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SMMatthew

What Constitutes a "Campout"?

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There are several requirements on the trail to First Class that reference doing things on a “campout.†But what exactly counts as a “campout�

 

Obviously spending the night sleeping in a tent you have helped pitch is camping (such as for Tenderfoot requirement 2) . Sleeping out under the stars on a ground cloth or a hammock is (in my opinion) camping. Summer camp in canvas wall tents is certainly camping. My interpretation is the event has to be overnight (so day trips into the wilderness don’t count as a “campoutâ€Â) and it has to have an outdoors element (so staying in a hotel or your house doesn't count). But what about “cabin campingâ€Â, staying in an Adirondack-style lean-to, staying in dormitory-style housing, staying in an RV, or any other indoor overnight Scouting activities that aren't under the stars or under canvas.

 

A few examples….

 

First Class requirement 4e states: “On one campout, serve as your patrol’s cook.†Would serving as cook for your patrol on a winter ski cabin weekend count? It’s not technically camping in the traditional sense (you’re indoors with running water, electricity and heat); but you’re doing the cooking and planning which is the spirit of the requirement. Does it count? Or does it not count because it’s not technically “on a campout.â€Â

 

Another example,Second Class requirement 3g states: “On one campout, plan and cook one hot breakfast or lunch.†What if you plan and cook a hot breakfast and/or lunch but it’s not on an overnight trip? You carry a portable backpacking-style stove and cook a hot meal on a day-hike; it’s not technically a campout but it’s the same meal you would have cooked otherwise (you just don’t go and sleep in a tent at the end of the day).

 

And one final example, Second Class requirement 3a states: “Since joining, have participated in five separate troop/patrol activities, two of which included camping overnight.†Does an overnighter in the church rec center count as “camping overnight� Does staying in the bunks at a Naval base count? Does a winter cabin weekend count? Does a trip to Seabase and staying in their dorms count? Or does it have to be an outdoor tent-and-sky camping overnighter. What’s the line between “campout†and just “Scouting overnight�

 

I have been unable to find any definition in any of the official BSA literature I have. And it’s odd that the BSA would use such a specific word but not really give any guidance on their interpretation of it. Why didn’t they simply say “On a troop outing†or “on a troop/patrol overnight†… saying “campout†is more specific and they picked that word for a reason… but what was it? What was their intent? What counts? What’s the BSA’s definition of “campout†here?

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does a tent pitched in the backyard qualify?

.... what if that backyard is in the country, and you're 200 yards from the house....?

or in the woods on the church's back lot, 100 yards from the parking lot?

 

If you are rich, and accustomed to fancy $300/night hotels, does a Holiday Inn Express count?

 

My take, although not an "officially BSA" answer, is this:

- take an honest assessment of the spirit, First

- then, unless otherwise defined, I might consider calling it camping when in a simple very basic cabin with no power, no running water, not furnished like a house, etc... & if it were in the woods, not a house or attached or near to a house like a man cave cabin.... etc...

- but a cabin with real furniture and amenities, is to some folks a house so I would not call it camping

- nor would I call bunks at a Navy base camping.... that sounds more like a dorm or hostel

- & I certainly wouldn't call a HI Express camping, no matter how rich you are....

 

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I pretty much think to count as a campout, camping is done either in a tent, a hammock, under a tarp, under the stars or a 3-sided Adirondack (i.e one without doors).

 

In terms of the cooking, I would say it has to be a campout to count for the T-2-2 requirements. Now, for the Cooking merit badge, cooking while on a day hike is acceptable (per the specific guideines) for the trail cooking requirement.

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To me a camp is a temporary shelter for a short duration. If there is a cabin involved it implies a longer duration than just a camp. Council camps tend to have sites of a temporary nature that for the majority of time are just open areas.

 

Summer camp is kinda an exception to the camping requirements, but BSA is quick to point out that for the Camping MB, only one week is allowed. Some summer camps have cabins, but because they are council camps, they count.

 

To me camping involves a temporary encampment of self-erected shelter for a brief period of time.

 

I do not count winter cabin "camping" as camping.

 

Stosh

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I do not count winter cabin "camping" as camping.

 

So a Scout who serves as his patrol's cook on a rustic winter cabin weekend (planning the menu, doing the food shopping, tending the fire, prepping the food, cooking the meals outside over the fire, leading grace, and doing clean-up...for breakfast, lunch and dinner) does not get credit for First Class requirement #4e (which specifies "on a campout") because he slept in a cabin that night rather than in a tent?

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So, Stosh, those Adirondacks that a patrol might cross-country ski to ... if a boy cooks up a beef stew with portabella mushrooms and brown rice followed by tiramisu made from scratch over the outdoor hearth for his mates ... just like he planned with his buddies ... should his PL not sign off on FC req. 4e?

 

"Put your book away kid, Mr. Stosh says this ain't camping ... ... Hey, can I get another cup of that mulled cider before we tuck in for the night?"

 

 

P.S. - Matt and I were kicking this around all by ourselves on http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/forums/topic/what-constitutes-a-campout/. Thanks guys for promptly lighting things up here!

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Scoutmaster discretion within limits.

 

.... Overnight ... Required in my interpretation as implied by the term camp-out. Otherwise, it's an activity.

.... Wilderness ... Subjective, but implies a camp like environment.

.... Sleeping outside ... Subjective, but implies sleeping outside.

 

----------------

 

I'd worry less about the legalism. Advancement exists as a tool to achieve scouting objectives of teaching character, citizenship and physical fitness. So I'd ask if the troop leveraging the advancement requirement to teach life lessons. If so, great. If not, fix things.

 

Beyond that, focus on the core of the requirement is the critical part. Responsibility. Planning. Preparation.

