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GKlose

troop tent purchase

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Since I've been with our troop, I haven't even seen the old pile of troop tents we own. One ASM tells me they are in rough shape and should probably be thrown out. A prior SM allegedly spent a lot of money on some tents by going directly to the Eureka plant and making a case for a scout discount.

 

The tents were probably not stored properly (right now, they are sitting in a musty basement of a church outbuilding. There are probably damaged and missing parts and they probably have been put away wet from time to time.

 

One troop decision this last year was to purchase 3 new 3-man tents. Inexpensive Eureka tetragons from Sportsmansguide.com. I think the underlying problem of not taking care of equipment probably hasn't been solved, so these might last a little while, but I doubt we'll get several years of service.

 

We've lapsed into a situation where lots of scouts just use their own tents. Sometimes, on outings, that is a tent shared with dad (because it is a 4-man "family" tent, and dad doesn't want to put it up just for himself), but occasionally we have a couple of scouts sharing one of the scout's own tents.

 

The SM wanted to buy some lightweight nylon tarps (for patrols that don't really exist, but that's another story) but the committee argued against it, saying that inexpensive poly tarps, at a fraction of the price, are probably the better financial decision.

 

So last night, at a district committee meeting, I was talking to another guy who said that his troop is considering a new idea (new for them, I think). They are thinking of subsidizing the purchase of certain tents, which then becomes the scout's own property. Allegedly, the tent is kept in much better condition that way. Coupled with a favorable scout discount program, like Alps Mountaineering's, you could have a fairly good selection of tents from fairly cheap (under $50) to more expensive and lighter weight.

 

Has anyone else tried this sort of thing? I like the idea better than what we're doing now (a mishmash of troop and personal tents, with the idea that all of our newbies are kind of left on their own to decide).

 

Thanks,

Guy

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The idea is that the troop subsidizes the tent but the scout retains ownership. If they leave, then they still have the tent. Doesn't show up? Same story.

 

Although I'm not really trying to steer the discussion towards my troop in particular (other than not taking care of ratty old tents is obviously a strategy that's not working out for us!), we already subsidize newbies a little anyway, like many troops do. When newbies join we give them handbooks, neckerchiefs and slides, and a couple of troop t-shirts. While the rest of the troop pays dues for annual renewal, we typically don't charge that to newbies. We save that for their first full year (and we subsidize a couple of single-parent families). We have a couple of modest fundraisers each year, but all in all, we typically don't spend as much as we take in, and we're sitting on a fairly nice treasury.

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Patrols, Patrols, Patrols. The solution is to work with the patrols.

 

We bought all new tents a couple years ago. Prior to that, the troop tents were fairly well maintained, just worn out. The issue was that when something would happen to the tent (poles break or go missing, holes, leaks, missing stakes, etc.) instead of the boys owning up to the problem, they would just put the tent back on the shelf, figuring it would be someone else's problem next month.

 

When we bought the new tents (we settled on the Eureka Pinnacles) they were numbered and permanently assigned to each patrol. Troop policy is that at every PL election, we do an inventory and inspection and the members of the patrol are financially responsible for the patrol gear. Interestingly, most of the PATROLS have implemented an internal procedure for the individual Scouts to sign-out tent so that if there is a problem the individuals can be held responsible, not the entire patrol.

 

I can't tell you the last time we went camping and had someone show up with missing tent parts. That used to be a constant. As best I can tell, the tents are being well cared for as well.

 

 

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I'm with Twocubdad. Our troop is going through almost the same identical thing - we're just a little behind them in our timetable.

 

We would never have a Scout sleep with dad (barring some emergency).

 

We also tell adults they can't bring anything bigger than a 3-man tent for themselves, or a 4-man tent if they are sharing with another adult. Almost all of adults sleep solo in a two-man tent. But if a dad did bring a 4-man tent and didn't want to set it up just for himself, we'd just say "Scouts tent with Scouts. If you can find another adult to tent with you, great. Or maybe someone else has a space and you can agree to share that and not even set up your own."

 

I think you should be careful about using charitable fund-raising/donated money to buy things for Scouts. That doesn't sound right.

