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Fat Old Guy

Adults as shepherds?

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For some reason, far too many of the adults in my troop seem to think that their function at Summer Camp is to play shepherd. Guiding the Scouts from station to station, making sure that they get to the right place at the right time and that they do their work.

 

I'm of the time that once the Scout knows where the different places are, the adults primary function should be to sleep . . . just half kidding but we don't need to be following the Scouts around.

 

Does anyone else have this problem and how do you deal with it.

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We enforce the buddy system at summer camp. Most kids comply and we only get a few complaints from the senior boys who feel it puts restrictions on their independence.

 

Most of the boys are embarassed to have an adult trail them (or much worse lead them) from station to station. However, a few of the younger boys appreciate it. I ask the boys their preference and usually comply. If I get no feedback, they are on their own. If the unusual case comes up where an individual scout has no buddy going in his direction (our summer camp is over three square miles) an adult will accompany him to his destination.

 

Just like the boys, an adult with time on his hands can get into mischief. That is why as SM, I always give them a "duty" if needed. That may be to earn their SM merit badge (not a real MB of course but something our summer camp has come up with to keep SAs and other adults busy), go get ice, check the mail at the post office, etc. Most have learned to chill out.(This message has been edited by acco40)

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If a boy doesn't want to go to class that is his choice. We do ask them about the class and how it is going. If the scout complains about a class we will send an adult to see that the scout is getting his moneys worth.

 

In our troop two things drive summer camp...

1) Scout Spirit.

2) The simple fact that if they win the B.O.S.S. award one of the adults is going home bald! (again)

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I try to visit all of the Troops that are in camp. As a rule the DE and I pop in just to say Hi and see if everyone is happy.

Our guys must think that they are the Wise Men?? I don't see much evidence of Shepherding.

Eamonn

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The adults in the troop in which I serve provide transportation to and from camp, then pitch in where needed to assist the camp staff (my specialty is aquatics, BSA Lifeguard, etc), take adult leader training that is offered, or if they are skilled in a trade, report to the Ranger to see what needs doing. Some think that the week is for lounging around, reading, and drinking coffee, which I think makes for a long week and does nothing to benefit the program.

 

Making sure the boys are not goofing off is the SPL's job. We do make a point to visit each program area during the week just to observe.

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If they don't know where to go we show them once then they are expected to get there on their own. If they don't want to go to their merit badge classes they can go home. The Scout is getting his money's worth by being able to use all the camp facilities. We are not going to babysit all week.

 

As adults, we will help out where ever the camp staff needs us. And if they don't naps! As a matter of fact, there is an Adult Merit Badge that we can earn each year and one of the requirements is to take a nap!

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Ed,

my line about the scout "getting his money's worth" refers to M.B. classes that are not delivering what the scout paid for. Far too many times my scouts tell me that the class is a joke. That's when we send an adult in to do a bit of quality control. Not to baby sit.

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We have to do a bit of shepherding with the first-year campers, but we do have quite a few older 4 and 5 year Scout campers we can delegate that to. We go on several outpost camps during the session and that keeps some of our adults busy. We conduct a lot of Board of Review's at camp which is something else some of our adults can do.

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wingnut,

I know what you mean. There are times when our Scouts tell us the same thing. We will go observe & then if we feel the Scout is correct, we will address the situation with the program director.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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We shepherd our first year campers around. We try to keep them in manageable "herds", usually 3-4 each. Usually, these kids are taking a lot of handicraft and scout skills classes, so the instructor often needs the extra set of hands. We try to fade into the background as the week goes on.

 

For 2nd & 3rd year campers, we'll follow them the first day and observe from afar. If all seems well, we'll give them their freedom. If there are problems with discipline (our boys or others), we'll keep a close eye on it. If there's a problem with the counselor, we'll escalate as appropriate (program area head, then program director).

 

We also use the buddy system. We may make an exception for an older scout who wants to take a particular MB and can't get anyone else to take it with him.

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We too use the buddy system. But no shepherding in our troop. Leaders may pop in at the various locations, but that's it. All first year scouts are at swimming in the morning.

 

We do enforce a rule that scouts cannot stay in camp with out doing anything constructive, i.e. working on a MB (say a write-up for envi. sci.), chopping wood in the ax yard, etc. Scouts can't just hang around. It actually works quite well.

