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LeCastor

What is the Purpose of Summer Camp?

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I went to summer camp in the 1980s, and MBs were a part of the program. I am going to stress PART OF THE PROGRAM, because summer camp was so much more than the MBs: free shooting, boating, swimming, goofing off staff manhunt and watermelon bounties, camp olympics, night time programs, etc.

 

MBs tended to be outdoor oriented, and with few exceptions they were no daily nighttime classes except astronomy (go figure ;) ) Sure you may need to spend a nite doing the Wilderness Survival overnighter, or may need to spend a few hours doing CPR certification, but nights were meant for the various programs and goofing off.

 

Maybe it was just my SM, but always recommended leaving one afternoon class period free fro free swim, boating, or shooting. Only year I didn't do that was when I did the camp's "HA" program, and left the main camp Monday morning for a week of backpacking and trailblazing.

 

Unfortunately some parents and leaders are focused on the number of MBs their Scouts get rather than on how much fun the Scouts have. So some camps have become MB factories. I remember the last time I was teaching a MB on camp staff, and I had leaders complaining because their scouts didn't complete the MB. Well when A) you put more people into the class than can be handled by the instructors and B) you got Scouts who don't want to be in the class

causing problems, but you can't kick them out b/c they paid for the class, you will have issues.

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Rules like this are impractical and unfair to the scouts. This is the 21 century, not 1955 any more.

 

I disagree with this. And I believe no electronics should not be allowed. I am in CubScouts, mom hands billy the phone while we are setting up the meeting area and he plays Angry Birds...I tell Billy "Hand mom back the phone and you help get chairs"

 

Let me find a Cub with an ipad or an iphone and I will show you a trail that hasn't been hiked yet!

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A lot of good detail here.

 

- Merit badges reflecting the outdoor environment. Pioneering. Camping. Astronomy. Nature.

 

- Reduce the merit badge factory feel and make more opportunities to do fun things.

 

But I also have some different opinions.

 

... Electronics are not going to go away just because us curmudgeons wish that they would. GPS' date=' ebooks, digital cameras, etc. are all here to stay. Learn to work with them. ... [/quote']

 

I fully agree with your post, but I also draw it further. I think banning electronics creates an us versus them mentality. It creates dishonesty by BOTH adults and scouts hiding what they are really doing. I have a very strong memory of an SPL confiscating the prize possessions of several other scouts to only then go into his own tent with another scout and then use them for hours until the batteries were dead. AND, adults were doing the same thing. Confiscate and then going into their own tent to use their own electronics.

 

IMHO, it's about participating. If you are participating and being responsible with your electronics, then I don't care. But if you use it inappropriately or use it to avoid socializing or participating, then it's an issue.

 

IMHO, it's the 21st century and electronics are part of it permanently. Teach the kids to be responsible and move on.

 

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Dining hall ... Though it has pluses and minuses, I like it. Reduce workload so scouts can focus on other items. It also provides a central time for everyone to get together. Plus, songs and skits. And those songs and skits are often then reflected again by our own scouts at our next court of honor. It's pretty cool to see when that happens. IMHO, if it wasn't for the dining hall, I don't think any of our scouts would sing that much. The dining hall is the source of most or our new songs for the next year.

 

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IMHO, the most important aspect of summer camp is to put scouts in a new environment, have them build friendships with other scouts and to reduce stress and have a great experience.

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I wanted to add this. I know of some camps that have used specific "paper pushing" MBs to their advantage, namely Journalism, Photography, and Cinematography. What the camps have done for journalism is have the scouts do the camp newspaper that week at camp. Nights were involved, but that can be attributed to how actual newspapers work. Yes the camp newpaper varied in quality from week to week, but it worked.

 

Photography and Cinematography were done to basically to get a closing campfire done, showing events of the past week. A plus was that a compilation of the work was used by the OA for camp promos the next year.

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Summer camp is for Scouts to do things. Our camp has a dining hall but Troops can elect to cook patrol method (which we do). Go out and earn a badge or two or three or not. Have fun at archer, shot gun, or rifle.....or not! Sail a boat, paddle a canoe, row a boat....or not. Follow a beatle, see a wood pecker, chase a raccoon....or not. Climb the climbing tower, belay a rope, or rappel down the side....or not! Hike a trail, drink a slushie, fish, throw rocks in a lake, see a sunset....or a sun rise, make a friend, tie a knot, chase a mouse (our Scouts did!) ride on a motor boat, get stuck on a sand bar, do stuff...just don't sit in camp.....because the Scoutmaster or Assistants will kick you out! Oh and by the way.....our camp did not set up a gateway to our camp.....why? Because they chose to do the stuff listed above.

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Oh and my son earned 9 merit badges at camp.....he spent an entire week in the conservation area, learning and working on badges he DIDN'T need to advance to Eagle......why? Because he wanted to...... And he learned that he wants to focus on Environmental Science and Politics. Merit badges are there to inspire and motivate. Do them if you want....or not......but most importantly......do stuff.....and have fun!

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So I'll ask a secondary question. If summer camp weren't about merit badges what would be the purpose of the staff?

 

 

There are plenty of Things they can be doing besides teaching Merit Badges...like Running the Shooting Sports, Serving as Life Guards, and plenty more

 

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There are plenty of Things they can be doing besides teaching Merit Badges...like Running the Shooting Sports, Serving as Life Guards, and plenty more

 

 

Interesting how in the other thread about MB counselors at camp, one of the most common "reasons" given for not utilizing Adult Scouters more is all the extra duties of camp staff. Perhaps it is time we separate the two. MB Counselors at camp need not be "staff".

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Oh, they were short staffed last summer. Our in house Scout told us about everybody doing double duty , serving at stations they were not originally signed up for, not having any time off except at night. Flu, saving money by not (originally) hiring enough people, not enough "qualified" folks signing up, didn't want to cancel programs/stations and disappoint the campers.... we still had a bang up time, the Scout staff did yeoman work throughout. We could see the fatigue in their faces sometimes, but they still had fun with us and appreciated it when some of us Old Folk volunteered at some stations to give them more bodies for oversight. Even when we had a "lost Scout " drill, which turned out to be NOT a drill, but the Scout wasn't really "lost", just not counted correctly at the waterfront (those tags do stick together sometimes).

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