Jump to content

BSA adventure risk paralysis?

Recommended Posts

We just take our own whitewater excursions any time we want. The age limit is thoughtless and we ignore it.

I first discovered the age limit when my son's new troop left for a high adventure camp and left behind the vast majority of the troop because those new boys (who really, really wanted to do stuff like that) were too young.

So when I took a leadership position I dispensed with the age limit and took ALL of the boys on high adventure trips...just NOT at a BSA high adventure camp. Not only did the boys describe it as the best thing they'd ever done, the place was set up with staff who essentially took over all of the leadership aspects. The troop leaders basically got a vacation! And the food was great! And it was co-ed! And there were students there from Japan and Germany in addition to the US. And the educational component was absolutely first-rate.

So I pretty much wrote off BSA high advanture. Better alternatives out there.

Lower prices too.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So, pack, what you are saying is you have never to been to any of the BSA High Adventure bases?


I'm curious - what type program offered better high adventure? Was it Outward Bound? Who? What rivers were you taking 11 year olds whitewater rafting on?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Brent, To me the ones that don't arbitrarily exclude the younger boys are better, especially if those boys compose the majority of the unit (the vast majority in our case).

The troop has been to SeaBase and to the Boundary Waters (Northern Tier). We have an additional problem of having fewer older boys and sometimes have to team with other troops to make a trip. To my knowledge no one from the troop has ever made it to Philmont.

We have been to MarineLab as the alternative to SeaBase on several occasions and had wonderful experiences every time. We all, including the few older boys, want to do it again.

We mostly visit the Nantahala, Chattooga, Ocoee, they are just so convenient. We talk about the New River and some of the others but the boys seem to like the local attractions.


Edited part: I guess the question had to do with the age thing and Whitewater and I didn't address that. We usually go with one of the commercial outfitters and their age limit is 8 years old. We don't have the equipment ourselves so by the time we rent, etc, we might as well hire the outfitter. So that's what we do.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was under the impression that the age limit for the Ocoee was 12. Is there an outfitter that lets them ride at 8?


I thought the Chattooga also had age restrictions, depending on which section you went on (Section III - 10, Section IV - 13). Maybe I was misinformed.


I've never been to MarineLab, so I looked it up. We are going on the Coral Reef Sailing trip next year, which will probably be much easier than our NT trip this summer. The cost for that trip is $700 (week long); the cost for a similar length trip to MarineLab appears to run $795 (6 days, 5 nights), so I don't see the cost savings. Am I missing something?

Link to post
Share on other sites

There may not be a cost saving at this time and you might not have factored in discounts or other subsidies (not sure if these are still available). That was back then, but for slightly more than the cost of SeaBase in addition to MarineLab we also fit in a stop at Cape Canaveral and the Space Center.

Anyway, MarineLab doesn't offer a similar program to SeaBase. What they have is oriented around environmental education. Our guys all REALLY completed the oceanography MB as well as parts of some others. The students (who also range into adult ages) are in the water in various parts of the ecosystem in the morning and again in the afternoon every day, three meals, after lunch class on the next topic before the afternoon trip, and air conditioned sleeping areas, a volleyball rec area, plus there is a lecture/lab every evening. On some nights there is a cruise to see the phosphorescence and collect the organisms for study or to study the constellations and learn celestial navigation. There is always a friendly contest about the program content and when the little guys start kicking butt on the older guys, the older guys take a huge interest. Surprisingly the co-ed nature of the program also does not seem to slow things down or cause problems. The biggest problem I ever saw had to do with another of these thread topics (cell phones). It seems to be a universal problem but salt water sometimes removes the problem, heh, heh.

The staff are professional educators, as well as divemasters and certified life guards. Their knowledge of the ecosystems is excellent and their care at protecting both students and the environment is impeccable. This program does not require an ability to swim, amazingly, although that is advised.

SeaBase didn't have anything comparable that I could find.


I'm not sure about the Ocoee, I think our youngest was about 12 for that trip at any rate. There is no such rule for the Chattooga that I know of, only limits established by the outfitters. I've seen kids much younger than 8 out there as part of a private trip, even on section 4. No one even mentioned it. I took some young people out recently and if there has been a recent change, I'm not aware of it. There certainly might be 'guidelines' such as you mention. It probably ought to depend on water level as well...makes more sense that way.


Edited part: let me add to the original post that I just remembered that we also took the troop to a church camp and all of the boys, without regard to age, did the high ropes course. They had a real blast and there wasn't a single problem.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...