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Renax127

Burned out with Pack Camping

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I am burned out with pack camping, I mean I am at the end of my rope.

 

We have a large pack, about 90 scouts total and on most camping trip we will have 125-150 people. Getting the parents to help out with anything is a chore and even if you get them to agree to help they just don’t show up when it’s time too. They don’t watch their kids (some do of course) letting them run all around the camp and tents, thru the fire ring, swinging on the flag pole, etc. Honestly it feel like I’m parent to all 150 people.

 

I signed on as a den leader when my son joined as a Tiger and now he’s a Web I, I’m also Assistant CM this year. I have set up and taken down the pack kitchen and other gear at every camping trip, along with the Cub Master and a couple other dads, always the same ones, and I’m done I don’t honestly think I can handle any more pack camping trip.

 

I feel an obligation to attend and help out, particularly since we are the Webelos now but I just don’t think I can handle it anymore. I just want to go camping with my den and have way less stress and do fun stuff with the scouts.

 

Just venting a little, the trip this last weekend sort of did me in.

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Do other leaders share your concerns? Food for that many people can be a all day job with all of the meals. Simplifing meals may help. Foil packs cooked on the camp fire is an easy clean up. Require people to bring their own mess kits , reusable plates. They are resonsible for cleaning their own dishes.

 

Another option is to make the dens responsible for their own food. How structured are the activities? Do you plan both den and pack activities? A structured day seems to work better than just winging it. Kids are going to run around if there are not activities where they get to run they are going to run through camp. An option would be to look for a site where you can have a tent area and a play / running area. If people are not staying out of the fire ring, it might be time to stop the camp fires. You don't need a camp fire at every camp out (although you would need it for the foil packs)

 

I have been involved with a pack of 150 (Tiger and Wolf) and 60 (Bear and Web 1). In my observation the amount of people volenteering do not increase with the larger group. You will get about the same number helping out with any task. I have also found that if you tell someone you need help with something they will not say no.

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Our pack was hsyr as huge (150+) and this is how we dealt with it:

 

1-We only did 2 or 3 Pack campouts a year. We did do other activities. Dens were encouraged to family camp other times.

2-Dens had to tent together and were responsible for their meals. Occasionally we might provide at (most) one meal--usually hot dogs, etc.

3-We expected our Webelos, especially W2's, to be helpers in setting up tents, keeping a lid on running, cleaning up.

4-We sent a warning message with a sign up sheet telling folks we would send them home if they were difficult. We rarely did but the expectation is there.

 

I think with such a big group you got to spread the tents out.

 

Renax I think you are just burning out, Tigers to Webes is a long road (I did it too). Concentrate on your boys first--you want them to have a good time and hopefully cross over. I feel your pain..

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Pack family camping stinks. I really hate it.

 

When I started, it was a small group of about 10 families. All were active and involved with their scouts, None were relaxing around the campfire. It was a good time.

 

The last Pack campout, the unit leaders rented a cabin with a flush toilet and shower, I spent the entire weekend unstopping the plugged up toilet. the someone ripped the bathroom door off the hinges and then broke the flusher on the toilet, we were blamed for a broken window, but it was noted on the inspection sheet when we arrived. cost $150 and a day off of work to repair the damage, a cheapo hollow core door would never hold up so I bought a solid door and a toilet flusher valve kit.

 

So why didn't the pack leadership do it? No idea. I fixed the stuff because it was the right thing to do......The Pack committee refused to repay me for the cabin repairs during the following pack committee meeting. that and the behavior of the parents on that trip, it will be my last trip with the Pack.

 

 

 

so your not far off with burning out on it. Move on with your scout and don't look back, you have done your time.

