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Basementdweller

Scouts and appropriate gear

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As a SM do you evaluate how your scouts arrive to an outing?

 

In the example I spun from you have winter conditions and a 2700 foot vertical climb.

 

Do you critically look at how you scouts are dressed and gear they have brought before you let their parents dump and run??????

 

 

I have not let some scouts participate in a winter hike because they did not have boots, but showed up in flat bottom skate board tennis shoes.

 

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When I was a youth member (40 odd years ago), we were looked at before our parents were allowed to leave the gathering point. Now, I was also a Southern Californian, and you can do a lot late into the season there.

 

This past winter, I was a campmaster at our Scout Reservation. We got a late winter, wet snow. The two troops were not prepared for winter ... no warming fires, no extra changes of dry clothes, sad all around. Thank the good Lord we had all the senior staff cabins available; we put kids in every one of them. We had kids who were approaching frank hypothermia. There was a lot of cocoa and tea made that night.

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In my troop growing up, PLs were responsible for making sure their patrols had the needed equipment. We were told to watch the weather, and prepare accordingly. We went over the equipment list in the book, as well as based upon the troop's expereince, and weather forcast.

 

For longer trips or backpacking, we had PLs do a "shake and bake." "Shake"down to make sure they had only gear needed and if they needed gear, and "Bake" them if they had contraban.

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Yah, this seems like da PL's responsibility, eh?

 

Where yeh feel the PL needs help, the troop scheduling a "shakedown" or "gear check" the meeting before the outing can be a good way to go. Then the PL gets to take his fellows outside in the cold with their gear and have a fun meeting of it, and make suggestions and improvements.

 

If your troop keeps a spare clothes closet of some kind, the PL can also go to the QM and get extra gear issued to a patrol member who needs some support.

 

Arriving at the winter campout in the dark is not the right time to be doin' a gear check.

 

Now, da situation out west was a bit different, eh? There yeh can often find the valley is dry while the higher elevations have snow on 'em. So then it's just a question of "no hiking boots? No gaiters? No go on this hike." Again, the PL's responsibility if you've given the PL enough real experience to have developed that kind of judgment.

 

Beavah

 

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Of course you do a quick shakedown before you leave (and before parents leave).

 

But that should just be a formality. There should be no surprises, unless someone just plain left their flashlight on the kitchen table. If you're doing extreme-weather (really hot / really cold) or extreme-activity (climbing / survival / boating / etc.) activities, talking about gear and clothing should be part of the planning process. They should know what's appropriate and what's not from the get-go.

 

One thing I've found helpful, especially for the benefit of new Scouts, is to have two older Scouts bring in two fully-loaded backpacks - one with the right gear, one with the wrong gear. For a snowy winter, the wrong gear might be an indoor kids' sleeping bag, cotton clothing, thin sneakers, no hat, etc. Pull the gear out in front of the Scouts and have a discussion, so they have visual examples - and can even touch and feel - of the difference between cotton and synthetics, for example. Also show them what to look for on labels, and talk about how you can get good gear for low cost at thrift shops, Goodwill, etc. That way there are no excuses.

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Short,

 

How could I forget "Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong!" At least that's what we called it when we did things.

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It depends on the type of outing and what expectations were set beforehand. For most outings, the PL gear check prior to a trip is sufficient - but if I'm leading a unit into a winter camping situation, at the end of the day it comes down to me - I'm the one presumed to have the experience and judgement, so we'll do the gear check as a group - before any parent leaves - if the required equipment/clothing isn't there, either the parent runs home to get it, or takes his/her son home.

 

Of course, in this kind of situation - the best thing is to do the gear check at the meeting prior to the outing (as was suggested) - that gives folks ample time to make the adjustments needed before the trip. The gear and clothing are packed and ready to go, and left at the meeting site (if your meeting site has a troop closet) so that it remains just as it was when the gear check was completed and the pack was approved (sometimes, folks re-pack after the gear check - then leave important things out - the next day when the Scout is shivering with cold is a heck of a bad time to dicover that the clothing he packed was replaced with something else). On travel day, it's a simple matter then to do a replacement/add gear check to those that needed to do so.

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We give them a packing list and they show up ready to go, if they dont have something they need they learn from it and their peers learn from it for regular campouts, extended camps and high adventure is a different story. Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong sounds cool I think we have done that before. Here in Texas we are not usually dealing with freezing temperatures.

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Son's troop had an older scout bring just a sheet for his ultralite BP gear on a November trip; with expected lows of high 20's. SM didn't even get upset, just asked him what style fire he planned to be using overnight to keep warm.

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Concur with Scoutfreakdad...

