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Camping for the sake of camping!

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" If your lads are coming home and only remembering the merit badges they earned, and the classes they had to sit in on, then, in my opinion, the camp is doing it wrong. " ( bold is mine for emphasis)


You know, I think that just says it best.


Doesn't matter if you are talking about Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or any other BSA group - or even Girl Scouts.


In the past, I have mentioned to some of my leaders and our pack committee members that our Pack campouts were too structured. No, not saying you should go out in the woods without a plan, but we had a CC actually break the entire day down into segments starting from 6 am to 11 pm. And I do mean TOO STRUCTURED. For example, he had started the itinerary like this:


6:00 am. Wake up and get dressed

6:15 am assemeble around campfire

6:30 am colors

6:45 am breakfast

7:30 am , head to group activities.

7:15 Activities start


And the day ended like this ( I am not kidding!) :


9:30 pm Retire to tents

9:35 Family time and discussions

9:45 lights out

10:15 everybody should be in bed

11:00 everybody asleep


Yeah, that's how it was. I told him with a big ole "eat me grin" that I would follow his schedule as best I could.


Again, not saying you shouldn't have plans and even schedules, but seriously, you cannot schedule every freaking minute of the day.


The next campout, I told every den leader to come up with one activity in the morning, and one in the afternoon. The morning activity would not start til 9 am and the afternoon activity wouldn't start till 2 pm they could take 1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours...but no more than that.


In the times before and after, scouts, parents and leaders could just chill out, stare at the sky, throw the Nerf football, frisbe or baseballs we had or go hiking, walking, fishing, or just run around and get rediculously dirty.


I got a huge amount of feedback from everybody! They loved it! Parents had more time to see their scouts be scouts instead of acting like drones. The parents themselves were not acting like personal servants on a tight schedule. The leaders had more times to enjoy the camping too instead of just being workers and teachers.


And the scouts had a lot of fun and plenty of time to burn off energy and just enjoy camping for the sake of camping.


Remember why you go camping? The trees, woods, lakes, sounds of crickets and maybe an owl announcing his territory?

Sitting around a crackling fire.



WE had a screech owl, so you know we had something to talk about in the morning over coffee. :)


NO, I am not saying that you should be slack or abandon any advancement, but if camping is only about advancement, you can do that at the CO and save a bunch of time of unpacking and packing gear back up.


" If your lads are coming home and only remembering the merit badges they earned, and the classes they had to sit in on, then, in my opinion, the camp is doing it wrong."


I completely agree. If they don't remember the camping...you wasted alot of time and effort for naught!




(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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Wow. The precision of that schedule reminds me of camp...boot camp that is!


Some people around here won't believe it, but I agree, too. Camp should not primarily be about advancement.(This message has been edited by wjturner)

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Cub Scout leaders tend to schedule every minute of every day. One of the hardest transitions a Cub Scout parent makes is that on a Boy scout campout there is actually FREE TIME.


On our campouts we normally have a themed activity in the morning, advancement in the afternoon, and then from about 3:00 until dinner preparation, about 5:00, is free time. The kids will play ball, dam up a stream with sticks, explore, find the camp store, read, do homework (!?), nap, or whatever.


In doing SM Conferences with new scouts they always say the free time on campouts is their favorite part. "We get to do what we want!"


Don't over schedule, They get enough of that at home!



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When I was a Scoutmaster, I sat down with the SPL and ASPL and asked them what time we were going to bed and what time we were going to get up. My "rules" were that they could pick any time they wanted but that I was going to hold them to the time they picked. Make a plan, follow the plan. That didn't mean we had to plan every single minute of the day, but I didn't want to see confusion for rising or retiring.

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gotta laugh here......


Our camp schedule is as follows.


Friday night arrive at camp as your schedule allows.


Breakfast 8ish.

morning games

woods time


hike or fishing or kite flying

Creeking or field games


Light stick games

Ghost storys

Bed at some point when the stories end.



Breakfast 8


Sunday check out times are usually noon so we have to be pretty strick about checking out.


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I'm with Acco in that the scouts develop the schedual, but I hold them accountable to it. Nothing teaches discipline, skills and time management better than holding to a schedual.


