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At the last Troop meeting I saw a PL bringing in 2 full boxes of leftover food from the last campout. (which in itself is a whole other issue)

When the meeting was over I saw the full boxes sitting on the floor of the meeting room and the PL gone.

There was only one patrol member left which I caught just as they went out the door.


The patrol member and his parent went through the boxes, threw out any open stuff, took a couple of things and said that they were going to put the rest in the Troop room the church gives us to be used later.


My response was “We don’t allow food storage in the Troop room. Take it home or throw it outâ€Â.

We have had problems in the past where food is put in the Troop room and forgotten about. Months/years later when someone decides to clean the troop room out, they find it and end up throwing it away.


I had to go back later in the week and get something from the troop room and guess what was there? The box of leftover food.


So what do you do with the food?


Sunday is the monthly PLC do you have the SPL give it to the PL then, telling him he forgot it at the last Troop meeting?


Or wait until the next Troop meeting and have the SPL give it to the Scout and Parent who put it in the Troop room?


Or just take it and donate it to the Scouting for Food Drive next week?


I could also do what everyone else does and just leave it and let someone else deal with it (Which seems to be the norm in the troop lately)

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Hey, CNY! Well, I have witnessed this scenario too many times myself. My typical reaction is to use it as a 'teachable moment" and spark a discussion on planning menus with portion control in mind. The two younger Scouts I took to the camporee a few weeks back bought WAY TOO MUCH food and ended up wasting a goodly portion of it. When we got back to the church on Sunday afternoon, they all bailed and that stuff ended up...in my car...and then in my refrigerator.


The next day at the Troop meeting I sat down with the PL and we discussed this very idea of planning to bring only what you need. "Did you really need four pounds of ground beef for one meal with only two Scouts eating?"


Rather than just let it go I'd suggest asking some open-ended questions and having the Scouts realize they must take responsibility for their actions...Waste no food!

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I think there's effectively 3 different questions happening here.


1. How do you avoid excess food?


I don't know how things work in the USA but here in the UK all money is expected to be routed through the troop. So you can't have a situation where patrol members simply give money to a scout planning the menu and let them get on with it. So as adults we have a little more control. When it comes to planning a camp out we give them a template to fill in which comes up with the costs. Included in that is that we expect them to spend £5 per scout per 24 hours (ie 3 meals). They then buy the food and they get reimbursed from the troop when they bring me the receipts. That, for us, normally avoids masses of excess food. Sometimes there is food left over but not boxes full!


2. How to get rid of excess food.


Our scout campsites mostly operate on there being a paid full time warden and paid part time deputy warden then volunteer staff at weekends and school holidays. A few of the very biggest ones have additional full time staff. All of them are expected to pay their own way on food. So typically any left over fresh food including meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, is given to the staff who typically put them in the deep freeze for the following weekend's staff. Non perishable, pasta, rice, tins etc come back to our HQ and are stored in rodent proof plastic boxes for use at future camps. We have a regular clear out to make sure nothing is kept past its use by date.


3. What to do in your situation.


It was up to the patrol to dispose of the food, so they should deal with it. Buck stops with the PL. Leave the boxes exactly where they are (unless they are right in someone's way of course!) and invite him to deal with them. If he had delegated that already to someone else who hasn't done it then it sounds like an ideal life lesson. Delegation is all very well but occasionally you get dropped in the brown sticky stuff. No. Life isn't very fare is it?

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Gotta love this era of bulk discount food purchases!


This is why everyone returns to the scout house and unpacks everything. It's part of the trip plan.


We might set aside non-perishable, vermin-proof goods for the next camping weekend ... or even to cook the next meeting night. Perishables get divided up and sent to homes that will likely put them to good use.


The CO has a food bank, and the boys have helped stock it enough that they know where things can be placed. But, we discourage that because someone might get it into their thick heads that they can take out as easily as they can put in!


