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I agree with Mike F.

"If it were up to me, I would place the most emphasis within the camp program on helping guys learn some fundamental skills so they are prepared to be more functional within their patrol.

Cooking, sharpening a knife/ax/saw, building fires (first under optimal conditions, then with wet wood), knots and whipping, some basic first aid, some map/compass/hiking. Again, the emphasis isn't on racing through advancement requirements, it's helping the guys develop the basic skills they need to enjoy being in the outdoors."


One of the things I felt would be great is if the camp also ran fo the adults outdoor leader training. The adults then could work with your first year scouts. This would give your class more adult help. Usally when I see these first year programs they have two or three staff with a herd of young scouts.


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Our troop goes to a different summer camp each summer. Over the last 4 years, each camp has offered a New Scout Program. All of them have been full day programs. They gather up all the scouts divide them into groups and then teach the various requirements for T-FC. At the end of the week, we get a printout of all the requirements they worked. It is up to the troop to decide to sign off or not.


I have attended these progams to ensure they are getting taught the correct information and occasionally because the camp requires an adult help if you have more than X number of scouts from a single troop participating. Some camps like to split up boys from the same troop into different groups/patrols.


We usually take 8-12 new scouts so ask they keep them together. We run an aged based patrol system in our troop and we want the lads to start developing a patrol identity.


The full day for 5 day program covers a lot of ground but the scouts always complain they did not earn a merit badge while everyone else in the troop earned many. This years camp runs a 1/2 day program. Yeah! So we are able to enroll the scouts in at least 2 MB. As all knowing adults, we are signing them all up for Swimming and First Aid MBs. Our troop tends to enjoy water based activities and we believe this prepares them for future activities in the troop.


Typically the lads in these programs just bubbled up from Webelos couple months ago. Depending on their troop, they may have been on one or two campouts but in my discussions with the other campers in the programs, most have only been on one or none campouts prior to summer camp. They need the basic outdoor skills, everything you can offer in the Scoutcraft area. They all want to go swimming so plan to get them in the water at least 3 times during the week.


Most camps have a designated area for the program. Make sure you get them out of the area for the specific training. Take them over to the Nature lodge when duing the 10 signs of animals or tree id. Take them over to the Medical Hut for first aid training. Take them to the waterfront for swimming. Hike them all over camp so they get a chance to see all of it. Take them to the climbing tower to tie knots. They wont climb but they get to see what they can do next year. Take them to Scoutcraft for Totn Chip. Take them to the parade ground for flag stuff. Also plan some play time. 30 minutes of game time goes a long way to breaking up the school like feel of working all the requirements.


Last time the the camp had 100+ in the program for 1 week. They had a staff member for each "patrol". During instruction time, they would rotate the instructors every other knot, or every couple of skills just to keep it from being so boring. That way if you have a weak staffer, everyone gets to suffer instead of one patrol having a horrible week. They make them go through and pick a patrol name, make a flag, yell/cheer, etc. Also spend some time explaining the troop structure and the various troop POR. New guys are still asking the adults questions when we want to direct them back towards the PL and TG.


If I had to boil down to top 4: Lots of swim time, only 1/2 day program, earn at least 1 merit badge, rotate instructors frequently (every 15 minutes).

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My bias would be to suggest that's too much nose-to-the-grindstone stuff for one week of summer camp.


And my bias is for Scouts to give Scouts substantial freedom to decide for themselves what they want to work on.


It's not supposed to be school, but that's the way it sounds.


I used to review the choices Scouts made and point out the difficulties or consequences of such choices, but they could choose what they wanted to do.

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First, I'd review all the promotional materials that the unit leaders have been given about this summer - the leader's manual, brochures, etc. Use that as a baseline. If your CD has promised something, make sure you deliver unless it's impossible. And make sure it's clear that your role is not to sign off on requirements, but to teach skills.


Second, have a sit-down with your CD and PD about how many Scouts are signed up, what type of resources you have at your disposal, how many staffers you'll have, whether you'll be able to call on other program areas (get a nature geek to teack plant ID?) for help, etc. A rough head count in advance is ESSENTIAL. If you end up with 60 kids and you only have enough equipment and supplies and staffers for 20, you'll be in trouble.


Third, you are only about two months away from the start of camp. Don't bite off more than you can chew. You can always expand next year.