The partcipants of our Council JLTC where told to build the course schedual for the whole week. They were required to include 4 hours of class time, two pPLV meetings, three meals and a campfire, but other than that, it was all up to them. Typically the day started with breakfast around 9:00 dinner finally fitted in around 7:00.

We rotated a new PLC everyday with new PLC tasked to develop a new schedual. They can keep the previous PLCs schedual or make a new one. Usally a new one is made because starving scouts were tired of waiting so long for supper and going to bed late trying to fit in 6 hours of free time with 4 hours of class, 3 hours for meals, 2 hours of PLC time and 1 hour for campfire. Scouts can learn a lot by being held to their schedual.



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Yeah, I'm just in the Cub SCouts, not on the troop level, but I spun off a thread about trops.


Small differences as far as this thread is concerned though. If every seconmd of any unit - wether troop, pack, crew.... is regulated to the minute....then it becoms work. It becomes school. It becomes dull.


The whole point of camping ius to have a great experience - FUN! Sure, you can learn while having fun, but you still have to add some fun.


On Fridays, everybody is own their own too. Matter of fact, you don't even have to show up til Saturday monring, but Fridays are the fun time!


A bunch of us leaders cook up quite a variety of stuff to eat : Low country boil, hobno sandwiches, deer stew, smoked sausage and beans, chicken and pastry, etc...


Matter of fact, we find out that every year - more and more parents "forget" to bring dinner for Friday nights.


WE enjoy it and show how you can cook good meals in one pot on camp stoves and open fires.


Again, not saying there should be no schedule or order, but more scouts have enjoyed camping since we cut back on the structure and scheduling.


Cut back, not cut out.

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OK I admit I am guilty of the detailed scheduling when I did one CS camp out, as well as CSDC. I do think there is a time and a place for that. But I agree camping should be FUN!


Why did I have a detailed scheduled, and tried my darndest to follow it? Because we had folks planning to be in and out of camp as sports schedules allowed. I wanted folks to know where we would be at at a given time, so that when they arrived at camp, they would know where to meet us. So if the schedule said 9-11 Hike to High Rock, folks knew that they could chill until about 11 'cause we were having Fun.


One thing that helped though was A) I asked some of the Cubs activities they wanted to do( paraphrasing BP here: Never ask an adult what a Scout can answer). So the schedule originally was based upon what they wanted.


Now grant you we had to go with Plan C, or was it Plan D, because of the severe weather (we did have a tornado hit 4 miles from camp, as well as in the city we are in, great YOUTUBE video of that one).


Again the key is time and place.

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Scoutfish & Basement


I like your ideas about what camping should be, time for business and lots of time for FUN thats what the boys will remember about scouting. If they don't get a chance to have fun and immerse themselves in the outdoors how will they ever develop an appreciation for the outdoors and nature.

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If adults can do it, the boys can be taught to do it as well.


A month ago I put out an announcement at work, on the local canoe/kayak club site, university rec center, a ladies' group of kayakers, local commercial outdoor stores, etc. for a flash mob to meet at the head-water landing of a certain river 5 hours away.


9:00 am meet and shuttle vehicles

10:00 am on the water

5:00 pm supper at local restaurant

7:30 pm - campfire, place TBD, BYO potluck snacks.


Some stayed in hotels, others in cabins, others still camped in one of 4 close campgrounds.


Some brought their kayaks/canoes, others rented.


Took almost 30 minutes to get everyone a parking spot and on the water while half shuttled, the other half got organized and ready to go.


No one "took charge", just did what was necessary to be done and everyone had a fantastic day. Everyone pitched in to carry canoes/kayaks off of vehicles to the shore. Total strangers in some cases. Water was high and rapids fast! No one made it to the end dry and no one spilled. The only comment was, "We gotta do this again next year!!!" As long as no one remembered who "organized" the event, they just decided, same time, same place, next year.


I marked my calendar! :)


Every First Class Scout should be able to do this if they have learned their rank requirements. Every PL should be able to get his patrol "family" there. Every SPL should be able to coordinate efforts so as to be the most cost effective and efficient.



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