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Bob White

Cub Scouts Camping

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A comment was made on another string that "Cub Scouting has waffled on being pro-camping (currently) to being camping is for Boy Scouts not Cub Scouts"

That is an unfortunate and inaccurate perception of the Cub program. If anything the promotion of camping in cub scouting is the strongest it has ever been in the history of the Cub program.

 

There are now a number of camping opportunities that cubs can participate in including, Day camp, Resident camp, Council/District Family camp, Pack Family Camp, and Webelos Den camping.

 

The current Cub Leader Specific Training courses encourage Cub Leaders to take the required training to be able to camp often and correctly with their cub scouts. I know of no program recommendation or guideline discouraging cubs from camping with their peers and families.

 

So get your Cubs outside, follow the guidelines taught in BALOO and Webelos Leader Outdoor Training for the proper methods, health and safety rules for Cub to camp. Let them enjoy the outdoors and get them to look forward to the added adventures of the more challenging methods of Boy Scout camping.

 

Bob White

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BW,

 

You are correct as usual. Much of it depends on the Cub leadership. Our CM loves to camp and tries to promote it as much as possible. Before our current CM, our Pack did very little camping. I think part of it is that a lot of people view Cubs as "fun", arts and crafts. Camping IS fun! I have noticed that even with our Webelos den, there are certain boys and parents that always camp and others that flat out don't. Some of our Webelos have never camped to my knowledge and almost everyone of them (or their parents) have indicated that they will not be moving on to Boy Scouts after their Webelos II year and will pursue other activities. I think that if we didn't camp, my son wouldn't want to be in Cubs.

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Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) Cub camping requires a parent, with certain narrow exceptions for Webelos. Some families just aren't going to participate in the campouts.

 

Our Pack has managed somewhat of a compromise by finding a camp site only about 20 minutes away from our regular CO meeting place. It took a little work to get our site inspected and approved, but it was worth it.

 

We encourage families who don't want to camp to at least attend the day-time and evening activities and go home at bedtime, if they like. It also allows families to come and go around sports and church commitments. The boys are still getting most of the Scout program, even if they miss the actual overnighter.

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fotoscout,

 

We have had the families that come out for the day, but don't spend the night also. They usually arrive around breakfast time or shortly after and leave after dinner or the campfire. They are there all day for the activities, just don't spend the night. I have not seen them come and go throughout the day.

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The key is going with the flow. We work with whoever is there. Don't worry, be happy, as the man says.

 

Usually, we have two or three activity periods during the day. 9-11, 1-2:30, 3-4:30, something like that. That way folks have some idea when they need to arrive to participate in certain activites.

 

The activities themselves are fairly open ended, like beltloop. If you are there at 1:00 and want to do Flag Football, great. We divide those who are there into two teams and go at it. If you miss that session, you can catch the next one. One of the sessions is usually a break-out by rank, working on specific skills. Last time we had a couple of Boy Scouts show the Webelos IIs how to set a fire lay. They thought that was really cool. Knot tying is a good one. Whittlin' Chip was fun, especially once we discovered that there's a McDoctor's nearby. I the Pack record still stands at 7 stitches.

 

The other advantage is we have a great campsite so that the kids have plenty to do on their own or with a parent -- fishing, playground, trails, etc. Honestly, it's usually a hassle pulling the kids together for the planned activities. I'm a believer in free time.(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Witht he proper training, BALOO in place, pack camping only serves to help the Boy scout program by getting the kids out camping.

When they come up to the troop, they have the initial jitters taken care off and are ready to build upon their cub camping experience.

