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Who gets to go on high adventure?

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We have a reservation at Tinnerman, a canoe base owned/run by the Cleveland Council.



Last year we had to cancel our trip to Tinnerman because we did not have 2 adults for the crew. Poor late planning was the biggest culprit. The crew size is 8. We must have at least two adults but we can have up to three. We had seven Scouts signed up for six spots. One was the reserve in case someone bailed.


This year I have taken on the responsibility of the primary adult leader going on the trip. Myself, the SM and the CC have been discussing which Scouts should go. The idea of the first six qualified (age 13 by January 1 and at least First Class) Scouts to turn in their deposits get to go. We have also discussed that perhaps there should be some other criteria involved. Like was the Scout on the list last year? Do older Scouts who are possibly going to age out have precedence over younger Scouts? We can have up to three adults so do we open the one floating adult spot up to the two Scouts who will be 18 before the trip but were signed up last year? Should troop outings and meeting attendance be factored in?


Note: We have not yet announced the trip to the Scouts and won't until I have secured the second adult.


My question is how do your troops decide who is going on High Adventure when more than the crew size want to go?

(This message has been edited by asm 411)

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I wouldn't put too many qualifiers on the sign-up. And making a legacy list from last year seems overtly bias. Also, I will guess that the aging-out scouts won't be as interested as you might expect.




Skill (prior canoe experience and or canoe MB)



Those that wanted to go last year will be the first to sign-up this year. I will suggest that you announce the trip and the criteria two weeks prior to open registration. That way all scouts will have had the opportunity to ask their parents before open enrollment.





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Ive been running high-adventure trips for years. Age is always a factor because younger scouts have better chance of getting in on future opportunities. (Its also an incentive for older scouts to stay involved, but thats a secondary factor.)


I also require scouts to be active in the troops program. If they arent attending meetings and supporting troop campouts, they dont get the opportunity to take part in the best stuff we have to offer.


SM and Crew (trek) Adult Advisor must also approve every member of the crew. I ran into some static over this a few years ago. After long discussions with senior leadership at Philmont, they assured me their written requirements pertaining to health and advice on other factors were the bare minimum and they expected the adult leadership to ensure every scout had a good chance of successfully completing the trek. Judgment is required in some cases and they made it crystal clear the advisor is in a better position to make the call based on their direct experience working with the scout. Mental and physical disabilities must be considered, in addition to discipline and Scout Spirit. (Note: These are challenging to work, but things ALWAYS get tougher under stress in the field, so you need to consider them before you hit the trail.)


Dont count out your aged-out Scouts! A 19-yr old college Eagle was excited to take the place of a dad who had to drop out of our trek last summer. (He and the rest of the guys had a blast.) Well have at least three 18-yr old Eagles with us this summer who are looking forward to their last big trip before starting college.


Last note: Its a very good idea to have a waiting list and to include those guys in the training and preparation activities. We have someone cancel at the last minute almost every summer.


Have a blast!




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My troop has had to cancel high adventure trips due to not enough "qualified" scouts interested in going. I can understand needing certain skills and experience, but a list of prerequisite merit badges often kept boys away, rather than encouraging them to finish the badges. Recently one of our former scouts was able to go on his first high adventure campout, because now he is a leader and no longer has to worry about the fact that he did not complete certain merit badges.

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Yah, these are tough, eh?


Always best to find a different venue where you can take everybody who's qualified. Why not Northern Tier (or one of da private outfitters in that area) instead of Tinnerman?


Where you have to select, I reckon it's something like this.


Most important

* Physically qualified for trip (health, fitness, strength for portages & long paddling)

* Skills qualified for trip (strong swimmer, great camper, canoeist)

* Maturity/Scout Spirit qualified for trip (this is a biggie, eh? Nuthin' worse for a crew than blowing this call).


Should be strongly considered

* Current active member of PLC (set an example that hard work and leadership earns rewards).

* Very active troop participant and likely future member of PLC (boy will bring skills he uses back to the troop to teach/help other boys).

* Age (as a "has fewer chances left" for high adventure, but only if they meet the "active" bit).


Might be used

* Rank (as a proxy for skill / maturity, but only if in your unit rank really means skill/maturity, not just parents pushing or book-savvy kids).

* Merit badges (see rank)

* Age (as a proxy for physical ability / maturity)


All these to my mind can be a bit of a cop-out, sort of an objective substitute for doin' our real job of evaluatin' the other things mentioned above. But because they're objective, they perhaps avoid arguments.


Be careful

* First-registered

* First paid


I say this only because there are some families who are organized, and some who aren't, eh? And fer sure, there are some families who can afford to just write a deposit check, and some who have to plan and budget and save and work for it. If you use one of these criteria, it's real easy to miss the fact you're takin' more well-off lads with better family support, and perhaps cutting out the boys who will appreciate and benefit from the trip the most.


I would always open an adult spot up for a boy if it meant a boy who wanted to go could go.








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I would love to have more qualified adults to go. Out troop is in a transition period and with that we are trying to recruit more ASMs. We have a hard time getting parents to camp with us for the weekend never mind take a week off of work. To give credit to our SM and CC they have done great things in the last 6 months in getting more parents involved. Lots more work needs to be done before we would be able to support two high adventure crew outings and summer camp in the same year. But I do like your suggestion, thank you very much.




