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Camps, Modern over Rustic, whats happing to the camps?

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  • #31
    Stosh; You ARE aware that some form of group camp kitchen was the most common camp feeding clear through the 40's? Maybe not a dining hall as we know in most today, but definitely a "camp cook" with group feeding. This idea that individual cooking at camp is somehow the norm until very recently is simply not historically accurate. Even a lot of troops on individual outings in those days had some form of larger group feeding if they were able. The scouts were still involved in the chores on the troop level though, even in the group meals on rotational basis.

    Also, every camp we have attended in thirty plus years that has dining hall also requires the scouts from every troop to act as stewards before and after every meal. Individuals clean up after themselves if not stewards (most of the time) and the stewards then do the menial work such as washing tables and putting chairs up until the next meal. Every meal a few stay later to sweep and mop as well.

    Our camp, which opened in 1933 had the same camp cook for over ten years; we have photos of him outside his camp kitchen along with a couple helpers in some of them.

    Of course, there are other issues today too, such as health concerns (often overblown, but there) dictated by county and state health departments. Fire restrictions so tight that we could not have even propane stoves for camp the past two years, and they considered even cutting off lanterns. Animal concerns with food spread throughout the camp area; we have a severe drought and the critters are more desperate than usual. I know there are ways to store safely to a point, but with large numbers you are bound to have a few that simply do not do what they should.

    Certainly summer camp does not "have" to have troop or patrol cooking to satisfy requirements, if the unit is doing it the rest of the year on their own. Our camp now offers actual cooking in their TTFC program, preceded by the prep work, so that is still available in a special area with a temp permit.
    Last edited by skeptic; 07-20-2014, 11:31 AM. Reason: Grammar and add in.

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    • #32
      Heh, heh, : http://www.economist.com/printeditio...eu-la-me-na-uk
      and then there's this:
      http://www.economist.com/news/asia/2...-also-changing

      For a little perspective: It could be worse. I quote from 'The Ghost Map', by Steven Johnson. In Victorian England there were raging academic debates about all sorts of heady issues such as the humane industrialization of society, collective bargaining, the free market economy. "But there was another debate that ran alongside those more austere themes, one that has not received as much attention in the seminar rooms or the biographies. It's true enough that the Victorians were grappling with heady issues like utilitarianism and class consciousness. But the finest minds of the era were also devoted to an equally pressing question: What are we going to do with all of this shit?"

      Read this book. It will amaze you that people actually survived these conditions. It's a great read for the summer.

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      • #33
        No military Scout is going to pack in a camp kitchen and cook up his meals. I don't see much qualitative difference between a dining hall and an MRE.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by DuctTape View Post
          It is ironic so many council are finding the need to shut down camps due to financial reasons when the most expensive part of a camp is the infrastructure. eliminate the dining hall and the extra resort style accomodations and activity areas and make the camp a "high adventure" wilderness type area.

          I wonder if there is any council in the US which operates a camp as a "wilderness area" with designated campsites only accessible by foot and/or canoe. Zero amenities except a fire ring and a thunderbox at the well dispersed campsites. The only expensive infrastructure would be a "ranger cabin" at the parking area for check-in, etc...A camp like this would encourage the patrol method as the campsites would be small and unable to accommodate in excess of 10 people. I know some camps in NY use portions of their property for this type of activity, but they seem to be used less and less as the adults do not want to venture too far away from the mess hall and their evening cracker barrels with other adults. Just thinking out loud here.
          Maine High Adventure Base

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          • #35
            Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post
            ... Honestly, to ask me to wear six different hats to support the pack and then complain about my cpap machine and little daughter just shows a total lack of class. If men want this primitive experience for their boys, then they need to step up and actually do all the work to make that happen. ...
            I couldn't agree with you more. Healthy young men (and women, for that matter) need to forgo that last hour of overtime, leave the big screen TV at the electronics store, and support their local Webelos like my DL did (except for maybe not letting them shoot his '38 special, but those were different times ).

            That said, if the boys in your troop we're willing to hike with the panels/inertial dynamos to keep your CPAP batteries charged, and dig you and your daughter a pit latrine, would you take them up on it? If not, that's okay. But in the healthy development of a boy (as envisioned by many of us) there will come a time when we need to let him leave us at the trailhead.

