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CNYScouter

Just “camping�

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On the way home from my son’s Troop meeting I asked him if he was going on next month’s campout.

 

He asked where it was and what activities the Troop was doing.

I told him where the Troop was camping but there are no “real†activities planned it was just a camping trip.

 

He’s said he wasn’t interested in just going camping

 

How many of your Troops just “camp†with no planned activities?

 

Is my son’s attitude a reflection of the times where youth need to be entertained or is “just camping†boring for a Scout?

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I've never gone "just camping" in 60 years of being in the outdoors. Kayaking with camping, traveling with camping, hiking with camping, hunting with camping, etc. Camping is the ketsup and mustard to the burger. I am also a cheap-skate in that I'm not going to pay for hotels, cabins, etc. when I can pitch a tent for a fraction of the cost and save up for a bigger and better canoe. :)

 

Just got back from leaf peeping in eastern Canada and the New England states. The leaves look a lot better from a campsite than a hotel window.

 

I've never promoted "just camping" with any of my troops.

 

Stosh

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This is an interesting question, CNY. As a Scoutmaster I often wonder if the Scouts would be more inclined to participate if there were some kind of extra-camping activity involved. I know that the Troop I am with now has tried to couple a campout with a special activity like a bike hike, a conservation project, or a canoe trip. While those are all great things I don't think "just camping" OR activity planning is something the current 12-yr old Scouts are thinking about right now--at least in my Troop. Camping is foreign to these guys and it's like pulling teeth to get them out there and under a tent for two nights. So if we give them the task of coming up with fun things to do in addition to the camping part they just might start showing up more often.

 

As for getting these guys out there, I've suggested maybe heading to the campsite on Saturday morning and only camping one night to sort of ease them into it. They seemed receptive to that idea. But I really do think that it's going to take a little extra "incentive" for them to go in the first place. A planned activity (by the patrol itself) is likely the thing that's going to drive them towards the outdoors.

 

And I always love seeing your screen-name because it makes me think of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. I assume, though, that you are in Central New York. Have you been to the William Hillcourt and Carson Buck Scouting Museum in Constantia, NY?

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On the way home from my son’s Troop meeting I asked him if he was going on next month’s campout.

 

He asked where it was and what activities the Troop was doing.

I told him where the Troop was camping but there are no “real†activities planned it was just a camping trip.

 

He’s said he wasn’t interested in just going camping

 

How many of your Troops just “camp†with no planned activities?

 

Is my son’s attitude a reflection of the times where youth need to be entertained or is “just camping†boring for a Scout?

 

 

Great opportunity there to use the Patrol Method! Your Troops Patrols should be deciding what activities they want to do in the broader context of a Troop "Camping" Trip.

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Looks like you son is looking for more adventure than the troop is providing. Have him take a POR and be part of the TLC so he can put some input into what activities he wants.

 

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I pretty much agree with your son. There should be a purpose to a campout, albeit sometimes that purpose is just camping, or more specifically introducing younger scouts to patrol/troop camping. I do know that our troop has gotten more active and has had more members since we did trips that involve more than "just camping." In the last year, we've backpacked, canoe/kayaked, spelunked, enjoyed a camp water park, etc. A year before, we also built a submersible ROV (U.S. Navy grant).

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I made a similar comment in the STEM tread just now before seeming this one. Interesting comments, because I see a problem in out troop that everything is focused on the big activity rather than in the camping part. Stosh has a good point and I am not suggesting a "fail to plan, plan to fail" approach where the boys have little to do. Sentinel's comment is more where I was trying to go. When Everyone is going climbing or hiking or biking or whatever it sure sets up the opportunity for Troop Method.

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There are definitely Scouts who need to have planned activities in order to have a good time, and other Scouts who have no problem filling up a campout with "activities" they just make up when they get there. I had a very interesting and lengthy discussion with a Scout at Summer Camp about precisely this issue - he was "bored" with Scouts generally because his Patrol wasn't doing things he liked. But his attendance was poor - both at Troop meetings and campouts - and he wasn't really a participant in planning activities or making suggestions for them. I explained to him that the Patrol - and the Troop - do the things the Scouts want, and that there were definitely Scouts in the Troop who liked what he likes (he's an athlete, so he wants to swim, hike, bike, etc) and that he could impact whether Scouting was "fun" for him by taking some ownership of his Patrol and it's activities. So in September, he switched Patrols, became the APL and hasn't missed a Troop meeting or campout. Sure, it's early, but it's nice to get through to a Scout and see results so quickly.