Fourth, design it around patrols as much as possible. Don't require patrols to attend - you'll get one or two kids from a troop that does mixed-age patrols, and should mix them into the others. But try to keep a unit's patrols together as much as possible.


Fifth, NCS does offer an FYC director training program. But before going, talk with people who've already been about whether it would be more helpful for you to go for Scoutcraft or FYC. The former, from my experience, covers the exact same Scouting skills that FYC should cover. I'm not sure that the FYC program would teach you how to start one from scratch.


Sixth, since you're the Scoutcraft director, focus on Scoutcraft-related skills, and don't worry about the swimming stuff. You don't have to cover every single requirement - that would be impossible. However, if it's possible, get a nature geek for a guest session, unless your own nature skills are expert-level.


Seventh, with your CD and PD's permission, ask units who send Scouts to this program also send along an adult leader to assist with instruction. That'll help substantially when you get 60 kids signed up at the last minute and have only two staffers to teach.


Eighth, try to set aside a physically separate area for the FYC campers. Make it special - get or make repros of the original Brownsea patrol flags, build a cool gateway, have a floating flagpole, develop a short but sweet morning ceremony or ritual, take on the persona of BP, come up with a neat name for the program ("Brownsea," "First Scout," "Baden-Powell Training"), etc. etc.


Ninth, run a cool evening program just for the FYC campers - a night hike, a neat cooking program, even an overnight depending on your resources. No one else allowed except your new guys.


Tenth, congratulations, and a pox on the naysayers who say you can't do both jobs at the same time. My first paying job on camp staff was actually three jobs - commissioner (unit check-ins and -outs, daily campsite inspections and visits, loaning out equipment), Scoutcraft instructor (teaching Scoutcraft MBs) and FYC instructor (teaching skills for the FYC program). We had three staffers handling all those roles. In the 15 years since, they have been spun off - there's now a camp commissioner, a Scoutcraft program staff and a Brownsea program staff - but splitting yourself is doable, especially for just an hour a day.

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Thanks to everyone who's replied.


One of my programming teachers used to repeat to us, "Don't reinvent the wheel." "People don't have the time or money to pay you to code everything from scratch," he'd say, "Even though that's what we teach you to do, always look around and see what's available first. It'll save you a lot of time, both in coding and debugging." I am a firm believer that he was spot on (and not just in programming).

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If you are not sent to NCS for training, contact a national scout shop for the book. I know the Occonneechee Scout Shop in Raleigh NC has the First Year Camper book from NCS on the shelf for purchase.

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an hour a day is not enough; half a day each day is more feasible. T to F covers an awful lot of new material to some who have never seen it before. Getting everyone organized for a ten mile hike, and then doing the hiking can take a half day. Demonstrating fire building, and then having everyone gather tinder, kindling etc and lay the fire can take half a day. If the particular program module finishes early, then the Scouts need not stay the entire half-day

Pioneering is not for most first year Scouts - too many knots and lashings all at once (therefore soon forgotten). Plus, many eleven year olds are not yet strong enough to handle the logs & spars. Ditto first-aid mb; learn well the basics & practice & practice them the first year.

You also need to build in time for a week long how-to-swim school, basic instruction in rifle & archery so they can earn these second year, running the easier compass courses. They'll also need practice time for what they've "learned" before they are tested.

Rewards (to keep motivation up) are rank advancement, of course, although this needs to be tested by their troop (on the last day?)& not just signed off by the instructors. Mid-week presentation of totin chip, fire chip. The earning of one or two easy mb so they have plenty of free time for horseback riding, area wide games, open swimming, war canoes, archery, riflery and just communing with nature. Teaching CPR certification would be nice; another card to bring home from camp.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is how I've divided up the requirements into related sections. Each section would take either 30 minutes or an hour, which leaves us time to teach and practice (play some game to practice). Cooking is going to take longer though and requires boys to work with their patrol -- you have to both be an assistant to someone else cooking and you have to be the person in charge, so likely will require multiple meals.


Citizenship/Computers -- should probably be Eagles Nest

1st Class 5: Visit someone and discuss your constitutional rights and obligations as a US citizen. Our camp is in a city with no elected officials, controlled totally by the County. There are four high schools in the area, though and a history teacher from one would probably be interested in coming out and talking once a week in exchange for a free lunch. One of the area directors is also a registered/licensed lawyer.