            What Baggs is concerned about, is that fewer able-bodied youth are even getting to that trailhead.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by qwazse View Post

              That said, if the boys in your troop we're willing to hike with the panels/inertial dynamos to keep your CPAP batteries charged, and dig you and your daughter a pit latrine, would you take them up on it? If not, that's okay. But in the healthy development of a boy (as envisioned by many of us) there will come a time when we need to let him leave us at the trailhead.
              To their credit, a couple of EE parents did their darndest to get my CPAP to work on the only time I did take it on a campout. They got the blower working on a car battery, but not the heater. I just couldn't sleep with freezing air blowing in my lungs, so I basically stayed awake all night. That's the last campout I went on. I've researched thoroughly with my doctor, etc, and if there's a way to make a CPAP work on battery power, we can't find one.

              I doubt my daughter would go for a pit toilet, but thanks for the suggestion. I think the whole culture of our pack has issues. The two male leaders don't show much common sense or consideration for the women they ask to help, and they shouldn't be surprised that our ranks are shrinking.

              Two years ago, they took over a pack with 70+ kids. After their first year in charge, it had shrunk to 20 kids. I have no idea how many might show up next month. I only help at the den level now, never again as a leader. Too many emergencies on my part due to a lack of planning on their part.

              I see your point about primitive camping being good for the boys. It's just going to take a minimum number of male leaders to step up and make that happen, as most moms with babies and younger siblings aren't prepared to deal with it. Hopefully, more dads in our own pack will step up.

              GeorgiaMom

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              • #37
                I'm willing to bet you most of the HA bases, both council and national ones do have camps accessible only by foot or boat.

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                • #38
                  BD was going to help us out with the CPAP issues but forgot about I guess. I carry a big marine deep cycle battery and inverter to power mine but do not use the humidifier. I doubt it would warm the air significantly. I know what you mean about the cold air, though the problem I have is the condensation build up especially below 32F. I just keep a rag and wipe my nose a lot at night. I have heard of people putting the machine in the sleeping bag to help warm the air but men get stinky camping. I get two nights out of one charge and use a wheelbarrow to haul it to the program hall for charging at summer camp. There is a device called Provent that works for some people and seems reasonably priced for short term usage. I am going to test it out soon. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/0...hout-the-mask/

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                  • #39
                    I've already posted my thoughts on this topic but this last weekends family camp-out has brought something to mind I thought I would share all the same. I used to read Pat McManus books on the trail because clean camp humor really lifts the spirit when a downpour is ruining fine and well thought out plans. As I got older and more confident in my place in the troop, I would sometimes read a story or 2 or 3 in the evening by the campfire aloud for the benefit of those who didn't know how to play Rummy or Cribbage, or at least couldn't ever win a hand. More and more the humor kind of ran out as those I met in camps or on the trail morphed into Glampers. The experiences in camping just weren't the same and the laughs were lost to them.

                    Now as my kids are getting old enough to be taught how to do "age appropriate camp chores" without killing themselves or their mother, I've dug Pat's books out and begun reading them aloud to the kids before lights-out. As my children experience some of the hardships in being outside and preparing food and shelter in a more primitive fashion, they are picking up on the humor and giggling the brisk evenings away. One of the first books of Pat McManus I ever read, "A Fine and Pleasant Misery," really kind of sums up the nostalgia of scouting for myself. The short story talks about how camping has changed with light weight tents and sleeping bags, propane camp stoves and dehydrated meals. How a camper used to suffer such misery just to tell stories about the trip the entire month following to his co-works and friends. And then plan greater trips for greater adventures and better stories.

                    Now I always liked hearing our SM's tell humorous or even spooky stories of their own camp experiences...it started the rest of us sharing and joking about difficulties and hardships. Group therapy I suppose. The camp-outs didn't just bond us scouts together but taught us we could survive and do it better next time. Laugh at past mistakes and move on. It prepared us better for dealing with stress and hardships in life. It had us wanting to go camping more so we could correct past mistakes and have even better stories of our own to share.

                    I think as summer camps continue to morph into Glamps, the Boys are missing out on life lessons. Plug-and-play scout camps accomplish merit badge accumulation and some time away from mommy, but what are they really providing? Are the Boys learning to work with peers instead of isolating themselves? Maybe. Are they learning to laugh at past disappointments instead of holding on to festering resentments? Less likely but maybe. Are they learning to take some lumps and persevering instead of bringing a handgun to school to fix a childish squabble? Not so far as I have noticed, the adults learn enabling quite well though. How are kids suppose to understand priorities in life if they have nothing in their experience to compare to anything else? Because a 10 year old melting down at camp because his porridge doesn't have fake apple flavoring in it is in fact no where near the hardship of having numb fingers and shivering in the cold wind while being frustrated on your 10th attempt to start the fire in the morning so you can cook your porridge or have to go without.

