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Buffalo Skipper

Who does BSA allow to camp with Boy Scouts?

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BA, yes, "getting wrapped around the axle" is the exact phrase I used to one of my leaders this morning when talking about my attitude on this. But try to understand my perspective on this (it doesn't make me right, but it does explain why I am reacting this way), which is that we have had a small enough troop that for 8 years (long before my time), we have never had anything but trained and registered leaders on regular campouts. Parents have never butted in (even the mom who went to 6 summer camps was registered and trained, and in fact had been to NCS). So, in a sense, we have been living in the ideal world AvidSM has described for quite some time. Also, the condern of paticipatory parents was only brought to my attention Tuesday night before the Friday campout. It is hard to know how to respond. Panic was the first action I considered, but I took the more prudent route and discussed it with our CC. We quickly agreed on some ground rules and set the tone, which may have helped out last night at the committee meeting.

 

The other cliche which applies to this situation is: "Be careful what you wish for, you may actually get it." Eagle92 and Gklose have it right when they state this is an opportunity. I can confortably state we have 2 really good (potential) leaders out of this group, and we want to take advantage of that. It is a matter of setting some basic rules and expectations and keeping to them. I have already begun organizing some friends who are trainers and we will see that we can conduct a Scout Leader training session by sometime in the next 2 months. It is largely a matter of choosing a date.

 

I would never act to exclude parents from observing any activity with the troop. On Monday, we had a "New Parent Meeting" with 10 families represented. There was some concern because at the time, we had 6 registered (mostly trained) leaders to go on the campout: 3 ASMs to work with the 3 patrols and 3 other leaders as back-ups/stand-bys/extras. I should add that, though I have worked quietly with the leader of this den/pack for over a year, we had schedule conflicts and the den was unable to camp with the troop. As was suggested, some of these parents are understandably not yet comfortable with our leadership. It is a shortcoming which has is already being addressed and considered for the new Webelos with whom we are already meeting and talking with for next year.

 

Beavah, there is no scheduling conflict on behalf of the PLC, and I support them completely. The scheduling was a "That's the way it is" situation and the PLC and I have known it for months. It was the only weekend we could schedule a campout for March. Any earlier and the new scouts could not have prepared at all. The following weekend conflicts with other council scheduled activities which will remove OA leaders and scouts from the troop (including 2 of 3 PLs) and the weeks after that are spring break where many scouts would have otherwise been out of town. Two weeks after that is "Scout-Jam," our council's 100th Anniversery encampment. The way it has been organized, it would not make a first campout for 60% of the troop. The option was to cancel all camping until May which the PLC never took seriously. We are not bailing out the PLC here, we are supporting their decisions. The absent PLs are still helping with menus and shopping.

 

In another discussion we had here some time ago, I believe it was Barry who said that anytime you have more that a 40% shake-up in membership, you must treat the organization in the same way you would as if it were newly forming. Having the ASMs with these patrols for the next few campouts has been a (reluctant) part of our plan for several months. The truth is that we went from 11 active to 25 virtually overnight. Next year we are already in talks with unofficial commitments for 3 Webelos dens totalling 20 scouts. Though we may not have the conflicts next year, the upheaval in our troop next year will only be greater than this.

 

We are not making this an Adult-lead troop. Our patrols are still functioning, and the few youth we have available are voluntarily stepping into roles to assist. Delaying the process isn't going to make the ratios that much better; we're talking about one 1-2 year scout in each patrol which has four new scouts. That is still over 50% in each patol.(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)

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We have a neighboring troop that simply has too many adults on the camp outs in my opinion. the adults have out numbered the scouts by as much as 5 people.

 

I have proposed that we institute a 6 adult limit on any of our troop outings. So it doesn't become the Adult club. If the adults want a leadership camp out, we can do it.

 

We already have a rule that no scouts in parents tents. Scouts must sleep with scouts. We had one family of 4 boys who would bring a garage sized tent and the crew would sleep together. The SM thought it interfered with the Patrol method and had the committee vote on it. The PLC didn't like it, but it made the group more cohesive.

 

We do had a scout that had a parent die and has some separation issues, Mom comes on the campouts but he sleeps with his patrol.

I agree with the idea of organizing an adult patrol.

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Here's my read, based on my Council's operating practices for Council camps:

 

- Cubs to Bear level ... parents participate.

 

- Webelos and Boy Scouts ... parents have to be registered as Scouters to camp.

 

- Venturers ... they don't want their parents around!

 

I think as far as unit campouts go, parents should be invited, to help encourage them to take the next step and become Scouters. A good SM can keep his adults isolated (since Kudu is here, 300' sounds good ;) ) from the youth.

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I wonder if the question is best understood in this way. The Webelos program and the Boy Scout program are VERY different. Cub scouts and Webelos require adults and parents to lead, as young boys are not capable. But in Boy Scouts the adults and parents are to take a step back from troop leadership and let the boys make decisions, since this is more age appropriate.

 

I think the Scoutmaster ought to have a meeting of new parents, especially of cross over parents, and explain this. I would tell them "The boys are learning to stand on their own. You may come observe, but you may not interfere. You will camp in a 'Parents' camping area, cook and eat in the adult group (I hate the idea of the Adult Patrol, they are not members of the troop). Hike at the end of the line, and let the Scoutmaster and ASM's coach the boys."

 

I have found that parents will either join as adult scouters, or stop coming on camp outs.

