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SctDad

Cub Resident Camp Issues

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I just got back from Cub Resident Camp and I was wondering about a few things.

 

For those that have gone to a summer camp, Cub or Boy Scout, have you ever had the kitchen run out of the food that it was supposed to be serving. There was a shortage of Food at lunch one day, and this was after they had a very skimpy breakfast.

 

Not to mention, the staff were trying to do the events, but they did not have enough lead time to do the proper planning. I was told that they got the plans at 1130 PM the day before the events started. No real time to plan. This was noticed by more than just I. I heard other parents mentioning it. I talked with one of the staff members and the PD, they were telling me that even though they asked the Camp Director (The one from the professional staff) for the schedule of events for several months, they still only got it one day before the event.

 

There was also a kid that cut his finger at one of the stations. There was only one staff member there and he did not even notice. Another parent helped this kid.

 

I have been to these events before and there have been better ones in the past. Then I can also understand that some of the staff members are probably of the attitude that this is the end of the year.

 

They also neglected to include religious services for sunday morning.

 

I have not finished the evaluation form yet, I am reviewing some of the things and going to, not only point out the issues, but give suggestions.

 

Anyone have any advise or had problems like this at their camps for Cub Scouts.

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SctDad,

 

I am sorry to hear about the state of the Resident camp in your area. That needs to be addressed by the Council in charge of the event.

 

I have heard of camps being short of food (ussually a BS Camp due to finances) but planning should have been done MONTHS ago. Everyone should have had training and schedules BEFORE the camp opened.

 

The Program Director (PD) not the Camp Director (CD) controls the Program and scheduling of events. If the PD did not know this, I wonder if (s)he went to BSA Camp school for the position.

 

As to there only being one "staff" member at a position, not knowing what position that was, I can say that the "Den Leader" for that group is also a leader. "Another parent helped this kid" begs me to ask "Was this parent a visitor or on staff as a Den Leader?"

 

You are correct in that this was a poorly trained/executed event. Your Council/District and your UC/COR need to be informed of this as Council/District sometimes brushes-off the remarks of volunteers but has to listen to COR's.

 

Suggest maybe that you volunteer to help next year. I have done both Day Camps and Resident Camps as PD and enjoyed both. Good planning and early assignments with back-ups make it a memorable item for the Cubs/Webelos and they have no idea how much went into it.

 

My $0.02

 

Rick

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ghermanno

 

I can tell you this about the directors communicating. They have a problem with this. The Council Professional does not always give the information and does not give the PD the time or authority to do it.

 

As for volunteering, this is run by the Summer Camp Staff. Not to mention I have volunteered for this CD and I have seen some of these issues. Plus I paid to go there and spend time with my son. They are paying staff to be there, and they should be aware of their program and what is expected. They should also be given enough time to plan and prepare.

 

I talke with the PD and he said that he is going to be doing some of the planning for next year and try to avoid some of the others.

 

As for the parents, we were not Den Chiefs/Leaders. There were not that many. The council does not require parents to attend if the scout is attending with his unit.

 

Those are just some of the things that I saw.

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Having staffed a Cub resident camp before, I can address a few of your issues, but some require a bit more information.

 

1. Food. In some very rare cases, I have seen food shortages - usually when a unit shows up with far more boys or parents than had been registered. However, if this happened mid-week, that should have been plenty of time to get enough food. It also could happen if there was abrupt turnover in the kitchen staff.

 

That said, a "shortage of food" can mean different things. Did you mean they actually had no food to serve some people? Or that the portions were small? (I've heard some people complain that the camp "ran out of food" when they really meant they couldn't have seconds.) If the latter, the cubmasters should have been up in arms at the camp director's door immediately - not waiting until the end of the week to complain.

 

2. Event planning. I'm sorry to say that it sounds like someone fed you a line of hooey. Even if your pack was attending for the first week of the session (and you say it was near the end of the summer season), the program plans should have been finished days, if not weeks, in advance. Most times, you're recycling or modifying programs from past years. If you're the Scoutcraft director, you know you're going to be doing something with knots, firebuilding, pocketknives, cooking, etc. You shouldn't be waiting until the day before the campers arrive to be handed a list of programs from the camp director. Something smells there.

 

If you're talking about the exact schedule of events - e.g., "Pack 123 does BB at 9, swimming at 10, handicrafts at 11" - that shouldn't matter, either. All that tells the program staff is when different packs are showing up to their areas. The staff is supposed to be there all day anyway, except when they may happen to have a rare open block of time. Not having the exact schedule should not hamper program preparation.

 

3. "There was also a kid that cut his finger at one of the stations. There was only one staff member there and he did not even notice. Another parent helped this kid."

