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SlowDerbyRacer

If Scouting Began Today

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 Summer Camp was at one time a fun and challenging type of activity, today it is a merit badge mill. The entire preogram today keys in on advancement and passing requirements. Ifr you find a group that holds these as secondary grab and join it right away because they are little by little becoming the rare thing to find.

 

 

I agree 110% I am getting strange looks when I tell folks my son didn't earn a single MB this past summer camp. All partials. Folks think I wasted money sending him to camp. Funny thing is I'm really proud of how he acted. He was assigned by the SPL as "Acting ASPL" whenever the ASPL was out of camp due to baseball. He looked after the first year Scouts, even helping one homesick Scout out. Did I mention he's 11 and this is only his second summer at camp?

 

"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" 

 

As for advancement being secondary, my troop is slowly turning into advancement oriented. Reason being we got a Philmont crew that our older Scouts are going on, but they need to be First Class. Out of the entire group going, only 3 are First Class or higher. Rest are Scout or Tenderfoot.

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As for advancement being secondary, my troop is slowly turning into advancement oriented. Reason being we got a Philmont crew that our older Scouts are going on, but they need to be First Class. Out of the entire group going, only 3 are First Class or higher. Rest are Scout or Tenderfoot.

@@Eagle94-A1, getting 1st Class for Philmont is not "advancement oriented". It is skills oriented. Especially with the new requirments and Philmonts use of mobile devices. Do you want those boys out on the range without their cyberchip certification? :p

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I agree 110% I am getting strange looks when I tell folks my son didn't earn a single MB this past summer camp. All partials. Folks think I wasted money sending him to camp. Funny thing is I'm really proud of how he acted. He was assigned by the SPL as "Acting ASPL" whenever the ASPL was out of camp due to baseball. He looked after the first year Scouts, even helping one homesick Scout out. Did I mention he's 11 and this is only his second summer at camp?

 

"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" 

 

As for advancement being secondary, my troop is slowly turning into advancement oriented. Reason being we got a Philmont crew that our older Scouts are going on, but they need to be First Class. Out of the entire group going, only 3 are First Class or higher. Rest are Scout or Tenderfoot.

 The most MB I earned at summer camp was 2 and that was twice. Otherwise I only earned one and that was the one I did with my patrol. In my patrol we decided to work on one merit badge together at summer camp. Generally this would be a handicraft or nature type badge. Somebody once said that the more a patrol does together the stronger and better it will become. Green Bar Bill was right. Summer camp was a chance to go around and try things that might not be easy to do at home. Rifle range, archery, boating, etc. Today you go to earn badges. What a waste.

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 The most MB I earned at summer camp was 2 and that was twice. Otherwise I only earned one and that was the one I did with my patrol. In my patrol we decided to work on one merit badge together at summer camp. Generally this would be a handicraft or nature type badge. Somebody once said that the more a patrol does together the stronger and better it will become. Green Bar Bill was right. Summer camp was a chance to go around and try things that might not be easy to do at home. Rifle range, archery, boating, etc. Today you go to earn badges. What a waste.

Eagle, I concur.  Over the last several years, I've noticed the trend where camps offer a huge array of MBs.  Many of these MBs have nothing to do with the outdoors, and are best earned in town, on a cold winter's night, in between troop campouts.  The marketing approach makes it sound like a super deal--look at all the stuff we offer!   Then you walk around camp and see scouts hunched over a picnic table, doing homework.   Or they are sitting on a log, listening to a lecture.   As you said, what a waste.   The scouts should doing the things you mentioned.  Be the first in line for open swim, hiking with their patrol, throwing a Frisbee around the parade field, or sitting on the stoop of the trading post, drinking a root beer float and laughing with their friends.   But that essay isn't going to write itself--back to the picnic table!

 

Your post made me think back to my summer camp days:

 

First summer camp:  zero

Second:  2 and 1 partial (overachiever!)

Third:  2

Thereafter I was on camp staff for 3 summers, and earned 1 or 2 over the course of a summer, if that.   My last summer, the last MB I earned before I turned 18:  basketry.   Took plenty of ribbing for that!

Edited by desertrat77

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Eagle, I concur.  Over the last several years, I've noticed the trend where camps offer a huge array of MBs.  Many of these MBs have nothing to do with the outdoors, and are best earned in town, on a cold winter's night, in between troop campouts.  The marketing approach makes it sound like a super deal--look at all the stuff we offer!   Then you walk around camp and see kids spending hours hunched over a picnic table, doing homework.   Or they are sitting on a log, listening to a lecture.   As you said, what a waste.   The scouts should doing the things you mentioned.  Be the first in line for open swim, hiking with their patrol, throwing a Frisbee around the parade field, or sitting on the stoop of the trading post, drinking a root beer float and laughing with their friends.   But that essay isn't going to write itself--back to the picnic table!

 

Your post made me think back to my summer camp days:

 

First summer camp:  zero

Second:  2 and 1 partial (overachiever!)

