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jpc763

Cooking Mb At Summer Camp

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I am a SM at a Troop here in CO. My older son is a Life Scout and only has the cooking MB left to complete. He started the MB at summer camp last year in South Dakota.  At camp, they finished all of the book requirements and a few of the actual cooking requirements so my son was left with the campout meal planning and cooking and the backpacking meal planning and cooking.

 

My troop just came back from summer camp here in Colorado (I was at High Adventure) and had 6 boys take cooking.  I was amazed to see that all 6 completed 100% of the cooking MB at camp.   That means that each boy had to cook 8 meals and 2 deserts/snacks using two different camp methods (fire, stove), a one pot meal (dutch oven, foil pack or kabob) and 2 backpacking meals.  That seems quite difficult given the amount of time each boy spends in the class.  They all had 2 hours a day of the class for 4 days so a total of 8 hours.

 

It just seems pretty hard to do all that cooking.  What are your thoughts?

 

John

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 I agree. Did the boys have an ASM from their troop that was in camp with them?  Camps that I have been to would ask for a note from the troop SM, or in this case ASM that the scout in question had done or completed the other rquirements on other trips. In the info for this camps summer program these requirements may have been down as pre-requests.

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I had a Scout signed off for the camping merit badge and I know he did not have 20 nights of camping.  If you question it, contact the camp staff.

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First was the Camp a dining Hall or a Cook your Own Camp?

 

When I was at Summer Camp we did cooking merit Badge at both camps

At One of Our Camps when I was a Youth..We had to cook our own meals...When We had people working on Cooking Merit Badge they split the Cooking duties among themselves..Also in class they cooked meals. Each Scout could cook a meal from the supplied food stock, choosing how to prepare and cook it. Class was always the first Merit Badge Class to fill up, priority to Scouts not already having Merit Badge..we had a lot of Scout retake the Merit Badge each year, to get extra food at Camp and there were plenty of Volunteers to Critique the Food.

 

At the Other Camp they just did cooking in class as it was a Dining Hall Camp

 

Sadly they sold the Wilderness Camp off :(

 

So Yes I can see them all completing the Merit Badge.

In 8 Hours I could cook hundreds of meals.

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@@jpc763 it does sound too good to be true. I would talk to the scouts and walk through what they did. If it sounds like they did not complete the requirements then follow the GTA and use the remedies they outline on how to address this situation.

 

We had a similar experience with cooking at a "MB college". All was signed off without the MBC validating the work was done. We met with the scout and asked him to produce his documentation regarding all the menus and meals. He couldn't and agreed he just told the MBC he'd done the work, not bothering to realize that meals in question were also being applied to rank advancement and other badges.

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My son "earned" the cooking merit badge at camp last year and then it was awarded.  I had no idea, until recently what this badge entailed.  I didn't go to camp.  I didn't see what he did.  I highly doubt he actually earned that award, but it's done with now.  He got signed off and awarded the badge.

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That is the Main problem with Scouting these days..Instant Merit Badges...People don't teach and make them earn stuff in BSA anymore...

Merit Badge Colleges are a prime example..Walk in and in a Few Hours you get Merit badges...Councils collect the Fees...Scouts get Merit Badges...Councils sell Merit Badges and Advancement Badges...Council wins..Scouts are Happy

 

Merit Badge Counselors cost nothing...Council earns no fees..still gets to sell Merit Badge and Rank Advancement..Scouts have to Earn and work Hard..They wait for Merit Badge College 

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I run a Cooking Merit Badge program for our toop.  We start off with an hour meeting where the boys plan the menus that they will be cooking in the outdoors.  I do the shopping for them based on their food lists (this saves money because I can combine the lists (so you don't have 4 pounds of butter when each group only needs a 1/4 pound) and can use spices and other ingredents from my pantry at home).

 

The class is 8 boys where they are paired up into 4 groups.  Then we meet in my backyard on a weekend day at 8:00.  The start out by washing their hands.  Then we prepare a dutch oven full of monkey break. I then teach them how to cut with the various cooking knives and then they chop ham, cheese, onions and peppers.  By the time the monkey bread is ready, they have  made egg omlettes and fried up some bacon.  We then eat and clean up.