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We have around 60 families attend our Pack campout. They come and go at different time and pace. As Twocubdad eluded to, planning is 80% of the effort! We usually have the chairperson for the campout. He/she usually plans the activities and solicits champions for them (usually a whole Den is responsible for a particular activity). A timeline is laid out so that everyone can decide when they would want to come. We usually have activities such as fishing belt loops, hiking, etc. for the morning. This will allow to late risers or day campers to attend the more fun activities in the afternoon and evenings. We usually divided the activities based on rank. Webelos will be doing activities pins requirement such as knots, fire building, etc. We, too, solicit a boyscout troop to help us. The other ranks do the requirement at their level. Usually, we have free time after lunch and before dinner. Campfire program is planned appropriately and well in advance so that songsheets and skits can be printed and handed out at the start of Saturday morning. By the time campfire rolls around, the songs and skits would have been rehearsed. I usually have the troop to put on an "instant on" campfire. That type of campfire usually wows the cubs! Of course all campfire safety guidelines were followed (except possibly the "instant on" part, but plenty of fire buckets and extinguishers on hand ... just incase). If we have no troop, I use the opportunity to teach the Webelos on fire building techniques and safety. We usually have 1-2 Baloo trained person(s) to handle the planning and to actively participate in the campout. 40-60 families campout is a massive undertaking!

 

So my take on cubscout camping is ... great! When are we doing it again?

 

1Hour

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Ill take a month off before I do it again.

 

We just had our Pack Campout this past weekend. This pack hasnt camped for probably twenty years and with the exception of me, none of the leaders are campers. Last year I did a Den Family Camping Trip. This year, after sitting through Baloo, I figured Id do a real Pack Trip. We started off with about 40 families signed up. Then the weather reports started. In the end we had abut 20 families and 1.1 inches of rain from noon until about 10:30pm on Saturday.

 

What a shame you might say! Not in the least!! Ten of my boys showed up with their Dads, and we had a great time. They fished (with handlines that they made), they hiked, they played in the rain, and they played in the rain some more.. We made some little Indian drums. Then the boys spontaneously (of course we were watching), went off and paraded around a Boy Scout troop that was camped nearby.

 

We even did our Campfire program under the tarp. The song sheets got a little sloppy ha ha ha. It was the first Campfire program that Ive put togetherand I have to say that I was very glad when it was over. I obsessed over this thing for weeks. Precious moments 9:00am on Sunday, the boys are sitting around the fire ring holding their own little campfire program still singing away. As our Campfire program was winding down, the BS troop invited us for a Flag Retirement Ceremony.

 

Before we ended the Campfire, I told everyone about the invitation, and reminded the boys that they would have to be on their best behavior. After a very long day in the rain I wasnt too sure how much self control they had in them anymore. The troop did a very nice ceremony and the boys were fascinated by it. As for their behavior, I shouldnt have been concerned. Still standing in the rain,they made us all very proud.

 

The question I asked was out of curiosity. I wondered how other packs did it? I would be a little uncomfortable with people coming and going all day long. First, Id be concerned with food, and then Id be concerned about supplies. Then of course is the issue of just how many heads am I counting. We did have two families that came for the day and went home, but we knew that up front.

 

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Bob White ... you have never heard of Den "family camping?" That's where you have several families that happen to camp at same facility about the same time with no association with BSA whatsoever and just have great fun! (... and everyone involved understood and agreed that they are on their own and they are responsible for their own family!) Of course, I would never call it anything but my family campout. Anything with the Den is automatically associated with BSA and that's a no no if you're not a Webelos Den!

 

 

fotoscout ... we usually pushed the food/drink issue back to the Den level and they have two choices (1) Den-wise or (2) individual family (most chose individual family). As for activities, we pushed it to the rank level. Each rank is responsible for providing a particular activity and get a head count/funding to the Chair. Committee then approves or disapproves the funding. Simple as that. It has worked well for us for the last 6 Pack campouts. Sometimes we have activity fee ($5) to cover some of the cost. Usually, our Pack picks up the cost for the family campsite, but not the woods. If we get a trailer full of woods then we share, if not then each Den is responsible for their own. For us, the majority of the people stayed and camped with us for 2 nights. The others stayed for 1 night and very few came for the day-only trip.

 

1Hour(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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One Hour,

 

That's effectively what we setup. Campsite setup, food and rank appropriate activities by den. We setup our food as a den activity. It encouraged the parents to interact more, and it let the Webelos be more involved with their meal preparations. It worked well. Flag ceremonies, free time and campfire for everyone. Everyone had a great time, its unfortunate that weather kept so many away.

 

And Thank You.