 

If the boys are not using packing lists, particularly in areas where weather is a real concern (wet, cold, etc), then that's probably where the direction needs to go. Coming from a military background, packing lists were built by leadership and then inspected by lower-level leaders, and gave a great framework so that we knew that everyone had what they needed to survive and prosper. Over time, lists can be modified for continuity purposes and tailored to specific events, and can be annotated with "essential" (i.e. Scout can't go without it) and "recommended" items.

 

The major downside to them is that you'll run into the inevitable "I don't have/can't afford this" Scout/piece of equipment, in which case you may have to have serviceable items in the Troop locker, or provide Troop funds, or do some good ol' fashioned borrowing, or just decide that the Scout can't attend that particular event.

 

A pre-camp accountability inspection also instills ownership of the patrol in the PL, especially when he's the one reporting "All Up" to the SPL or SM. This is a good technique for teaching supervision and giving the leader a real hand in ensuring his unit's success.

 

YIS,

Paul

http://www.scoutspirit.com

 

 

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I'm very impressed that on the day of departure you have time for a shake down.

Friday night the time when we normally hit the road always seems to start off great.

Expectations are high. I try and am normally one of the first to arrive. As a rule I have a big smile on my face and all seems right with the world.

It goes down hill from that point.

The Troop gear has been sorted a few days ahead of time and getting this loaded is a chore.

Parents and Scouts for the most part arrive on time, but there is always at least one that is always half an hour late.

Patrols arrive with the food they have purchased. This comes in either a very big box or 49 plastic bags that are ready to rip at any minute.

Finding a safe place to stow this very often means moving the Troop gear.

I think that there should be a chapter in the G2SS about the dangers of canned food rolling about inside Scout vans. Having had a nasty encounter with a can of peas under the brake pedal! I think this is needed.

Then just as everything seems to be ship shape there is always a mini emergency. Someone remembers that they have left their bag at home or a car develops a problem.

By now that big smile I had is long gone and all I want is to get this show on the road ASAP.

 

Everyone is informed what gear we need before the event and any special equipment is highlighted.

When it comes to ensuring that Scouts have the right gear?

This can sometimes be hard.

The Lad who has a Dad that has been a Scout or is involved in Scouting as a rule has a good idea and has most of the essential gear.

I've had Scouts who spend every waking hour looking at camping gear equipment catalogs and request nothing but camping gear for every birthday and Christmas.

Most often the new Scouts have been Cub Scouts. They either have the Coleman sleeping bag that fills a 45 gal trash bag or a bag with cartoon characters on the outside. Everything comes from the camping department in Wal-Mart.

Trying to educate their parents and get their parents to spend the money to buy quality gear is at times hard.

 

Living out here in the sticks! Is useful.

Most of the Troops in the area don't travel that far.

The Council owns two sites, one ten minutes from where I live and the other less than half an hour from where I live. In a State Park which also has camp sites. In fact for most Scout activities anything that a Troop might want to do can be found in under a 45 minute drive. Even for sailing we can drive to Moraine State Park in just over an hour. (I wish our Sea Scouts didn't love Maryland as much as they seem too!)

I think having to do a shake down on a Friday night before we take off would drive me over the edge.

Ea.

 

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our council has a winter survival class that is put on at a college ROTC... all scouts must attend this to winter tent with the troop. It goes over gear but also about survival skills like finding fire items with all the snow and building emergency shelters etc..

 

our winter activities right after cross overs we do cabins so that the new scouts get to experience the winter fun, but have a warm dry place when needed. This allows them to see what gear is working for them and what is not and to make adjustments so that at the next campout they are able to meet the goal of 24 hours outdoors.

 

meeting prior the SPL will go over packing. He'll have experienced campers go over tips that they have learned... putting warmers in your boots over night with your good gloves sutck in them with opening going into boot... having a spare comfy gloves and hat to wear to bed... packing more socks then you think you will use. making sure you stay dry and have gloves that just soak up and get wet... packing warmers and how to use them. And we go over how we use the buddy system 24 hours during the winter... so you hang with your buddy through out the day and pay attention to each other to watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

 

as for heading out scouts are to have their winter gear on at arrival so that the hats, gloves, boots, snow pants, etc are visible.

 

someone mentioned food in sacks... at summer camp the boys use totes under their cots so they all have totes and they are to use those for food rather than plastic sacks.

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Had a scout show up for a hiking weekend in Crocs. No shoes, no boots, nada. Mama had to run home.

 

There is a reason my truck bed is full of excess gear; at the end of the day, I'm responsible.

 

Train, teach, show, lists, e-mails, we do it all, and still have some show up with inadequate gear. Keeps us old farts on our toes.

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