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First Class in 5 months

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Well my sons have been cooking since they were little,

and have been cooking on campouts since they were Bear aged.

So it depends on how strenuous you want the cook over a campfire and cook on a campstove testing to be. Usually I'd think it would take 2 campouts, just cause the boys tend to do only 1 or 2 cooked meals on most campouts, with a lot of grab and go foods for breakfasts and lunches. When it's summer hot in AZ you don't want a hot breakfast or lunch, so that's 6 months of the year. ;)


If a boy comes from a pack that camps and Webelos who cook their own meals instead of having the grown ups do the work (like my pack) then when they come in they know how to make a campfire and cook over it (may be dogs or burgers, may be baked potatoes in the coals, or dutch oven something depending on your definition of cooking over a fire). And they've been making things like pancakes,eggs and sausage, grilled cheeses and soups, as well as simple stews and chili on campstoves for 18 months of webelos. Showing it to the Boy Scouts if fairly simple.


A couple of really good first year type campouts could get a bunch of the requirements for 1st class whown and tested and signed off.


My youngest got his first class in about 10 months. And he can teach all those things--but as you have heard from most parents my kid is better than most ;)


I find, however, that most boys who get first class in short number of months invariably have a mom pushing the requirements asking "so does attending the eagle project and the eagle court of honor both count? is the troop fundraiser a troop activity, can we count patrol activities even if it's a half hour meeting?"


And then they start to stretch it to see if they can count the hike the boy did with the boy scouts before he joined the troop or how bout the crossover to boy scouts, and can we count each day of a campout as a separate activity if one day is primarily fishing and one day is primarily hiking?

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Spent the weekend camping with the troop.....


Got my sleeping situation setup......and parked myself on a picnic table to watch the goings on....


Watched the boys help each other getting their tents up....they got their kitchen situated...... Got the cracker barrel stuff going. Answered a few questions with questions.


Took way to long.....


Ya know what I wouldn't have traded if for anything in the world.

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5 months to First Class?


Yes, it's possible but not the norm. We had four boys receive their First Class at a Court of Honor about six months after they joined the Troop. I watched them in action - they worked together, they made it to all Troop/Patrol activities, attended all campouts, and completed the requirements. These guys were alrady accustomed to the outdoors and developed camping and outdoor skills long before they joined scouts. They were ahead of the learning curve in many respects.


Personally, I think 5 months is too fast but it's not my job to add or delete from the written requirements. When I was in scouts, there was a minimum time period that had to be served in each rank acquired.


On average most of the boys in the Troop that are very active will obtain First Class within 12 to 18 months.

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I have seen it and it can be done. I wouldn't recommend it but I wouldn't put artificial barriers in front either.


I too saw some of my old Webes on their first as-Boy Scouts campout when they crossed over to my Troop. They worked together, first up, cooked a real complicated breakfast and cleaned up first. They were on fire. Great Patrol spirit. It was an honor to see it. Most of the those boys fast tracked a bit.


I would not short cut the Grubmaster and Cooking requirements--it is an important skill. That is what slows some of the guys down--there are just only so many opportunities a year.

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With the Scouts you describe, 5year, you raise the bar -- challenge them to try some new menus and techniques they've not learned. I dont' think you just say, "yeah you can cook" and sign the book. Knowing how to cook is only part of the process. Planning, preparation, responsibility, working with others, trying something new, dealing with adversity and failure, being the guy who has to crawl out of the warm bag and starting the fire -- all that is part of the experience. A Scout misses that if you essentially treat T-2-1 requirements as a placement test on the minimum skills he may already possess.


And before the That's Adding Requirements Chorus tunes up, unless you are an absolute dolt, you don't add to the requirements. Part of the art of Scoutmastership is encouraging the Scouts to do more, to stretch themselves and try new things. If you can't motivate a kid with good cooking skills to show off and make a Dutch oven pizza or doughnuts for his patrol, you're in the wrong business. Ditto that if you let the kid get away with making the same hobo dinners he's been making the past two years.


(And 5year, I'm not suggesting you are letting the boys skate by because I really have no idea. Just advancing the discussion here.)


5year's Webelos may make Bear Gryllis look like a city slicker. Fine. If they are such accomplished outdoorsmen then why are they in Boy Scouts? Go climb Denali or something. We're not an outdoor club. Our mission is larger than that.


