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Basementdweller

BSA and Backcountry Ethics

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"I was at a shelter before dark, making dinner when troop walked up and after a few minutes I was told to leave by the scout leader because they had more people and had planned on using the shelter. They had 15 people in their group. I asked to see his reservation.....oh wait all the shelters are first come first serve. At that point all three leaders were there telling me to leave."

 

I's say sure..just as soon as you can have somebody offical (park ranger/ part director) tell me that and show me you had rights to the shelter.

The3n ask why that group thinks they had any sayso or priority over a public domain.

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GP1971, WE did that once witha group of Webelos Scouts. It was a jok at first about being as clever as a spy, but the boys took the challenge for bragging rights and went in head over heels.

 

Never said that everybody should be required to do it, just that it could be a real LNT challenge for those who constantly go camping - as a personal challenge.

 

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Having had more time to think about it...I'm thinking it really doesn't matter what you would have said. They are already in the mindset that they were in.

 

Unfortunatly, this will always be the kind of scouters who give BSA a bad public image.

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So how do you know they were boy scouts......the philmont shirts and boy scout pants were dead give aways.

 

In all honesty I was not going to sleep at the shelter, I was merely cooking on the picnic table. I was really put off being told to leave.

 

I got to chuckle as I walked away......the rafters of the shelter were full of mice nests and as I was cooking my dinner all of them were moving.....there was a lot of mice in that shelter.

 

 

Report them honestly????????

 

NOBODY CARES. A random civilian complains to a council that one of their Troops was rude and asked him to leave a public shelter. Whats gonna happen???? nothing.

 

What I can do, is post it here and maybe someone will read this post. and make a better choice.

 

In my opinion two things could have happened differently. First the group size was too large and the second they should not have expected to utilize the shelter. What would have happened if a church youth group or another Troop was their first???????

 

Basements Boy Scout Back Country ethics

1. Limit total group size to 10 or less

2. Do not utilize shelter system if available

3. Do not overwhelm local resources, such as water sources and privies.

 

 

More to follow

 

 

 

 

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I dont know what rules we could add that would change what you describe Basement. But I do think a bit more self reflection and self critique can always be helpful.

 

I believe this starts with acknowledging that we ARE different --were not like other general public users of camping areas, front or back country. Were made up of a different mix of ages and genders than any other comparable number of campers. A typical outing for our troop could be thirteen scouts and three adults. Compare that to a comparable number of non scout campers. We are three adults sitting back allowing 13 young men between the ages of 11 to 16 organize and carry out their own camp. The other group is probably a couple of sets of a mom and dad organizing two children covering a much broader range of genders and ages, plus probably a couple that is either at or near retirement age, and maybe another couple young enough to not yet have children. We are going to act very differently: were going to make more noise, were going to tramp off the trails more often, were going to be more rambunctious in every way and we should be. But we need to acknowledge that and think about how to ameliorate that impact on our fellow campers.

 

Lets be honest, if youre hoping for a quiet weekend in the woods and a boy scout troop moves in next door, even a courteous, well behaved one, youre out of luck.

 

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Basement,

 

I do think you should write to someone about your experience. I assume you noted their council and troop, I would write to their COR, with a copy to their council, and if you can find a direct troop contact than to them also.

 

I don't think it's true that noone would care. I know for sure that in our council there would at a minmum be a formal inquiry from the District Key 3 and some response back to you. And I know that our Chartering Organization would be VERY VERY unhappy with us if they received that kind of complaint; you would unquestionably get an apology in response. Even within the troop I would at least hope that there would be some soul searching.

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Base,

 

1) Sorry to hear about that as that is uncalled for. Yes my troop has asked folks to leave a campsites before, but it was in situations that the sites are reserved, and that has been at state parks, not in the back country.

 

2) "Scouters" and I use that term very loosely and hence the quotation marks, are not living up to the Law: they were not helpful, friendly, courteous, or kind.

 

3) WRITE SOMEONE ( emphasis) The only way that a corection can be made is if someone knows about it. I'll give you an example. Have one non-profit that no longer allows Scouts to do service projects. This was an abrupt change as they took all comers, and a lot of folks who needed a quick project before turning 18 would go to them. had to hear the reason 3rd hand: one Life Scout screwed up royally and was told to stop what he was doing and leave. He screwed it up so badly, that the organization had to hire a professional to fix the problem, using money they did not budget. If it wasn't for the fact that one of the board members is affiliated with scouts, no one would have known. We are trying to fix that problem.

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One does not hike the Appalachian trail and expect solitude.

 

t2 you have already decided that this conversation is about Basement complaining about the evils of scouting.

 

For the record, during my 5 days of hiking, none of the troops I encountered were loud obnoxious or ill behaved. This conversation is not about leave no trace all of Boy scouts policed themselves better than the general public. I had two troops try to feed me one friday night and another sunday for lunch.

 

My point is a conversation regarding back country ethics and the boy scouts.

 

Far as the incident at the shelter, I would not like a stranger sharing a shelter with my troop.....with that said, my troop would not require the shelter, we would tent camp at the shelter site.

 

 

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Ok I gotta ask here.

 

So i am supposed to report this bunch to their charter org and council......So how in the world do you know who they are and where they are from, no one had a scout shirt on and I don't remember seeing a troop number on any t shirts or council strips.

 

I am going to guess they were from virginia or North Carolina, but how in the world do you know???? The no one had a southern accent so they could have been yankees too?????

 

I would not have trusted any answer I would have gotten from them any how.

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So how in the world do you know who they are and where they are from, no one had a scout shirt on and I don't remember seeing a troop number on any t shirts or council strips.

How do you know they were Scouts?

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When I was asked to move, I would have asked who they were, where are you from, I am a scout leader to, who is your CO, all nicely and very friendly. Thats how I would find out and then report them. OK, report sounds very formal and as far as we know they could be 3 well regarded silver beavers from the council and you will be dismised as a crackpot, then again perhaps they have a history of bullying and your story is the straw breaking the camel's back, that pushes those chucklheads out. All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing (see Penn State)

 

Most likley I would have moved as I wouldnt want to be around a bunch of kids I dont know as it is

 

Limiting participation? If the troop I serve wanted to backpack a few miles and 15 kids want to come, I am not sure we have the adults to split the group and provide adequate transportation let alone backpacking skill. Talk about parents relegated to the sidelines, not due to troop policy but because they simply cant do the activity. FOllowind the Scout Oath and Law are the Rules. If a troop doesnt follow them, no other set of Guidelines Rules Ethics etc will alter their behavior

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So I am guessing...................

 

 

No one here goes into the back country???????

 

 

What other practices would make us better users of the back country??????

 

What other practices would improve our image in the outdoor community???

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Follow the Scout Oath and Law. That's all that's needed. Sounds like the problem here was with the leaders acting like jerks. No rule is going to stop that.

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