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I get the impression that some of you think that a den campout would be fundamentally different than a pack campout. I dont see it that way. I see a den campout as a smaller more personable version of the pack campout. Fun in the outdoors, and if they work on achievements or electives thats even better.

 

As for the progression argument, I think its misguided. If the younger boys go camping and have fun, they will not tire of it unless they are pushed to do things that they are just not ready for. Remember that cubbies go camping to have fun, not to meet advancement requirements, and Ive never met a CS aged boy who could have too much fun! There is no reason to have CS or even Webelos become saturated with camping skills. So I think that the progression argument is over used.

 

Leadership.... like TwoCub, if my den went camping we would have Den Leader, Asst. Cubmaster, two additional Asst. Den Leaders, two with WB training, two with WLOT, one with Balooo, a cop, a fireman, and an AEMT. Leadership and safety for many dens is just not an issue.

 

 

 

 

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Keeping it simple...i think the idea is to teach camping skills, or skills to go camping (i.e. working together, cooking simple things, being fit, etc.) to cub scouts. You don't want them to learn incorrectly from a parent who used to go camping while in college ;). Case in point, i had a parent at Webelos Outdoor Weekend (WOW), start a campfire under a tree with no fire bucket! Teach them right the first time so there is no question on what is right and wrong.

 

Also, i think it builds up the excitement to go camping in a couple years, just as Scoutingagain stated. There are many camping opportunities in our council once a scout is a Webelos, until then, there is family camping.

 

fotoscout - your scenerio on leadership is a best case scenerio. At least not typical for my past pack of 60 boys (i just crossed over after being CM for 5 years). I'm grateful to have my den leaders trained with some extra training. Asst. den leaders...we had 3 registered. It might depend on the area one lives in, but i think leadership and safety for many dens IS an issue. So we'll agree to disagree? ;)

 

Sparkie

 

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Still no answer.

 

So this would also mean that a Bear den couldn't go to summer camp by themselves?

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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Sure there are Dens with lots of adult leadership. Still there are many that have a hard time just finding two. If the policy were to allow Den Camping I feel that some would be off to camp with a Den Leader who was Baloo Trained and the Assistant Den Leader.

So while some Dens are fortunate enough to have all these extra leaders most are not.

Eamonn

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You may well be correct, Eamonn. But if so, I think a bold-face G2SS policy statement is an odd way to handle it. IMHO, bold face policies need to be Maintain Two-deep Leadership and No Flammable Liquids and the like.

 

If you are correct, an adequate policy would be to encourage camping by packs in order to ensure all Cubs in a unit have an equal opportunity to camp and that if dens camp they must meet the same guidelines for health, safety and leadership as for a pack overnighter, or something similar.

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And still no answer.

 

Well I might as well keep my self busy. It's gonna be a long wait. Let's see the rabbit comes out of the hole and ..........

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The focus seems to be on the issue of leadership. 1) The assumption is, camping leadership at the pack level will always be superior to that of the den level. I belive that to be flase. 2) Leaders at a Pack campout will be better organzides then a Den campout. I know that to be false.

 

The "its in rule book so it has to be good" people focus on the very subjective idea of leadership. Instead the discusion should be on the hazards. The hazards challenges of small group camping (read den) are no greater than large group camping (read pack). In fact its the opposite. It is easier to monitor the boys in a small setting than in a large.

 

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While I can't pretend to talk for the guys and gals at the National Office or the volunteers that put out the guidelines for Cub Scout Camping.

If I was asked to be part of that here are a few things that I would be thinking of.

Cub Scouting happens in the family and the community.

Is it fair that one small group of Cub Scouts get to go to camp only because they have the leader that can? What about the Den Leader that is unable to take his or her Den are they not part of the Cub Scouting community.

I suppose that I could make up a set of Standards that have to be met, just like Day Camp and Resident Camp has?

This might go a long way to ensuring that all the rules are followed but as anyone who has dealt with National Standards knows these can be a real pain. Still they do work.

If Den camping becomes the norm are we taking something away from our other programs? Do we want to do that? I think not. While Patrol camps and patrol camping might be something that every Patrol might want to strive for most Boy Scouts camp as a troop. If a Den becomes accustomed to just being the little elite group will they want to camp with a troop? I don't know. But why take that chance?

Lastly we need to remember that the Cub Scout belongs to the Pack not the Den, the Den is part of the pack. Would I want to harm this set up? Again I think not.

Seem to me that there is a lot of things to look at. Maybe the place to start is at the very beginning and the methods of Cub Scouting.

Eamonn

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eamonn,

I agree that not all dens would be able to go camping and that would not be fair, but what does fair have to do with safety? The dens that have the ability to go camping should be able to. And based on the G2SS, a Bear den would not be able to attend summer camp unless the entire pack went!