Third:  2

Thereafter I was on camp staff for 3 summers, and earned 1 or 2 over the course of a summer, if that.   My last summer, the last MB I earned before I turned 18:  basketry.   Took plenty of ribbing for that!

 

 desertrat77 your killing me. I just went back to  1975 was walking with a couple of buddies from action archery and stopped at the TP for a rootbeer float. Aahh the good old days. The only required badge I earned in camp was swimming and that was my first year at camp. Did one year as CIT and another as staff, never earned one badge doing them either. Way too much fun to sit and write outdoors. You got me on the basketry one though I did do it as a patrol badge when I was 16.

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@@eagle77, those were good days indeed...my first summer camp was 1975.  Just enjoyed everything the camp had to offer with no idea or ambition of earning anything.

 

The next year, I got a full dose of the "homework" syndrome from my new SM.   He signed several of us up for Environmental Science MB.  Didn't ask us, he just did it.   Oh, okay.  It was pretty interesting, good instructor.   Enjoyed the science parts.  But that long essay (500 words at the time) was lingering in the background all week.

 

As the week drew to a close, he asked me "Have you done that essay yet?"   No sir.   So I was restricted to my tent until it was done.    Though everything else about the week was fun, I never forgot that experience.  Scouts should be on the trail, at the range, in the water, on a climbing wall, but they should not be doing paperwork at camp.   The picnic table should be used for dining, making a wallet, carving a neckerchief slide, and shooting the breeze, not homework.

Edited by desertrat77
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@@eagle77, those were good days indeed...my first summer camp was 1975.  Just enjoyed everything the camp had to offer with no idea or ambition of earning anything.

 

 

ROFL. Mine was 1975 too. On the way to camp the troop stopped and camped on the beach which butted up against this fence line. On the other side of the fence was a drive in movie theater. We snuck out after lights out and worked our way to the fence line. We could see the screen just fine and the ambient sound from the speakers was just enough to hear the dialog. Waves were crashing in the background.

 

The movie? Jaws! June 7, 1975.

 

No one in my patrol went in to the water the entire week. We just punted the swim test and hung out at the trading post.  ;)

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ROFL. Mine was 1975 too. On the way to camp the troop stopped and camped on the beach which butted up against this fence line. On the other side of the fence was a drive in movie theater. We snuck out after lights out and worked our way to the fence line. We could see the screen just fine and the ambient sound from the speakers was just enough to hear the dialog. Waves were crashing in the background.

 

The movie? Jaws! June 7, 1975.

 

No one in my patrol went in to the water the entire week. We just punted the swim test and hung out at the trading post.  ;)

 

  That summer we were at Camp Rodney which is in Maryland right on the Northern part of the Chesapeake Bay. Back then swimming and boating was done in the bay. The pool was only used for swimming and lifesaving merit badges. It was hot that week, but not one single one of us would go down and swim in the bay. Instead they had these outdoor type showers and we would put on our bathing suits and cool off there. SM asked what our problem was, were we too lazy to walk down to the bay and swim? My PL looked at him and said we went to the movies last week and saw Jaws. He looked at all of us and just laughed.  Then he said this part of the bay was fresh water. PL looked back and said I can't see bottom. Aahh the good old days!!

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ROFL. Mine was 1975 too. On the way to camp the troop stopped and camped on the beach which butted up against this fence line. On the other side of the fence was a drive in movie theater. We snuck out after lights out and worked our way to the fence line. We could see the screen just fine and the ambient sound from the speakers was just enough to hear the dialog. Waves were crashing in the background.

 

The movie? Jaws! June 7, 1975.

 

No one in my patrol went in to the water the entire week. We just punted the swim test and hung out at the trading post.  ;)

Bad Wolf, that is funny!   We were in Arizona, and went to camp that August.   The pool was about the size of a suburban living room.   Very small.   Yet the water was very murky.   Literally could not see the bottom of the tiny pool.  I don't think the movie impacted us too much in AZ, yet that dark water memory remains.   I spent most of my time at the rifle range.   With very little spending money, I ran out quickly and could not buy ammo.   So I struck a deal with the range staff.   When there were no shooters, I would police the brass that had fallen forward of the firing line, and was mixed up in the pine needles and sand.   For 100 empty brass casings, they would give me two live rounds as payment.   Seemed like a pretty good deal at the time!

 

  That summer we were at Camp Rodney which is in Maryland right on the Northern part of the Chesapeake Bay. Back then swimming and boating was done in the bay. The pool was only used for swimming and lifesaving merit badges. It was hot that week, but not one single one of us would go down and swim in the bay. Instead they had these outdoor type showers and we would put on our bathing suits and cool off there. SM asked what our problem was, were we too lazy to walk down to the bay and swim? My PL looked at him and said we went to the movies last week and saw Jaws. He looked at all of us and just laughed.  Then he said this part of the bay was fresh water. PL looked back and said I can't see bottom. Aahh the good old days!!