Anyway, CNY, your job is to understand what the boy is thinking. Then work from there. Obviously, it would be a good idea to do that through the SPL if he's the type of leader that can politely ask "why" and figure out amongst the boys what the best solution would be.

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In my son’s Troop each patrol plans their own menu, collects the money, shops for the food and cooks their own meals.

The problem with over buying on this campout was that the PL was going to shopping with 2 new Scouts that just joined the troop to teach them how to shop.

The PL’s father decided that his son was NOT going to go shopping and the new scouts were left on their own. (I found this out at the camp out).

Not only did they go way over budget (~$25 over) but I saw like 70 Poptarts and a huge box of cereal for Sunday breakfast. This was for 5 or 6 Scouts. In the boxes left at the meeting, there were 2 large cans of corn. 1 was big enough to feed my family of 6.


The SM said he was going to sit down with this PL and his parents (this was not the only time one of this PL’s parents has caused an issue) but I don’t know if this has happened or not.


One of the problems is we can’t just leave the stuff as the meeting room is used the rest of the week for other groups.


Knowing this PL (and his parents) unless I physically place the box of food into his hands it will stay right where it is until 6 or 7 months from now when myself or another ASM has to throw it away.


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Go back and re-teach the boys how to plan menus and proportion out the amount to buy. Keep doing this until the excess isn't there anymore. A scout is Thrifty and if they haven't learned their T-FC skills, then it's time to go back and review until they do. An emphasis at this point may set the training tradition straight so that future scouts don't keep making the same mistake their predecessors did.


Keep it in mind the problem is not too much food left over, the problem is too much food was bought in the first place. One isn't going to cure the problem by dealing with the symptoms.



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Interestingly, my highest priority of concern is the PL leaving all the food in the church meeting room floor without making sure it was taken care of. Maybe I didn't understand CNY correctly, but it sounds like the food was just left on the floor for church to figure out. That wouldn't go over very well in our church and it certainly is not showing good servant leadership at the patrol, troop and community levels.

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What we have, here, is a failure to calculate.


My boys do this all the time.


"We want bacon and eggs for breakfast."

"So how many eggs should you buy?"

"I dunno enough for all of us."

"And how many of us is that exactly?"

"6, maybe 8."

"How many eggs for each of you?"

"Two I suppose."

"Okay so how many are we buying?"

"Three dozen?"


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Eagledad hit it right on the mark.

We meet in a church also where the Troop meeting room is used by a different group every day of the week


In both cases the food was left for someone else to deal with.


The only reason I know who left it was I saw the PL bring it in and talked with the person after the meeting who left it in the Troop Room.





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I would not sweat it that much. Mistakes like these create the teachable moments that help our scouts grow. How to plan. How to work together. Knowing the plan before just marching forward. Not leaving things for other people to solve.


- Where was the menu? Where was the shopping list?


- Did they know their budget? In our troop, 5 scouts would have a budget of $50 to $60. We would also resolve if it was purchasing for five or purchasing for six scouts. That is a $10-12 budget difference.


- We let the patrol divide up the extra food among themselves. They effectively paid for it. They didn't eat it. So they get it. As long as a member doesn't plan for that and plan to bring home extra cookies or pop-tarts. Thus protecting them from being eaten during the weekend. BUT ... that is also a teachable moment.




We once had a family that had been in the troop for a year do their first food purchase. Scout was slightly spacey. Told his dad they were buying food. Just didn't mention "patrol" (seven) versus "troop" (30 camping). Boy was there extra.

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Sounds like yall need some Grubmaster Training...

Plan a Menu..Including Portions....Adjust as needed...Stick to the Menu...

You need certain Stables...Salt, Pepper, Garlic Salt, Flour, Sugar, Beans, Brown Sugar, Tabasco Sauce (or prefered Brand of Hot Sauce), Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Tea, Lard and Dried Herbs and Spices. All other Ingredients need to be purchased as needed.

You will get it down where there are no leftovers...

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