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is the Outdoor Method a requirement?

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First, you might try a patrol campout at the end of a daytrip and see what happens. You'll need two adults to join in.


I would not recommend it for this situation but one doesn't need any adults for a patrol campout.



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acco40, in my opinion, this would be a great opportuntiy to have a patrol campout, and if you ask me, adults should be present in this instance. If there is a lack of confidence on behalf of the adults (real or imagined), then the adults should attend. Also, if it has been 7 months since the scouts have camped, then having the adults around sounds like a prudent safety valve.


In other circumstances, I would recomend a patrol campout without adults. This would not be that time.


My 2

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My first reaction when I read this was I was upset.

I just fail to understand why anyone who is unwilling to do the job that they signed up to do, doesn't do it.

Then I thought about it for a minute and I thought maybe, just maybe there might be a reason for this?

Maybe the SM has some sort of illness?

Maybe he can't find another adult to go to camp?

I don't know.

If I were the parent of a Lad in this Troop, I would do my best to find out what is really going on.

If there isn't another adult available to attend camp outs, why?

My first port of call would be the SM.

I would approach him (Her?) in a very nice way and in no way come off sounding threatening and ask what's going on?

I of course don't know this SM.

But my feeling is that he is either totally overwhelmed or he is a real twit.

If he is overwhelmed I would do my best to find ways to help him.

Help with selecting adults who can lighten his load.

Maybe help with the planning and paper work, maybe offering to be the adult that tags along?

If the reason why there isn't enough help is because he is a twit.

Then maybe it's time to take this to the Troop Committee.

Or a parent it's time to look for a Troop that is a better fit.


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Not to dramatize the consequences ...


A first-class scout in my troop quit because a klondike derby was cancelled because of too much snow. I'm sure safe transportation was the issue, but he didn't see it that way.


I met him 30 years after high school and he is one of those starving artists types that has a sordid history of non-starter carreers ...


Be glad your boy is sticking with it. Help him to make something happen! If nothing else, you, his best friend, and his best friend's dad head to a weekend fishing someplace.

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Our boys left a troop that basically only went to summer camp (there were many other reasons too!) and he have spent the last 18 months as a new unit trying to rebuild an outdoor program. But it hasn't always been easy. So before we place all the blame at the feet of the Scoutmaster, I would ask:


Were there enough adults willing to go?


Were there drivers? Always an issue for us. Everyone wants to send their sons away for the weekend but they don't want to drive them there. Many weekends my husband and I both drive in separate vehicles to get everyone and equipment to an event.


Did the boys actually sign up for the weekend? I have cancelled something that no one will commit to, just some maybes and I don't knows, only to have a number of people upset because they wanted to go. Say so!


Did the boys do the preparation asked of them ie plan menus, collect money, buy food? We had a weekend planned that I began cancelling because no food preparation was done in the past, I had jumped in fortunately one of the boys asked for a chance to organize, made calls and pulled it off but I will no longer do everything. You want to camp, it requires participation.


What was the weather? Here in the northeast, weather has been an issue. Consistent temperatures below zero. Last weekend we had wind that ripped off roofs and dropped trees on cars. I would not have camped last weekend, it was not safe. In the fall, we shortened one campout from two nights to one due to flooding.


Seven months sounds like a long time, but the troop is more than one person. What is everyone else doing to facilitate camping?



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Thanks for all the responses everyone. Some very good questions and suggestions.


I did a bit of asking around and, unfortunately, it looks like the reason for the day trips may be the weather. Specifically he does not like camping in the rain. There is rain in the forecast for our Klondike this weekend (raining now actually) so that fits. best I can remember there was in rain during previous outing weekends. Again, this isn't the official answer from leadership (no real answer is given when they are asked) but it fits.


I can say with confidence that the problem does not lie in the organization. We are fortunate to have some very active adult volunteers in the troop. The activity calender is planned out a year in advance. Transportation, the the best of my knowledge, has never been a major problem. If they ever need some extra seats they send out an email and parents answer the call. The grubmasters and quartermasters do a very good job with their equipment and purchasing.


Under the previous scoutmaster, the troop would go camping no matter the weather. In fact, I remember one of the scoutmasters making the remark 'you can't learn how to camp in the rain without camping in the rain' when heading out on a trip during a downpour.


Now I just need to figure out a way to discuss this issues without causing any major problems. While asking around I discovered I'm not the only one with this concern. The boys missed out on a large part of our council's Wizard Safari (http://www.wizardsafari.com/) and looks like their going to miss out on a lot of the Klondike adventure all because of rain.


Of course this also means I need to put my money where my mouth is. If I expect someone to take these boys camping in the rain, I better get trained so I can be one of those someones.

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A bit late in the day for this weekend, but your SM is not REQUIRED to camp with the Troop.


As long as there are at least 2 adults, one of whom is registered, the SM can do the day thing on his own, and let the rest of you camp.


It is a shame to waste all of those camping fees, and deprive the Scouts of the opportunities for advancement.