 

We then spend some time going over first aid, foodborne illnesses, safe food handling and food allergies (Requirement 1).  The boys then cut up some potatoes, start a fire, grill some sausages over the open flames and deep fry the potatoes in a dutch oven.  We eat and clean-up.

 

We then talk about healty eating habits (Requirement 2) and then about cooking methods (Requirement 4).  We talk about backpacking food and make some beef jerky.

 

That takes us to around 3:00.  The boys then begin cooking dinner and dessert.  Each pair of boys cooks a full meal and dessert both using a Dutch Oven.  In the past they have cooked braised short ribs over polenta, beef lasagna, BBQ spare ribs with apple sauce, cole slaw and corn bread; chicken cacciatore over pasta and beef stew over noodles.  The desserts have included a chocolate cake (not a dump cake, but one baked in a cake pan), chocolate brownies, choccolate chip cheesecake, peach blueberry cobbler and an apple pie.

 

The boys' parents join us for dinner and we award the Cast Iron Chef honor to the pair that got the best results.  The boys clean up and we call it a day.

 

We then have one more hour long meeting where we discuss food labels and careers (Requirements 3 and 8).

 

The boys then have to make their menus, pepare their shopping lists and cook the meals at home and then on a trial hike or backpacking trip (Requirements 5 and 7).  I accept prior cooking on backpacking trips as long as the write up the menu and shopping list. 

 

So, it probably takes 1 hour ahead of time, 9 hours on the weekend, 1 hour follow up and then the work to do at home and on the trail.

 

I have thought about designing a program for our summer camp for next summer.  There would have to be an hour a day session for the coursework and then a morning, afternoon and evening session for the outdoor meals in lieu of the dining hall and then two trail hikes for a breakfast and lunch on the trail  

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Heritage Reservation dropped Cooking from its MB program because it could not be completed given its food service arrangements. When the reservation director discussed this and other program changes with the SMs none of us had any objection. Neither the dining hall nor the patrol cooking camps allow for boys to create their own menus, order the ingredients at commissary and cook for their patrols. There is certainly enough property to have the boys arrange for a trail hike -- a backpacking trek on the Laurel Highlands Trail is available to older scouts. But, it would take a very flexible food service program to allow for youth to plan their own menus. And, the reservation is not there yet. I doubt that many many camps are.

 

However, assuming that one day camp commissaries change their business model, @@Hedgehog has the right idea. The challenge will be to implement this in camp where a few boys working on Cooking have the time they need to do their work, while the boys who are not can do their program.

 

Perhaps if all patrols at camp were required to develop their menus from the list of ingredients available at commissary, it would be feasible to reintroduce Cooking MB during summer camp.

Edited by qwazse

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@@jpc763 it does sound too good to be true. I would talk to the scouts and walk through what they did. If it sounds like they did not complete the requirements then follow the GTA and use the remedies they outline on how to address this situation.

 

We had a similar experience with cooking at a "MB college". All was signed off without the MBC validating the work was done. We met with the scout and asked him to produce his documentation regarding all the menus and meals. He couldn't and agreed he just told the MBC he'd done the work, not bothering to realize that meals in question were also being applied to rank advancement and other badges.

 

I will discuss this with committee chair.  Forgive my ignorance, but what is GTA?

 

I run a Cooking Merit Badge program for our toop.  We start off with an hour meeting where the boys plan the menus that they will be cooking in the outdoors.  I do the shopping for them based on their food lists (this saves money because I can combine the lists (so you don't have 4 pounds of butter when each group only needs a 1/4 pound) and can use spices and other ingredents from my pantry at home).

 

The class is 8 boys where they are paired up into 4 groups.  Then we meet in my backyard on a weekend day at 8:00.  The start out by washing their hands.  Then we prepare a dutch oven full of monkey break. I then teach them how to cut with the various cooking knives and then they chop ham, cheese, onions and peppers.  By the time the monkey bread is ready, they have  made egg omlettes and fried up some bacon.  We then eat and clean up.

 

We then spend some time going over first aid, foodborne illnesses, safe food handling and food allergies (Requirement 1).  The boys then cut up some potatoes, start a fire, grill some sausages over the open flames and deep fry the potatoes in a dutch oven.  We eat and clean-up.

 

We then talk about healty eating habits (Requirement 2) and then about cooking methods (Requirement 4).  We talk about backpacking food and make some beef jerky.

