Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
MattR

Removing summer camp focus from merit badges

Recommended Posts

Ok I admit I think some MBs do have a place at summer camp: canoeing, rifle, shotgun, climbing, you know the OUTDOOR oriented ones. Closest I can see to "paper pushing" ones is Environmental Science and possibly, stressing POSSIBLY, Journalism and Cinematography. ES has a large paper pushing component IMHO. One camp I worked at did Journalism in which the folks went out did interviews, reports, etc and published a camp newspaper. It was awesome. As for Cinematography,. again they had the scouts doing actual shows for the last campfire and for camp promos.

 

I do think they need to limit the number you can take. I also think they need to provide opportunities for "free swim," "Free Shooting," "free leatherwork" etc.

 

Don't remember camp games at the 2nd to last camp I worked at, (my boss, who never worked summer camp before in her life, had me working during the campwide games at the last camp I worked at despite me not only telling her that we would have no business in the trading post, but also showing her the sales log showing no business) But those competitions and games were someof the best memories I had. Staff manhunt, raft races, greased watermellon, those were some of the best memories..

 

FYI, 13 years old for COPE is a national standard, can't get around it.

Generally age 13 or older. Younger participants may take part in events that match their maturity level as determined by the director.

 

 

http://meritbadge.org/wiki/images/2/27/2011_Project_COPE_and_Climbing-Rappelling_National_Standards_(No._430-008).pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For us it was the STAFF MANHUNT! Every staffer had a watermelon bounty on his head based upon their "rankings," i.e. how many times they've been caught, number of years on staff, etc. Most had 1 - 2 watermelons on their heads, but I remember one long term staffer who had never been caught since the first or second year he was on staff had a 15 watermelon bounty on his head!

 

And the watermelon came in handy on TROOP NITE, i.e. troop's did their own program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for your ideas. Here's my summary.

 

Key components are challenge, patrol based and cooking, fun, and hands on. The challenge can be found from learning new skills, having skill levels, competing with other patrols, awards, team challenges. The week is one massive challenge. Merit badges can be a great source of skill challenge but it can certainly be augmented (not to get the MB, but just to add more to it). So, build the tower and not just a model, and race the canoe. Patrol leader decides the program for his patrol. There is plenty of flexibility for how hard, lazy, challenging, fun, advancement, the program will be. Fun things like the gold, weapons, man hunt, would be great themed silliness the scouts can get into. Hands on (vs lecturing) is a big part of this. Lecturing is fine if it's kept to less than 20% of the time or part of safety. If scouts want to do the classroom work at camp, fine, but if they do it before camp that gives them more time to have fun.

 

If anyone wants to fill in some details about the silly activities (man hunt, attacking neighbors, etc) I'm interested. I'd also like ideas on how to turn inherently single person activities into patrol activities. A Coulter's run is an example of each scout doing a different task. "Get the lowest ranked scout to advance one rank" could be a team effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Camp Loud Thunder {Illowa Council}did a pilot program last year introducing pistol shooting for scouts. I believe there was a age level of 14, Each troop received 2 slots to fill. Our council had several volunteers step forward to help with instruction. 1 per 2 boys on the range. From what I understand, this year several more camps are doing it around the country.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a scout "75-79" merit badge and skill award classes were in the morning slots only. Afternoon and evenings were open camp, or time to work on your badges on your own. We were encouraged to visit every area in camp and at least try every area. Water front, pool, scoutcraft, handycraft, shooting sports, and Eco-con. By doing this we had more chances to try new things, and perhaps taking badges in those area's in the future. If not, just have a more enjoyable camp with doing the fun things you liked.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Camp Loud Thunder {Illowa Council}did a pilot program last year introducing pistol shooting for scouts. I believe there was a age level of 14, Each troop received 2 slots to fill. Our council had several volunteers step forward to help with instruction. 1 per 2 boys on the range. From what I understand, this year several more camps are doing it around the country.
The camp gets around the handgun issue by dual registering the 14 year olds into a Venturing Crew. It costs nothing more for the scout and he can sign his own application. When shooting he is under the auspices of Venturing, not Scouting. Our local council has been doing this for a couple of years as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our Council's camp in Gilmanton, NH is broken up into two parts, Hidden Valley and Camp Bell. HV is a traditional MB scout camp with the classes in the morning troop activities in the afternoon and we eat in the dining hall.

 

Camp Bell is a patrol camp with the scouts having to pick up their food and cook it at their site. The camp provides all the necessary kitchen equipment a standard menu is provided and they get a cookbook also. Only three problems occurred when we go and they are 1) The scouts trying to agree on how something is to be prepared, such as French toast or scrambled eggs and toast. 2) The 15 year old scout who's mom does everything for him and doesn't know how to even peal a vegetable. 3) I have to eat whatever they make because at Bell the scouts cook breakfast and dinner for the leaders. The leaders get together for lunch with the camp director and we cook our lunch.