Eagle77, serendipity...the last camp I was able to attend (2009) was Rodney.   I was still in the AF, stationed on the east coast, and was about to deploy for a year.  I was a UC, and a troop invited me to attend camp with them.   It was wonderful.   Our campsite was right on the edge of a cliff, overlooking Chesapeake Bay.   I slept with the tent flaps open, and the breeze from the bay made for outstanding sleeping.  I wasn't able to stay the entire week due to predeployment prep, but the three days I was at Rodney were superb.   A great camp, solid traditions, good programing, engaged staff.  I've moved a couple times since, too far away to attend Rodney, but I'd encourage everyone to go.   They'll have a great camp experience.  

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@desertrat77@eagle77 this was in VA Beach. Doing basic 10 years later in the same waters had me thinking twice at night, in the water and trying to get to shore in one piece. :)

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Bad Wolf, that is funny!   We were in Arizona, and went to camp that August.   The pool was about the size of a suburban living room.   Very small.   Yet the water was very murky.   Literally could not see the bottom of the tiny pool.  I don't think the movie impacted us too much in AZ, yet that dark water memory remains.   I spent most of my time at the rifle range.   With very little spending money, I ran out quickly and could not buy ammo.   So I struck a deal with the range staff.   When there were no shooters, I would police the brass that had fallen forward of the firing line, and was mixed up in the pine needles and sand.   For 100 empty brass casings, they would give me two live rounds as payment.   Seemed like a pretty good deal at the time!

 

Eagle77, serendipity...the last camp I was able to attend (2009) was Rodney.   I was still in the AF, stationed on the east coast, and was about to deploy for a year.  I was a UC, and a troop invited me to attend camp with them.   It was wonderful.   Our campsite was right on the edge of a cliff, overlooking Chesapeake Bay.   I slept with the tent flaps open, and the breeze from the bay made for outstanding sleeping.  I wasn't able to stay the entire week due to predeployment prep, but the three days I was at Rodney were superb.   A great camp, solid traditions, good programing, engaged staff.  I've moved a couple times since, too far away to attend Rodney, but I'd encourage everyone to go.   They'll have a great camp experience.  

 

 That was the last year that I was there too. We were back in the Lenape cabins which were back behind the pool. Rodney is the only camp in our area that I know still offers troop cooking, bringing our own food and making up the menu is the best. Plus I find their program and staff to be top notch. Those cliffs weren't always there, a few bad storms came right up the bay and took a good part of the shoeline away. They were worried at one time that they may lose their Nature lodge to the bay. The old swimming area was just passed the main parade field.

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@desertrat77@eagle77 this was in VA Beach. Doing basic 10 years later in the same waters had me thinking twice at night, in the water and trying to get to shore in one piece. :)

 

  I still have some reservations going into salt water, between Jaws and now Shark week all that I keep hearing in the back of my head is dant, dant, dant, dant.

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  Somebody once said that the more a patrol does together the stronger and better it will become. Green Bar Bill was right. Summer camp was a chance to go around and try things that might not be easy to do at home. Rifle range, archery, boating, etc. Today you go to earn badges. What a waste.

I was at summer camp with my troop two weeks ago and the staff was commenting on how cool it was that my patrols had their own cook sites. I looked around and my troop was the only one where the patrols cooked on their own. The Council exec came to talk at a SM dinner thing and he asked what the adults needed more of. I said I wanted more patrol activities. Cooking and cleaning were the only patrol activity and it's hard, I wanted some fun things for the scouts to enjoy together and MB time was preventing that. Give us the canoes outside of class, organized geo cache, at least give us some maps of local trails so my patrols could do that. I got a blank stare. I went up afterwards and talked to him individually and he just couldn't understand what I was trying to get at. This was the council exec!

 

I don't think anyone would even start something like scouts today. Today, everything is about competition. Sports rule. Band used to be about appreciating the arts. Now that's being pushed out in favor of band competitions. I like competition but when it becomes all encompassing it kills the magic of a campfire, or helping someone fix a tire. Just to appreciate life's best moments.

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... I wanted some fun things for the scouts to enjoy together and MB time was preventing that. Give us the canoes outside of class, organized geo cache, at least give us some maps of local trails so my patrols could do that. I got a blank stare. I went up afterwards and talked to him individually and he just couldn't understand what I was trying to get at. This was the council exec!

 

I don't think anyone would even start something like scouts today. Today, everything is about competition. Sports rule. Band used to be about appreciating the arts. Now that's being pushed out in favor of band competitions. I like competition but when it becomes all encompassing it kills the magic of a campfire, or helping someone fix a tire. Just to appreciate life's best moments.

 

Must have been a young council exec. In similar circumstances, I usually get a bobblehead nod and "I hear ya"...same result though. :laugh:

 

As for your second paragraph, I hear ya.

 

My $0.02

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@@MattR it s everything: band, orchestra, choir, sports....heck even debate and science clubs.

 

Kids these days don't have time to breath. Scouts has become a place to chill and get away from over eager parents.

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