You summed up my thinking when you posted:
"How well patrols cook is a check on your program. If the patrols are struggling in their food choices and preparation, then part of your program likely needs some special attention. Certainly the food part of the program needs it. The older scouts should know how to cook good meals, where are they at? If they are around but don't know how to cook good meals, you have situation or challenge."
Maybe I'm guilty of reading more than is there or was meant?
While I'm all for everyone having fun and a good time, I think that it's important that we never forget that we really are in the business of serving the Scouts in our organization.
Reading some of what was posted in the other thread had me thinking of Oliver in Oliver Twist! OJ my son is an Oliver, the idea of him eye-balling someones plate and asking "Please Sir can I have some more?" Isn't a nice thought.
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- Oct 2002
What if it's Oliver's fault that food is not there? When one has the opportunity to provide for themselves, but feels it is okay to then beg off of others, then there's something wrong with the program.
The boys in the T-FC process are taught to provide for themselves. If they don't learn this process but go through the motion of getting their book marked, then there's a legitimate reason to scold the SM.
But once a boy gets to FC, theoretically he should be able to fend for himself and doesn't need to go begging.
- Feb 2011
To be fair I had not considered the time issue. I think sometimes we get a head start. I know who ever is cook gets up 30 minutes early and the boys do not do that. I agree when a Patrol is making poor food choices it is time to see if they need a little extra help.
At camps where there is a commissary instead of the mess hall, time is a factor that is taken into account by the camp.
The meals are thoughtfully planned out in terms of nutrition and prep time. As a learning experience, the patrols can in fact keep notes of what summer camp provided and keep the recipes and prep time issues in a note book for the next time they plan for a non-summer camp outing. The whole week of summer camp, I saw no pop-tarts on the menu. They did have hot dogs, brought out to the sites by camp staff because the boys were busy setting up their tents and dining flies having arrived at the camp earlier in the day. On the other hand, it's the only camp where steak was on the menu for the boys and not just at the appreciation luncheon for the SM's.
As a time issue. The commissary camp offered 6 MB sessions whereas the mess hall camps offered only 5. The commissary camp had 2 camp-wide events, lots of open boating/swimming and even other activities not offered by the other camps.
I have attended at least 5 different summer camps, and depending on the quality of camp program they don't vary all that much. My boys never saw the commissary camp as a negative because of it's emphasis on the patrol method and high MB count AND camp-wide activities.
- Jun 2002
In fact, this past weekend, our ASM/Executive Chef threw together a little strawberry shortcake for the adults. A very simple yellow cake mix thrown in the Dutchie (no cleanup with a liner), sliced up a couple pints of strawberries and added a couple spoon of sugar (again, using a ziploc, no cleanup) and a shot of Rediwhip.
I thought after dinner would be a good time for a walkabout and enjoyed my shortcake while strolling about camp. I got a few comments from the boys and always responded with how to make the dish themselves and how easy it is. I would not be surprised to see one of the patrols give it a try next month.
We made a conscious effort several years ago to step up the quality of cooking in the troop. Yeah, the adults set a pretty high bar, but we also spend a lot of time helping the boys step up to it. At our big JLT every summer, we divide the boys into groups of two or three scouts with one adult helping. We challenge them to cook the most outlandish entree they can think of. JLT is at the Scout house so it's fail-proof. If they totally tank, there's a grocery a half-mile that way and a McDonald's a mile that way. We develop the menus in the morning and send an adult shopping while the boys are doing the training.
We've had guys make chocolate fondu, chicken parmansean from scratch, gaspacho, watermelon soup was a big hit. One year a kid says he had never cooked a steak before and wanted to learn, so we bought a couple steaks and let him give it a try. And they make simple stuff, but adaptiing it to camp cooking. They get to try stuff in a D.O. they've never tried before.
Whether you are leading by example or rubbing their nose in it depends on how it's presented. If you consequently help the boys to learn the skills for themselves, it's the former. If they have no chance of replicating the dish themselves, it's the latter.
(And by the way, we have no constraints on menu or budget. They plan it, they buy it and divide the cost among the patrol members. Time constraint is something I've not really considered. We really don't do camporees and most of our campouts are rather loosely scheduled. This past weekend was wide-open and would have been a good weekend to simmer a big pot of chili all afternoon. Either way, we all know what sorts of activities are scheduled and can plan accordingly. We usually have one "Iron Chef" campout where the whole weekend is built around cooking, so there's no excuse there.)