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Just curious........how much camping does your pack do? You do realize that while it is perfectly fine to do so, it is not the norm. We have some packs that camp more than others, but I believe the majority of our packs take advantage of our district day camps, council cub resident camp (summer) and our council spring (May) and fall (October) weekend camps. Those all come with a camp and program director and camp cooks. Most packs are just not geared up like troops are for frequent camping and they are not broken into patrols where the boys are mature enough to take care of themselves. Many cub parents look at cub camping like a trip to the lake. Time to relax while someone else does the work. I'm not trying to discourage you. Cubs need to be exposed to camping, but I personally believe it needs to be in measured doses. Back when we were in Cubs, we had those who camped and those who wanted nothing to do with it. They were active and supportive families who loved the program, but they had no desire to camp. When crossover time came, you had a pretty good idea who was crossing and who was leaving based on who camped and who didn't. When they move to Boy Scouts, they will be camping 12 months per year for up to 7 years give or take. While you want a Cub familiar with camping, you don't want them burned out by the time they crossover. I believe in our pack, the Webelos had about 5 to 6 camping opportunities per year. The 4 I mentioned above, a Webelos Den campout and maybe a trip with a prospective troop to crossover.

 

 

 

 

All of that being said, it sounds as if you need to take a page from the Boy Scouts and more or less form patrols for the adults. Base it off of their den. Lay down some basic camp rules or meal times, lights out, physical camp boundaries, cooing, KP, latrine cleanup, etc. Make a roster and give everyone a job. Buld the campout around program and keep them busy. A sound argument can be made to the parents about the need for organization and using the campouts to help with advancement requirements. Thos who want a lazy weekend staying up until 3 AM or worse yet.....letting their kids stay up until then, can decide whether they want to go on an organized pack campout or do their own thing at the lake during the summer.

 

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Pack family camping stinks. I really hate it.

 

When I started, it was a small group of about 10 families. All were active and involved with their scouts, None were relaxing around the campfire. It was a good time.

 

The last Pack campout, the unit leaders rented a cabin with a flush toilet and shower, I spent the entire weekend unstopping the plugged up toilet. the someone ripped the bathroom door off the hinges and then broke the flusher on the toilet, we were blamed for a broken window, but it was noted on the inspection sheet when we arrived. cost $150 and a day off of work to repair the damage, a cheapo hollow core door would never hold up so I bought a solid door and a toilet flusher valve kit.

 

So why didn't the pack leadership do it? No idea. I fixed the stuff because it was the right thing to do......The Pack committee refused to repay me for the cabin repairs during the following pack committee meeting. that and the behavior of the parents on that trip, it will be my last trip with the Pack.

 

 

 

so your not far off with burning out on it. Move on with your scout and don't look back, you have done your time.

That sounds like a nightmare. How are you related to the Pack?

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Just curious........how much camping does your pack do? You do realize that while it is perfectly fine to do so, it is not the norm. We have some packs that camp more than others, but I believe the majority of our packs take advantage of our district day camps, council cub resident camp (summer) and our council spring (May) and fall (October) weekend camps. Those all come with a camp and program director and camp cooks. Most packs are just not geared up like troops are for frequent camping and they are not broken into patrols where the boys are mature enough to take care of themselves. Many cub parents look at cub camping like a trip to the lake. Time to relax while someone else does the work. I'm not trying to discourage you. Cubs need to be exposed to camping, but I personally believe it needs to be in measured doses. Back when we were in Cubs, we had those who camped and those who wanted nothing to do with it. They were active and supportive families who loved the program, but they had no desire to camp. When crossover time came, you had a pretty good idea who was crossing and who was leaving based on who camped and who didn't. When they move to Boy Scouts, they will be camping 12 months per year for up to 7 years give or take. While you want a Cub familiar with camping, you don't want them burned out by the time they crossover. I believe in our pack, the Webelos had about 5 to 6 camping opportunities per year. The 4 I mentioned above, a Webelos Den campout and maybe a trip with a prospective troop to crossover.