 

----------------

 

For cooking, yeah I'd probably give him credit because I'd want to recognize that he made the effort beyond what the other scouts did on the weekend to help his patrol have a good weekend.

 

----------------

 

In our troop, it's not really a matter because we camp monthly and we always cook outside even when it's -10F. It's just what ya do whether it is tent or cabin camping.

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Yep, that's what the book said and if one is going to go by the book, one has no choice. Of course feel free to add or eliminate the parts one doesn't like along the way. People do it all the time, no big deal.

 

Once a year our troop does a winter cabin "camp". It is designed to take the potential new Webelos boy out just before their February Blue Gold as their AOL requirement. The meals are generally pretty basic because the goal is not to spend a lot of time cooking but to get outside and sled, ski, hike, fish or have a fire building competition, or throw snowballs, or do something fun with the Webelos boys. After all, there are 11 other monthly activities that one can work on advancement. By the way, the "rustic cabin" has a thermostatically controlled furnace and the boys cook on electric stoves/ovens and this past year heated up their hot water for cocoa in the microwave oven. So I stand by my statement: "I do not count winter cabin "camping" as camping."

 

Stosh

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... By the way' date=' the "rustic cabin" has a thermostatically controlled furnace and the boys cook on electric stoves/ovens and this past year heated up their hot water for cocoa in the microwave oven... Stosh[/quote']

 

Yep, we got the "cushy" cabin this year. Normally we get the ones with wood stoves some lights two outlets and 100 yards to the working pump -- which I swear every year tastes more like what I think fracking fluid would be. All of our boys are first class, so, no worries about the requirements (although some will be hard-pressed when they get the itch to complete camping MB). But, I swear they had a tougher time cooking than if they had gone outside in the subzero and got a fire ring lit.

 

And they missed out on a couple of my imported chocolate bars because it took them 15 minutes longer than scheduled to get the whole thing swept clean and surfaces polished.

 

I think the reason it says "campout" is to make it easier on the boy. :cool: That's what is intended by the requirement ... get the food cooked without worrying about Mamma taking a switch to you over what you all did to her kitchen!

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As long as the PLC and Scouts know ahead of time that the Adults have decided that some things count as "campouts" and other things as "not campouts" it's fine.

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I just searched google for some pictures to illustrate what I would judge camping vs not. Can't figure out how to upload them....

 

this one, even though it's minimally furnished, I would not call camping even for cub scouts....

http://www.parkrec.nd.gov/parks/blsp/images/blsp_cabin_interior.jpg

It has electricity, and modern ammenities

 

This one, depending on where it's located, I probably would.... but maybe, not depending on what was trying to be accomplished. Assuming it's not in someone's yard, out in the woods or a camp ground, No electricity, no running water etc..... I assume that it has four walls but I don't see it as "much" different than camping in a tent you didn't pitch yourself.

http://wanake.typepad.com/.a/6a0120a5a1b416970b017ee8be9fcd970d-pi

 

This one?

http://netdna.tinyhouseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/AT-shelter-Ottawa.jpg

or this one

http://thefuzzymonkey.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/AT-2007-Highlight-234.jpg

Why not???

even if you put a door on it. there's no furniture, no amenities at all, except for shelter and a windbreak.....

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As long as the PLC and Scouts know ahead of time that the Adults have decided that some things count as "campouts" and other things as "not campouts" it's fine.

 

What's the adults have to do with this? My PL's mark off the advancement for T-FC. They decide and they tend to be a bit more harsh than I would be. Trust your boys, if they know they are getting away with murder, it only cheapens their experience in Scouting.

 

There have been the rare occasion where a scout has gone over the PL's head on this and appealed to the SM. I became the "judge" and allowed the boys to express their positions. I then read the requirement and left. They always seem to come to some acceptable consensus on their own. Just keep the conversation going.

 

Stosh

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... What's the adults have to do with this? ... There have been the rare occasion where a scout has gone over the PL's head on this and appealed to the SM. ... Just keep the conversation going.

 

On the Bryan's forum, SMMatt revealed that his SPL/PLs were deadlocked and came to him for a ruling. Thus, his post. Well, my advice was based my standard "never ask for a rule" shtick.

 

It's really hard in our metric-oriented society to come to a committee meeting with "Scoutmaster's report: This month, encouraged the PLC to keep the conversation going regarding FC requirement 4e. Would ask all adults to patiently sit on their hands while the boys sort this out."

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Go to a state park. Bring a tent. Pitch it. Get a bag. Chop up veggies, bacon add Eggs. Shake well. Boil water. Put bag in water. Cook till down. Baggie omlettes. Sing songs, tell stories, roast marshmellows. sleep. Get up and eat oatmeal. done. That's a campout with cooking. Do not over think this.

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That depends.

 

Seriously.

 

For Journey to Excellence, a "campout" can be an indoors troop movie overnight.

 

 

For the official BSA training entitled "The New Troop's First Campout," tents are listed as essential equipment for teaching new Scouters about "camping."

 

For the Camping Merit Badge, we are told:

 

"Camping is one of the best-known methods of the Scouting movement. When he founded the Scouting movement in the early 1900s, Robert Baden-Powell encouraged every Scout to learn the art of living out-of-doors."

 

"Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent."

 

The BSA "Advancement Team," in interpreting the Camping MB requirements, says: "Camp a total of 20 nights.†That means 20 overnights. . . . All 20 nights must be spent under the sky or in a tent, so nights in cabins don’t count."

 

The Boy Scout Handbook lists the following as group equipment for "camping": "Tents, ground cloths and stakes."

 

There is no mention of buildings in the BSHB chapter on "CAMPING."

 

 

 

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