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Summer Camp MB mill - as usual

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BP must have edited the juicy stuff from his post, as I generally agree with him. (This is getting scary, BP, we're agreeing on way too much stuff lately.)


My reference, T-hawk, was to national's responding to requests for clarification on the "active participation" requirements by effectively redefining the good old English word "active" right out of existance. As John-in=-KC often reminds us, we need to be careful what we ask for. Pushing too hard on camp MBCs may get a rewrite of the rules we don't want.


But yes, hope springs eternal and perhaps the new, being-released-any-day-now-for-the-past-year Advancement Guide will

bring some light to the subject.


Speaking of rewrites -- is anyone aware of the taskforce now rewriting camp standards? While most camp standards deal with health and safety, they also cover program requirements. Perhaps this is a chance to have some input on camp programming.


beleon44, you don't have an email address for those guys, do you?


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I wonder what the cost of camp would become if every MB class was staffed with an 18 year old or older merit badge counselor, and if no class had more than 10 Scouts. That means no more leaning on "free" CITs whose work is signed off by one area Director, and no packing 30 boys into a class.


I don't know how many units would / could pay that much per boy.




As Scoutmaster I encourage Scouts going to summer camp to take outdoor badges, and to take badges that we don't the resources for locally one way or another. First Aid and E Prep we can handle. Swimming / Lifesaving, however, requires paying a local pool for access - might as well pay the Council at camp. Waterfront MBs we tell the boys to take.


First year Scouts we encourage (and the best encouragement comes from experienced Patrol Leaders and senior Scouts):




Wildernesss Survival

Waterfront badges (if there is a waterfront)

Astronomy (if they teach it at night with the right gear) - though we also offer this as a Troop at times based on the assistance of some local experts at the University.


By their second year, the boys know what they want to do and what makes the most sense to them. This year I have several Life and Eagle Scouts who are trying to just take random fun badges together (a few years ago I had 3 Eagles take basket weaving together just for fun. It was them, a CIT, and a bunch of 11 year olds). Another of my Eagles is taking the SCUBA course only, and will spend the rest of his time hanging out with friends and helping younger Scouts on their Trail to First Class.


We rotate camps every year, so every return to a site is a toss-up on what we will experience.

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dkurt& jts


There are no personal attacks in my last post, if you took any statement too personally then there must be some truth in it. Besides I am not here to argue or debate with either one of you, which does not seem mutual on your part. Rather I just point out to you from your posts things I feel are in error. Cool off and have a nice day. YIS

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As far as caring about the BSA and giving our teens the best quality programs we can I think we are in agreement much more often than not. I think we both want our youth to have the opportunities to be and achieve all they are capable of in scouting. Fear not the force is with you!

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" no one from council or National is enforcing them or can enforce them."


Nor should they. That is not their job, it is the unit's responsibility to decide on the quality level that they want, the standards they expect, and then implement a program that provides it. They can go to summer camp and pick and choose the elements that fit with their program. Dont want the scouts to spend all day in MB classes? Only approve a few MB's for each boy. Meet with the PLC and ask them to have each patrol plan a patrol activity for each day (hike, swim, rock climb, leave the camp to go golfing,... anything as long as it is a patrol only activity (and safe and legal). Have each patrol be responsible for running a game/scout skill competition for the other patrols. Have the PLC plan a campfire with patrol skits and songs. That stuff gets taught in leader training, but often gets neglected, and the leaders dont communicate that expectation to the scouts. So the scouts develop a culture of scout camp as a combination of MB classes and hanging out at the commissary. It doesn't have to be that way, but it takes vision, motivation to buck the status quo, and backbone to stand up to a scout's parent who is expecting their son to return with a pile of MB's, otherwise it was a wasted week.



I really like that saying: "all scouting is local"

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catching up on the thread here, and wow!, do I like your description of the challenges of putting together a scout camp program (posted on Thursday, on page 4 of this thread). A lot of work, little pay, little sleep, lots of frustrations. And people complain that its not being done right. Yep, pitch in to make it better, chose the program elements that your troop's scouts will make use of, and make it work for your unit. If units had to pay the cost required to support the level of program that is being asked for, this thread would be about the excessively high cost of summer camp instead of being about complaints of inappropriate MB signoffs.


In my opinion, camp staffing is a better learning experience than attending camp to earn a handfull of MB's, or even a week of camping filled with non-MB activities. My daughter was a counsellor at a summer camp for two years (not a scout camp). If people valued learning experiences more than awards, I think that they would approach their program differently.

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Venividi wrote: "(I)t is the unit's responsibility to decide on the quality level that they want, the standards they expect, and then implement a program that provides it."


Venividi, well said.


denP, I've signed up as your 11th "ignorer."(This message has been edited by dkurtenbach)

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I'm going to fling the steel hanky of politenessman here. I confess that I have had some really hot exchanges with other forum members in the past (Rooster7, you out there, somewhere?) but I have NEVER 'ignored' someone. I suspect (but don't particularly care) that I've been ignored too (I think my wife would readily admit it) but I have never liked the idea that this forum has that feature. OK, it's not my forum so I accept it. But if someone is going to ignore another person, the way to do it is to quietly select that option. More than once I've read that so-and-so is 'ignoring' someone else and I'm thinking, "if you really want to ignore them why are you making a big deal out of it?"