                    I'm not advocating any kind of cruelty to force hardships on kids, though many children believe any form of summer camp is exactly that, but I do think Boys will become better men if they suffer a bit of misery due to natural consequences and struggles, and learn to laugh about it and move on.

                    Check it out scouters: "A Fine and Pleasant Misery" (1978) by Patrick F. McManus ISBN-10: 0805000321
                    Last edited by Longhaired_Mac; 07-31-2014, 03:05 AM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post

                      I doubt my daughter would go for a pit toilet, but thanks for the suggestion. I think the whole culture of our pack has issues. The two male leaders don't show much common sense or consideration for the women they ask to help, and they shouldn't be surprised that our ranks are shrinking.
                      Kinda chauvanistic here. I know a lot of women who can do more heavy lifting in the woods than most men today. When I took my glamor daughter to the BWCA, she hauled her fair share of the gear on the portages, managed to find pink trees as needed and when she got old enough told me she absolutely hates camping and if it wasn't for the fact that it was just her and me doing something together she would never have done it. On the other hand she also thanks me for showing her just how tough she can be when designer shoes don't work well and the fingernail polish wears off.

                      Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post

                      Two years ago, they took over a pack with 70+ kids. After their first year in charge, it had shrunk to 20 kids. I have no idea how many might show up next month. I only help at the den level now, never again as a leader. Too many emergencies on my part due to a lack of planning on their part.
                      It's always easier to bail out and complain than it is to roll up one's sleeves and make things right.

                      Originally posted by GeorgiaMom View Post

                      I see your point about primitive camping being good for the boys. It's just going to take a minimum number of male leaders to step up and make that happen, as most moms with babies and younger siblings aren't prepared to deal with it. Hopefully, more dads in our own pack will step up.

                      GeorgiaMom
                      Again with the chauvinism. My wife grew up in a large metropolitan city, then moved to Alaska to work for the US Forestry Service. Raised 4 kids, 3 girls and a boy and they all paid their way through college with commercial salmon fishing off the coast of Alaska. I was told this morning at breakfast she won't be there to fix my supper tonight in that she's going kayaking with a group of ladies after work. Oh, by the way, the age range for this group of kayaking ladies is 45-72. This is the second time this week she's been out with the group.

                      I don't care if one is male or female, there are those who enjoy nature and those that don't. Getting adults involved on the non-nature side of the programing in Cub Scouts only to have them migrate over to Boy Scouts is not beneficial to the outdoor programing.

                      By the way, I'd take my wife as an ASM any day over 90% of the men out there that spend their whole day glued to a computer screen in some office cubicle.

                      Ever wonder about the changes over the past 50 years? Think back to the old Army/Navy surplus stores. What percentage of the merchandise was camping gear and how much was designer clothing? Now fast forward today and ask yourself the same question as you stand in the aisle of any Cabelas, Gander Mountain or other sporting good store and observe the % dedicated to camping. Better yet, see if you can even find a true Army/Navy surplus store anymore.

                      Unless today's parents were themselves scouts, they probably had very little if any camping/outdoors experience and even then the camping could have involved 5th wheel trailers or Class-A motorhomes.

                      The problem is not the program, it's the green-horns trying to run it. If one is not pre-disposed to the outdoors, don't let them run the program, find someone who has done it so they can do it for your boys.

                      Stosh

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by jblake47 View Post



                        Ever wonder about the changes over the past 50 years? Think back to the old Army/Navy surplus stores. What percentage of the merchandise was camping gear and how much was designer clothing? Now fast forward today and ask yourself the same question as you stand in the aisle of any Cabelas, Gander Mountain or other sporting good store and observe the % dedicated to camping. Better yet, see if you can even find a true Army/Navy surplus store anymore.



                        Stosh
                        Cabelas, Bass Pro shop, Gander Mountain, field and stream are not camping stores they are hunting and fishing stores. REI, Campmor, Seirra trading post are camping stores. I have both a Cabelas and REI locally the Cabelas is 2x to 3x larger but a lot less camping equipment that the smaller REI store. If the equipement is bright colors you are in a hiking camping store, if it is camo it is a hunting and fishing store that sell camping equipment.

