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Camping, How Often?

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Back when I was CM, a lot of families got involved because of the fun things families could do as families. Most of those events were not campouts. We had one major family campout in the spring and a second optional campout for the Webelos, usually associated with a boy scout camporee, so the Webelos could see what the scouts did and let them interact a little with some of the scouting activities.

Otherwise we had family events centered about PWD, usually several weekends of kite tournaments/picnics, day hikes, fishing events, service projects, and water-oriented events. I just loved the cubs. I'd go back in a heartbeat and I can hardly wait for my grandchildren to be old enough to have the excuse.(This message has been edited by packsaddle)

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A lot of junk like this gets written as a broad policy to solve a very narrow problem. The most obvious scenario was the district/council guys got tired of packs planning their own outings instead of participating in the district/council stuff. I have to keep reminding folks here that district campouts are to SUPPORT units -- if a unit has it's own camping program, that's great!


I can also imagine some silly situation where the council is responding to a number of families were camping for free at council camps every weekend and calling them Family Campouts. Question: what's the difference between a single-family Family Camping and just going camping with your family? And if the Smith's decide to take advantage of the council facilities with a single-family Family Campout, does that count against the pack's two per year limit?


Silly nonsense.


If a council is doing anything but encouraging folks to get outside and camp as much as possible, they're headed in the wrong direction.

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ntrantham--welcome aboard. I had to laugh, my wife (an old school ex-Girl Scout) "suggested" I attend a Q&A BSA meeting with my 1st grader years ago and I got roped in to ! It's all good.


To get back to the original topic.


My first Pack, about 30 scouts, did once a month (with Tigers) in a shortened season. About 6 trips a year and it went Friday to Sunday. My second pack (which had 150+ at campouts--a real mob) did 3 then 2. We had a hard time getting folks out for more then 2. The Webelos usually camped out twice a year as "Patrols" (yes I know they are dens). With a Brownsea campout and a Scout Troop campout the Webelos were doing 4-6.


Until my son got into Tigers I had never been camping. (well once in backyard for 1/2 the night). So Cub Scouting got me and my family out for family camping two or three times a year. We even did an AT trip (OK with a nice stop at a cabin for the wife)because my cubs got into hiking and the woods and all that. So I am personally grateful for Cub Scouting opening up this new world for my family.


Never underestimate how many new families are reluctant to camp because we have had a "lost generation". After I got a little experience I passed on the knowledge to each years "newbie parents" and tried to make (usually) the moms mellow out. We tried to make it easy with simplified packing lists, loaner tents, tent help setup, group meals, and organized activities so the parents could kick back. Did tutorials. We also picked sites close to home.


But still it was hard to get past two, and pressure to go down to one.


My Troop has kids from several(3) feeder packs. Not surprisingly, I have noticed that the Boys that stay in Boy Scouts and feel comfortable with camping got a lot more exposures in cub scouts. Especially the ones where they started showing more responsibility at campouts (tent set up, cooking help, etc) as Bears on. The boys who had the parents do EVERYTHING on campouts had a much harder time transitioning to Boy Scouts even if their program was pretty string elsewhere.


So, ntrantham, it is a good fight worth having. In our Pack we had "over scheduled" activities to give multiple options for busy families to participate. Few families do all of them.


As to the Council "suggestion"? Pweft! You can have all the Den Level "Family Campouts" you want. We did this with 100+ folks, just added the cub rules and uniforms. We just made it really clear on the permission slips that this was a "Family Campout" and they were responsible.


And why not just have 2 Pack campouts and encourage several smaller ones. Or do several day-trip activities (we did a very tame canoe trip on a very shallow river) with an option to stay overnight for those that want to. Believe me if 1/3rd of the boys are setting up tents some of the others will start nagging their parents why they can't.


Anyway, ntrantham, thanks for your work.

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Bad idea.....cause someone won't get invited and their will be hurt feelings and drama.......


Invite the entire pack and don't promote it much and go......The usual suspects will go and have a good time and there will be no grounds for complaint since everyone was invited.

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I promote our Pack as a "camping Pack", and can point to at least 1 opportunity each quarter to camp with our Pack:

- Fall (Pack-run)

- Winter (Pack-run in a heated cabin)

- Spring (some type of camp-in program at a Zoo, Science Center, etc.)