 

Sure it's the rule & must be followed. I think we are just looking for an explanation so it makes sense.

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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I would like to suggest that G2SS and most other Scouting rules and regulations are intended to compensate for the lowest common denominator. So while there are some dens that could camp safely, there are many that could not. One could suggest that something like Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills be required to take your den camping. However, I would suggest there are better uses of a den leaders time. They should be focusing on the cub program. I would rather a bear cub den leader go take Wood badge before they take Outdoor Leader Skills. Keep the focus on the program as is. If you want to change the program, great, start writing letters.

 

If you look at the chart in the appendix of the G2SS, you will see there are several activities not considered age appropriate for cubs. Here is a list of activities that tigers, bears, and wolves cannot do, that relates to camping and outdoor activities:

camporees

cooking outdoors

fire building

fueled devices

orienteering

pioneering

axes

bow saws

hand ax

winter camping

survival training

 

After having reviewed that list, it seems there is a fairly limited need to undertake cub camping activities for the purpose of providing training to the cubs. Certainly it would seem that a few pack camp-outs and maybe summer resident camp should cover it each year.

 

As to the purely fun aspect of camping, I think the idea is that can best be done during pack and family camping. Packs are better equipped to provide the level of program considered by BSA to be desirable for cub camping. While there may be some den leaders capable of providing the sort of program desired, some would not be able to do so.

 

The center of gravity, so to speak, is nearer to the pack than the dens. On the other hand the entire Boy Scout system is dependent on the patrol method.

 

Also, some of you have made false accusations and assertions about what pack camping is. Some of you have asked if only member of one den show up, can it still be done?

The answer is clear from the G2SS. "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"

So there is clearly no requirement that member of multiple dens attend. Instead, it seems clear it must be a pack planned event, attended by multiple families, who may or may not be from the same den.

 

Similarly there was a statement made about not being able to attend summer camp if only one den went. "Wolf and Bear Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts may participate in a resident overnight camping program operating under BSA National Camp Schooltrained leadership and managed by the council." The statement clearly applies to the Scouts. It does not say anything about dens or packs in this rule. Perhaps the regulations for a resident camp do, but very few of us are familiar with those.

 

Another possible reason for wanting cub camping to be a pack level event is to provide an extra layer of oversight. The pack has a committee to review the program. The pack has a relationship with a unit commissioner to help provide information, and to act as an extra link to the council. The pack has a COR who also communicates with council and is responsible for looking after the charter organizations interests. The pack has multiple leaders of various types to assist in planning and carrying out outdoor activities. Your typical Bear den does not have these things. In fact, I don't think any den of any type has all of these things.

 

Further, it is possible that the sheer number of adults at a pack activity (both parents, and leaders) provide something of a critical mass that makes providing the program in a safe and effective manner far more likely than at the den level.

 

 

I would suggest that it is possible that these seeming over achieving cub dens may be a result of over eager den leaders and parents. While I am certain that everyone has the best intentions, is it possible someone started thinking from the point of view of what they wanted and could do, rather than from the point of what the cubs wanted and are ready for? I certainly can't say for certain, since I am not on the ground to observe the facts, but it certainly seems a possibility. Even those of us in the Boy Scout program, with its looser restrictions and more capable youth, sometimes find ourselves trying to push the program the way we want it, rather than in the direction that is best for the Scouts.

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Proud Eagle, nice post. But with all due respect I think it highlights a separation of some years from the CS Program.

 

No one in their right mind would involve CSs in most of the activities that you listed, and I would consider roasting marshmallows as hardly a form of outdoor cooking. Your posting also brings to light one of the other great differences between CS and BS. CS packs, at least in this area, dont usually have the strong committee to do the work that you suggest. Often were lucky to have leader who are doing little more than going thought the motions, I call them the tag-a-longs. And, to finish out that thought process, these tag-a-long leaders havent motivated their parents to be involved, so they also have no parental support. They dont and wont, step up to a larger task that would benefit the pack. Consequently, its the few active den leaders that put on the program. The result is, if I put on the pack camping trip, my den doesnt get the attention from me that they deserve. The parents from my den should not be expected to cater to the rest of pack. They have their own kids to tend to.

 

A little anger here!

 

Im all for your focus on program, but outdoor activities and camping ARE part of the CS program. As national has said, more outdoors and camping activities need to be presented in the CS program. Some of us are actively trying to do that, but national isnt helping. Instead of spouting about no Den campouts, the G2SS should be placing guidelines on how we do our den campouts. I have no problem with the list of age appropriated activities (except canoeing), but I feel that the guidelines should address items like these for Den Camping trips:

 

Travel distance for your meeting place, identify a limitation

Number of nights, identify a limitation

Weather and temperature ranges

Location; no Bear Country or other dangerous critters

Cell phone access, location should have means of communication

Parent/child restrictions

Sibling issues

Training requirements

 

I havent given a great deal of thought to these items, but Im sure you see the concept behind them. Provide guidelines for the trip, dont prohibit it!

