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  • Junk Food Bribery

    We employ bribery. If the troop is packed up, in the cars, rolling by 9:30, we get to stop at a favorite country store for junk food.

    Yah, this seemed to be a bit of a theme through a number of responses in the parent thread about packing up on Sundays.

    I'm curious how other folks feel about this. Does your troop use Junk Food Bribery for anything, either as a regular incentive in the program (like packing up on time), or for other more occasional purposes? Are there scouters or parents here who would object to that approach (youth obesity, bribery not a good way to incentivize character-building behavior, etc.)?


  • #2
    No junk food bribery. The Adults do occasionally do a Dutch Oven Cobbler for the Patrol that wins a certain competition...


    • #3
      Personally, it would seem like bribery if it's done almost all the time. A reward for good work, okay. But results will vary, depending on who pays for it and such.

      But if it works for one troop, fine.


      • #4
        I would say just the opposite for our troop.

        Troop rules are No poptarts, hotdogs, or ramin noodles as part of patrol menus. The only exception is if the ramin noodles are a side dish or component of an overall recipe. Saturday nite campout meals are always a competition with a given theme. Patrols compete to see who can cook and present the best meal given the theme. We have had Iron Chef and Chopped style competetions where ingredients are provided with no prior knowledge and the patrols make meals with only the provided ingredients.

        Some drivers choose to stop on the Sunday drive home for a snack but it is not expected and the lads are not told to bring money for Sunday lunch/snack. It is up to the driver. It is usually the same adult everytime and he is usually getting food to appease his picky eater son.

        We hold 4 COH a year. Usually one of them is an ice cream social but more for fun than anything else. I havent noticed anymore or less attendance during the ice cream COH vs the others.


        • #5
          No food bribery here. In fact, we ALWAYS cook a hot breakfast on Sundays prior to leaving camp. Get up at 7:00, cook, clean, break camp, and are almost always on the road by 10:00 at the latest.


          • #6
            We have treats at certain events or locations, a favorite ice cream shop or local burger joint.

            Bribery, nope, just sharing what I enjoy with the boys. they seem to enjoy it as well.


            • #7
              Perhaps I overstated my case.

              I don't think the junk food is the big draw, I think the guys just like the idea of stopping at the store. It's kind of a guy thing -- sitting on a bag of deer corn in front of the store eating jerky. Many only get a drink. It's mostly a fun troop tradition. The incentive is if we don't break camp efficiently and leave on time, there's no time to stop.

              And this is not in lieu of breakfast. Sunday breakfast is included in the patrol planning and needs to include at least one cooked item. In fact, a few years back we had one patrol which figured they could skip Sunday breakfast -- no cooking, no dishes to clean -- and eat when we got to the store. They screwed up by bragging to the other patrols about how oh-so-very clever they were. Guess who got to sit with the Scoutmaster while the other guys went to through the store?

              As far as the parents go, the only complaint we've had are from drivers who don't want to take the extra time to stop (it's a big 15 minutes). I've never had a parent complain about the boys eating the junk food. But if any did I'd suggest they talk with their son about what he is and isn't allowed to purchase and eat when he is away from home.


              • #8
                Yes we do! Either pick your son up promptly or I will sugar load him right there in the parking lot before I return him.


                • #9
                  We do not do this because there are some Scouts in our Troop whose families can barely afford registration and summer camp, let alone basic food costs for a camping trip. They simply do not have the money to stop and buy stuff. Other Scouts could easily ask mom & dad for $10 or $20, and may indeed have something in their pocket if we should stop somewhere on the way back from a camping trip. But we do not want to create a situation where some boys would have to wait in the car because they do not have any $$, and then watch as others indulge in treats they cannot have.

                  We will occasionally stop at a fast food place for lunch if we are on a long distance trip - going to summer camp for example. But we let the families know far ahead of time so they can plan and then we ensure that everyone has money before we depart.

                  For those Troops that do stop for junk food, who pays? Does the Troop give each Scout $5 or $10, or do the boys have their own money? What do you do if a Scout does not have money?


                  • #10
                    Funny our boy who has the ultra-healthy nutrition parent and nags the other scouts about how everything in their diet will them always wants to load up on fast food on way home. Eats up like there is no tommorow and then goes back to lecturing.


                    • #11
                      I struggle with the word bribery. Is it bribery for the patrol to finish KP before assembling so they dont have to do it later during free time? Our scouts schedule in a lot of activities and if they cant get to all of them, somethings got to give. I designed the program that way on purpose because its much easier to let time nag the scouts into becoming efficient. If the troop is late getting home, they alter the original schedule and skip the junk food stop.

                      No our troop doesnt pay, what scouts do with their money is their responsibility. We did have a couple of mentally handicap scouts that we had to guide with money, but we worked that situation in partners with their parents.

                      $5 or $10 is a lot of junk food. Our scouts just had lunch before we left camp, so they arent buying a meal.



                      • #12

                        we have the same situation, when we stop I usually will cover those boys. So no one goes without.


                        • #13
                          We're talking soft drink and maybe a bag of chips or about two or three bucks. For our guys, that's affordability isn't in issue. But not remembering to bring money is. Our guys are pretty Friendly and Helpful and often times generous. I frequently see guys in the checkout line loaning their buddy a couple bucks, or even with an arm load of snacks buying stuff for their friend. More stops than not I'll spot a Scout or two a couple bucks.

                          The more I think about it, the more I understand this really isn't about the junk food. It's like the guys getting together for a cold one after a long day at the office. Instead, we cap a full weekend of camping with a Coke and a pack of crackers. And it's about tradition. The troop has been stopping at the same store for years -- long since before we joined. Every year on the Webelos campout the boys make sure we have time to stop at "The Store" so the can introduce the Webelos to the tradition.

                          So if it's such a great thing why threaten the boys with not stopping? Because we ARE trying to develop character. If you want to have fun, get the work done first. Can't think of a better character lesson than that. I can think of only a couple times when we've not stopped. (And one time it was the ADULTS which held us up. We still stopped, but only the patrol leaders went in and got a drink for everyone in their patrol -- all on the adults. The kids loved it. I don't think they would have been happier if we had bought steak dinners for everyone. And that was a great lesson as well: the adults can mess things up, too. But when we do we make it up to the other guys.

                          You guys need to get off the interstate more often. There is great value in an old country store.


                          • #14
                            We don't stop for a snack on a regular basis. We usually only do that if we are camping a couple of hours or more out to give everyone a break and some refreshment. We don't do lunch coming back on Sunday unless we are coming from a great distance like the next state over. Any stops coming home are predetermined by the PLC and scouts are notified to bring a couple of extra dollars if they want to get anything.

                            Now, I have to say I struggle with the term bribery just like EagleDad. Scouting is filled with all sorts of incentives. I know boys and adults who love scout bling and will literally make a decision on attending some event just to get the patch. Is that bribery or is it incentive? Whatever you determine it to be, it worked to get them there didn't it?


                            • #15
                              Yes! bribery! It works "Real Good." We call it "incentive."