 

Sparkie

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Under the hot Texas sun, we worry more about hydration than anything else. The adults in our troop do not follow the boys from place to place. Instead we split up into four directions and pop in at each activity area through out the day and make sure that the scout's quart of water is finished or at least half finished throughout the day (with at least 1 gallon or more being drunk by the end of the day). Sometimes we see them walking between classes, we spot check their water bottles and quiz them about their water intakes. Other than that, we don't follow them and sit at one place and wait for them (we don't do it for our sons at all!). Last year, we had 23 first time summer camp scouts and we were fairly busied and I saw my son all by 5 minutes between his classes and during lunch; as a matter of fact, my son did not want me to follow him! It's amazing to realize and witness how the boys grew up right before your eyes at Summer Camp. Besides walking the camp, we took various classes that are available to the adults and sat in some that are interesting to us and we are interested in becoming a counselor. One ASM took lifeguarding class. Three of us renewed our Safe Swim and Safety Afloat. We took turns at the Scoutmaster's sessions during the morning and afternoon and fill up the ice and water coolers. Last Summer Camp mid week, we had a storm blew in at night. It drenched some of the boys sleeping bag and cot. During the next day, the Scoutmasters were busily hanging the soaking wet sleeping bags, clothes, and cots out to dry while the boys attend class! We were also there to teach some of the TFC boys some of the skills after they finish their mb classes early (our older scouts were on the high ad side ... so the scoutmasters had to fill in as instructors). Of course, we also had to become camp's counselor for the homesick boys as well. Of 23 first timer boys, we had 12 of them very homesick.

 

This year summer camp offers more for the adults to do. So our adults will be busied with classes, free horse riding, free shooting, free archery, as well as a plethora of classes. But I guess that we will have to draw straw to have at least two back each day at the camp (or a meeting place) for the boys to contact us.

 

So, no we don't play shepherd and escorting the scout from station to station, because at summer camp there are too many things that an adult can do to keep the boys safe, to keep the troop informed, to keep him/herself informed, and to keep one self available for all of the boys in the troop!

 

1Hour(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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A few years back, we were a start-up Troop. We had NO third year or beyond campers. None. Zero. Long story. Our second-year campers had a full day being off in buddy pairs.

 

Our Tenderfeet campers, by default, received escort ... usually by 2d year Dads (same as someone else said ... Scouts don't want their own parents following close ... )

 

Now, we've got 8 or 9 boys going back for their fifth year, and several more for their fourth. Herding Tenderfeet will be off the list of adult tasks ... but checking hydration is definitely ON the list.

 

YIS John

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When our troop goes to summer camp, the adults do usually discreetly check to see that the Scouts make it to whatever activities they have signed up for. We don't lead then there or follow them there. Rather we just drift in and out of the activity areas.

 

We also observe the activity areas so that when it comes time to fill out the camp evaluation, we can have actual observed experience to add.

 

The Senior Patrol Leader and Patrol Leaders usually are involved in activities as well and seldom have time to check on all the Scouts.

 

Our belief is that as adult leaders in the troop we have some responsibility to ensure that the Scouts are where they are supposed to be doing what they are supposed to be doing. They are never forced to participate in any summer camp activity - just encouraged. But it is their (or their parent's or other folk's) money that paid for camp and I think we need to help them make wise decisions about getting the most out of that money.

 

Most of our Scouts are pretty good about being where they are supposed to be doing what they are supposed to be doing.

 

Other than that, most of us go help run program areas, attend offered training, go on hikes, go for a run, fish, or just relax.

 

Personally, I like to help at the range or take whatever adult training is offered. And I usually take a hammock and a good book as summer camp is often also my annual vacation and I like to get some relation time in.

 

 

 

 

 

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Hi all

 

We have two basic rules for the scouts and one for the adults at summer camp. The scouts (and adults really) must have a buddy at all times and everyone must let their leader know where they are at. The adult rule is you cant walk to classes or activities with the scouts on the first day. You can show up a few minutes later and you can walk with the scouts as buddies after the first day.

 

I believe that the first summer camp is a boy's first real experience with independence. Scout camps are pretty safe and its hard to get lost, so we use it as a safe place to let 11 year old experience the independence of adulthood. As I keep asking first year adults who camp with us, what is the worst that can happen?

 

We have never had a scout get lost or complain. We have had scouts skip class, but that is not the adults problem other than living by the scout law. In just about every instance however, the scout suffers the consequences as his friends earn badges and advances while he stands there watching.

 

Good question FOG.

 

Barry

 

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