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How does your troop manage lights out ?

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  • How does your troop manage lights out ?

    Lights out time has been a problem for our troop. Lights go out at maybe 11:00 (to late in my opinion) but the chatter continues can take another half hour of adults telling the boys to be quite to settle them down. The SPL seems to be one of the worst offenders as well. No discipline no consequences. Well there are consequences for my son as he is a 10 hour a night kid and if he doesn't get them he does not do well and has had several meltdowns on Sunday mornings which I am certain are from lack of sleep (probably less than 8 hours). After a full day of activities he could probably use more than 10. The troop we visited last October did not have this problem, they boys just went to bed, no adults hounding them and no constant chatter.

  • #2
    How does the programme work on your camps?

    The reason I ask is a bit of biology..... if you go to bed straight away after being very active your metabolism will still be very high. So you get into bed and you find yourself wide awake. So if there is a wide game or a noisy camp fire then the scouts go straight to bed afterwards they simply won't settle for at least half an hour.

    We try to make a point of there being some quiet time before bed. So on a troop camp whatever the evening programme has been we will finish up with half an hour or so sat round the camp fire with a hot drink or toasting some marshmellows before bed, importantly that's regardless of how late it is. Even if we have been at a jamboree type event and they have been to some kind of entertainment that has gone on till late we will give them some time to sit down and chill out and slow down before they go to bed. As a general rule after slowing down like that they want to go to bed as well. So off they go and out like a light!


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      9:00 is Cracker Barrel and then they usually sit around the campfire playing some game called "mafia". Usually led by one of the older scouts. It is a calm game, though I can't really figure it out.

  • #3
    I second Cambridge's observation. Allowance has to be made for previous activity and such. That is one reason for the usual design of the classic Camporee campfire program: Welcome (ceremonial lighting, introductions, fun skit), songs, cheers, skits, laughs, awards (few and short!!) if any, more skits, songs jokes, then a ghost story or indian tale, something more somber (flag retirement? or ash lore), then "Scout vespers" or sing taps. Walk home and secure camp, quiet time enforced. Younger boys to tent, older venturers quiet around the dying embers, rule is no more wood. You let the fire die, but someone has to be there to watch. Astronomy class?

    Reveille is the same for all, no exceptions. If you are tired, how can we learn from this? Does your camp have a night watch? Old timers that keep watch for ... ? Who knows what?


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Our troop doesn't sing. Ever. SM not into that.

      Can you expand on "quite time enforced". How is it enforced and who enforces it ?

      There is no night watch. We just stay awake until until they quite down, usually takes a dozen or so requests from one of the adults. The SM can sleep and saw in no time. I am IH and "asst. CC" so am a bit uncomfortable taking a direct role in enforcement. But I feel there does need to be enforcement, just looking for ideas of how this is handled because this group dos not like to sleep.

  • #4
    Friday night is always worse than Saturday especially for the newbies. We use 10pm for the younger guys and 11pm for the older ones. That way the older guys pressure the younger guys to get in the tents and pipe down. Cracker Barrel Friday night seems to help.

    Actually a lot of the High Schoolers seem so burn't out from school they want to use the campouts to catch up on sleep.


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Young troop maybe one freshman. The older ones seem to be the worst offenders.

  • #5
    How many Scouts per tent? Typically, more Scouts in a tent = more chit chat at lights out.


    • perdidochas
      perdidochas commented
      Editing a comment
      I find more than 2 to be noisy.

    • SM bob
      SM bob commented
      Editing a comment
      We stick to 4 person tents. 4 scouts per tent in winter and 3 scouts in summer.

    • Tampa Turtle
      Tampa Turtle commented
      Editing a comment
      We strongly discourage 3+ in a tent. Everytime we relent it seems we regret it. 1-2 to a tent. And we make the tents spread out--no tent ghettos. All it takes one chatty guy.

  • #6
    We try to make sure there is as little to do after 10 as possible. That helps. My kids always needed more sleep, so they got short shrift. Worse, unlike me, they have yet to master power naps. They've all learned that lack of sleep will not be countenanced as an excuse for bad behavior.