 

That takes us to around 3:00.  The boys then begin cooking dinner and dessert.  Each pair of boys cooks a full meal and dessert both using a Dutch Oven.  In the past they have cooked braised short ribs over polenta, beef lasagna, BBQ spare ribs with apple sauce, cole slaw and corn bread; chicken cacciatore over pasta and beef stew over noodles.  The desserts have included a chocolate cake (not a dump cake, but one baked in a cake pan), chocolate brownies, choccolate chip cheesecake, peach blueberry cobbler and an apple pie.

 

The boys' parents join us for dinner and we award the Cast Iron Chef honor to the pair that got the best results.  The boys clean up and we call it a day.

 

We then have one more hour long meeting where we discuss food labels and careers (Requirements 3 and 8).

 

The boys then have to make their menus, pepare their shopping lists and cook the meals at home and then on a trial hike or backpacking trip (Requirements 5 and 7).  I accept prior cooking on backpacking trips as long as the write up the menu and shopping list. 

 

So, it probably takes 1 hour ahead of time, 9 hours on the weekend, 1 hour follow up and then the work to do at home and on the trail.

 

I have thought about designing a program for our summer camp for next summer.  There would have to be an hour a day session for the coursework and then a morning, afternoon and evening session for the outdoor meals in lieu of the dining hall and then two trail hikes for a breakfast and lunch on the trail  

This is a great program.  It is great of you to put this on for the boys!

 

November 2013, we made our campout a "Cooking MB" campout.  I was the counselor for that badge and we went through all of the book requirements except careers (old book so I am not sure what number it is).  I had a ASM helping and we broke the boys into groups of 3.  Each one had to plan a menu for the campout (5 meals and a dessert) and then cook them on the campout.  The adults were assigned to one of the patrols so each patrol ended up cooking for one of the adults.  It worked out very well and I am planning on doing it again this November with the new requirements.

 

That being said, even with focusing the skill part of 2 troop meetings and a whole campout, the boys still had to do cooking at home and on the trail.  My younger son was on that campout but still has the backpacking cooking left.

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If a boy wanted to cook for us during a troop meeting, we'd allow him. Right now the troop is one patrol, and all the boys fit in the church kitchen.

 

Planning menus and preparing meals should be part of the routine for every troop or patrol who camps monthly.

 

There are plenty of other ways to complete the badge outside of summer camp.

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That being said, even with focusing the skill part of 2 troop meetings and a whole campout, the boys still had to do cooking at home and on the trail.  My younger son was on that campout but still has the backpacking cooking left.

 

The trail cooking part is difficult.  We didnt have a backpacking trip in the Fall and our Spring trip was cancelled because it was going to be 15 degrees at the end of March.  My son completed it by cooking for me on an AT backpacking trip we took by ourselves (seriousy, it doesnt get better than backpacking and having your son cook for you).  A couple of guys cooked on 6 to 8 mile hikes but I think that most are still waiting on that for a multi-day backpacking trek.  I think that an outdoor program needs at least two backpacking trips during the school year and another summer adventure (backing, canoing, etc..)  I give credit for prior backpacking trips if they write up the menus.

 

The cooking at home is pretty easy -- especially since I tell the parents that their sons have to cook for them for an entire day and they get to critique the food.  I also tell the parents not to let their kids get away with cereal, sandwiches and hot dogs but to encourage them to cook something more complicated.

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Planning menus and preparing meals should be part of the routine for every troop or patrol who camps monthly.

 

 

Our problem is that the patrol cooking on campouts is typically done to complete the T-1 cooking requirements.  We have around 8 new boys a year, with around 10 outing a year.  Three of the outings are not patrol based (i.e. backpacking, canoeing, etc.).  One outing we do Troop cooking (due to logistics of transporting gear and space issues preventing he patrols from cooking independently).  One of the outings is typically a one day activity.  So that is 5 outings with 2 patrols.  That gives us around 10 slots for cooking.  I suspect next year we will be running three patrols for outings, so that would give us 5 more slots.

 

My sense is that doing the one day session has actually made a difference is how the troop cooks.  The older scouts that hand done the session have really taken to it and now mentor and teach the younger scouts when they are doing the T-1 requireents -- merely out of self interest because they want to eat better on campouts!

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