 

With that said, I personally have no problem with just making up your fun out of whatever happens to be there on a campout. But when I was a kid, there were no such things as "play dates" or "structured play" or whatever buzzword they're using these days. On Summer or weekend mornings, I would just head out the door to find my friends and see what happened. We would decide together what we wanted to play that day. I'd be back home at dinner time...maybe. All the "stranger danger" fears have pretty much ruined that way to be a kid and that, I think, is reflected in the OP's experience.

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I find my venturers, with their insane school/sports/work schedules, tend to hanker for "just a campout."

Or, as one VOA President put it "Structured unstructured time."

 

For example, there was this lovely 1000+ foot wooded climb in back of the camp where we were this spring. I basically said whoever wants to bushwhack it show up at 1 PM. About half the crew (all boys from our troop) did. The other half took a hike down stream and found "the perfect wooden bridge" and watched clouds drift overhead the whole afternoon.

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Its a lack of properly trained leaders. Sure just camping is fun but there needs to be a learning experiance to go along with it. Some team building skills or activities planned.

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I'm in the just go camping camp. We have plenty of trips where we are camping and doing something else: a planned hike, a canoe trip, a couple hours at the rifle range, etc. But some of our trips the agenda is "run around in the woods and have fun." For most of our scouts their normal time is all planned and scheduled, what they most need is an opportunity to get out and be creative. They never end up sitting around and saying "I'm bored", rather they take a spontaneous hike for a couple hours, or take on a pioneering project, or go swimming, or just do a bunch of different made up games (strange combinations of frisbee with capture the flag with you name it). And they then have the best opportunity to work on their scout skills.

 

My observation is that it's adults who equate unplanned time with idleness and sloth, but the two are not the same at all.

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Moving towards troop method? I don't promote troop camping at any time. I promote only patrol camping. If two or three patrols all want to go to the same place to camp. Fine.

 

The OP's son doesn't need a POR to make a change, all he needs do is visit with his PL and have the patrol make plans to have an activity at the campout. PLC's are there to support the patrols, not dictate policy, procedure, and requirements to them. This SPL/PLC dictatorship is not an acceptable process in my troop. The PL's run their patrols, they attend the PLC to let the other PL's know what their patrol is planning on doing and to check to see if any of the other patrols are planning the same thing like going to a camporee for example.

 

If the flow of "power" flows the other way, i.e. the SPL and PLC tell the patrols they are going to all be going to the camporee and the older boys don't want to do yet another camporee, the only thing that will happen for sure is the adults are all going to sit around scratching their heads trying to find out why their older boys aren't interested in scouts anymore. DUH! Must be the fumes, the car fumes and per-fumes. Yeah right, it's the crappy program, pure and simple. If I have my older boys not wanting to go to the 50th camporee but want to do something else, my problem is finding enough adults to take the young boys to camporee because whatever the older boys come up with it's gotta be better than my 500th camporee.

 

Get your boys out there doing patrol camping! They'll find great things that interest them to do while camping. Biking, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, hiking, whatever! Maybe they're just going to go out and work a weekend of specialty campfire cooking! Sounds good to me.

 

Stosh

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In my experience, you need a theme or central activity to get the Scouts interested in participating. Once they get there, a good number of them may in fact be more interested in "just camping" than the activity. But you need to get there there first :-)

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The troop I served preferred "just camping" over District Camporees and other "planned" events. A lot of advancement happened on those campouts.

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The troop I served preferred "just camping" over District Camporees and other "planned" events. A lot of advancement happened on those campouts.

 

:) then it wasn't "just camping". A game with a purpose. Advancement is an excellent activity for an outing. Lash some poles together in the church basement, or make something for real out in the woods. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

 

Stosh

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