Thinking about the bigger picture of this, it seems to me many of our advancement debates come down to a difference between those who put the emphasis on completing the written requirements versus those who want the boys to have the experiences embodied by the requirements. (And I'm trying to phrase those two positions as neutrally as I can -- if anyone has a less perjoritive way of saying it, I'm all ears.) Clearly, I'm in the experience camp. I really don't care much for precisely what the requirements says. If an active, engaged third-year kid comes to me to sign off on a requirement and I know he understands and is compentent at the underlying skills, I'm going to sign the book. On the other hand, if a kid who rarely attends campouts comes to me having made toasted poptarts for breakfast, hotdogs for lunch and heated a can of Dinty-Moore for dinner, then no. I don't care what his Scout lawyer says about the technical language of the requirement.


My goal is for my Scouts to have the best Scouting experience possible. Yes, much of the program -- I'd say too much -- is built around completing the advancement requirements. But IMHO, focusing on the checklist instead of the experience is the wrong direction.


Oh, and as to the OP: No, not in our troop. Who is doing the sign-offs on all this? Who did the plant and animal identification (I'm the plant ID guy in our troop and usually spend an hour or more with each Scout on this requirement alone.) Way too much work would have to be done solo, outside of troop activities and (probably) with a parent. So if you're doing your five-miler with your dad, map and compass with the local orienteering club, plants and animals with the ranger at the local park, where is the bonding with the troop? Where is the patrol method, youth leadership, team work or just having a good time with your buddies? Where is the EXPERIENCE of Scouting?

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I'm going to go into a different direction - I see this as a simple calendar question.


Can a Scout, in a unit that only goes camping quarterly (aka once every three months) earn First Class in 5 months.


The calendar answer is Yes since there are only 3 activities that must be overnights (and assuming the quarter doesn't start when the Scout starts, but as the calendar starts.


Here's how it can work: 1st quarter, the Troop camps out in month 3 of the quarter and the Scout starts in month 3.


Second quarter, the Troop can camp out in any of the three months - doesn't matter. Scout's only been active for four months,


Third quarter, the Troop camps out in month 1 of the quarter. The Scout has been in for 5 months, has camped three times, and the Troop has camped only once per quarter.


To illustrate using months - the capitalized is a month being camped:


1st Quarter:

January, February, MARCH


2nd Quarter: (choose one month)



3rd Quarter:

JULY, August, September.


So yes, it's possible.





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Slow down, take your time, let the experience of Scouting sink in, what could possibly be the rush?


I'll make no apology... whether it is First Class in five months or Eagle in two years, the experience is being lost and the program subverted.


And for what?

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The best advice for adults is develop a program where a scout grows (advances) at his pace. Is it a bad program if the scout chooses five months? There are some amazing kids out there.


I personally have never seen it done in five months, but I've seen a few in 10 months. That is still pretty aggressive, but it's the scouts choice.


Now of course there is a problem with units that develop a program where all scouts earn first class in five months, but that program is going to have all kinds of other issues too.



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Please note I am only showing that is can be done - I am not saying it should be done. I'm rather opposed to the First Class First Year program - and though I understand the BSA's reasons for it (which is based on internal studies that seem to indicate than Scouts who advance quickly in the first three ranks are more likely to stay involved in the second year), it also flies against the "A Scout advances at his own pace" meme of the Boy Scouts.

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Listening to the banter at tonights meeting lets me know we are doing it right.....


The stories of weekend....smirks storys of the inch thick pancakes and the missing bacon.....Not sure how they managed to get the jumbo thick pancakes......honestly one is all ya needed. They worked hard on the camporee skills,



It just felt right.....The meeting ended and the boys didn't leave, The church trustee chased us out half an hour after the meeting was supposed to have ended.......


Our football play spl even showed up........



I couldn't be more pleased.......Boys put a smile on my face......They are busy planning the november outing already.......


Tonight was what it is about....



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Beavah - my comment on the cooking requirements taking 3 campouts was inreference to can it be done in 5 months. I'm assuming if doing it in 5 months they are doing the 1 and done.


in my son's troop it can be done in 3 months though... first campout they are given a helping position in the meal - as they do this they are taught how to use the stoves and how to build a fire. they see what is cooked - told how they can use different methods to cook different styles (dutch over, foil packs, on the stove) the young scout is told to practice cooking at home - help out mom/dad and then do a couple of meals all on their own. And when they can cook at home they can cook on a campout. If the boy does this then next campout he's assistant and is showing that he's learned his stuff - older boys recommend a few things to try and recomment trying a few other things at home before next campout and that he can be cook then... and poof - 3 campouts, working at home in between and he's got it.


do you expect your boys to do all their learning and working at scouts??? nope - teach something - they do it correctly - practice it at home - show me without needing any help. We've had a couple boys teaching lashings the last couple meetings - if the boys learning it just learn it at the meeting and don't keep practicing the skill at home they will not really learn it. Next campout they are making useful gadgets - so we will see how well they all have done... can't do it without looking at the book or getting older boys to help then they don't have it down and don't get it signed off.

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