- Summer (overnight program run by the local minor league baseball team)

- Summer (Pack-run)

- Summer (Council-run Day Camp)


In addition to these Pack campouts I got the ball rolling on Webelos den camping, so that Webelos are typically camping once or twice a year.


If I was in a council with a policy on Family Campouts like the one yours has, then I would ask for clarification about the programs run by the Zoo/Science Center/Baseball Team, etc. In my opinion those shouldn't count against my limit of 2 Family Campouts, but if they did then I would try to replace them with one of the council-run programs that don't count against the limit (e.g., the Cub Scout Family Adventure or Fall Festival).


I have come to appreciate mixing camp programs run by other organizations in with Pack-run campouts, because it gives us a break from planning every event...especially if you're not sure of the turn-out. Our turn-out for the baseball camp-in has been extremely low in some years, but it didn't matter because all we had to do was submit the registration. We weren't banking on a minimum sign-up to make the campsite or food budget work.


Interestingly enough, our camping participation is lowest in the summer. I'm guessing the combination of baseball, vacations and scout burn-out explains that. Knowing that means I will tend to prefer events where we just sign-up and show-up in the summer versus the fall and winter where our participation is the highest. This summer we will likely offer the baseball and Day Camp events but nix the family campout.


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Cubs may only canoe on flat water (lake) at council or district events.


We try to offer a spring campout as council runs a fall camping event. We once had a special winter cabin camping, which although well attended, was expensive with a lot of activity and meal planning involved for the few leaders. We are a medium size pack.


However, I know of a few packs that have 2 or 3 campouts a year, mostly to the same places. They are often larger packs.


It just depends on the interest level of the families and the number of volunteers willing to plan and coordinate. However, 6 or more campouts for cubs seems like too many unless you also have a second pack activity those months.

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Our Guide to Safe Scouting, a book of "thou shall nots" dictates that every tiger or cub scout (ages 6-9) shall be accompanied by a parent or guardian on outings. I believe that's it. Den Meetings 6 year olds must be accompanied by a parent. Cub Scouts don't necessarily have to have a parent present. The reason could be legal liability, enough supervision, etc.


Even at our seasonal council camps we are required to maintain a 2 scout to 1 adult ratio, while also maintaining two deep leadership.


When I was a kid growing up us 6-9 year olds spent most of our time trying to get away from mom and dad. I suppose that if it were up to the kids today they would be the same. At some point the sensationalism of kids being kidnapped, abused, and murdered changed us a society where now we have to keep an eye on our children in order to be good parents.


According to this .pdf (http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/documents/FAQ.pdf) there are on average 800,000 missing children in the USA, with nearly 2,000 missing children reports every day. The recovery rate is about 62%. So parents get scared by that. Of course looking further into the statistics, the majority of abductions are committed by family members and ex-spouses, and the majority of disappearances are attributed to runaways.


But that gets lost in translation a lot and so everyone is afraid that their kid will be abducted by some stranger out in the woods or on the street.


Me I'm more concerned about coyotes, but my sons know how to deal with them.

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Starts on pp 15-16.




Long story short, parent or guardian. Brief synopsis of Cubs camping since I've been in Socuting.


In the 1980s, only times Cubs camped was on "lad and dad weekends" and at day camp. packs didn't camp.


Sometime in the 1990s, councils started putting on weekend events for Cubs and their families this branched out to resident camp, i.e. 3-4 days and nites of camping, and eventually packs going camping ontheir own.


There are requirements for Packs to camp as noted in the link above. Most significant is the Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation ( B.A.L.O.O.) Training that is required ( and beleive it advanced outdoor training for Boy Scout and Venturing leaders don't count).


Also as I have recently discovered, some councils limit the number of pack camp outs per year.


I know in my neckof the woods, we still have folks that beleive "Cubs don't need to camp."


Yeah right, tell that to my 4 yo Cub Scout wannabe who has his pack ready to go and has been wearing it EVERYWHERE since big brother packed up this weekend.

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No where does the Guide to Safe Scouting state that "every tiger or cub scout (ages 6-9) shall be accompanied by a parent or guardian on outings".


Tigers, yes. It is a prat of the program for an Adult Partner to do everything with their Tiger.


However other Cub Scouts (Wolf, Bear, and Webelos) are not required to do the same.


In the Guide to Safe Scouting it specifically states that a Cub Scout may attend without parents as long as they are responsible to a specific adult.



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