Talk to the other leaders, and parents, and get support for camping. Go to the next Committee meeting and let the committee know the SM does not have to do it all on his own, and give them a list of specific adults who are willing to camp in various weathers.


YES, ask about getting trained, and registered as a Troop ASM, or Committee Member.


BTW - from the look of this weekends weather in PA, it is not dangerous, or even going to last all weekend. It looks like scattered showers tonight, and possibly snow showers Sunday. If campers are prepared for wet weather these should not be a deal breaker.

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If boys dont camp, they cant advance. Take a look at your rank requirements. The question is why are you not camping, has an explanation been given? Heres what Id do:


I would not wait for the parents meeting. In this case Id contact the Scoutmaster directly, to offer assistance on the next outing (this would work better if you have the names of other leaders/parents willing to help out). Once you offer your help, ask what the issue has been. If this method does not work, its time to reach out to the Committee Chair.


Id approach the Committee Chair directly stating your concern, followed by the details of your Scoutmaster contact and offer to help renew that offer to help. Unless the CC flat refuses to talk to you, the ball is now out of your court, allow the CC time to look into this.


This issue is likely nothing sinister, or underhanded. Likely there is a lack of trained leadership available for the camping trips, or there are work/health concerns coming into play. Find out the facts, offer to help, organize others to help. Likely the Scoutmaster isnt the bad guy, just in need of help, or a break. The committee may not be aware of the issue, they are equipped to handle just this type of issue, but must be given time to resolve it.


If, any only if, the SM will not/cannot fix the issue, and the committee cannot/will not fix the issue, and both have been given adequate time, you have some hard choices to make. Again, you must offer your help, and give people time to work on the issue, before taking further steps. At this point you can either move on, or speak with the Charter Organization they own the program. The Charter Org can make any changes needed, but make decide the program is broke and drop it. As with the other steps, be fair, provide the facts, and offer to help.


I hope this helps, the key remains why are they not camping?


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Sounds like perhaps some or most of the adults just do not like to camp. Maybe because they do too much work or maybe they just hate sleeping on the ground.


Try organizing a parol campout. You only need two adults on a patrol campout (fight the "no adults needed" on a patrol campout battle later). Let the scouts plan it but "coach them" to keep it easy since they have not camped in a while so they can plan and execute. Pretty soon maybe another patrol will want to join you.


Before long the troop will be camping. Then take turns letting each patrol choose the location & be the trip sponsor. Take slow steps month by month and you can become a good camping boy led troop.


The fact you are starting out fresh (no camping for 7 months) really gives you a chance to let the boys plan and execute with you as the safety net. If you teach them right then camping is a relaxing easy outdoor weekend for the adults. If the adults do all the planning, cooking and the cleaning work then it is not much fun for both boys and adults.


EEven the eleven and twelve year olds can cook and clean with a little guidance but you have to fight the urge to do it for them. It may take longer to get it all done but after a few trips they can cook and clean and pitch tents and plan and execute activities with minimal supervision. Over time they become ready for more complicated meals and trips.


Good Luck!! Camping can be fun but it takes a good attitude and a joy in being outdoors!!


(This message has been edited by knot head)

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Just saw your post about the rain issue. In our area we get rained on sometimes when we camp so we just work through it. When we backpack in the rain we use the rainfly for cover as we pitch tents. When we got to Philmont it was no big deal when it rained. The scouts already knew what to do. Two boys will pitch their tent while the others hold the tarp up over their tent site for cover. Then on to the next tent until we are done. If we bring the trailer on a trip we have two of those pop up 12x12 covers we move around until all tents are pitched. Then the pop ups become the card playing and cooking area if it is still raining.


We have cancelled two times in six years that I can remember because there was a severe weather watch and a chance of high wind and/or tornado. If it is just rain (or cold or heat) we just deal with it. If the SM wants to go home I say let him go. The boys can usually deal with weather.


The boys wear the poor weather campouts like a badge of honor! They still talk about the canoe trip a couple of years back where we got 4 inches overnight and a few of them woke up in a mud pit. They learned a good lesson about how to choose a good site for their tent and insist that new young guys move their tents if they have chosen a poor spot. A rainy trip can be a good teaching moment!


Get out there and have some fun!

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  • 4 months later...

Thought I would give a quick update on the camping situation. Since my last post (in February) the troop has gone camping one time and attended summer camp. A second scheduled camping trip was cancelled.


Summer camp was very successful with a large number of boys attending. The Scoutmaster did not attend summer camp but we had more than enough leaders/adults for the number of scouts who went. I'm not sure why the other regular trips are cancelled for wet weather when it appears we have enough leaders to function on a camping trip without the SM having to attend.


I did come across a piece of information that bothers me quite a bit. It turns out that the troop is giving scouts with rank first class and above full credit for camping time even when the actual camping trips are cancelled. This can't be normal policy can it? This helps explain how they are continuing to be able to advance the boys with hardly any actual camping time throughout the year. If I'm not mistaken this also affects eligibility for Order of the Arrow (and possibly other awards) as well?


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