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CubsRgr8

Campout Cancellations

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I'm a little distressed by the idea of some troops turning away a Scout who wants to go at the last moment...

 

I'll give up some food from the adult patrol's grub box if it means getting a kid into the outdoors for the weekend.

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The policy was put into place because we were having too many boys who were showing up at the mustering site without persmission forms. A ususal scenario would be Johnny would get dropped off and dad would leave. Now we're short a seat for the extra scout. On top of that the parents can't be reached to come back and sign a permission form.

 

Give up adult food for the extra Scout? Why? What does that teach the boys? The ones that plan and follow the rules see that they don't have to plan anything and everything will work out.

 

 

 

 

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eoleson,

 

I dont see anything wrong with your approach, if that is consistent with what you are trying to achieve with your scouts. I also do not see anything wrong with the approach of others that take a different approach, which is consistent with their aims for scouts in their units.

 

I still recall, after many, many years, a jr high school english teacher that during the first day of class informed us all that he would not accept any homework assignments turned in late. During the first couple of weeks, a few students tried to turn in late papers, with excuses as to why they were late. Didn't matter. It didn't take long and everyone turned in assignments on time. This was not true for other teachers in other classes - same students turned in homework late.

 

Our english teacher wanted to teach subject matter skills, but he also wanted to teach more; life skills such as responsibilty. He could have done like the other teachers and only concerned himself with the subject he was teaching, but he chose to take a larger view. And looking back, I know really appreciate what he did for us.

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"If a boy was really excited about going, he would not change his mind and choose another activity, or forget."

 

Unfortunately, that is not always the case. One of our Scouts just canceled for this weekend's trip because it is his Mom's weekend with him and she doesn't want him to go.

Another of our Scouts has missed the last five months of camping trips because of family obligations.

 

Edit to add: all families receive a copy of our yearly calendar and know well in advance the dates of all our campouts and activities.(This message has been edited by gwd-scouter)

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I have found it is almost ALWAYS the same scouts (or parents)

who are late every time. It is not fair to the people who are always on time to cater to the perpetual latecomers.

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"...all families receive a copy of our yearly calendar and know well in advance the dates of all our campouts and activities."

 

Exactly. The question to ask yourself is WHY did the boy make a choice to do a different activity? WHY did a boy choose to do a "family obligation" for 5 consecutive campouts? WHY did the boy and his mother choose "Mom's weekend" instead of a campout?

 

If a boy chooses a different activity, it is because the Scout activity isn't a strong enough attraction.

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None the less FScouter, most scouts are not able to drive themselves to meetings and outings, and most (under age 16 anyway) do not have jobs to pay for the outings, either. So mom's or dad's support is crucial, at least in terms of getting them to and from the outings (not to mention, signing the permission slip allowing them to attend) and perhaps also in terms of paying the cost of the gear they need and the camping fees the troop charges. I'm sure you know this. The boy may be unhappy about the parent's decision but he may not be able to influence it, anyway.

 

 

 

 

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FScouter - I'll agree with you to a point. Scouting will never be an attractive enough activity for one of the boys I mentioned. The guy that has missed the past five campouts, ALWAYS has something much more attractive and thrilling to do with his family than camp in the woods: let's see, there was the Clemson Homecoming football game one weekend, a weekend in the Bahamas, a long weekend at Disney World are the three most recent. No, we don't schedule anything over school holiday long weekends because we know family may like to go out of town - his mother just pulls him out of school for a few days. I don't know what the family plan is for this coming weekend, but I'll bet it's spectacular.

 

The fellow who's Mom wants him to stay with her this weekend generally attends about half of our activities, if he remembers. He is the one (actually only) Scout in our Troop that always says "no one told me about that, I didn't get the email, etc. etc." His Mom even admitted to me that she doesn't always read or even open emails about Scout stuff. She said to me "oh, if I see it's an email about Scouts I just put it aside to read later." Sure is a good way to miss out on important info.

 

The plans the guys made for the year last August and the weekly meeting plans put together by our PLC each month are certainly attractive enough for the other eight boys in the Troop that come to the meetings and the campouts (for instance, regarding the aforementioned Clemson Homecoming Game: two of our Scouts had the opportunity to go but declined because they wanted to go on the backpacking trip).

 

So, as I said I will agree with you in part. But, poor program isn't always the reason for poor attendance.

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Mom's weekend? That could be established by the court and I really wouldn't expect the kid to give it up but I might expect mom to say "Hey, I'll see you next time."

 

Family obligations? Funerals, weddings, Grampa's in from Naples Italy. Againg, I wouldn't expect a kid to give those up for camping and neither should you.

 

The problem is that too many times cancellations are for things like "it's raining" or "Jimmy has a new Xbox." The problem is that too many boys view camping as something akin to work. It drags them out of their bedrooms, away from the TV, and they have to deal with dirt and trees.

 

Too many kids don't want to do anything adventuresome unless it packaged and tidy and they don't have to do any work. Paintball? That's fun, mom will drive me. Pick up games? Nah, too much effort.

 

 

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Everything is a choice. One may CHOOSE to do a wedding or funeral instead of a campout. Go for it. When one says "I can't", or "I have no choice", what that really means is "I would have to give up a lot to do the campout instead of the other thing, so I CHOOSE the other thing".

 

Stuff like weddings, court-ordered visitation, and trips to the Bahamas don't come up at the last minute, "forcing" a boy to cancel out of a campout.

 

If boys are making choices that adversly affect others, perhaps they are not making the "ethical choices over their lifetimes" we are working to instill. So the question is, will cancellation rules fix that?

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Many kids have no clue what the family is planning beyond tomorrow. "Wedding? I didn't know about any wedding."

 

I view weddings and funerals and visits from out of town family as obligations, not choices.

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On this one I'm with GW. If my kid tried to tell me he was not going to be at (insert family obligation here) because he was going camping?! I'd set him straight right quick. Hopefully two things would happen. First, I hope he wouldn't sign himself up for something that conflicts with a family obligation (to the extent that these are known in advance). Second, if he did, I hope he'd make the proper phone calls to cancel and apologize as soon as possible, so as to spare others the annoyances that go with last-minute cancellations.

 

But to expect a kid to put scouting before family, or to expect a kid to make choices between scouting and family events independently regardless of parental wishes is, I think, rather unrealistic.

 

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"His Mom even admitted to me that she doesn't always read or even open emails about Scout stuff. She said to me 'oh, if I see it's an email about Scouts I just put it aside to read later.' Sure is a good way to miss out on important info."

 

That is probably more common than we like to believe. I try to compress the central message of my Scouting Emails into the Subject heading:

 

"SLED CAMP Feb 15: $20 Due Monday"

 

It helps if you know the Scouts' Email addresses.

 

Kudu

 

 

 

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The reason why a boy cancels is irrelavent. The result is the same: wasted food, wasted cabin rent, wasted drivers, disappointed patrol mates. Who are we to judge whether a family event or a boob tube extravaganza is a "valid excuse"? Boys (or parents) make the choice to attend, or not. They also make the choice to properly notify (or not) others in the troop that are affected.

 

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"Who are we to judge whether a family event or a boob tube extravaganza is a "valid excuse"? "

 

The Scoutmaster, who should consider such things in helping a boy grow in character and citizenship? Who, under current BSA structure, is charged with signing off on scout spirit for each rank? Who is expected to guide SPL's and PL's in leading the troop/patrol?

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