 

So what? Kids cut their fingers all the time. Did he slice it to the bone while learning knife safety because the staffer didn't go over proper handling? Or did he get a splinter running his hand over the BB range fence while the staffer was running another group through? Those details matter.

 

Additionally, camp staff members often fly solo running program areas - they can't see everything all the time. That's what leaders and parents and den chiefs are for - to be that extra set of eyes and ears. Did the Scout *tell* the staffer something was wrong? What were the circumstances under which the staffer "did not even notice"? Was he or she trying to control a group of 15 other kids playing kickball, or lead them on a nature hike?

 

4. "They also neglected to include religious services for sunday morning."

 

Not all religious faiths hold services on Sunday mornings. At my camp, we held an interfaith worship service on an evening mid-week, usually Tuesday night. If this was important to your pack, the Cubmaster or other contingent leader should have noted the lack of services mentioned in the camp leaders' guide (which is usually given to packs months in advance of camp) and asked the staff to organize something - or else you could have held a pack service on your own.

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Here's how to get their attention:

Print a copy of the National Camp Standards ( http://www.ncsbsa.org/resources/standards/2011%20National%20Standards%20Resident.pdf ) and reference the standards you feel have not been met.

 

For example, mandatory standard M10, "Menus and food inventories are adequate to meet the needs of campers, leaders, and staff. Adequate food supplies or scheduled deliveries provide fresh milk, meat, fruit, bread, vegetables, etc., as called for on the menus. "

 

Or standard 67, "Specific periods of time are scheduled for religious services during each campers stay in camp. A camp chapel or area designated for religious services or meditation is available."

 

Make sure you copy the Scout Executive and the council camping chairman on everything.

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I volunteered our last resident camp.

 

Fridays are "on your own" as far as food, activities and what not, we worked sign in and med form collecting and that was it.

 

They have a new volunteer PD each year, so every year is a learning experience and trial and error session.

 

Not all the staff was there Friday as many were coming in first thing in the morning Saturday.

 

Guess what? Saturday comes, and out of the 22 volunteers who were planning Saturday show up, only 10 did.

 

We were short 12 staffers and didn't know or have a way of knowing until it was time to strart doing stuff.

 

I was supposed to be one of 3 people working wood and leather craft . It was supposed to happen in 2 seperate areas. But with the shortage, I ran all 3 events under one shelter.

 

Did I mention a computer glitch allowed people to keep registering until we had just a hair over 800 people attending a camp session designed for 250 to 300 max?

 

Somehow, nobody dies and the PD managed to get enough food that everybody not only ate, but a bunch of us got seconds... but knowing the portions they serve, it was still less than what anybody over 65 pounds would call a single portion.

 

Oh...and around 9am, trhe counciul SE calls and says.......( drumroll please) Camp McNeill was going to be inspected by National that weekend too. The 2 inspectors from Va should be there aroun 10 am or so. :o

 

We passed with flying colors!

 

Anyways, my point was, I can understand how things could be planned out to the t 6 months ahead of time. Every detail accounted for........ and fall apart in 2 minutes flat because of a simple glitch, and/or people who think nobody would notice if "Just one volunteer didn't show up" after committing to it.

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We had the same experience once at a boy scout summer camp. Food was a panic issue because two troops brought 80 more scouts than was expected. But for the other problems you mentioned, well the short story for us was a CD wasn't even found until a month before camp opened and he didn't start recruting staff until two weeks later. The CD had never done the job before and it was a mess, at least for those of us who arrived the first week of the summer. It was so frustrating for the staff that some of them quit that first week. Council had a real bad summer that year, but they did recover and did a lot better the following years.

 

Barry

 

 

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Our Webelos Encampment falls into the SNAFU group.

Or at least one part of it - the 'Outback Adventure'.

 

'Outback Adventure' was a Webelos only overnight trip away from the younger Cubs. Additional equipment needed: backpacking tent and a third adult to go with the WebIIs. The third adult was supposed to report at 8am Thursday equipped to canoe with the Outbackers to the 'remote wilderness location' and spend the night and morning helping the staff run the wilderness program.

I stepped up as the 3rd adult to go outbacking, and registered and turned in the health form on the first day of camp, Monday. In order to be allowed on the lake, to paddle a canoe with the campers 500 yards to the other side, I had to take the swim test. Okay, I'm already missing work, I may as well stand in this long line, too; and get ready for Outback Adventure. I scout the meeting location, and then I go back home to work Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

Wednesday afternoon I get a call from one of our pack adults who stayed the whole week to let me know that the camp staff finally had their planning meeting for Outback Adventure. The camp doesn't have enough canoes for the adults to join the campers, so the schedule has changed and they want us to show up at 8pm to walk a mile around the lake to the 'remote wilderness location' (aka- another regular camping area farther down the line). So I had 2 hours to book appointments, schedule projects etc. since I would be coming in to work on Thursday.