 

I'd say, use your nice treasury to buy tents for the troop, but assign the tent permanently to a patrol (and they can assign them to individuals if they want). But they stay troop property. My vote is for Eureka two-man tents.

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Ditto Twocubdad and Oaktree,

 

As to your situation I can't tell from here it might work, but I'd be afraid you'd simply be subsidizing the purchase of tents that would then disappear with the Scouts and your treasury.

 

And I don't think this is the way to address the not taking care of gear situation. If they aren't taking care of Troop gear unless they literally own it then what happens to the facilities of places you visit?

 

I like twocubdads solution much better, and may swing what we're doing more in-line with that also.

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We avoid ths issue by making scouts bring their own tents. We are very clear up front before anyone joins that:

 

1. Scouts don't sleep with Dad. They sleep with patrol.

2. BYOT - Bring your own tent.

 

Some scouts use backpacking tents all the time, others use dome tents or BP depending on the activity. We encourage tents no igger than 4 man tents and have some loaners that kind folks have donated is a guy just can't afford a tent.

 

Last trip a guy had a musty smell because he didn't air his tenet out after a rainly campout. No better teacher than experience for that one.

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Our troop buys the tents. My guys sleep by patrol, no mixing of patrol members in tents and the patrols are set up separately. Each patrol has 4 Eureka Timberline 4 man tents. We sleep two, maybe 3 per tent if there is a odd number in the patrol. Each tent part is marked (except the pegs) with a number corresponding to the patrol. The Fox patrol has the I.D. number 3, so their tents are marked #31, 32, 33, 34. Prior to each trip the patrol fills out the duty roster which includes a place to note which tent each Scout is sleeping in so Jimmy and Dan of the Fox patrol are using tent #33. The tent body, fly, storage bags, and all poles are marked, poles are engraved. Tents are set up in our meeting place upon returning from a trip and allowed to dry, then the Scouts pack them up during the next meeting.

 

There are troops who don't provide tents just for the reasons you describe and that's certainly one way to go. You could make purchasing a one man tent part of the required gear list for Scouts. This could be a negative for recruiting though because of the cost.

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Thanks for the replies so far --

 

I'm with all of you on the Scout and dad tenting issue. I was just trying to portray an accurate picture. Perhaps I added a bit too much detail. :-)

 

Moving a troop from completely adult-led method to boy-led patrol method can be difficult right? There are several problems to solve, obviously, and subtle suggestions to change the status quo are being handled as delicately as I can.

 

Guy

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Buy quality and care for them properly. We are a 45 year old troop with 60 boys on the roster. Our tents have been troop supplied since at least 1983. How do I know that? Because we just bought some new tents to put into service and took a number of 1983 tents out of service. We always mark the tent body and rain fly with a magic marker with the year it went into service. That's right, we were using 26 year old tents. How? We took care of them, stored them properly and serviced them as needed. We use the Eureka Timberline Outfitter tents. When a tent goes out of service, we throw away the tent and fly and retain the poles and hardware in our tent repair box.

 

We pretty much do the same thing as Eagle732 on assigning marked tents by patrol. We use colored zip ties on tent bags, tents and flys and a matching tape on poles. Patrols use "their" tents in their own patrol area and we don't combine patrols or patrol equipment.(This message has been edited by sr540beaver)

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Our troop uses the Eureka Timberline Outfitters as well. Then we have 6 backpacking tents of another brand as well I believe. We have a bunch of the Timberline 4 Outfitters-- they're great tents..

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Like knothead our troop doesn't supply tents. The boy and parent has to bring their own.

 

We didn't have the money to buy tents nor the place to dry them out and store properly.

 

We actually use this to teach personal responsibility.

 

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About 8 years ago a Rental company had hundreds of tents used one time for some event and then sold them for 7$ each. Our Troop bought about 30-40 since it was such a good deal. They are not the "best" but are decent enough if put up correctly. They are used mostly by the first years until they end up getting their own. We have seen that the boys take better care of the tent when they own it themselves. We are down to about 7-9 of these tents due to broken poles or disrepair. They are good to have as emergency backups as well.

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