So I ask, please, if anyone wants to ignore another forum member, just do it without the fanfare. It boggles my mind that anyone would want to hurt an anonymous person they've never met just because of something they said. I guess it's one more of those social things that I just don't 'get'.

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Thanks Venividi, you say it more succinctly than I could

I was just passing on what I saw year after year many fantastic young men giving it their all in trying to put on a successful camp program. It just kills them to go through all that to have a SM come down on them for trying to do their job. Or getting called names like Eagle Mills. They have passion for what they do, because they certainly dont do it for the pay.

Ive personally stepped in to stop a SM dressing down a young staffer, it was awful and happens all too often. Ask a veteran staffer what he really thinks about SMs off the record and youll hear horror stories that would make any of us blush.


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my troop has voted with their feet and no longer camps at our council camp. It is a shame really; we have camped at the council camp for many many years out of loyalty to the council and to the camp itself. Many SE's have told us through the years that this is "your" camp.


But over the years, the promised program got worse and worse. Council began neglecting to hire an adequate number of staff to handle the number of Scouts; the camp was allowed to go into disrepair; supplies not being ordered in time for first week campers; some supplies never ordered, etc.


So over the past 20 years, the majority of council troops went elsewhere for summercamp. They choose to pay an additional out of council fee to camp elsewhere. And they did not simply leave quietly - they voiced their concerns to council and it fell on deaf ears. Currently, less than 25% of council traditional units use the council camp for summer camp.


Many of the problems at our council camp reflect what TAHAWK wrote about.


I have written before that at my council summer camp, a Scout could earn the cooking merit badge by cooking a single pancake and that counted as all the cooking requirements. The Scout also had to pay an additional fee that was supposed to pay for the foods they would be cooking at the MB session. But since the food was never secured, they truly did not "earn" their merit badge. So much for the additional $8 fee the Scout also paid.


Scouts could earn the Eagle required hiking MB by simply walking for four house between his campsite and the main gate of camp. The Scout received full credit for all the hiking requirements.


Scout earned the motorboating merit badge without ever entering the water. The motor boat was broken. But they all earned the merit badge.


It is futile to contact national or regional. Contacting the council advancement chair or camping chair accomplished nothing. And contacting any professional member was absolutely futile.


So troops left the camp. They now camp elsewhere. Sometimes in other council camps; or sometimes they camp at private campgrounds while providing their own program. Others go on cross country tours. But the problem of poor council service continues.


From what I have read on these forums, I know that there are good council's out there - councils that adequately serve their Scouts and volunteer leaders. There are councils who maintain their camps and hire adequate staffs. kudos to these councils. And if you are lucky enough to live within the boundaries of one of these good councils, I envy you. My council was once good.


There are some members on this forum who are former professionals. They have written many times about the inner workings of the politics and the culture of the professional ranks. Many do not like what they have to say now about the realities of some councils, but I appreciate their comments as they have provided me with a better understanding on why some council's offer poor service.


There are poor council's out there folks because of poor management and professional greed.


And after trying for years find solutions to remedy the problems of my council by volunteering in various capacities, I have come to realize that efforts have proven futile.


We will not be returning to our council's summer camp. We have joined the ranks of the majority by going elsewhere in order to give our Scouts a quality program.



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Packsaddle, thanks for your comments. I said it publicly to make a point: That other members should take advantage of this wonderful tool. Sadly, there are folks on public forums who make a practice of insulting other members, berating other members, inciting conflict -- and then of course denying it when challenged. Naturally, there are other members who respond to such provocations, and you end up with lengthy bitter exchanges and often long-term feuds. That sort of thing was one of the major factors that killed the newborn Scouting Community (formerly on www.myscouting.org) that BSA had offered. Thankfully, Scouter.com has provided us with the "ignore" feature that allows us to exclude, at least for ourselves, the static of members whose seeds of discord make the conversation far less congenial and useful than it otherwise can be. The tool is not used nearly enough, I'm afraid, for there are far too many unfriendly and discourteous exchanges.


If there were a feature I would like to see taken away, it would be the use of "handles" rather than real names.


Dan Kurtenbach

Fairfax, VA

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Funny dcurt but what you describe in your last post does seem to fit you like a glove more than anyone else in this forum. Too bad you won't see this post since you have put me on your ignore list for which I say so what. It has no effect on me and I can still remark on your posts I strongly disagree with, however now you will never know when I do.

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Abel, you have my respect for your well-reasoned position.


I've been there myself when I was a unit leader. The loyalty and tradition of the council camp is something that many scouters take seriously. But that relationship is a two-way street. The council must do their part too.


I can see sticking with the council camp thru a few rough years, but at the end of the day, we have a responsibility to the scouts and their parents to provide best program and value for their dollar.


When any organization, be it profit or non-profit, decides to start providing second best, and they expect folks to just accept it without complaint, and continue to pay top dollar, it's time to move on.


Yes, it's tough to see these old camps fold up. I'm very nostalgic that way. However, if the scouts are getting a shoddy program, the staff is short handed and/or indifferent, and camp/council management thinks they can get away with it, the spirit of scouting has departed. Time to fold the tent, put out the fire, and press on down the trail. Because there are indeed camps where scouting spirit is still alive and well.(This message has been edited by desertrat77)

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