 

At a pre-camp meeting the patrol leaders select what they want to do for the whole day. Say they choose waterfront for Tuesday then they spend the whole day at the waterfront

 

Our troop alternates camps each year. Some troops do both each year.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our council as a big camp at over 5k acres, but the older scouts were getting tired of it and by older I mean 14. The heat the past two summer didn't help. This year we went out of council to a another much smaller dining hall option camp, but was not enough to attract the older scouts. I like the option of going to a different camp each year to keep it fresh even if it means some travel. I don't understand all the details but apparently the OA is requiring us to come back to council camp next year. So looks like we are limited to every other year. They may have valid reasons for their policy, just don't know what they are. Does OA limit anyone else's options ?
Your OA candidates are required to do their ordeal in their own lodge. If the lodge only offers to run ordeals at summer camp then you have to do it there. Now, our lodge runs ordeals at our fall and spring fellowships as well as summer camp. For summer camp we also allow for candidates to come to camp just for the ordeal. The OA can't force your unit to go to camp anywhere, but, they do control where and how they hold the ordeal. Remember, the OA Lodge's reason for being is to promote camping AND provide service to your council.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Camp Loud Thunder {Illowa Council}did a pilot program last year introducing pistol shooting for scouts. I believe there was a age level of 14, Each troop received 2 slots to fill. Our council had several volunteers step forward to help with instruction. 1 per 2 boys on the range. From what I understand, this year several more camps are doing it around the country.
That's one way to make the Venturing numbers look better. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm for keeping the merit badge focus; high adventure can happen the other 11 months of the year. We've taken the boys Kayaking and white water rafting; gone caving; taken week long backpacking trips; gone to ropes courses and used zip lines; all outside of the summer camp experience. We tell our boys that camp is for merit badges, the rest of the year is for fun!
Merit badges aren't fun?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm for keeping the merit badge focus; high adventure can happen the other 11 months of the year. We've taken the boys Kayaking and white water rafting; gone caving; taken week long backpacking trips; gone to ropes courses and used zip lines; all outside of the summer camp experience. We tell our boys that camp is for merit badges, the rest of the year is for fun!
You are in a RURAL environment IIRC ? Then your position makes a sense. Finding a Composite Materials MBC is probably a challenge, I think we have four in our district. My sons favorite MB this summer was Geology.

 

Though I still am uncomfortable with cramming a bunch of school work in a week. What works for your boys should be what counts.

 

Merit Badges are fun IF the boy has an interest. I don't see much interest in the Cit. badges.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm for keeping the merit badge focus; high adventure can happen the other 11 months of the year. We've taken the boys Kayaking and white water rafting; gone caving; taken week long backpacking trips; gone to ropes courses and used zip lines; all outside of the summer camp experience. We tell our boys that camp is for merit badges, the rest of the year is for fun!
441, depends upon the MB. The three citizenships and PM were not fun for me. And I know of camps that offer them at summer camp.

 

Motorboating, wilderness survival, caneoeing lifesaving, YEP fun.

 

Wish I woudl have earned Sailing and Rifle and Shotgun MBs ( one MB at the time) way back when.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Camp Loud Thunder {Illowa Council}did a pilot program last year introducing pistol shooting for scouts. I believe there was a age level of 14, Each troop received 2 slots to fill. Our council had several volunteers step forward to help with instruction. 1 per 2 boys on the range. From what I understand, this year several more camps are doing it around the country.
Briant,

 

We had something similar, 3 MB classes in the morning, 1 after lunch, and then free areas. Only class that was all the time was BSA Lifeguard. Oh and occasionally you had a MB class do something hilarious right before dinner at assembly. Also some classes may have soemthing going on 1 nite, i.e. Indian Lore MB doing a powwow withthe OA, Wilderness Survival folks going out, etc.

 

Only MB class at nite was astronomy, gee I wonder why. Also may have a CPR certification class at nite too. But nowadays it seems as if they have classes going on all the time with some camps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our troop likes our summer camp except for the dining hall. They offer a good balance of older and younger scout programs. Lake Front badges, climbing, shooting. They allow a max of 4 badges for the week and have plenty of free time with open areas. They just built it's own welding shop this past year and offered the welding mb as a week long program for older boys and brought in a special instructor for the season for it. Even brought it professionals trained in search and rescue to lead that program. But our troop has a mix between the high adventure lovers and the just hang and have fun boys. So our camp allows this for both.

 

I would be against a full patrol being required to do the exact same things all week. We don't use age based patrols so while they do have their patrol time each day they also have their own time to do what they prefer to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Our troop likes our summer camp except for the dining hall. They offer a good balance of older and younger scout programs. Lake Front badges, climbing, shooting. They allow a max of 4 badges for the week and have plenty of free time with open areas. They just built it's own welding shop this past year and offered the welding mb as a week long program for older boys and brought in a special instructor for the season for it. Even brought it professionals trained in search and rescue to lead that program. But our troop has a mix between the high adventure lovers and the just hang and have fun boys. So our camp allows this for both.

 

I would be against a full patrol being required to do the exact same things all week. We don't use age based patrols so while they do have their patrol time each day they also have their own time to do what they prefer to do.

I would think you're right. Do you think the PL could decide, along with his patrol, when to do patrol activities and when to do individual activities? Or would it be better to have the camp specify that? Say, patrol activities in the morning and individual in the afternoon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×