To clear a few things up. Last year when we had to cancel the trip because of lack of adult leaders. The Cleveland Council was nice enough to only keep a portion of our deposit to cover the food they purchased for the trip. The balance of our deposit they applied to the 2009 outing. By the letter of the law they could have kept it all. So we can not really change things up at this point.


I was not involved in the planning last year but it was done a bit backwards from my point of view. Trip scheduled, scouts asked who wants to go then adults secured. No deposits were taken from the Scouts last year. The last step is where things went wrong. The proper order, it seems to me, is ask the Scouts where they want to go, get the adults lined up, secure the deposits from the Scouts then schedule the trip.


Thank you very much for your input it is much appreciated.

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Years and years ago, my Troop had a hurdle of being First Class to go on the Council's backpacking trail. Our Troop actually broke into 3 parts for the summer camping season: One part were campers at the Scout Camp, one part were 1st time backpackers going on the Silver Knapsack Trail, and one part were more experienced backpackers going on the Powderhorn Trail.


I backpacked the low Sierra Nevada when I was 12 and 13 years old, and the High Sierra when I was 14.


Crew sizes and aging are, imo, management tools by the High Adventure bases (national and local). They serve to keep the trails from being end to end conga lines. Period.


If the kid can make the training hikes, let him go on the trail!

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I agree with you wrote but I think I was not clear.


1) We are committed to going to Tinnerman Canoe Base.

2) We have 6 Scout positions in our crew.

3) The restriction of rank and age are the Canoe Base's not our Troop's.

4) I am reasonable sure, at least for 2009, that I will not be able to get enough parental support to have two crews.


What I am trying to figure out is since we have the restrictions I stated above how does the troop select who will be going if we have more than six Scouts that would like to go?



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You have stated that you are waiting until you have your 2nd adult lined up before announcing this. Two things come to mind....


1) You may have an interested scout who can persuade his parent to come along to make up your second, required, adult if you make the plea.


2) Why not use one of the two scouts who will be over 18 by then but had signed up last year? You seem to reserving this option solely as a possible 3rd adult. We had multiple crews going to Sea Base this past year and one had, as it's two adults, a relatively new ASM plus an 18/19 year old Eagle Scout. By all accounts, this worked just fine. Of course, it depends on your assessment of the young men and their maturity level. You also need to make sure that they are aware that, in going, they are ADULTs and must adhere to the YP guidelines, etc.

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If you get 9 applications the first night of sign-up a drawing could be used to choose who goes and who will be an alternate.


IMHO the attending leader's kids should get automatic spots. But you didn't ask this so it must already be wroked out.

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We do an extreme winter camping trip in January and allow only 8 Scouts to go. Scouts must be at least 13 and 1st Class to go, then we give priority to those who have not gone before, then rank and age. We always have more Scouts interested than there are slots, so we do a lottery. This has always been for 4 or 5 more 13 yr 1st Class Scouts than there is room for. Once the 8 are chosen - at a Troop meeting so everyone knows whats going on and sees that it's fair - then the deposit is requested by a particular date. If the deposit is not received by that date, that Scout is out, and the next one from the lottery is in. We are very clear before the process is started so everyone can see what is going on and they understand what the consequences are for not getting the deposit in (which has never happened!) The younger Scouts are very excited about going, and talk about it years before they qualify. I know this is exclusionary, but the boys like it, and look forward to their turn to go and be one of the Winter Camping 8. All the Scouts who want to go will eventually go. Since not all Scouts like camping in the extreme cold, it works out.


In reference to the dilemma faced by asm411, I suggest a lottery - toss the names of qualified Scouts in a hat and pick 6. My experience is that the boys will see that it's fair and be ok with it. Those who don't get picked can have priority next year.


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  • 11 months later...

Here is some new info for 2010 on the age requirement for high adventure at Tinnerman. The scout must be 13 by September 1st of the year that they participate. This means that they can be 12 when they go to Tinnerman.

Tinnerman has no merit badge requirements, although it's very helpful to have prior canoeing and swimming experience. One of the great things about Tinnerman is that we will accomodate many different skill levels and will plan your itinerary to reflect to skills of the crew.

We can help fill out your crew if you need a couple more scouts or if you need adult leadership, we'll help put together a provsional crew.

If you sign up for the 2010 Tinnerman season by Dec. 31st, 2009, you will recieve $100.00 off your crew fee. We have kept the prices the same as 2009 for 2010. It's always a great time to come to Tinnerman, but now it's even better! Please get in touch with me if we can help to get your crew to Tinnerman soon. e-mail or call at 216-226-7513



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This can be a very difficult and divisive issue if it is not handled right. Criteria for physical preparedness are both fair and necessary. Rank and age criteria, as pointed out, are essentially proxies for maturity. When I lead canoe outings in the past, I excluded non swimmers, which was in my mind fair and necessary. However you handle this it has to be transparent and clear to all concerned, and free from arbitrary adult decision making.


These situations also arise when there are wilderness use permit limitations on sizes of groups.


Once criteria have been set our troop operates on a first come first served basis. This is not to say that we haven't had some occasional ugly disputes.(This message has been edited by eisely)

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