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Parents and Camping trips

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I just did a troop visit with my pack's Sr Webelos. The Scoutmaster told us that, with the exception of one trip per year, they do not allow parents to attend any trips. Although I appreciate and understand the thought behind this, it makes me uncomfortable. I would like to here any thoughts on this.



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IMHO you have the right to see what's going on with your own child anywhere, anytime. Period. Not a negotiable item as it relates to your responsibility as a parent to protect your child.


That said, there are some standards of behavior that are reasonably expected - like, don't interfere with the program, don't bring food to your scout unless you're bringing a treat to the whole group (and ya better clear that with the adults... and make sure you have enough for them too!), don't pull your scout out of his group to be with you, clean up after yourself, no fair eating the patrol's food if you didn't make prior arrangements to do so.


An easy way to manage this problem, since you are obviously a parent with some interest in scouting, is to join as a volunteer, GET TRAINED, and have a great time sharing the adventure. Perhaps you could (as a volunteer) suggest a Parent Patrol unit for those who are interested in traveling with the troop. Put the parents to work with their own projects so they can leave their kids alone. I've successfully used this strategy with parents who just can't resist "helping" their sons or daughters with (for instance) crafts. I give them their own table and paints and make them go to it...


Getting trained will help you understand the chaos you will no doubt witness on at least one campout, and hopefully help you shut up and let the boys work it out. It will also reduce the objection to your presence. If you happen to be female, it is REALLY essential that you understand the boy-run concept and furthermore essential that you be a competent and self-sufficient camper yourself, to set an example for the troop and reduce any distraction your presence might pose.

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Thanks for the response.


I am fully trained and then some....I used to be Buffalo.


What I'm trying to do here is find out how common or uncommon this practice is. Are these Scout Leaders just doing a good job, or are they a bit "over the top".


Oh yeah, I did leave out a portion of the story. I asked about new adult leaders in the troop and I was told,'we don't take everybody, we conduct interviews', then fill the adult slots as they come available.

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First of all, Scouting is an "open" activity. No one is denied access. In my troop, all parents are allowed, sometimes as observers only, to all meetings and outings (PLC, Committee, Scoutmaster, troop, etc.).


Second, the CO approves and possibly selects leaders for a Unit, not the SM. In practicality, in most troops, the SM and or CC run up potential leaders to the CO who gives final approval.


Third, many a SM has been frustrated by parents who don't understand scouting. The parents either view it as a family "camping club", repeatedly "help out" with tasks that should be done by the boys, etc. The simple, easy and wrong response by a SM would be to ban parents.


P.S. If you happen to be male, it is equally important you understand the boy-run concept and furthermore essential that you be a competent and self-sufficient camper yourself, to set an example for the troop and reduce any distraction your presence might pose.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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If you look at the "information for parents" portion of the Boy Scout Application, it says right on there that there are no secret activities; all are open to parents at any time. I call attention to this at my new families' conferences, and also let them know that in some cases, exercising that option may require some long walks into the backwoods.


Many leaders are afraid of unregistered or untrained parents disrupting things, and institute a personal policy to keep them away. Well, they can do it only if the committee/CO/District lets them.


I prefer to deal with people on their own merits, rather than assume they're going to be a problem and have broad-brush restrictions. It's worked for me so far.



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The only place I'm not real big on having extra adults is at the PLC. This is a time for the boys to work out THEIR plan for the troop. I've found that the more adults present the less that gets accomplished and the less the boys own the program. I try to limit adult participation to myself and on occassion 1 other active adult. (youth protection note: My wife, a registered scouter, is always present during the PLC but is in a non-participatory role). Other than that I welcome parents at all activities.

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Interviewing for adult participation???? Most troops that I know of are crying for more parental, or guardian participation. Parents are always welcome to be involved with the understanding that the trained leaders may override what the parent may think. Unless the parent is trained and registered.


Some of the best overnights have been with an over abundance of adults on the trip. Some of these trips are proof ( at least in the eyes of the boys) that the adults are indeed Crak'd Pots. (the leaders patrol name)


The troop you mentioned is missing out on a wealth of knowledge and info available. Is this a large troop with lots of leaders? Limiting parent or guardian activity is not right. The more the merrier. Scout troops can always find more slots for interested leaders.



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I do consider that approach a little over the top. Folks aren't as trusting (and shouldn't be expected to) as in the old days when it comes to their sons. This would really be a surprise if they are telling the dads this.


I formerly worked with another unit that struggled with moms on outings (with the exception recruiting type campouts). We usually did a number of day trips and special campouts that were billed as family outings.