 

 

Yes Ed, still no answer.

 

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I was at a University of Scouting this weekend, and it was emphasized in two different classes that National is shortly going to recommend that Cub Scouts get outdoors more often. The assumption is that all dens are meeting weekly (emphasis on assumption), and therefore the third den meeting each month should involve an outdoor event.

This recommendation is based upon a perceived retention problem in Cub Scouting, and a series of "exit interviews" where the Cubs who left said it was because they thought they were going camping in Cub Scouts and didn't.

These outdoor den events are in addition to pack planned events, so when I asked about the issue of this thread, we were told that there would be changes in training forthcoming. There was a representative of the national Cub Scouting committee from Irving at one of the Q&A sessions that I unfortunately missed.

So, in answer to Ed, still no answer.

I wish I had these postings on Saturday, to frame my question better. But given the suggested emphasis on outdoor activities at the den level, maybe there will be an answer soon.

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Honestly, PE, much of your post doesn't jive with the reality of the Cub Scout program. You write that "The pack has multiple leaders of various types to assist in planning and carrying out outdoor activities." That may be, but there is no requirement that they do so. All that is required for a pack camp out is for one adult to have taken BALOO training (and of course parent/guardian supervision for each youth). There is no requirement that the Cubmaster, COR, or committee be involved. A committee member must sign the tour permit, but nothing further.

"I would suggest there are better uses of a den leaders time. They should be focusing on the cub program." and "It seems there is a fairly limited need to undertake cub camping activities for the purpose of providing training to the cubs. Certainly it would seem that a few pack camp-outs and maybe summer resident camp should cover it each year." Camping IS part of the Cub program, but I think you're misunderstanding it's purpose and/or application. Just because all the activities you list are prohibited for Cubs doesn't mean there aren't age-appropriate activities Cubs can do. Cub camping is not Boy Scout camping for shorter boys. We're not trying to teach them camping skills and no one is trying to create a "Venture Den". Cub Scouts camp to give them an appreciation for and interest in the outdoors, to enjoy activities we may not be able to do at regular meetings, to provide extended, focused time with their parents and other Scouts, and to simply have fun. I do agree that a couple of Cub campouts per year is sufficient.

"The center of gravity, so to speak, is nearer to the pack than the dens." I disagree and would go as far as to say the fundamental unit of Cub Scouting is the Den. "The Den" is one of the methods of Cub Scouting. As the leader book says, "The den is the place where boys learn new skills and develop interests in new things. They have fun in den meetings, during indoor and outdoor activities and field trips.... They learn how to do their best not just for themselves but also for the den."

As to the issues of equality and fairness that you and Eamonn point out, if you are saying the quality of the Cub program is dependent on the quality of the leaders, I would say "so what else is new?" That some den leaders would take their dens camping and others wouldn't is no different from any other activity. That's true from den to den and pack to pack. There are some whole packs that don't camp because their leadership isn't into camping. I have a Tiger den leader who works for an airline and arranged time for his den in the airline's flight simulator. How cool was that!?! But should they have been prevented from doing it because none of the other dens had that opportunity?

I think you misunderstood my earlier points about single-den packs or pack activities where only one den chooses to attend. I agree with you that G2SS doesn't preclude them from camping. My point was ask the difference between a campout of a single den from a single-den pack versus a campout of a single den from a multi-den pack?

We're certainly flogging a dead horse here as the G2SS clearly bans den camping. But as others have said, I don't understand the reasoning behind that rule but would like to.

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Thanks for the great comments fotoscout. The posts by Proud Eagle and Bob White infuriate me. Their pompous, self-righteous position is what kills scouting. They act like the dangers of camping are so great that one man couldn't possible organize five boys to sleep outdoors for a night. The dangers where we camped were no greater than those in my own backyard. Every kid had at least their dad and most had a mom and a dad plus a sibling. Where is this huge need for a pack committees on campouts. All youth protection policies where met. Hygeine was maintained. I have seen 7 year old birthday parties less organized then my campout. It has nothing to do with being an over-reaching den, its just not as difficult to plan, organize and execute as Bob and Proud eagle want you to believe it is.

 

The bonding and overall experience we had far outweighed the thought of one too few hotdogs or a boring hike. Its just not that hard or dangerous to sleep one or two nights in a tent.

 

(I guess it will be a while before I get to five stars)

 

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