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kahits

When dads hog the Philmont trek roster...

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It is in a rural area of Eastern Nebraska, and it is a good old boy group of dads, who all go camping with their boys, which I guess is just as much reason for my SIL to go with her son. She sends me photos from time to time and they do have alot of dad's on their campouts. I'll do what I can to offer the only alternative my nephew is going to get to make it to Philmont, because if it doesn't happen, he may likely decide to do other things after getting eagle, this year, without ever making it there. I have still not heard back from my emails, but I hope they are thinking about it. He has a couple of weeks to decide.

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Vicki - yes, you're correct, of course, in that troops may very well decide that two adults per car is a safer way to go. I was guessing that this wasn't the case in kahit's case, but more the good-old-boy network that he described. My comment was just meant to point out that Pack212Scouter's statement about "BSA Standards" was not actually a universal BSA standard.

 

kahit - I feel really bad for your nephew. It's hard to imagine a troop running this way. You don't really ask a question in your original post, so I'm guessing you were just venting. Fair enough. There's little you can do about it, anyway, and I think that you're on the best approach you can find by looking into the alternatives.

 

You could always take him along for a mountain trek if you spend a week at Philmont Training Center. That's a pretty good back-country experience.

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I may be belaboring a point here, or I missed something in a subsequent e-mail, but here goes...a Philmont crew is minimum seven, maximum twelve. Two registered over-21 types per crew.

 

http://www.scouting.org/highadventure/philmont/hikers/crew.aspx

 

So, kahits, bottom line, if you're saying 26 people signed up and four of those were adults, then, no, none of the adults can step down, they have to go. If more than four adults are going, or there is only one crew, or 24 people or less signed up, then asking scouts to step down would present a problem for me. That becomes a logistics/administrative issue which, as adults, we're "paid" to figure out.

 

Vicki

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The lynch mob is out for blood today!

 

Folks, let's keep in mind - these troop leaders are Scouters, just like you and I. Until I have clear evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume they are doing things as best they can.

 

Clarifying my earlier post: A typical car can seat 4 comfortably and 5 not so comfortably. Pickups can carry more gear, but less people. So my earlier post was assuming the troop was going to need 4 vehicles. Two drivers per car is not G2SS policy, and would be unreasonable.

 

Speaking of unreasonable, the troop should rent a van or take the train, rather than use private automobiles? I'd hate to stand up and make that announcement to the troop families. "Well, Matt's dad and Andy's dad were going to drive for free, but in order to make room for Jimmy and Johnny instead, we're going to rent a van. That means all the boys have to pay an extra $100+ for the trip."

 

It isn't all that clear just what the signup procedure was. Were these boys already set and training, only to have two dads bump them? That would be bad, but it might be necessary to get the needed transportation. (If they think they need 4 leaders, I'm not going to call them liars.) Or was this just a "who wants to go" list, not yet finalized?

 

Lots of folks have asserted that it's the Scouter's job to make room in cases like this. Really? No matter what? No matter the cost or the hassle factor? What if you had a crew size of 12 (10 kids, 2 adults) and 11 kids who wanted to go? Do you put a fake moustache on one of the kids and claim he's an ASM?

 

I wasn't at the troop meeting, and neither were you or anyone else on this board. But the fact is (in the opinion of the Troop leaders, who I am assuming are doing their best to put together a successful trek), they had to cut two boys who had wanted to go. Flat-out telling the boys the truth and asking if anyone wanted to volunteer to back out seems a very reasonable way to handle the problem. Sure beats the SM choosing who gets the boot.

 

 

 

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In light of Greg's post, I will back off a little. It is indeed probably best to assume that these leaders are doing the best they can and trying to put together the best trek that they can. I can see the leaders deciding that they really want to have four adults, for any of a variety of reasons.

 

The main thing I see that's wrong here is that a boy would somehow go away with the idea that he was browbeaten out of going on the trek. That's not good. We don't know what really happened at the troop meeting (or wherever), and I'm sure it can be tough to make the decision about who gets to go. But I would really try to avoid having anyone think that they'd be able to go, and then asking them to step down.

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Interesting. I didn't really see anybody out for blood. Decent discussion, different points of view, sympathy for kahits and nephew. Some devil's advocate stuff happening along with fact sharing. All, by definition, based on one side of the story. Nice if we had both sides of the story, but I don't see how that's going to happen. Shoot, nobody's even called anybody any names!

 

Hmmm, perception is such an interesting thing.

 

Vicki (edited for typo)(This message has been edited by Vicki)

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I am going to disagree strongly, taking that many adults is going to take something away from the scouts. I was scheduled to go to Philmont with the troop 2 years ago, it was 3 adults and 7 scouts, two more leaders said they wanted to go, it was okayed by the committee. I told them I would not go, I told them it could not be boy lead with that many adults. It is the scouts program not the adults.

The other 2 adults did not go and I did.

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The total sign up for this troops Philmont trek was 4 adults and 10 youth. They kept the dads and asked 2 of the boys to voluntarily drop out. Eventually, 2 boys, who did not have fathers on the list, did drop out.

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I guess my reaction to how this was done, concerned which boys were really on the bubble. Apparently, it was not the scouts who had fathers signed up, so it came down to the other scouts. Of course my nephew no longer has a father, so he was on that bubble no matter what. They could have done a lottery for the trek, but that would have taken some manner of control out of the equation, and that was not an option they went with. Ultimately, the boys who dropped out will very likely never have this opportunity again, and that decision should have been fair to everyone who committed to going, last summer.

