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EagleScout441

Camping with Non-Scouts

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Troop 185: I apologize if my comment sounded like a personal affront. I know you would not mean to say so, but review comment #6 above and see if (on face) it could "sound" like you were (perhaps, but not likely, I know) there with Scouts all by your lonesome.

Thank you for your time with our future!

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On this topic of camping with non-scouts, I've not been able to find a clear BSA policy for it. In particular for me, my kids are with me half time and it is a tough choice when I have to choose between a scout outing where my presence is needed to make the even happen for my son and leaving my daughter behind. If the scout event is not on a weekend when the kids are with me, their mom makes it very difficult for my son to go and if it is on a weekend when the kids are with me, my daughter loses out. My personal feeling is that for an event where we don't have size/space constraints (like a wilderness area with group size limit), have safety issues (an event where you need to be older and stronger and generally more mature), etc. that a well behaved younger sibling with appropriate experience should not be a problem. When she came on cub scout events, she stuck with me and the boys did their own thing. On a local car camping trip, there is actually pretty minimal leader involvement. We go because we need drivers, adults to be able to remind the boys of a few rules now and again, and in case of a problem but by in large the scouts have their camp site, the adults have theirs, etc. However, I do know there are some in our troop who would be very opposed to it and we've had events cancelled because of the troop policy (I'm only going to ditch my daughter so many times before she has to be the priority and then my son and other scouts lose). One parent cited issues with a younger sibling holding the boys back which in this particular case it is way off as my daughter (now 10) has done more backpacking than all but about 1 or 2 of the older scouts and more tent camping than probably all but her brother. She usually goes with me when we do a trial run of a backpacking venue before taking scouts there. Surely there are other parents who are either single parents with no other parent involved or with custody issues that make this an issue. So, can anyone point me to any sort of written BSA policy on the topic?

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I don't know of any policy, but I have never had a problem with siblings - even siblings of a different gender - being along on campouts. Heck, I've had moms bring babies along. With the unfortunate turn we've had in society regarding the prevalence of divorce, I think we have to adopt some flexibility.

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"We go because we need drivers, adults to be able to remind the boys of a few rules now and again, and in case of a problem but by in large the scouts have their camp site, the adults have theirs, etc. However, I do know there are some in our troop who would be very opposed to it and we've had events cancelled because of the troop policy..."

 

So it sounds like the troop is running the way it should with the minimal adult involvement on a campout. If your daughter's presence doesn't change that I don't know why anyone would care too much. The idea that a trip might be cancelled because of the policy, I'm assuming that means because there wouldn't be enough drivers or adults, seems like cutting off the nose to spite the face.

 

If anybody tells you there is a BSA policy, insurance problem, etc., tell them to show it to you --- they can't.

 

I would say you could probably find some balance between "my son can only go if my daughter gets to go every time" and having some weekends where you're home with your daughter and your son is off with the troop.

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I agree with scoutgripper that the uniformly "leave it to beaver" households are a thing of the past, if they ever really existed, and since our goal is to present a good program that should be the test of whether something is a good idea.

 

It may seem shocking to some people, but there are usually several different good ways to accomplish a task.

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On this topic of camping with non-scouts' date=' I've not been able to find a clear BSA policy for it ... So, can anyone point me to any sort of written BSA policy on the topic?[/quote']

 

From the Guide to Safe Scouting, Camping section:

"If a well-meaning [boy Scout] leader brings along a child who does not meet these age guidelines, disservice is done to the unit because of distractions often caused by younger children. A disservice is also done to the child, who is not trained to participate in such an activity and who, as a nonmember of the group, may be ignored by the older campers."

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From the Guide to Safe Scouting' date=' Camping section:

"If a well-meaning [boy Scout] leader brings along a child who does not meet these age guidelines, disservice is done to the unit because of distractions often caused by younger children. A disservice is also done to the child, who is not trained to participate in such an activity and who, as a nonmember of the group, may be ignored by the older campers."

 

I never took that as a flat-out "don't". But as a "buyer beware."

Sometimes your back is up against a wall, and options are few. In my crew, I sometimes don't get that essential female adult without a youngn' in the mix.

 

I find making this compromise is hardest on the siblings of the tag-a-long. Even while camping 300' away, they can find a way to be bothered by it.

 

I make it clear that the parent must be responsible for the tag-a-long at all times. The kids, even if they were willing to baby-sit, did not sign up to do so.

