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provisional campers

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This year, after much debating and soul-searching, my son decided to go to camp as a provisional camper since he couldn't attend camp with the rest of his troop. I believe the main attraction for him was the Eagle Trail program they offer there. He is there now, and I hope reaping great benefits from camp.


I have some praises and some complaints about provisional camper program here. Praises include: Boys are adopted into a smaller troop that is also attending, the camp is beautiful, the programs seem to be very well planned, camp information is disseminated to the troops efficiently.


Complaints are: provisional camper information is only available on-line, no informational packet is mailed to the camper upon registration, on-line information about camp is only a partial of the printed material troops receive (so my son arrived at camp without some necessary items, not fully prepared for some of his merit badge workshops, etc.), no comfirmation of enrollment in camp (including which week, what programs or workshops).


As you can see these problems are based in administrative detail work and failure to fully communicate with the provisional camper and his family. Last Sunday I was rather hot under the collar. I did email Council with my comments, politely. Today I am much calmer, and am wondering how these problems can be rectified for future provisional campers. Lest you think I am alone in this assessment, the other provisional-camper parents this week all said the same thing. While it reassured me that there was no problem with my email system, it bothers me that Council has such a glaring problem with this.


Any suggestions?

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In our council, all information is mailed to the troop. Nothing is mailed to individual boys. It is the responsibility of the adopting troop to communicate with all the boys in the troop, including a provisional camper.


Our troop has adopted provisional summer camp Scouts in the past. We invite the boy to a attend a troop meeting or two prior to camp so that he can meet the other boys and participate in planning. He is no different than any other member of the troop.

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In my council, like Fscouter, the information is available on the Troop level. We have had provisional campers with us in the past, but they contacted us about going with us.



What council are you from?


Ed Mori


Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10


Happy 4th of July!

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The adoptive troop was unaware that they were an adoptive troop until check-in last Sunday. They also experienced some consternation, since they had troop activities planned and not enough supplies for the three provisional campers assigned to them. It also impacts pizza night tomorrow, although I hope they tapped these boys for their share of the expense.


As you can see, there was an all-around failure to communicate.


We are part of Gulf Ridge Council.

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rlculver415: In our council there are two ways a boy can go provisional. The way you explained happened, and you see the pitfalls there. Also the boys are never placed with a Troop unless they agree ahead of time to take provisionals, if there are any, or agree when they are asked at check-in. The second is for the boy to ask at council what Troops are attending the week he wants to go, and then contacting a Troop. Sometimes the SM can advise you which Troop to go with. That way the Troop he is attending with can include him on their roster, register him for badges, get him the info he needs, and can include him in any of their plans.

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I do indeed see the pitfalls of this. I just wish there were methods in place to prevent the shock of falsely assuming one is ready for camp, when it seems nearly a given that provisional campers won't be due to insufficient information on the council's part. And how does one go about warning other provisional campers of this pitfall?


On a more positive note, now that my son is back from summer camp, our family has a few more praises to add to the previous list. The adoptive troop (Troop 7 out of Tampa) were absolutely wonderful with the provisional boys. There were a total of 5 provisionals, and the troop SPL dealt very well with what amounted to a patrol of strangers. My son really liked him, and had no trouble following his leadership. Also, the scoutmasters of this troop immediately assigned each provisional a buddy from the troop. From what I have heard, with the 5 provisionals it became an honor to be a buddy to one of them. My son made a troop-ful of new friends, and hopes to meet them again at camp or some other council function. All of Daniel's MB counselors told me he really buckled down and made up for the lack of pre-requisites, which earned him five MBs and three nearly finished partials. He had a great time, and can't wait to share with his troop tomorrow.

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