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mikecummings157

Scouts Tenting Alone?

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I agree with eisley our coed crew was at Philmont in '07 and the sea base in '08 and in neither case did the buddy system come up. I told the crew not to wander off alone and they stuck to that. As far as sleeping arrangements were concerned with a coed crew the boys and the girls were seperate, except when we were on the ship, which was pretty tight quarters.

Most of the kids slept up on the deck because of the heat/humidity under the stars and ocean breeze. Nothing happened on either trip because the crew acted as I expected them to, like mature adults, even the staff commented how mature the teens acted.

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To reply further to TwoCubDad, I have never done a buddy check in a campsite, but I have done headcounts.

 

Doing a headcount is a very simple safety precaution. I recall seeing a movie a few years back about a couple of divers left behind by the captain of the dive boat. Apparently it never occurred to anybody in charge of the dive to simply count noses.

 

Such a discipline is simple and effective in a variety of situations. No scout (or adult) left behind.

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The "buddy system": It's more fun to do stuff with a buddy. That's it, nothing more! Yes, so tenting alone can be fun too. No prohibition against it. "Rules" must be cited, else it's only personal opinion.

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i for one like camping with others, gives me someone to talk too and in the winter have 3 to 4 people in a 2 man tent is so warm lol. cramped but warm.

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We have a two Webelos that like to sometimes tent it alone during Webelos campouts. These two are fairly experienced campers, and IMO it's good experience for them to try this with a whole mess of tents nearby. I also think that sometimes they just want a really good night of sleep.

 

Parents are typically in a tent nearby, and the buddy rule (i.e. waking up parent or scout in a nearby tent) applies for bathroom trips in the middle of the night.

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Very interesting discussion. I do see a lot of folks reasoning for the boys tenting alone.

 

My reasons for the buddy system for tenting

 

1. Promotes comradery

2. Much of the year in New York we have cold or wet weather. It helps having the kids keep an eye on each other if they get in trouble. It really helps with the warmth in the cold weather too.

3. Kids with medical issues (diabetes, asthma, etc) need someone else to keep an eye on them.

4. Young kids need a tentmate and I'm not a proponent of special priviledges for the older kids. They should be setting the example.

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Anniepoo,

Please elaborate... are you saying that if a 9 or 10 year old Webelo needs to get up in the middle of the night to water the bushes behind his tent, he needs to wake up his parent or another Scout to go with him?

 

As for the tenting alone (or not), there should always be a goal of having Scouts tenting together, simply for the comaradarie aspect. If several boys are tenting by themselves, I think the "group" suffers in the fact that you want the Troop or Patrol thinking in terms of "unit first". Having a group of loners does nothing to build that unit cohesiveness.

 

However, there are always exceptions for Scouts tenting alone. Most exceptions have been brought up in this thread - having an odd number of boys, Senior Patrol Leader priveleges (I see no problem with this but I bet it's rare) and others.

 

As adults, I think we need to keep a watchful eye to ensure unit cohesiveness and squash cliques in our units. Waking a buddy in the middle of the night just to go to the latrine isn't a good method, in my humble opinion.

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It should be none of our business except, as eisely notes, in backpacking where inexperienced Scouts tend to underestimate just how unpleasant that extra weight will be a couple miles down the trail.

 

1. Promotes comradery

 

Comradely is created by the Patrol Method not the buddy system.

 

In a Real Patrol, the Scouts are in control. That is what makes Scouting an adventure.

 

Forcing them to have tent buddies is an example of adults who need absolute control, right down to how the Patrol sleeps at night: Webelos III camping.

 

2. Much of the year in New York we have cold or wet weather. It helps having the kids keep an eye on each other if they get in trouble.

 

If a Scout has the correct equipment he will sleep right through a below-zero night.

 

It really helps with the warmth in the cold weather too.

 

If you live in western NY you should attend the GNF Council's three weekend Okpik course: A good sleeping bag is like a thermos. The idea that two Scouts will make a tent warm enough to compensate for a bad sleeping bag is bogus science.