 

 

 

 

All of that being said, it sounds as if you need to take a page from the Boy Scouts and more or less form patrols for the adults. Base it off of their den. Lay down some basic camp rules or meal times, lights out, physical camp boundaries, cooing, KP, latrine cleanup, etc. Make a roster and give everyone a job. Buld the campout around program and keep them busy. A sound argument can be made to the parents about the need for organization and using the campouts to help with advancement requirements. Thos who want a lazy weekend staying up until 3 AM or worse yet.....letting their kids stay up until then, can decide whether they want to go on an organized pack campout or do their own thing at the lake during the summer.

We do 2 campouts a year with the Pack. Plus day camp and webelos resident camp. Day camp did not happen this year because we did not have an adult with a youth in the Pack volunteer to drive them back and forth or be a den walker.

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When I was a den leader, on Pack campouts, we would generally do hamburgers for lunch, cooked on buddy burners made by the Webelos. We would follow that with a dinner of hot dogs, and whatever else came in (chili, etc.). Breakfast was family by family, or sometimes den by den, depending on the choices of the den. Usually, we did family by family. It seems that people have a lot more choosiness when it comes to breakfast--ranging from donuts/pastries to eggs/bacon/sausages/grits, so we did it that way. There was usually extra coffee to be had around the campsite. The interesting thing to me in Pack camping was how little most Cub Scouts were expected to do. Most of them did nothing but play. My sons weren't that lucky (or possibly they were luckier in the long run). They helped me in every stage of work to their ability. They helped set up and take down the tent. They helped load/unload the car. They helped cook and clean. Kind of interesting, but Boy Scouts was an easy transition to them. Their main frustration in terms of campsite work is that the other boys aren't pulling their share.

 

That said, the main problem with Pack camping is all of the adults involved, with skill/equipment levels ranging from nonexistent to experts.

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It's always the 20% (or less.... around 5-10% in our case) that get the stuff done.

I'm happy to say that I too am among the doers in my son's pack...... and I feel your pain Renax127

 

I have noticed that there's a lot of folks, leaders included, that are always conveniently gone by the time it comes around to folding up the pack kitchen, stacking chairs, or whatever..... We have one leader particular adept at playing hot potato. He is great about helping when asked. He may be chairing a particular event or chore, but as soon as another leader asks a question of steps in to help.... leadership suddenly shifts to that person, whether or not that 'helper' knows that they are now the leader. I think It's really bad in a way, but at the same time admire the smarts...... he gets "credit" for helping and seems like a hero, and yet skillfully gets out of a lot of nuisance stuff by sharing the load.

 

Renax, maybe you need to start taking the lead from the 80 percenters, and at least from time to time, conveniently having someplace to be before it comes time to stack the chairs. I'm trying to figure out how to do this myself!

 

Basement, unless it was me or my son that did the breaking.... if they refused to reimburse me for something like that, I'd be done with them too! Ridiculous! What was their reasoning for not reimbursing you?

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My current pack only has one Pack campout a year and I am trying to up that to two. We have Pack activities but meals are coordinated and cooked by den. Cooking for 100 people is a pain and is called catering not camping. :). If turnout is low some dens will combine, this keeps the size manageable and parents involved. You may want to consider lowering the pack campouts and increasing the Webelos campouts. I personally think camping should be mostly on the den level anyway especially with larger packs, though the guidelines don't like that. :(

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It's always the 20% (or less.... around 5-10% in our case) that get the stuff done.

I'm happy to say that I too am among the doers in my son's pack...... and I feel your pain Renax127

 

I have noticed that there's a lot of folks, leaders included, that are always conveniently gone by the time it comes around to folding up the pack kitchen, stacking chairs, or whatever..... We have one leader particular adept at playing hot potato. He is great about helping when asked. He may be chairing a particular event or chore, but as soon as another leader asks a question of steps in to help.... leadership suddenly shifts to that person, whether or not that 'helper' knows that they are now the leader. I think It's really bad in a way, but at the same time admire the smarts...... he gets "credit" for helping and seems like a hero, and yet skillfully gets out of a lot of nuisance stuff by sharing the load.

 

Renax, maybe you need to start taking the lead from the 80 percenters, and at least from time to time, conveniently having someplace to be before it comes time to stack the chairs. I'm trying to figure out how to do this myself!