    Being in venturing just aggravates that. (Most young ladies who I know are owls.) Son #2, at least, has no qualms about introverting in the midst of a crowd, curling up, and sleeping by the fire on the ground be it ever so wet.

    So while with the troop, lights out is pretty hard-and-fast, with the crew, good-night-time is always a negotiation. You tell me when you will go to bed. I nap. Then while my chaperons are zipping their tents I hike out and hold the youth to their GNT. After everyone has settled, I then spend a few minutes debating whether to set up my tent or find a picnic table. It's impressive how few youth want to stay up when I'm out there talking to myself.

    Good morning time is set by the needs of the day. Breakfast waits for nobody. It is not saved for sleepers-in. The youth learn quickly that their suffering is no concern of mine, they are best served by working hard, playing hard, and sleeping well.


    • #7
      Anybody try the proverbial 2 x 4, appropriately wielded?


      • Oldscout448
        Oldscout448 commented
        Editing a comment
        have been tempted a time or two

    • #8
      Reveille. I tell my boys I can't fall asleep very well. I also let them know I'm up at 5:00 am. If I wake up grumpy, so do they.

      I also discuss not only physical pollution, but also light and sound pollution. LNT means don't be scaring every living thing within 5 miles of camp.

      My boys generally are pretty good about lights out and respect those scouts, including SM that retires early. If the boys do wake me up and I have to "yell" at them, it's pretty much everything I taught goes out the window. If some of the older boys are sitting around the campfire and I want to turn in, I just get a commitment from them to keep the noise down and make sure the fire is out before they head to bed. It's never been a problem in the 30 years of camping.



      • #9
        I don't mind if the scouts whisper to each other for a while after taps, as long as they don't disturb the scouts who want to sleep.

        Only had one real problem campout, a tent of four scouts had three sugar hyped, mountain dewed, chatterboxes who were still going strong at midnight despite repeated calls to shut up from other scouts and adults,

        About quarter to one the SM got up, got dressed, walked to the noisy tent and announced a three scout night hike starting now!
        The three scouts walked a mile out of camp then back as the SM followed them in his car keeping them in his headlights.

        He told them next time it would be two miles, if that didn't work he could try four.

        camp was very still and silent after taps for months afterward


        • #10
          I have never understood Boy Scout Camp. Taps at 11:00 p.m, up at 7:00 a.m. Many years ago, when my son was a 1st yr. scout, he went to Boy Scout Camp for 6 days. I picked him up at camp on Saturday, and he talked my ear off for about 10 minutes. He slept the rest of the way back home. He was exhausted! Scouts, especially young scouts, need a lot more sleep than 8 hours.

          Our troop decided about 10 years ago, that taps would be at 10, not at 11:00. Scouts are not dumb; they know they need their sleep.

          Several years ago, I was a Provisional Scoutmaster for 40 scouts in a Boy Scout Camp. Taps was at 11:00, but my group went to bed at 10:00. I never had a problems with the scouts. After the 1 night, they were glad to get the extra sleep.

          today, I do a lot of wilderness camping with small group of scouts. Going to bed is never a problem; the bugs usually drive everyone in by 9:30. Also, everyone is so tired after the 1st night (especially me), that we have not stay up to see the stars in about 5 years (one of my favorite things). Some days we are up at 6:00 a.m. if we have somewhere to go to. Some days we take it easy, and the scouts sleep in to 9:00 a.m. I have had several adults tell me, that the only time they get any sleep, is when they go camping with us!


          • skeptic
            skeptic commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually, I have never been to a scout camp where taps was later than 10PM. Now troop quiet time may be later for some; but not for us. We expect everyone to be quiet no later than 10:30, a half hour after taps. Usually do not have too much trouble anyway after the first night, as they are too tired to stay up.