                        As far as Army / Navy stores I they peaked during when the USSR folded at that time you could get a lot of European gear cheap the Sportsmans Guide was mostly military surplus in the 90's, I don't think the supply is there anymore. I miss Army / Navy stores. Now it seems like the Army Navy stores cater towards the end of the world preppers.

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                        • #42
                          Army/Navy surplus was big from WWII on until maybe the 70's. I bought a lot of surplus stuff when I was in Boy Scouts.

                          I just picked up a huge quantify of military tents, packs and sleeping bags. All free because the military does not sell surplus anymore, they just throw it away. Back in the 70's they changed the rules and said vendors needed to be licensed to sell surplus. Kinda like double dipping on the vendors. They refused to buy the licenses and so the only thing left to do is just throw the stuff away, or in my case, just have a pick up truck and trailer really near where they are throwing it away and if they don't have to walk as far, they'll throw it in your truck/trailer.

                          Stop by Cabela's home decor section sometime and ask yourself what's that got to do with hunting, fishing, camping, or anything at all outdoors other than to decorate the INSIDE of your house to be cool.

                          Then go to the state parks and local campgrounds and count the number of campers who do not have a 5th wheel or RV with pull outs.

                          I do have to admit that kayaking is making a bit of a comeback, but it is usually just recreational day activity. In order to sandbar camp on the rivers around here, one needs a houseboat.r

                          Getting away from it all today means one takes it with them.

                          Stosh

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                          • #43
                            We have a tradition in our troop that at Eagle COHs there's a chance to tell stories about the scout. 90% of them are about something that went wrong on a campout and everyone laughed about. So that's still happening. The better scouts tend to have more stories to tell.

                            Adults that didn't camp or were not scouts as kids are not always bad. I gave my philmont slot to a dad that had not done any backpacking before his son joined scouts. He'll do fine. He is a fishing nut, though, so he does like the outdoors. I also have a parent that was not a scout but did a lot with the Sierra club. He's a high maintenance pain in the butt. The point is personalities are more important to me than skill. There are parents that believe in the program and are teachable. We just need to figure out how to teach them.

                            I was looking at the Brownsea training manual that someone posted and found a very succinct guide to a successful program: 1) There's a plan, 2) there is no dead time, and 3) everyone is always participating. It took me years to figure this out. Maybe it would make a great 20 minute subject for SM training.

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                            • #44
                              JBlake,

                              Army Surplus was key to my Scouting career in the 1980s/early 1990s. My camping gear was either hand me downs from my brothers, or USGI surplus. heck one of the dads in my troop, a LTC, had a joke: " Government surplus, if it's designed for combat, it may survive Boy Scouts."

                              I admit I made the mistake of giving most of my old camping stuff away. Everything but my A.L.I.C.E. pack. With 2 fifty milers, a NSJ and WSJ with that pack, itprovided to many memories to part with it. Now I'm loaning it to oldest son to use.

                              There are troops that still rough it a bit. Last camp out was a canoe trip. Unfortunately the sandbars that were selected by the trip leader the week before were underwater. Ended up scrunched together on a tiny island.

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                              • #45
                                I'm somewhat of a packrat. My camp kitchen is a plastic bin that slides nicely into the standard Yucca Pack of the 60's. I have a green pup tent, but it's got the nice vestibules on both ends. My WW II steel mess kit is still my primary mess kit for cooking. Went through a lot of the aluminum ones but the steel really holds up nicely. My A.L.I.C.E. still is one of my favorite weekenders in that the extra pouches all over the place segments everything out nicely. Don't have to dig for anything.

                                My favorite piece is the 3 compartment hot/cold insulated field container. I usually put ice in the middle container and food in the two sides. Nothing gets soggy and when the ice melts, take out the center container, dump it and put in fresh ice, all without disturbing anything.

                                I usually have at least one piece of military surplus on every outing. The only time I consciously avoided it was the Philmont trek where weigh was a major factor.

                                I canoe/sandbar with the boys, but the Mrs. and I always do just kayaks. Canoes are like car camping and kayak is like backpacking. I have a freighter canoe that can handle 750# over the standard 350# of most 17' canoes. Kayaking is like packing for Philmont, there's just not much room in those things, and one doesn't ever want to get one top-heavy by overloading the deck.

                                Stosh

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