1st Class 11: Internet Safety, describe cyberbully and how to respond


Swimming -- should probably be Aquatics

2nd Class 8a: Tell what precautions must be taken for a safe swim

1st Class 9a: Ditto, but afloat (canoe/kyak/raft, some type of boat)

2nd Class 8b: pre-Swimmer test -- skip this for next one?

1st Class 9b: Swimmer test

2nd Class 8c: Demonstrate how to rescue someone, reaching, avoiding contact

1st Class 9c: Actually go rescue someone 30' from shore in "deep water" -- has to be the lake, the pool is neither big enough nor particularly "deep"


Nature -- should probably be Nature

Tenderfoot 11: Identify local poisonous plants, tell how to treat for exposure

1st Class 6: Identify/show evidence of at least 10 kinds of wild animals in the community.


First Aid -- should probably be the First Aid people

Tenderfoot 12a: Demonstrate care for choking

Tenderfoot 12b: Show first aid for simple cuts/scrapes, blisters, minor burns/scalds, bites/stings (and ticks), venomous snakebite, nosebleed, frostbite/sunburn

2nd Class 7a: What to do for hurry cases of stopped breathing, serious bleeding, ingested poisoning

2nd Class 7c: Demonstrate first aid for object in eye, bite of suspected rabid animal, puncture wounds, serious burns, heat exhaustion, shock

1st Class 8b: Demonstrate bandages for sprained ankle, injuries to head/arm/collarbone

1st Class 8c: Show how to transport (solo and with another) person from smoke-filled room and a sprained ankle victim for 25+ yards

1st Class 8d: Tell 5 most common signs of heart attack, explain steps for CPR


Camping/Leave No Trace (BSA LNT 101 is 3 hours and the Awareness Course is only 30 minutes, but the BSA requirements are in the midst of being revised, though -- 101 may be required later. I am a LNT trainer, but we have a Master Educator who's taught a good portion of the trainers in Southern CA at camp -- she has more experience educating.)

Tenderfoot 1: Be all ready to camp, dressed, show gear, how to pack/carry it

2nd Class 2 (note also 1st Class 3): Discuss Leave No Trace principles

Tenderfoot 2 & 2nd Class 3b: Select patrol site, sleep in tent you pitched, how to choose site, where to pitch


Cooking -- some needs to be done with their patrol -- this is the biggest section by far.

First, do Totin' Chip

Tenderfoot 3: On a campout, assist in preparing/cooking one meal, why important to share prep/clean, eat together

2nd Class 3e: When/how to use a fire/stove and be safe

2nd Class 3g: while camping, plan/cook one hot breakfast/lunch, use food pyramid, tell about good nutrition, how to transport/store/prepare food.

1st Class 4a: 2nd Class 3g but also includes a hot dinner

1st Class 4b: Using that menu, make a list showing cost/food amounts, get ingredients -- may not be able to do in camp, where to get ingredients from?

1st Class 4c: Tell what you need to cook/serve that menu

1st Class 4d: Explain how to safely handle/store fresh meat/dairy/egg/vegetables/other, how to properly dispose of garbage/cans/whatever

1st Class 4e: Be the cook, supervise your assistants in using stove (or fire), prepare the three meals from that menu, lead patrol in saying grace, supervise cleanup -- if we do this one, menus may need to be created before coming to camp -- a boy has to be the cook and supervise which means a given patrol can't get more than 5 or 6 boys through this part in a week. A large patrol or an LDS 11-year old Scout troop can't get this done at camp.


Hiking/Orienteering -- note the 1-mile orienteering course and the 5-mile hike

Tenderfoot 5: Explain safe hiking highway/cross-country day/night, what to do when lost

Tenderfoot 9: Explain buddy system (outings and about town), what's a bully, how to respond

2nd Class 1a: Demonstrate how a compass works, orient a map, what do symbols mean?

2nd Class 1b: Using a compass/map, take a 5-mile hike

1st Class 1: Demonstrate how to find directions day/night without compass

1st Class 2: Use map/compass, complete one-mile orient. course, measure heights/widths


Scout Spirit

Tenderfoot 7: Repeat, from memory, the Scout Oath, Law, motto, slogan

Tenderfoot 8: Know your patrol name, give patrol yell, describe patrol flag

2nd Class 5: Participate in one hour (minimum) service project


Flag Ceremony -- put the "Trail to First Class" Scouts completely in charge of a mid-week ceremony so they can learn about how to do it and see it done right by others first.