 

Basement, unless it was me or my son that did the breaking.... if they refused to reimburse me for something like that, I'd be done with them too! Ridiculous! What was their reasoning for not reimbursing you?

I'm not taking the lead in anything with the pack any more, I'm gonna ask them to find a different Assistant CM. My job is to teach my Webelos how to be Boy Scouts and that's all I really am concerned with at this point. It's time for some other parents to step up.

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My current pack only has one Pack campout a year and I am trying to up that to two. We have Pack activities but meals are coordinated and cooked by den. Cooking for 100 people is a pain and is called catering not camping. :). If turnout is low some dens will combine, this keeps the size manageable and parents involved. You may want to consider lowering the pack campouts and increasing the Webelos campouts. I personally think camping should be mostly on the den level anyway especially with larger packs, though the guidelines don't like that. :(
We have 5 pack camp outs scheduled for this year (the one last weekend was Cub-o-Ree) and I'm pretty much done with them. I have no plans to attend any more. I will be planning a lot of den camping trips so that my Webelos can actually learn something and hove some responsibility.

 

Most of my scouts are tired of pack camping as well, thye like the freedom they have den camping. They also like being able to cook for themselves, etc.

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On a positive note, I am dang proud of my scouts. At the Webelos games (run by the Boy Scouts and OA) we had several SPL's ask if my scouts were coming to their troop for a visit. The were respectful, organized and well behaved. They were encouraging and helping each other at every station. My denner took the lead and got them organized and from station to station with me just making sure nobody got too crazy.

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My current pack only has one Pack campout a year and I am trying to up that to two. We have Pack activities but meals are coordinated and cooked by den. Cooking for 100 people is a pain and is called catering not camping. :). If turnout is low some dens will combine, this keeps the size manageable and parents involved. You may want to consider lowering the pack campouts and increasing the Webelos campouts. I personally think camping should be mostly on the den level anyway especially with larger packs, though the guidelines don't like that. :(
5 pack campouts a year? No wonder you are burned out. There are so many other fun weekend outdoor pack activities you could do without the hassle of planning a campout. Use those weekends to do other activities like service projects, bike riding, hiking, game day, etc.

 

Our pack does one campout a year. Two would probably be ideal, but one is what we've always done. It's just a one-nighter. Dinner is a potluck dinner with hot dogs provided by the pack as main dish. It's not too hard to find a couple people to man the BBQ for hot dogs, or the kids can roast their own on sticks over the campfire. I wouldn't even bother with a pack kitchen. We use this website for people to sign up for the potluck and other needed items like charcoal, wood, soap, etc. https://www.bringit.bz/ Everyone is responsible for their own breakfast. Our only planned activity is our advancement ceremony and skits around the campfire. The rest of the time the boys are free to do what they like to do best, which is run around and come up with their own games, which usually consist of zombies and glow sticks. Super easy, everyone has a great time, and nobody feels dumped on.

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Pack family camping stinks. I really hate it.

 

When I started, it was a small group of about 10 families. All were active and involved with their scouts, None were relaxing around the campfire. It was a good time.

 

The last Pack campout, the unit leaders rented a cabin with a flush toilet and shower, I spent the entire weekend unstopping the plugged up toilet. the someone ripped the bathroom door off the hinges and then broke the flusher on the toilet, we were blamed for a broken window, but it was noted on the inspection sheet when we arrived. cost $150 and a day off of work to repair the damage, a cheapo hollow core door would never hold up so I bought a solid door and a toilet flusher valve kit.

 

So why didn't the pack leadership do it? No idea. I fixed the stuff because it was the right thing to do......The Pack committee refused to repay me for the cabin repairs during the following pack committee meeting. that and the behavior of the parents on that trip, it will be my last trip with the Pack.

 

 

 

so your not far off with burning out on it. Move on with your scout and don't look back, you have done your time.

I was the previous CM and I am a committee member currently. They are the Pack that feeds my troop that is why I am interested.

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