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Rate of participation in high adventure activities

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I was hit with a really depressing statistic in our local council last week -- only 5% of the troops in our area participated in a major high adventure activity last summer (2003). This number does not include the optional activities offered at many summer camps (mountain man, outback, etc.) in addition to the merit badge programs.


We supported a Council High Adventure Rally on Saturday by setting up a table with slide show and video of our Boundary Waters canoe trip. We had handouts with a summary of how we organized, planned, and conducted our trip. When I counted the leftovers, there were only 45 gone and I'm sure most of those went to other units supporting the rally, not inexperienced ones looking for ideas on how to get started. That's a pretty dismal show of interest in a council with over 1500 troops -- lots of guys missing out on one of the best parts of the program.


Are things this bad everywhere? (Somebody please cheer me up!)



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Let me see-


9 days hiking 105 miles on the Appalachian Trail


4 weekend kayaking trips


1 week at Tinnerman Canoe Base in Canada


One weekend at Climbing instructor training for 4 of our older Scouts to be Junior instructors


One four day weekend of climbing and repelling coming up in October


A weekend kayaking trip in PA scheduled for October


Trying to count everything up, I think guys in our Troop will have spent 432 days doing high venture stuff. That doesn't include the approximately 140 days adults in our Troop will spend with these guys, nor does it include about 70 total days that Scouts from outside out Troop will spend with us. We routinely invite Scouts of other Troops to come along with the hope that they will take programs like these back to their Troop.


I think our Troop does all right. But through these other guys that we invite, we know that few other Troops in our area do much like this. We had one boy go to tinnerman with our guys this year. Their most adventurous activity was going to a major league baseball game this summer.




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Well sad to say our troop didn't do much this summer even at scout camp with HA programs.


This year at Camp Karonndinha (sp), for short Camp K they tryed to do a new Survival Trek for the older boys because of the fact that older boys weren't going to scout camp anymore and they wanted to try to bring them back. The trek was a 3 day/2 night hike for 20 miles all over the mountains behind Camp K. It was a really good idea and everything but no one wnated to come. The week I was up there we had the 1 volunteer leader and 1 kid (at the time me) but another kid droped and NO ONE from any other troops came. So that went bad and it was the same the week before and the 3 other weeks after.


Right now the Troop is rebuilding our program we have already Scheduled a trip down to Gettysburg for October 11th-12th. We'll be doing the 9 miler and the 2, 3 milers. So 6 leaders and 9 kids are going down for that. Then do the usal camping in the fall months and we're talknig about doing a 50 miler trip sometime in April. So hopefully we can bring it back. Hopefully Camp K can get a better turn out for their Trek next year.

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As a trained researcher MIGHT say, first define your terms? To a branc new scout troop just starting out, a week end at the local County park might be high adventure especially if it rains. For a troop who has been around a bit, maybe a 3 day 2 night back packing trip covering 30 miles is high adventure and to a Venturing Crew, a week hiking Glacier Naitonal PArk might be High Adventure.


It depends on where a troop is in its development. I wouldnt be to concerned about where you are now,

but work on where you want to be, how to spread the word and talent to do high adventure, and how to get it done without bankruptcy

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Good point. The data for our council came from Tour Permits on file. With over 1500 units, they couldnt consider specific demographics or circumstances. Nor could they judge the high-adventure quotient of a normal summer camps add-on High-A program, so they ignored them all. The 5% number they came up with was quick and dirty, no doubt, but illustrative. This isnt meant to slam anybody especially if theyre in a recovery/rebuilding stage. I just thought it was interesting to note that only 1 out of 20 troops in the Houston area went on a hard-core high adventure trip this year. I would have guessed the number would be closer to 25-30% -- recognizing that some programs are building up, some dont go every year, and some arent interested or dont have the adults to make it happen. Does anybody know if this is a common number at the council level?


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I have no clue what other troops around us do. I have limited contact with them as roundtable is on our weekly meeting night. I do make it a point to talk it up when we do get together.


I'm not even sure exactly how many troops are in my district (I'm guessing 25) but I do know that two of us hold regular HA trips every year. I also know of about three or four others who do HA trips on a roughly bi-yearly basis.


Personally I define HA as extended length trips or trips where the difficulty/maturity level exceeds the ability level of your average 2nd class and under scout. HA is something not just everyone can do without training and a degree of experience. As subjective and wiggly as that definition is, I doubt I could clarify more. Basicly I know what I call HA when I see it.

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Our troop used to be known as a high adventure troop in the past. Since our troop has been around for 85 yrs, by 'past' I mean the 70's, 80's and early 90's. Characterised by an annual trip to the boundary waters every year and enough canoeing in between to warrant owning our own canoes and trailers.


but in the past ten years or so, they maybe take the canoes out once a year, if at all.


We have done some high adventure trips - all weekends, at the most - 4 days, 3 nights- I would clasify "high adventure" as something that needs specialized training by the boys & specialty trained leaders - things like climbing, canoeing, caving, Backpacking - where you are off the 'civilized' car camping areas and emergency help is not just around the corner.


when we do these kind of trips, our attendance is always down. But I would be worried if it WEREN'T less - because these are NOT trips for tenderfeet!


Our troop has been less than 20 boys for a few years - and they tend to want to do things as a whole troop, and they did not use patrol system until recently. We are still trying to get them to do patrol campouts. the closest we have come is to go on the same campout - but the Venture patrol went whitewater rafting while the younger patrols went hiking.


One of the big problems is leadership - Looking at our 5 most active/camping SM/ ASM's - the three that are most willing and capable of taking leadership responsibility, and have the most training - have the least PHYSICAL capability of leading this kind of trip. We have two who are more physically capable; but are not willing to commit and take responsibility or extensive training for leading such a trip. (I'm including myself in the first group - I'll take the training & responsibility - but I cannot physically heft a pack!)


Looking at the physical profiles of the adults seen at roundtable, camporees, etc - I would suspect that many troops are in our (overweighty) boat.


Still, I would like to see our boys have the opportunity, should they wish too - which is why when they wanted to do a boundary waters trip next year - i backed them 150%. I may even help train to go along, tho i probably won't go - I wouldn't want to hold them back.


however - I think one aspect of high adventure is very UNDER used in our area - That of established camps HA programs. Mostly because our camps do not offer high adventure programs, and there is a push to use our camps.


i think these programs are ideal - as they often provide the trained staff, even equipment and boy training. i would feel much more secure with my son under THEIR direction, than i would having him go with adults whose expertise I am not certain of.


the final problem is a harder one - the boys themselves. In the first year my son was with the troop there was a big gap in ages - we had two boys close to 18 and Eagle - capable of HA trips - and the rest were pretty much 11 - 13; 2nd class and below, not much camping experience. More than that - most were NOT very physically fit, and even if they were, were not inclined to CHOOSE to exert themselves on a long backpacking trip or biking trip. We live in a community where everyone drives to the corner store - and walking the equivalent of a few blocks is considered a hardship by the kids. (esp at summer camp - I never heard so much complaining!) Very few of the boys in our troop WANT to work that hard!


Still, we've managed to get them canoeing again - so there IS hope!

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