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Is Boy scouting Family scouting????

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Not only will I say "No," but I will say HECK NO!


I had a very, VERY negative experience with family camping at the Boy Scout level. My troop wanted to do some trails at Shiloh, which was a 7+ hour long trip one way. We planned it a year in advance, did the prep work, etc. For some reason it got turned into a family camp out and was a "Charley Foxtrot."


Scouts were prepared for the cold, wet weather, but b/c the siblings were not, we were not allowed to hike by the moms present. Something about it not being fair to the younger ones. So 14+ hours round trip and a year of planning and prep wasted.


To make matters worse, one of the siblings left a faucet upstairs from where we were staying on, and it flooded. Not a very good way to make friends.

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For the three years I was SM, only the SM and one ASM went with the boys. If we needed extra drivers, they drove, dropped off and returned at the end of the event. Two adults were required, otherwise only registered Boy Scouts attended the activity. Worked out very well and never had any other problems associated with "family". There was never more than 2 adults present at any given time even when someone needed to tag-team a longer event, i.e. Summer camp: one adult could only stay half the week, tag-teamed off to another adult for the remainder of the week.



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My older son joined our present troop in April '08. I pretty much stayed out of the way until the CC set up a committee meeting (first occurrence since my son joined) in August '08. It was their "annual planning session." No youth involved, just dads.


A few interesting things happened at that meeting. One was that the group discussed putting together a high adventure trip. "We've been talking about it for years, so maybe we should do it." I pretty much kept quiet, but as they discussed options, I spoke up and said, "why don't you get the group of older Scouts together and let them plan what they want to do?" In practice, that became the SM asking the entire troop "what would you like to do?"


Another interesting thing that came out of that meeting was the "Outdoorsman" on the troop committee. When discussing options (and I should note that this Outdoorsman planned two annual trips, one being a ski trip with an overnight in a ski lodge, and the other being a whitewater rafting trip, both of which were $100+ weekend outings) he said, "why don't we go to Bar Harbor? That way families can come along and the wives can go shopping?" Remember, we're discussing "high adventure" and he's trying to accommodate shopping for wives. Hmmmm. Disconnect on the "high adventure" part.



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Its a combo of both really in my opinion. Some outings like camporees are only the youth leaders and provided them with opportunites to advance, learn new skills and team build. Others activities like Smuggler's Notch, white water rafting, cave exploring and etc. are family oriented to build parent relationships and experience something new at the scouting group discount price. Youth leaders still do the work of cooking and such thus showing off their learnt skills. Youth leaders are NOT responsible for their younger siblings during these Scouting family activities because these youth leaders are off with their own friends. Younger siblings usually find another younger sibling to play with under the watchful eye of parents.


Someone hit it on the head that two family vacations is expensive thus the reasons some Scouting activities have become a Scouting family vacation. There is also the days off limitations to consider for many a family.

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Question I have to ask is this:


What do the Scout want to do? ( bold emphasis not shouting)


To WasE61,


Have you ever asked why that policy exists? After the incident I described above, the scouts were furious. And that is putting it lightly. A year of planning and prep ruined because untrained adults insisted on bringing siblings, and then interfering with the scouts program.


It took about 5 years and a handful still active in the troop who remembered the incident, before the troop did another family camp out.


And recently I saw an untrained adult, and one who wasn't even camping overnight, freak out over a limb falling from a tree and starting a panic.


So there may be a very good reason why they only want trained leaders.





You need to be careful with what you are doing. See my example above. Also if the siblings are doing the activities that the scouts are doing A) you ARE burdening the scouts and the parent who should be doing leader things and B) the siblings will get bored with the program when they move into it.


When I went to Canada, one of the leaders brought their younger son who was a Webelos. Luckily he he did a good bit of the work, but we did have to help him some. When he finally became a Boy Scout, he got bored and quit.


Unfortunately I am seeing a little of this with my Tiger. He's been doing things with his older brother and he is bored at times.

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RememberSchiff -- we had a couple of other odd incidents with this same guy. He eventually disconnected when his son turned 18. He didn't have much traction while he was on the committee either.


One of the oddest stories about him, which doesn't really fit this topic, but I'll tell it anyway. The troop committee heard from him, at one point, that his son and another Scout had done some pre-planning for a bike trip on Martha's Vineyard. They figured out ferry schedules, a campground and all that. I should point out that this was back when the SM and the troop committee organized most outings. The problem with the MV trip was that it was planned in May and a June outing had already been set. July is our summer camp month. So the trip never took off.


A year or two later, we had a PLC in place, and they were planning the monthly outings, but having marginal success at times. I'd warned the SPL many months in advance that he needed to check into the schedule for Boston Harbor Island camping, which was on the calendar (I knew that it didn't open up until late June, but the troop calendar was planning it for the first weekend in June). The SPL didn't take the advice, and when he went to book the trip at the beginning of June, he learned that not only camping didn't open up until the end of June, but it was already booked solid.


Followed by a 1-week scramble for the backup plan. Mr. "Outdoorsman" sends out email to the troop moving the weekend outing to the resurrected Martha's Vineyard plan, and that unless he got 10 sign-ups within a week, the weekend outing would be cancelled.


So, without SM, troop committee, or PLC approval, Mr. Outdoorsman set a plan in motion and cancelled it "for lack of interest" a week later. That was pretty much his last attempt at scheduling anything. By then, he wasn't even attending committee meetings any more.


By the way, we didn't stay home -- there was still an outing, I just can't recall what it was. About that same time, we started doing less "destination" planning, and doing more activity planning. Example: "snowshoeing" in February, rather than "White Mountains hike".




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"To WasE61, Have you ever asked why that policy exists?"


Nope. I was simply stating the policy. It doesn't really apply to me anyway.


I do understand the economic argument, especially for big trips. I haven't had a vacation in two years....can't afford it.(This message has been edited by WasE61)

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Oh blame the economy........



I make sacrifices in my families life so we can do more things. We don't have cable TV, only one TV in the house, two cell phones one paid for by work. We don't eat out, we don't drive new cars..... Live in a house in a less than fantastic neighborhood.


But ya know that is my choice. If your going to blame no vacation on a couple of hundred buck for a summer camp fee, then you shouldn't take a vacation anyhow.


As SM I will discourage the boys from family camp outs. Drivers are welcome siblings are not.

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We don't mind one parent coming with. Maybe two. BUT we try to separate the parents from the scouts. We don't even want the parents hanging near by quietly. It's a distraction. So if the parents come, we usually break out a game of hearts, spades, cribbage or similar. I enjoy it and the real purpose is to let the scouts bond and learn from each other.

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