 

I'm getting into too much detail. It boils down to my scheduling 2.5 days away from the office in order to see my WebIIs for 5 minutes Thursday night (the adults were kept away from the campfire) and 2 minutes Friday morning as we were shepherded away to breakfast back across the lake.

 

Can you say 'unhappy camper'?

 

My choices of actions are:

1- Quit Scouting after this year. Son will be moving up to a troop that doesn't need me. (Average quality program with a bit more disorganization than I like. But plenty of adult leaders.)

2- Take Woodbadge, which seems to be the price of admission to any conversation, and become the COR of the Pack and Troop. As a voting member of the district committee, I could influence and volunteer to help camp organization.

 

Personal conflict: If I accept COR for this organization, it sorta precludes my son joining another troop. We've got three good options other than our home troop. I've got six months to figure it out.

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Sctdad

 

Your experience with Cub resident camp sounds all too typical. Since it is held in most councils at the end of the summer, the staff is or getting pretty burnt out,some of them go home early, supplies run low because the cook doesn't get portion control and the guys at the end get the leftovers. Sounds like the staff/council wasn't well organized, or well trained because there is never any excuse to run out of food, maybe one item, but there should always be a backup replacement. As a former scout camp director for two years in a row I have seen and experienced all the ups and downs that can occur, but if you are well organized the scouts should never have to know or experience any of them.

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This is the part of the thread that I brag about our Cub Scout camp. We went to Camp Carpenter in Manchester NH (our Council's Cub Camp) and the staff was super organized, the food was adequate (camp food after all) we did have non-denominational services one night, and as far as training, several of the staff, including one from our brother troop, are seeing how many camp school certifications they can get as sort of "competition" among the staff.

Had a blast, the boys came home tired and dirty with smiles as did the leaders. The only complaint that lasted the week for us is that we did not have clips to attach the flag to the flagpole in our campsite.

Next summer come join us! you are more than welcome! nhscouting.org

:)

 

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being as I am the Cub Scout camp promoter for my district , I decided to get some feedback on what everybody in my district thought.

 

I sent e-mails and spoke at meetings and RT's before the resident camp, but went an extra step and asked everybody to give me feedback which I passed along to the DE, PD, and CD.

 

I asked what they thopught overall, and wanted to know what they liked/ disliked, what they would like to see more of/ less of. What they would like to see added/ deleted form the program.

 

And I asked what they think could have been done differently/ better and how THEY would have done it.

 

Then I explained how the whole thing depends on volunteers and that just like running any den, pack, or unit event - camp programs are subject to the same issues. I let everybody know that the staff was all volunteer and most of us drove over 2 hours each way AND worked all three sessions instead of just attending one session.

 

I put over 500 miles on my truck just getting to and from camp those 3 times alone.

 

NO, not saying it makes everything alright, but I am saying camp wasn't run by a retained professionally PAID staff.

 

Anyways, I took that feedback and explained what were misunderstandings and misconceptions on alot of the attendees parts, and I also apologized and explained the failings and let downs on our part.

I also explained trhe Murphy's law incidents that happened also.

 

 

In the end, we ended up with a "whatch for guide" for next year as well as a "expect this" guide for the units

 

Biggest issue I dealt with was people showing up to camp without any med forms even though I repeatedly told unit leaders to make sure to have them.

 

Parents kept saying : Oh, we filled those out already 2 years ago!" or " We did that already, I'm not filling out another!"

 

I ended up making a sign and hanging it outside registration:

 

" You must have or fill out a med form. WE do not have your old ones and do not have acces to your current ones. Current means you fill out a new one every year!"

 

We stuck a table outside and had 300 extra med forms and about 40 pens at the ready.

 

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Scoutfish -

 

Are the camp sessions you speak of weekend-long events? Or do they last longer? And are they at a council camp?

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They are weekend long, but at council camp.

 

I guess they make them weekend during late spring and early fall , and not in the middle of the summer due to a few things:

 

Heat...man, it's hot! Well, actually, it's not so much hot as unbearably humid and muggy out.

 

Suymmer is a busy, busy time for our council camps with boy scouts , crews and OA. Take a peak at our concil calendar and it's slam full straight through the summer

 

Alot of parenst won't camp in the summer because it might interfear with their vacation plans or something along those lines.

 

Anyways, it is a council program at a council camp

camp.

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