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dan

A tent and a Scout

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This post is relating to Boy Scouts not Cub Scouts.

A poster (one that I usually agree with) posted that you should never have a scout tent by himself.

I do not agree with this statement. If a scout that is 16 years old and set a tent up one foot away from his patrol mates. I do not see how this would validate the GTSS or the buddy system.

This sounds more like a troop rule than a BSA rule.

I have had this discussion with other leaders, and they could not show me anywhere where this is even suggested.

 

Tried to do a spin off and it would not work?

 

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Dan, I agree. If we have an odd # of scouts in a patrol on a campout, the PL has two options. Pile in 3 to a tent, or he can sleep on his own. Most of them usually choose to sleep on their own.

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The use of the buddy system is a basic element in all safety issues in scouting. It is the easiest most effective way to have the availability of instant assistance in case of a problem. Tenting is no diifernt than any other outdoor activity.

 

Think of the all the things that can happen to a scout in those 8 hours. Illness, intrusion, environmental changes. Having a partner in the tent can literally mean the difference between life and death. You never know when that buddy will be needed, so part of being prepared is always have a buddy.

 

It would not take a huge temperature change to bring on hypothermia in a scout, other illnesses can set in as well in very short periods of time. Having a tent mate to get help when needed can make a big difference.

 

Teaching scouts that they need a buddy at all times is easier when you stay consistent with the message. Thinking that the risk is low so you don't have to do it this time is the same attitude that caused the life of a scout recently in Utah. They were only 150 yards from camp, he was only going to put on some dry clothes and return. Yet in those 150 yards he got disoriented and lost. No emrgency gear, no buddy, no help, and he has never been found.

 

Remember that for 8 hours while scout is in your care you are unconscious, if he is tenting alone he can be in danger and NOBODY else would know.

 

The Boy Scout Handbook says:

"The buddy system should always be used when a troop or patrol is hiking, camping, and participating in any aquatics activities. It is a way of sharing the good timesand preventing the bad."

 

Tenting is a big part of camping. They should have a buddy with them to be prepared.

 

BW

 

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Gotta admit Bob, in 30 years, this is the first time I've ever heard anyone interpret the Buddy System to apply to tents. While there are certainly risks, and I believe you should do everything in your power to mitigate them, I believe you are streching a little on your interpretation here.

 

I'm thinking of several situations that this simply is not possible:

- Summer Camp. Our camp provides the standard 2-man walled tents. Do we cram a 3rd boy in those tents? I don't think so.

 

- Backpacking. Most crews carry 2-man tents and share between members. These tents do not accommodate 3 people. And, some scouts, especially older ones, may prefer the one-man tents.

 

I'm curious to hear others interpretation.

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I am not stretching the buddy system I am applying it to a situation where the scout might otherwise be alone and without aid for as long as 8 hours. It is a way of being prepared for emergencies while camping. It is good outdoorsmanship.

 

One of he practices we teach scouts is to check your buddy for signs of frostbite, hypothermia, dehydration, ticks. not many people are capable of doing that by themselves. Buddies are a sound safety practice.

 

 

 

 

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Bob, Interesting point and I understand from whence you are comming. However, and I say that mostly because I didnt want to say But...

 

When the Troop had a few groups out at Philmont, I could have sworn the groups were told that on the trail they wanted them to sleep alone in tents because if a bear came sniffing around, it would be easier for a boy to exit the tent through the "back door", (hastily made with a knife) than two boys trying to do the same thing)

 

Has anyone else heard the same thing?

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If the bear is going to attack you one person running out the back is no safer than two runningout the front. The bear can still run several times faster than you, even a few minutes head start is not going to help let alone a few seconds.

 

Actually two in the tent is safer. That way you don't have to outrun the bear, you just have to outrun your buddy.

 

If you want to be safe from bears, tenting with a buddy is the least effective safety measure that comes to mind.

 

BW

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Sorry - I don't buy it.

The solo scout's buddies are a few feet away - not 150 yards.

You can hear through those walls like they're thin air.

In bad weather, it's easy to check in by yelling between tents. (I've done it in raging storms. Key is to keep them fairly close.)

About the only thing you can't do from the next tent over is kick your buddy.

 

That being said, there are some things to consider when deciding who will be solo.

- Older, more experienced camper preferred by a wide margin. (If there are none, reconsider tripling up - they're all small anyway.)

- Don't solo a scout who has special needs (medical/social/emotional) and has a higher likelihood of needing help. (For example, history of asthma or epilepsy. Or exhibits "judgment issues.")

- Don't solo a scout who is showing signs of hypo or hyperthermia, dehydration, etc.

- Make sure scout is willing to be solo (and is not being shunned by his patrol).

- Place the solo tent in the midst of others.

- If weather is a factor, have someone else verify tent, location, and equipment are all OK. (For example, does it look like he has adequate bedding and clothes for warmth?)

- Have a quick chat with scout about what to do if he needs help or needs to leave the tent at night. (At Philmont this summer, we were advised to take a buddy if we needed to get out for anything more than visiting the closest rock, if you catch my drift. OGE - We didn't get the same advice about intentionally going solo for quicker escape.)

 

My $0.02

-mike

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No one said you had to do this. Many things we do as leaders are not covered by policy. I took the lessons of scouting and applied it to a situation. There is no harm, it follows the lessons we teach the scouts, it has proven helpful more than once. It does not require any time or money to do, And I sleep better knowing that every scout has a buddy.

 

Those are my reasons. You can do something else based on your reasons. I am not the only one who does it this way, and you are not the only one who does it that way.

 

 

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I must have been brainwashed by my training because we state, as a troop, that no Scout (youth) sleeps alone in a tent. This "rule" was stated to me repeatedly during various training courses. Alas, I to find that it is not explicitly stated in the G2SS. However, I think it is a good rule to follow not only from the safety perspective, as BW states, but from a social perspective as well. The boys need to get along with one another and a tent mate builds up that relationship.

 

During winter camping it is especially important because the warning signs of hypothermia are easily missed if not observed close hand.

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I really don't think the buddy system means no Scout tents solo! Mike F's post addresses this best!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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The troop I work with has never intepreted the buddy system to apply to tenting, either. Many of the older scouts tent in small backpacking tents, which only hold one. In addition, some of the scouts use hammocks - either open, with a tarp overhead, or the enclosed kind.

 

If they are in hammocks they are within a few feet of each other or near a tent.

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Philmont has a policy, from their 2004 guidebook, that says scouts/scouters may sleep alone in a tent if there is an odd number in the crew. Coming from the training base, I would go with this as a good policy. Many adults outside the BSA camp/hike solo. BTW, many adults enjoy the added room of a solo sleep in a 2 man tent. Common sense has to be applied on who, when, and why.

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"Many adults outside the BSA camp/hike solo."

 

I am hopeful they have more experience and expertise than a 12 year old or thay are not hikers they are fools.

 

Any one who learns outdoor skills knows the first rule of safety is "never go alone".

 

Again no one is saying you have to do this. Part of leadership is being able to take what you learn from one place and be able to transfer that information to another. Not every leader makes the same choices.

 

If we agree that the goal is to "be prapred" and to keep scouts in our charge safe be being preepared then where is the problem with no scout sleeps alone?

 

 

 

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There's not a problem with your rule of noone sleeps alone. Outdoor magazines are filled with survival situations that have lone travelers (car, boat, and hike)that found themselves alone against the elements. Wilderness survival is still a popular merit badge due to the reliance on yourself to be prepared.

I don't recall when any scout or scouter woke up the troop in the middle of the night to check for hypothermia, frostbite, or wetting the(This message has been edited by Double Eagle)

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