 

Den Family Camping, Friends of Den X Camping, Friends of Pack XXX Camping or whatever wed like to call it, ought to be the backbone of Cub Scout Camping. Small groups of energized little boys enjoying the outdoors together with their Mom or Dad, or maybe even the whole family. Bob, if you want to do something good for Cub Scouting with that Commission that your so proud of, have the rules changed in some way that allows these little boys to go camping in small groups. Its certainly easier, and more personal for the boys. I for one would do more often if it didnt entail a group of 40-120 people.

 

 

 

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I've heard of Den family camping, I would never do it, nor would I ever recommend anyone doing it.

 

As you know, Den camping is not recognized or endorsed by the scouting program (Webelos being the exception). Den leaders (Tiger, Wolves and Bears) are not trained in the safety, sanitation, and program rules for den camping.

 

Don't fool yourself into thinking that just because you don't put a scouting name on it the parents don't think it is scouting. If you plan it with cub leaders and parents and invite people because they are in the den or pack you have a cub activity.

 

Parents have the misconception that this is a scouting activity they are going on, and they expect the leaders to have full knowledge of what they are doing.

 

The BSA wants the scouts protected. They also want the scout leaders protected. Since Den camping is prohibited you (If you are a leader on the event) have just left yourself and the units's charter organization exposed for criminal and civil prosecution should something go wrong, without the benefit of the protection of the BSA. You would be responsible for your own legal defense, and for any fines or loss due to liability claims.

 

Now maybe this doesn't bother you personally, but did you explain the exposure to your charter organization head before you took the Den out?

 

You know the scouts aren't the only ones the BSA cares about. The rules are there to protect the leaders and their families welfare as much as they protect the safety of the boys, but that doesn't work if the rules are ignored.

 

I have never met a commissioned professional or volunteer who followed the rules out of pride for their role. Their earned their role by keeping their pledge to abide by the program.

 

I'm all for cubs camping but do it right, do it within the rules. When you shortcut the rules what kind of an example are you setting for the scouts and their families.

 

Bob White

 

 

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"Family Camping: an outdoor camping experience, other than resident camping, that involves Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, or Venturing program elements in overnight setting with two or more family members, including at least one BSA member of that family. Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children, and Youth Protection guidelines apply." G2SS, pg. 19

 

"Recreational family camping: when Scouting families camp as a family unit outside of an organized program. It is an non-structured camping experinece, but is conducted within a Scouting framework on local council-owned or-managed parperty" G2SS, pg. 19

 

"Pack Overnighters These are pack-organized overnight events involving more than one family from a single pack, focused on age appropriate Cub Scout activities and conducted at council-approved locations...." G2SS pg. 20.

 

"Den Family Camping" may not be the official lingo, but the program they are describing is legal as long as they follow all the other rules -- tour permit, BALOO training, etc. (Fotoscout mentioned that he is BALOO trained and I assume they were at a Council facility due to the presence of the other Scout troop.)

 

The policy on Pack Overnighters specifically says "more than one family" from a pack. So if there are five families represented who all happen to be from the same den and all the other guidelines are met, where's the violation?(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Here is the trap that fotoscout fell into twocub.

 

>He said this was his den only

He said he did not refer to the pack

>He said he was not BALOO trained

>Since he went to out of his way not to mention scouting we can assume he did not use scout owned or managed property

>and did not file the appropriate permits, other wise he would have had no hesitation to mention cubbing.

 

Each of these points individually is enough to invalidate the pack leaders liability protection. Endangering not only himself but all the registered leaders in the pack AND the charter organization.

 

This is no time to split hairs. It is either a pack activity or it is no activity at all. It is done on a Council approved property or it shouldn't take place. The leader is trained and authorized to lead such an event or they are not. An individual has no right to risk the personal finances of every registered adult in the pack just because he wants to take his den camping.

 

 

This is not a dressing down of fotoscout. This is an effort to warn others that there opportunities for cubs to camp but they come with rules that must be followed to keep everyone safe. This is not an activity to look for short-cuts or loopholes. Do it right or don't do it, the risks are too high.

 

Bob White

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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