        • #11
          typically for a troop campout:

          after supper there's free time
          cracker barrel
          evening program (campfire, skit/song by each patrol)
          a few group songs
          chaplain aide leads evening prayer
          boys go to tents and settle in - adults hang by campfire about 30 minutes
          adult yells out "night boys" and by the time leader is settled in to sleep the boys are to be quiet.

          maybe 2 times a year another reminder is needed.

          if at a campground where others are camping adults go in a bit before the time that is listed for quiet time based on campground rules so the boys are already settling in by then. If out on our own then it's not a set time it's really based on the boys. Our group is almost always wore out and ready to sleep by 10. If I had a group that couldn't then I'd be serious about the PLC scheduling some more active activities.

          Of course we also stress to the boys that the adults come because they enjoy it and if they don't they'll quit coming and if we don't have adults then we can't do these things... so the boys work hard to make sure the adults enjoy the campouts.


          • #12
            Sometimes we have had a silent night hike to clam the boys down and a bunch of games to wear them out.


            • #13
              "About quarter to one the SM got up, got dressed, walked to the noisy tent and announced a three scout night hike starting now! The three scouts walked a mile out of camp then back as the SM followed them in his car keeping them in his headlights."

              I did this exact same thing. It was four new scouts excited on their first night of summer camp. Our adults don't camp with the boys, even at summer camp, so these boys had to be pretty loud to keep me up. I don't like to yell. I don' t yell. I quietly asked them to get dressed for a hike. We walked about mile talking about this and that, then went back to bed. Our troop's program typically wears the scouts out. They are dead by 10:00 pm. We don't mind scouts whispering with excitement, In fact, I kind of like it because my tent partner and I solved many of the worlds problems in our tent when I was a scout. But when they can't live by the scout law, the SPL is held responsible to solve the problem. The only reason I didn't bother the SPL at summer camp was we had a long hard day and he was whipped. So I handled that one. But, if your guys are still restless after a long day, you might consider that the scouts aren't planning enough program. Add a game of Capture the Flag somewhere in there to finish them off. Also campfires intentionally mellow scouts down. Campfire followed by a cracker barrow is almost like a sleeping pill. We don't plan Webelos weekends, we just include them in our normal campouts. We wore out 18 Webelos families one year on a campout. They were so beat by Sunday morning, they left after breakfast. I thought we would never see them again, but we crossed over 18 new scouts two months later because once the soreness wore off, they realized they had a blast. Barry


              • #14
                So why are adults worried about lights out????

                It is the boys program if they want to say up till 1am and then get up at 6 am to make the 7am rafting departure I am good with that.....

                They will learn....

                Especially if they miss their trip. When expensive outings are involved I will go kick the tent of the spl to get him moving....that is all

                If we adults keep intervening they will never learn to self regulate.


                • perdidochas
                  perdidochas commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Exactly. In our troop, we only wake up the SPL (if he's not already awake, that is). The SM tells the SPL about the external schedule, the SPL implements it. Otherwise, its the SPLs call.

                  The only provision is that they be quiet enough for people to sleep.
                  Last edited by perdidochas; 03-19-2014, 07:24 AM. Reason: Added last sentences

              • #15
                They can stay up all night as far as I'm concerned. They are expected to be at flags, participate in the program, and be packed up, ready to go on Sunday at a predetermined time. They are expected to live the Scout Oath and Law. Every meal they choose to eat requires protein. Other than that, it's up to the PL. So, if they can't wake up in time Saturday morning then, gee, no time for breakfast because they need to be at flags. That happens once and then they realize they need to get up, which means they need to go to sleep, .... I'm no longer responsible for nagging kids and they can figure it out themselves. win-win.


                • Eagledad
                  Eagledad commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Our troop follows the same policy and I'm curious Matt, do your scouts pretty much go to their tents at the same time like ours? It just seems that when they are ready, they all go to bed. And it is usually before the adults.

                  Like Matt, I believe "time" is the best motivator of discipline. This is why I ask for an agenda from the SPL before we leave on the camp outs.

                • MattR
                  MattR commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Nope, they go to bed when they're tired, and after the first night that's usually before any official light's out or the adults. The younger kids tend to go to sleep earlier. By 10 the SPL and PLs go around and check that everyone is in their tents. So I guess it's not a lights out rule so much as a be in your tent rule so we know there aren't any lost scouts.