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    • Based on the initial question about mandatory participation, you answered the question by asking it.  If you have to wonder about a unit, avoid it.  They should be selling their program to you, so you join their unit.  As a commissioner, I had to get involved with a unit that decided to have "try outs" by performing woodcraft-type skills.  Imagine that, try outs to join where you would learn such things.  I don't know of any unit that has 100% participation by scouts in every event.  It is really unimaginable.   If that unit has that as an enforced guideline, that is one unit that needs help from district and/or council.  
    • One reason why I encourage Troops to begin working with Webelos as soon as they hit 4th grade is so that by the time they Cross Over, Scouts, and more importantly the parents, are comfortable with the troop. It could be worse. Try being asked to go to summer camp within a month of Crossing Over. Back in the day, Webelos was a 1 year program with folks Crossing Over in May, and headed to summer camp in June or July.  As for mandatory camping,  in my experience, most Scouts HATE  (emphasis) missing camp outs because that is where the true fun is. I prefer Green Bar Bill's " OUTING is three-fourths of  ScOUTING." I lost a Scout in December. When I talked to him, he said he was no longer having any fun, his brother and friends have aged out or will be moving soon, and he has other non-Scouting commitments. I told him point blank, I under stand, and if he changes his mind he is always welcome. I also said come when you can. He showed up last week.
    • "Take offs are optional, LANDINGS are mandatory". 3/5 of SCOUT is OUT. That said,  I would hope that : 1) The campouts are PLANNED by the Scouts thru their Patrol Leaders' Council , with appropriate adult mentoring and help (appropriat !) 2) all activities, camping foremost, is done within BSA guidelines. Read the Scout Handbook....(""OK, show me where, in your BSHB, it recommends Ramen Noodles for all meals?"") 3)  Parents are always welcome to OBSERVE and HELP and COME on activities (sign that volunteer app,  pay the dues, take the training, STAND BACK.....) 4)  Suitable understanding is shown for Scouts that   do OTHER THINGS.    >>>  I Scouted, earned my Eagle waaaay back when.  My Troop had the motto "ALWAYS ON THE GO"  emblazoned on our neckerchiefs and elsewhere.  My Eagle Patrol or Troop was somewhere, doing something, many times a month.  Along the  way, I acted in school plays, played and marched in the band,  held school government office,  went to MYF things,   dated,  changed the oil in my dad's trucks, won prizes in debate , went fishing with friends and relations,  sold sodas in snack bar, was Stage Crew Chief (lots of gear to take care of) and generally grew up.   Your Scout should never feel limited.   Scouting is OPPORTUNITIES,  not just REQUIREMENTS.   See you on the trail. 
    • Every campout being mandatory is very extreme. With sports, family events, academics, etc if a unit requires youth to put scouting first, they will quickly find out how unsustainable that is.
    • Thank you for your reply, I appreciate the insight and resources.  To clarify a bit, the fact that all camping is mandatory is strange to me and I needed to know if it in itself was standard practice. It seems very odd to me and makes me question why the group would do that. I understand that they want maximum group evolvement but requiring that a new member participate in an over night with adult and child strangers within three weeks of meeting them is coming off creepy. I think I will reach out to other groups in the area. Thanks again.
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