Ironically, down the road it'll probably be the boys telling you they don't want parents on the trips.


Good luck to you ...


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scout camp 2003:

80 scouts

60 leaders


this ratio has been near the same for years now. at one point we had 30 scouts and 20 leaders. then 50 scouts and 30 leaders.


we have everything down pat (there's leaders meetings in may/june). each leader has a job, even if it's to get ice, check this one merit badge areas records, or handle the after campfire cracker barrels. no leader who goes down doesn't have something to do. it's excessiveness of leaders that lets us setup a campsite for 150 in 2 hours and pull it down nearly as fast. we can send 5 leaders to sit at the showers each night. a leader who supervises a daily lolly cleaning. our camp scoutmaster tends to be around for official meetings, to handle problems, and other necessary events. he finally gets to take naps at camp these past couple of years. in the late 90's he had a much tougher job. having the leaders to do all the grunt work has helped the scoutmaster be the scoutmaster and not the leadermaster.


on campouts we always have a heavy leader contingent. on a campout with 20 scouts we had 10 leaders.

the leaders are all part of the lawnchair patrol by default. we don't do the same stuff as the scouts, but we do cook for ourselves. every leader is welcome, especially since we carpool to campouts rather than have a troop bus. we usually take two trailers on campouts. 1 for troop gear and the other for patrol gear.


I'd guess that this scoutmaster is not being totally clear. I'd guess he allows leaders to go on campouts. he wants the people there to be able to help out for many campouts. think of how many moms quit going camping after cub scouts because the level bumps up and he wants them to understand that parents who are better off with a showerhouse and rv should think again. I'd ask him to clarify his point and what you think about him saying that.

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As a single mother, I was nervous about becoming involved in the scouting movement. Thankfully, I was welcomed into the fold with open arms in the Pack. The troop was a little less welcoming, but none the less, it is expected in Boy Scouts vs. Cub Scouts. Regardless, I have a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and mothereese to provide to a merry band of boys. This allowed an easy transition into the troop. Because of that, more leaders and specifically women, can see that anyone can offer something.


Basically all parents are welcome and committees and subcommittees can be formed from that. Each committee shall be responsible for the initial phases of operation. For instance, if the boys have approved at the annual planning committee to have Activity A during Month B, then the parents can coordinate some of the activities in advance. Or some committees can be in charge of fundraising, complete patrol kitchens, etc. The range can be as wide as you want. Each troop is only allowed X number of Asst Scoutmasters (4 in our district), one scoutmaster, one chairman, COR, etc. Every one else would be considered a committee member. And you can be trained in that position just as any other.


However, recently, there has been some changes in policy towards parents spending more active time with the boys, like on overnights and resident camp.


Youth Protection is probably the most single important training that all parents should attend. To become a leader, you do need to be "approved" by the committee and signed off by the COR/Chairman. And hopefully, your council also conducts routine FBI, state, and local background checks, if not the chartered organization. Our council requires that anyone attending resident camp must be a registered leader with current Youth Protection.


From what I understand, the National office will now require all councils to conduct these preliminary checks for the troop's overall safety, like starting this winter/spring.


Granted all parents can offer something, but must understand the patrol method and that scouting is a BOY-Run Program and cub-scouting is a parent-ran program. Without learning these basic concepts, some involvement might be considered intrusive.


My best advice, is to find a troop that works well for you and your boy. It is perfectly acceptable for you to scout out new scout groups. After all, most parents have their kids' heart in their best interest.



Troop 209



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If Parents are not allowed on camping trips, how do they get volunteers to helpout. We encourage our parents to comeon every event. Most do not but that's fine too. We get most of our volunteers from parents WHO do make a committment after a campout.


That unit should be RED FLAGGED on your Pack's List.

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I see some new posters on the board! Welcome!


This troop would signal a red flag to me, too -


They MAY only be trying to get good trained leaders, and this is commendable - but my gut instinct say this may be a very authoritarian troop and NOT boy run.


I would talk to some of the OTHER leaders in the troop, and some people who have boys in the troop who are active scouters - roundtable might be a good way to get some inside info on the troop.


Scouting should be an open program - and the more, the merrier! Adult leaders can always be utilized - even if they don't all go on campouts!


our troop currently has 21 registered boys and 25 registered leaders. Some are "special service" leaders who only do high adventure, badge counseling or popcorn, or they own property to store & maintain equipment for us. But each has a purpose and WANTS to help the boys within their own skill set.


We do ask parents that participate more than a few times to register formally with the troop and we encourage training as much as possible. Many hands make light work!





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