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The G2SS specifically talks about a child who does not meet the age guidelines, so Cub and Webelos age siblings who accompany a parent are almost always going to meet the test of being age appropriate.

 

The G2SS also describes Family Camping as kosher, and that probably accurately describes the situation where a sibling accompanies a parent: "Family camping is an outdoor experience, other than resident camping, that involves Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, or Venturing program elements in overnight settings with two or more family members, including at least one BSA member of that family. Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children, and Youth Protection policies apply."

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The G2SS specifically talks about a child who does not meet the age guidelines, so Cub and Webelos age siblings who accompany a parent are almost always going to meet the test of being age appropriate.

 

The G2SS also describes Family Camping as kosher, and that probably accurately describes the situation where a sibling accompanies a parent: "Family camping is an outdoor experience, other than resident camping, that involves Cub Scouting, Boy Scouting, or Venturing program elements in overnight settings with two or more family members, including at least one BSA member of that family. Parents are responsible for the supervision of their children, and Youth Protection policies apply."

Cub camping and family camping are not the same as scout camping, and troops that conflate the two are doing a disservice to their Scouts.

 

Family Camping has its own section precisely because it is different than what a normal Boy Scout camping experience should be.

 

I never took that as a flat-out "don't". But as a "buyer beware."

Sometimes your back is up against a wall, and options are few. In my crew, I sometimes don't get that essential female adult without a youngn' in the mix.

I find making this compromise is hardest on the siblings of the tag-a-long. Even while camping 300' away, they can find a way to be bothered by it.

I make it clear that the parent must be responsible for the tag-a-long at all times. The kids, even if they were willing to baby-sit, did not sign up to do so.

Exactly.

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I order to have two deep leadership at last weekend's outing, two young siblings showed up and pretty much messed around in everything the Boy Scouts were trying to do. I don't know if it would have been better to allow the disruption or just call the event off.

 

Stosh

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I order to have two deep leadership at last weekend's outing, two young siblings showed up and pretty much messed around in everything the Boy Scouts were trying to do. I don't know if it would have been better to allow the disruption or just call the event off.

 

Stosh

 

Be mean to them and make ugly faces while no one is looking, then stand close to wherever you don't want them to be. (This is theoretical, thankfully I've never had to actually solve this issue)

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Be mean to them and make ugly faces while no one is looking' date=' then stand close to wherever you don't want them to be. (This is theoretical, thankfully I've never had to actually solve this issue)[/quote']

 

Hate to say it, just like your dogs, the meaner you are the more they hang around. ;)

 

Seriously, Stosh, every event is different. Get the AAR from the boys. If the sibling problems come up too much, you'll probably need a plan B. Maybe ask around the district. If the boys count it as the cost of doing business, you're probably off the hook.

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The situation I have as the committee chairman of a Boy Scout troop ,We are planning an overnight campout and the scoutmaster wants to bring along his girlfriend/ fiance. I have some committee members that say she has no place there others that don’t care as long as they sleep separately. I am looking for some feedback from others to present to committee members to get this problem resolved. Any advise is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

 

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Your main concern should be the safety of the boys. If she is a woman of integrity, that shouldn't be a problem.

Your second concern should be the maturity of the youth. It really is on the ASM(s) and SM to gauge this. If you have boys who are prone to talking mean and being rude they could give her a bad impression of scouting. Worst case, one of them might take advantage of the opportunity to make a false accusation. The best defense against that is to be sure she's taken youth protection and any other courses your CO might require of direct contact adults.

 

But, if your direct contact leaders think they have a handle on this, and if you think she can "get with the program", then yes, let the SM have it his way. If I were you, I would suggest strongly to the ASMs who may also be on the trip to step up their game and tend the boys for a while so the couple can get some time to themselves.

 

They definitely should honor the separate sleeping arrangement. It's a good thing to model for the boys.

 

Needless to say, if she's any good with this outdoor stuff, give her an adult app and ask her to take on an official role. Will this wrankle some of your MCs? Yes. Will some crew advisor who's short on female adults one day be grateful to you that he won't have to turn down a group of young ladies on account of lack of co-ed leadership? I certainly would.

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My wife is a forester by training, certified master gardener, hobby naturalist and excellent white water kayaker. She has gone along on a trip here and there where needed. She does the 10 plants/animals, etc. kinds of things and backs me up on water events. She isn't a parent of any of the boys, She is not registered, but she always brings cookies. I let her sleep in my tent as long as she behaves. Haven't had any complaints.

 

Stosh

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