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We avoided the disappointment problem in our Troop by using a first-come-first-served process. Early on, we informed all members of the Troop that whoever paid the Treasurer their trek deposit got their names on the crew lists. It worked well for us. Too bad the Troop didn't form 2 crews of seven scouts and scouters. That way, everone could have gone.

 

Oftentimes, scouts and scouters will have to cancel, too. This happened in our case last summer. Originally, we had 2 fully staffed crews of 12, but by time the trek rolled around, 2 people had to cancel for one reason or another (e.g., work schedules, summer school, etc.), so we went with 2 crews of 11 each.

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kahits wrote:

 

"The total sign up for this troops Philmont trek was 4 adults and 10 youth. They kept the dads and asked 2 of the boys to voluntarily drop out. Eventually, 2 boys, who did not have fathers on the list, did drop out."

 

As I said earlier, the adults should have dropped out before the kids. There is more than one way to get to Philmont (especially I-80 to I whatever into Denver, and then South along the Front Range).

 

We're Scouting, not Scoutering. The youth should have the priority.

 

That's my take.

 

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That all sounds good but we are hearing only one side of the story. There are usually two, sometimes three.

 

Maybe the troop leaders believe that four adults are required. Maybe they have previous experience that leads them to believe that having four adults is a good thing.

 

 

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kahits: It does seem that kids without active parents tend to get jobbed in situations like this.

 

And the "We need someone ...." speech, given to a group where the boys already know who's in "the insider group" and who's not, could be intimidating to a Scout.

 

 

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Thanks, Greg... This is probably why his mother spent so much time accompanying him on campouts, because there were alot of dad's doing the same thing. I know a few troops that have large groups of adults accompany the boys on campouts, and guess this may be a byproduct of that unit dynamic. I could never bring myself to ask her why she did that, but I'm sure she had good reasons. Even when the wear and tear of ground camping took it's toll on her, she kept doing what she could. She is the only female ASM in the troop, and just does what she can to support and encourage him (she also runs a GS troop for her daughter). When I finally found out about this fiasco, she was not complaining, and just said he might not have been ready to do what it would take. I give her alot of credit for helping him cope, but I have heard a few comments that leads me to believe this group of leaders have been in this for themselves for longer then my nephew has been in the unit and there really is not other unit for him to join, in their rural area of the state.

 

I spoke with the District director, today, and he said we have until May 1st, to put down the first deposit for the 09 Contingent, and I had him add his name to my list, saying he would be transferred down here by then. They already have a husband and wife signed up as the advisers for the trek, which means the 2 or 3 other adults I know of, are probably not going to make the final cut. Only one more will be lucky to remain on this roster, as it should be. So, to clarify, I will not be going on the contingent. Having been with my son for just about everything since he was in Tigers, I think this is a time for him to have his own personal experience, but all the more reason to enourage his cousin (more like a brother) to commit to this one time journey in Northern NM. I know they will never forget it.

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As has been stated, the minimum number of adults per crew is 2 and max is 4. There is an advantage to having more than 2 primarily if an adult has to come off the trail, leaving the crew with less than 2 adults, the whole crew must come off the trail. For this reason, I usually plan on having 3 adults so theres a walking spare. In my opinion, that 4th adult is taking a boys slot.

 

I would recommend your nephew ask his leaders if he can continue to train with them in case theres a late cancellation. Ive led crews to Boundary Waters and Philmont and both times we had scouts and adults drop at the last minute due to injuries or work priorities.

 

Im planning to take a crew to Philmont this summer and right now have 2 scouts and 1 adult training with us as backups. They would all rather be on the prime list, but theyll be ready in case something opens up and I expect it to.

 

Id also get in touch with the Council High Adventure coordinator to let him know theres a scout ready for Philmont, but without a current slot. Every summer we have crews scrambling at the last minute to find a replacement for a slot which is already paid for. Two summers ago, one of my scouts was invited to join a crew at no cost. He was in good shape and an experienced hiker. We had less than a week to help him borrow the gear and he had a great time.

 

There are several other options for scouts to attend Philmont as an individual and sometimes with a buddy. Check with Council or Philmont for details.

Roving Outdoor Conservation School (ROCS) spend some time working on conservation projects around Philmont (mostly trail maintenance), then do a trek with your crew. (Advantage is youre acclimated to altitude before start backpacking.)

Order of the Arrow Trail Crew for OA members (age 16-20) similar to ROCS.

Rayado Program hard-core 20-day program very strenuous. (Like your nephew, I missed the cut on my boyhood troops Philmont trek, so I did this one a couple of years later and have bragging rights over their wimpy trek to this day.)

 

Before I sign off, I must ask a few other questions:

How old is your nephew? Is there a large difference in his size/age/skills as compared to the other scouts on the crew? Does he have any physical/emotional issues that could cause problems under extended stress? (The note about him missing most troop campouts because he almost never camps without mom is an attention-getter for me.)

 

The reason I ask is that Ive been on numerous high-adventure trips through the years. In spite of all best intentions, the group will always move at the pace set by the weakest member(s) of the crew. If there is a big difference in capability, that weakest person will have a miserable experience. Perhaps your nephews group is comprised of a bunch of horses with their hearts set on one of Philmonts strenuous treks of 80 miles or more with big elevation changes. Theres an enormous difference between one of Philmonts 55 milers and the so-called super-strenuous 80-100 milers in 10 days. I know it doesnt look like it, but its possible they are doing your nephew a favor.

 

I hope something works out for the young man. Philmont is indeed Scouting Paradise!

 

-mike

 

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