Tenderfoot 6: Demonstrate how to raise/lower/fold/display the American flag

2nd Class 4: Participate in flag ceremony


Personal Fitness

Tenderfoot 10a: Record best in best in push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, standing long jump, 1/4 mile walk/run

2nd Class 9a (first part only): Participate in program on the dangers of using drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and other practices that could be harmful. I spoke with a Deputy at the local Sheriff station who's looking into the feasibility of bringing out one of those drug kits with actual drugs each week if we give him lunch -- I can see this being one of the more highly attended events each week if that's the case (purely for the titillation, but then we try to coat all our learning exercises in ice cream to entice people to want to do them)

2nd Class 9b: Explain 3 R's of personal safety/protection



Tenderfoot 4a: Demonstrate how to whip/fuse ends of a rope

Tenderfoot 4b: Demonstrate how to tie two half hitches, taunt-line hitch, why tie them

Tenderfoot 4c: Using EDGE, teach another person to tie the square knot

1st Class 7a: Discuss when you should/shouldnt use lashings, demonstrate timber hitch, clove hitch, how to tie square/sheer/diagonal lashings

1st Class 7b: Lash together a useful camp gadget

1st Class 8a: Demonstrate how to tie a bowline, whats it good for


Totin' Chip

2nd Class 3c: Demonstrate proper care/sharpening/use knife/axe/saw

2nd Class 3d: Use knife/axe/saw to prepare kindling for a cooking (very small) fire

2nd Class 3f: demonstrate how to build a fire and set up a stove (no lighting)



Tenderfoot 10b: Repeat 10a a month later and show improvement

2nd Class 3a: Since joining, go on 5 separate troop/patrol activities (other than normal meetings), two of which include camping overnight.

1st Class 3 -- partially fulfilled by 2nd Class 3a if you make sure that all activities/campouts follow LNT principles.

2nd Class 7b: Prepare personal first aid kit to take on a hike -- where to get materials? Buy from store? That could get expensive, should probably be done on the Scout's own time.

2nd Class 9a (second part): Discuss with family what you learned and explain the dangers of substance addictions.

2nd Class 10: Earn an amount of money agreed upon by you and your parent, saving at least 50% of it

1st Class 4e: If they're a large troop of Scouts who haven't done this yet.

1st Class 10: Tell non-scout or inactive scout about what your troop does, invite the person to join you while doing something, tell him how to join/come


Also not covered:

Tenderfoot 13: Demonstrate Scout Spirit by living Oath/Law in everyday life. Discuss 4 new examples of how you lived the Law in your daily life.

2nd Class 11: Same thing but 4 new examples

1st Class 12: Same thing but 4 new examples

And of course the Scoutmaster conferences and boards of review which is none of our business.

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I think it's awesome how you did this. Incorporate your "rainbinator" somehow (different color for each day?), and your program will never be forgotten.


Beyond this syllabus, I think you will need to prepare a "lead a horse to water" minute lecture for the SM orientation. Let them know what (if anything) they can expect to get from you at the end of the week.


As far as first aid kits, the few of our kids who don't have them already always raid the troop supplies. We figure it's better that they have a few bandages handy than we account for every dime. I'm sure the trading post would be happy to accommodate them as well.


And that's the point about the trail to first class. We want to raise up boys who walk their own path. So, just like the cooking rotation, some things are their responsibility. Now if you do see a boy who's poorly resourced, you should free to act scouter to scout as you fit. Don't let anyone pull that "if you do it for one, you'll have to for all" rubbish. But chances are a simple word to the SM "Johnny needs X or Y" will do for most needs.

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Our council camp puts on a Pathfinder (I and II) program each year. On paper, it works well but keep this in mind.


1) The Scoutmaster is in charge of the advancement program so keep them informed on what you teach but make sure you or your staff do not sign-off on any requirements. The best way to do that is to heavily recruit troop leaders, SMs and SAs to help with putting on the program.


2) Don't try to do too much.


3) Try your darndest to keep it fun!


4) Disregard all merit badge work.


5) April is kind of late to get started in my view.


This may give you some good ideas:


http://www.troop123.org/pdf/summercamp07/llsr07pathfinder.pdf(This message has been edited by acco40)

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