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allangr,

Should I take the unit numbers off my shirt? I sure thought I was a member of our Troop. What do you wear on your shirt?

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BrentAllen,

 

IMO, I don't "read" that unit numbers on a registered adults Scout shirt was an issue.... but when adults play the "game of Scouting" to better understand the "Patrol Method" (and in training courses like WB, etc...) Patrols and Patrol patches come into play.

 

I do agree that once the training is over, registered adults are not youth Scouts and Patrols & Patrol patches are for youths.

 

 

This topic is starting to stray and I am just as guilty of going off-course.

 

 

(This message has been edited by dg98adams)

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Follow up on the weekend:

 

Pivotal moments and events usually viewed with 20/20 hindsight; rarely does one experience these in the present, observing: "This is the moment in which everything IS changing!" This weekend was that rarest of campouts. Attending the campout were only 2 veteran scouts, 2 one year scouts, 1 scout with three campouts (who was an acting PL)the rest were 12 brand new scouts, camping with the troop for the first time. Like Beavah said, a first campout is one in which should only leave the best of impressions, and did it ever!

 

It started unexpectedly well, when these green scouts packed the trailers in record time. Everyone pitched in; no one fiddled around and it was far smoother than could ever have been anticipated. Better yet, the parents didnt hang out or try to do it for their scouts the first time. We got to camp and set up without a hitch. One patrol, led by a 1 year scout with 5 first timers even set up their tarp in the dark and had every pot laid out and ready for breakfast before hitting the hay. And this was done with little or no adult mentoring, and certainly without intervention; all self-led. The next morning all 3 patrols were up (30 minutes before reveille!), had breakfast cooked, and were either beginning or done cleaning before the adults sat down to eat. By the time we (adults) were done and looking in on the patrols by 8 am or so, one patrol was washing down their patrol tables with soap, scrubbers and a water bucket (never seen before in recent troop history!).

 

As it was a new scout campout, we set up 3 stations. Our 2 older scouts, each with an ASM assistant ran a 90-minute Totin' Chip (ax-knife safety) station and a Fireman Chit (Fire building and safety) station. The third station was adult run and was service/work related, where we built a permanent ax-yard, and cleared out overgrown brush from a decades unused patrol area and existing areas and set 4 new fire rings. Each patrol did these as round-robins. The first patrol in the service area cut out a pile of old overgrown bushes (with the assistance of only 1 adult) the size of 2 full size SUVs! The later patrols cut out less but worked just as hard, neatening existing areas and even removing a dead tree hanging over a patrol area. After the round-robins, the patrols held meetings and had free time for the rest of the afternoon. All (without reminders) returned to camp, cooked meals, cleaned up and were done in time for the 7 pm campfire--and every patrol had prepared a song and a skit! The fire was set up by the service patrol and lit with the only one match. They ran their own campfire, and entertained themselves for 45 minutes. After the campfire they eagerly jumped into 4 rounds of capture the flag/flashlight wars. Night games, as I had begun telling the forum a year ago, had been lost on our troop, and all efforts to affect this had previously fallen on deaf ears. This time they jumped into it head first and had SUCH a good time doing it. It took a little adult supervision to get it going, but once the ball was rolling, we stepped away and let them go for it.

 

I won't bother to pass on all the details of Sunday, except to say that it was more of the same cooperation and camaraderie. I should add that the patrols came back from a 3.5 mile hike by 12 noon, and by 2:15 had fixed and eaten lunch, cleaned up, taken down camp and loaded the trailers.

 

Yes, there were some personality conflicts within one patrol, but they still worked together and worked though most of it. Had I been working with these scouts for 6 months, I would not have expected this level of cooperation. But most of all, everyone had tons of FUN!

 

As an after note, but no less important, our two "tag along" parents (about whom I began this whole thread )are obviously people we want to have in our troop as adult leaders. They are very supportive of the youth but not clingy, and they are open to our program. Both now have applications and want to go through all the necessary training to "satisfy" the troop expectations. Getting 2 new ASMs from nowhere is a bonus I cannot turn down with our still growing troop. My next challenge is to reintegrate the PLs who missed the weekend into these capable and proud patrols....

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Here's a different twist on this question:

 

My divorce decree clearly provides that my ex (whom I divorced due to physical abuse of our son and "inappropriate relationships" with other married female leaders) is not allowed to take our daughter on overnight scouting trips. Very clear in black and white. Less than a month later, he violated it by taking her to a 3 day, 2 night scouting event in another state. Not only did he violate it, but he drove her to the camp along with another married female leader with whom he was having an inappropraite relationship (please do not lecture me on my assumption - she confessed the relationship to her husband after he found text messages and hotel receipts and divorced her). Other BSA leaders and the scout master of the cub scouts helped him to cover this up.

 

What responsibility does the BSA have on this????? I sent a very polite email to my local council and the scout master asking how they would handle this in the future and advising them of the problem. They ignored the email. I guess if he does it again, I will have to contact the police and have them pick up my daughter if she is at another camp. There are a variety of reasons why this order was entered by the judge, and the ex knew what he was doing. Just another example of the BSA protecting a leader who violates court orders at the risk of harm to a child.

 

Personally, I don't think any parent should have a 10 year old girl along at a BSA camp. There are too many boys and no leader has the ability to watch all of them all the time and we don't need something tragic to happen. BSA doesn't need the publicity either.

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