 

Two Scouts with summer sleeping bags in the winter can share body heat by draping blankets over the two (close-together) bags to form one sleeping system, but that should not limit the freedom of Scouts with the correct equipment.

 

3. Kids with medical issues (diabetes, asthma, etc) need someone else to keep an eye on them.

 

Just how many of your Scouts are going to expire during the night without constant medical supervision, and why should that limit the freedom of all the healthy Scouts whose medical expertise is not required that night? :)

 

4. Young kids need a tentmate

 

Young Boy Scouts do not "need" a tentmate unless they want a tentmate.

 

and I'm not a proponent of special priviledges for the older kids. They should be setting the example.

 

This is an obvious case of using "Scout Spirit" (blind obedience) as an excuse to dumb teenagers down to the ten-year-old level.

 

The "older kids" should be running the Patrols, not us.

 

Kudu

 

 

 

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From the 2009 Philmont Guide to Adventure (specific Philmont rules):

 

Tents

Tents must be carried and used while at Philmont. Sudden downpours and gusty winds require appropriate shelter. Every member of your crew should know how to pitch, strike and fold a backpacking tent. Philmont issues the BSA Philmont Backpacker tent. (Footprint 5'6" x 7'6", approximate weight

5.6 Ibs.)

 

If you bring your own tent it must be a 2-person tent. Philmont

will allow a single person tent in the event of an odd numbered crew. (No bivey sacks).

 

The "No Bivey Sacks" has been specified since 2002 (my first trek).

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Thank you for posting that, dzierzak.

 

After reading JBlake's post earlier in this thread about going to Philmont and "being forced" to carry tents but having the boys sleep under the stars anyway, it makes me wonder why he felt their crew could sidestep the rules that apply to 20,000 other Scouts and adults every summer.

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Just an observation on the watering-bushes argument... if you're in the backcountry with no latrine, and if you're following Leave No Trace rules, the Scouts should be doing their business at a cathole about 200 feet away. Especially in an unfamiliar area, I could see the benefit of waking up a buddy in the middle of the night for that.

 

Urinating close to your tent can attract animals interested in the salt.

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I tend to agree with Kudu on this -- with no specific policy, it needs to be left up to the scouts. (Kudu -- please credit my account.)

 

Our troop owns all the tents. Each patrol is assigned three, two-man tents and one three-man. The three man is available to accommodate an odd number of Scouts, or as a perq for the PL if he wants it.

 

The older, more experienced guys would kill for a solo tent. They understand that tents are for sleeping. As for comraderie, if they want to hangout, they stay up and hang out. But if they want to go to sleep, the go to sleep. And you don't want four guys in the tent running a poker tournament while they're trying to sleep.

 

Some of the new guys tend to freak out if left alone in a tent. The first night of summer camp last month I almost had a newbie pack it in home sick because his tent mate decided to sleep under the stars with a bunch of other guys and left this lad alone in the tent. We did some last-minute re-assignements and found a buddy in similar a circumstance who moved in with the Scout and he was good to go.

 

I don't really see a safety issue with it either. I can't imagine one scout getting up out of a warm rack to go watch his buddy pee. Heck, I can't get half these guys up at revelle, much less n the middle of the night. If you're counting on a tent mate waking up because his buddy is having problems, good luck. For that matter, how does that work at home? My boys rooms are upstairs and at the other end of the house. If they have a problem in the night, they have to get up and come get us. They don't sleep with buddies at home, why would a campout be any different?

 

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Hi Chief Decorah,

 

We generally try to encourage the scouts to use the latrines (pit toilets which are usually within a couple of hundred yards away) and not pee in the bushes behind the tents, which are relatively close together.

 

 

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I see no problem with a scout tenting alone. I personally would recommend a tentmate so you can slpit the burden of carrying it with someone else. But if the scout wants to carry the weight by himself, why not.

 

As for being alone, doesn't Wilderness Survival MB say you need to make a shelter and sleep alone in it? Also isn't there somewhere else in scouting that you spend the nite alone?

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