible. Many of those scouts stuck around for a while.
        (2) We had a lot of issues with "once and done" mentality among those who wanted a 'paper Eagle' track for advancement. Had to re-test or call on them a lot. Makes me sad.
        (3) Some scouts got a 'taste' of Scouting and promptly dropped out--knives, fire, not for me!

        I did see some benefit for some older boys who joined later than the average age and got more confidence in seeing how skills should be done.

        Naturally none of the boys retained their knots learned without constant reinforcement.

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        • #19
          I meant to add that at Woodruff the Mountain Man program includes 3 Merit Badges: Forestry, Weather, and First Aid. Weather was pretty boring but the Forestry instructors were aided by being able to walk them in the woods. First Aid was an exercise in factory production--ever see 200 people cycle through CPR BUT the boys did retain it.

          The newbies did not get much free time and were pretty tired. That did keep the home sickness issues down to a manageable level.

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          • #20
            The program at S-F does not do any signoffs, that is left to the troop and program manual actually requests the troop send an adult to assist if the troop is sending 5 or more scouts to the program. It runs 9:15 -12 and 2-2:45 and includes swimming and wood carving MB or swimming skills. Patrol cooking here, no dining hall. I just know that the skills instruction can't possibly be any worse than what our troop members can offer.

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            • #21
              Seems like a well balanced program. If your son thinks he'll enjoy it, I'd let him try. Maybe he can help teach any skills he's already mastered! If so, I see a camp staff employment application in his future.

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              • #22
                so pardon me, I'm a Cub Leader just getting re-oriented with the Scout program....
                but what exactly is a "First Year Program"?
                Based on previous post by Basement, it seems that it's a quick kick through Second Class. A cliff's notes version maybe?

                When I went to Summer Camp as a boy, I just remember signing up for a few merit badge courses that I was interested in, or that my friends were taking...... I don't remember anything in depth, and I don't really remember a "program" of any sort. It seems like there were too many boys in some of the classes so any real level of expertise was not reached......
                Mostly, it was like Packsaddle describes...... just learning by exploring with my buds, and having fun in the woods!

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                • #23
                  blw2, a "first year program" is called different things at different camps, but is basically an opportunity to work on a number of tenderfoot, second class, and first class skills, usually in lieu of participating in the merit badge programs the camp would offer.

                  I would not put a lot of stock in what basement says because nothing measures up to his standards except, of course, for his program which is perfect.

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                  • #24
                    Blw2, for a more complete description click the S bar F program manual link on this page. Here it is called the Voyager program page 9. http://www.stlbsa.org/camping/AllAbo...%20Scouts.aspx They all run differently but the basic point is for the new scouts to work on T-1 skills, not all of them of course but a solid intro to Scoutcraft. Less focus on MBs, maybe swimming, first aid, wood carving. Certainly not for those parents and scouts looking at ROI in MBs. Camp is a balance between keeping them busy and having fun to just do whatever you want. Trying to cram a bunch of MBs in 5 days may work for some boys but seem more like summer school for others. Most MBs at camp have prerequisites the scout needs to complete prior to camp or they can not complete it. If you go to camp in early June it kind of sucks for a boy to just get out of school and then hand him a stack of MB pamphlets and tell him to get working. If your camp offers any of the Citizenship MBs, stay away from those. That's not camp. IMHO.

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                    • #25
                      Ok I'm going to be a "helicopter parent " now ( sound of CH 46s in the air LOL) I may suggest to the son to take First Year Camper, b/c he may actually get the fortitude to ask someone to sign off his book.

                      I find my son's situation both funny and frustrating. Funny in that the other adult leaders keep telling me he has PL potential at the next elections in June becasue he has a good bit of his act together. Frustrating in that he's intimidated by the SM, and won't ask him to sign off in his book. I keep telling him the SM won't bite

                      SM is old school, wants Star Scouts and above to sign off, and we are a young troop with only 3 First Class Scouts.

                      My advice to Scouts: avoid the "paperpushing MBs" you can get at home. Unless you get a cool opportunity, we had one leader who was a public health inspector and got the camp to offer that MB, stick with the outdoor fun ones: Swimming, Canoeing, Wilderness Survival, Rifle Shooting, Shotgun Shooting, Climbing, ad nauseum.

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                      • #26
                        Brew, BD does have a point about stomping all over a counselor. A trained leader would know to be a humble assistant and provide "constructive criticism" later over some ice cream at the trading post. Last year I saved a cooking MB program, this poor kid from the commissary didn't know how to start a fire, much less a cooking fire.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
                          I do not agree with sending a competent adult along as it undermines the program the camp is putting on.....Remember that councilor is also a youth and is learning as well. A know it all adult from a unit stomping all over him for a week would be bad.
                          Both camps we attend beg, beg, beg troops to send adults because once a group gets over ~5, the one staffer is not enough to handle things. The troop adult is not there to do anything except follow the counselor's lead and give extra coverage.
                          We're glad to send an adult because then we know the boys (and not necessarily just those from our troop alone) are getting a better instructional experience--the same reason that schools/parents want smaller class sizes. It also lets us know whether or not the counselor is doing his job. The new scout program is not a job 99% of counselors are jumping to have, and [where we camp] it's usually staffed by low guys on the totem pole who don't have experience in teaching large groups of 10-11-yr-olds, don't have interest, and as teenagers are just as liable to goof off as the campers.

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                          • #28
                            An advantage of going with the 1st years is you get a feel for what was worthwhile instruction you'd sign off for (you saw little Billy really doing the map and compass thing) and the ones you'd think you can augment/redo.

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                            • #29
                              I like first year program if the curriculum is posted ahead of time. Let's say knots is to be held tuesday at 9:00. That way, Jimmy who hasn't learned his knots will be there, while Robert - who could hogtie Houdini - can go and do something else during that time slot.

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                              • #30
                                My experience has been mixed. In 2010 we went local and the program was horrid. Our troop program was much better. In 2011 we went to Daniel Boone and their program was super. True EDGE method used with hands on and testing. Our guys learning a ton. 2012 at Gorham was good too. Not as good as CDB but close. Last year was Orr which was also good. Again, hands on, used EDGE and tested the kids on at a time. Going back to CDB again this year largely for their first year program, but also because the camp rocks!

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