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is the Outdoor Method a requirement?

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Is there any 'formal' requirement in Boy Scouts on the minimum number of overnight camping trips per year?


Our troop used to have a very active outdoor program (~9-10 overnights per year). In the past year we've had a leadership change. After that change the boys haven't had a single overnight trip in the past 7 months. Several have been scheduled but a reason has always been found to turn them into 'day trips' instead of camping trips. A couple of these have been council events where our boys get to see other troops breaking out their gear and setting up camp while they are getting into the cars to head home.


I think the proverbial last straw for my son was tonight when it was announced the camping portion of our Klondike outing this weekend was canceled and they would just be heading out for the day on Saturday.


We sat down for a bit and talked about possibly looking at other troops in the area but since all his friends from school are in this troop, he: 'doesn't want to change.... I just want to go camping' (his words). It pains me to see him this discouraged and I think he's now missing out on a HUGE part of the scouting experience.


I've tried approaching leadership but I was told I could bring it up at the next parents meeting (which is weeks away). Any suggestions on how I can handle this?

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No, there is no requirement to go camping. But if you don't the troop will be dissolving before very long. I'm surprised it hasn't happened yet.


I would suppose this is due to a lack of confidence and leadership by adults, who instill a culture of cancelaation rather than an attitude of success in Scouts.


A camping trip requires preparation. If the preparation doesn't get done, cancellation follows.


If it were me, I'd be offering to help the SPL and Patrol Leaders Council do the planning needed to do the next trip.






Meal Planning.


Transportation planning


Adult Leadership


Figuring costs and collecting payment.





You might offer to work with the SPL and PLC in making a list of things and getting the planning done so the trip will go. That's where I'd be inclined to start, anyway.


Usually burned out or inexperienced leaders are willing to move over to accomodate someone who wants to make the program work.



And a troop that hasn't been camping in many months is a troop I would suppose to be on th edge of collapse. Your son may not be ready to abandon ship, but others will be. And when it happens more will follow.


Of course I know nothin about the fundamentals of what is happening. The above suggestions are based on general experience and your situation could be quite different.





(This message has been edited by seattlepioneer)

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Has there been any reason at all given to the Scouts or other parents for all these cancellations?

A Scout Troop that is not doing overnight camping is, frankly, not much of a Scout Troop.

I sure hope that for the sake of your son and the other Scouts, this situation can be turned around.

Seattle Pioneer give a good outline for how to plan and prepare. The Scouts themselves do much of it. But the Scoutmaster and Troop Committee need to be making it a priority!!

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As a wise man once said "OUTING is 3/4s of ScOUTING" and later "ScOUTING is OUTING" and it amazes me when I hear of units that do not camp. So when the new JOURNEY TO EXCELLENCE program replaced teh Quallity Unit program, I was amazed at the camping requirements for the award as I thought it was too low for the Bronze Level. The JTE score sheet for Troops can be found here:




In reference to minimum campouts, to achieve Bronze status you must do at least 4 short term campout per year. That's Requirement 5. 8 campouts is required for Silver, and 10 is required for Gold.



I too am surprised that the troop has lasted as long as they have without campouts. Heck I've lost a Cub Scout b/c he said we didn't camp as much as he wanted, and we had 4 campouts/overniters in 9 weeks ( and if he was a Webelos it would have been 4 activities in 9 weeks).


Your son may want to look around for a new troop.

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My guess the SM does not like to camp. Wearing the uniform and playing boss-man suits him just fine. Missing his bed is too much for him to handle.


My suggestion. Find support in another parent and see if you and a few scouts can spend the night at the council sponsored Klondike. Call it training. If the excuse is given that the whole troop needs to camp because of liability, tour permit, youth protection, etc, suggest buddy camp training with another troop.


There isn't a SM around that I know that would turn away another troop to camp with them providing they have their own food and at least one adult leader.


The SM needs to be shamed into doing his job and taking these scouts camping. He will recognize this and try and prevent this so you will need to have a solid plan.





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Instead of trying to change the current SM, step up and become the camping Assistant Scoutmaster. Work with the Patrol Leader Council (PLC) to plan several camping trips, then work with the Scouts to do the outing. All you need is one other trained leader to join with you. Our Troop goes camping every month of the year and spends 3 out of our 4 monthly Troop meetings focused on the outing. The Scouts love it, and spend a full meeting planning the menu and cooking equipment (they pool their $$ and do their own shopping), another full meeting checking tents and getting all the equipment ready, and then the meeting after the camping trip discussing what went right & wrong on the trip and what to do different next time. The Scouts do 90% of this!!


So let the SM relax and do what he can to support the Troop while you and the Scouts plan and execute the outings!


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All eight of the methods of scouting are just that, methods. They are not requirements. That being said, scouting is outing. What is the purpose of having a troop if there is no camping going on? How many baseball teams decide to practice, but never play a game? It has been years since I helped get a new troop up and running, but the charter between the charter organization and the BSA states the number of nights camping the charter will make available as part of the program. If the SM isn't delivering the program that the charter agreed to, then I'd approach the COR (Charter Organization Representative) and discuss it with him/her. They are the person who signed his registration form in approval when he became SM and they are the ones who can remove him.


I'm an OA Chapter Adviser and as such, I transport our election teams around to the troops in the district each year to hold OA elections. This gives me the opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain at the various troops. I come from a troop with about 60 boys on the roster and we have probably 20 registered and trained adults in uniform. We are a well oiled machine that camps every month regardless of the weather and do our own high adventure trips each year. I see some of these other troops with 5 or 6 boys hanging on by a thread. In each one, the SM seems to be a guy who took the job because his son enjoys scouting and no one else would take the job. Almost to a man, they tell me they had no experience walking into the job, no help, are overwhelmed and really don't have time to get trained. Sadly, there are too many of those kind of troops out there. Many of these troops cancel outings at the last minute for various reasons. Is that the situation with your troop?

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The statement on the Chartered Partner's side of the Charter Agreement is:

"Encourage the unit to participate in council outdoor experiences, which are vital elements of the Scouting program."


So, where can you source your comment?

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Along with the other above suggestions, make sure the SM knows the boys need to camp overnight, in tents, with the troop to earn their Camping merit badge for earning Eagle.


If it is just that he does not like to camp himself, he does not need to go as long as you have other adults willing to go instead.


Try to work with him, not against him and you will go farther.

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That was way back in 2004 when I facilitated a new charter.....which no longer exists. That was my only experience....doing the DE's job...and I can't source it now. What I seem to remember was that among things like the charter partner providing a clean and safe meeting environment, they would provide 10 nights of camping per year, but I could be way off base.

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Why not keep it simple.


Take a tent/personal gear and you and your son stay and camp.

Most any Troop would invite you over to share a campsite or fire.


I would keep it low key and not try to stage a coup or make a fuss.


But I don't think I could resist getting the gear out and setting up my tent when I got there and answering all questions with "my son and I are staying to camp".

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I stand corrected. I googled the charter and you are correct. If someone had held a gun to my head, I would have sweared that there was a number of nights camping for scout troops in the charter. I guess this is how those dreaded scouting myths get started! ;)

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The original poster doesn't say where he's located. If he's in the South, then I would agree with the others and come up with ways to get the camping going again as soon as possible.


On the other hand, if he's here in the frozen North, then I'm not sure if it's a good idea to take the troop winter camping if they haven't done any camping at all for 7 months.


If they have realized the error of their ways, and they're getting to ready to start camping again in the spring, then I wouldn't worry too much about this one cancellation. But I agree that seven months is too long. At a very minimum, there should have been at least one fall campout.

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