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My troop will be sending two crews to Philmont in 2017. I have been asked to look into creating a contract that would spell out what our expectations are for the scouts attending the trip. The contract would include things like the number of mandatory shakedowns that must be attended and participation as a crew member. I was wondering if any other troop does this and what type of things you include?  Would you be willing to send me a copy?

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How about sitting down the scouts going on the Trek and asking them to come up with something?  Tell the boys that they are responsible for figuring out the gear requirements, they are responsible for figuring out how far they are hiking each day on the trek, they are responsible for figuring how much training they need, they are responsible for planning several backpacking treks between now and Philmont.  They might just surprise you.

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I think the leader's guide suggests this especially in terms of a personal fitness plan.


I forgot about leaders guides. Right there's your contract.


ASAP, have a sit down, and EVERYONE on the crew read the leader's guide. Around the table. Out loud. One paragraph per crew-member.

(Caveat: I've never read the Philmont guide, so if this is an unwieldy tome, highlight the scout-friendly must-cover bits.)


@@Petey091, you know your people. So work with them accordingly. If this lot has tended to ignore meetings, then do what it takes to mandate your first one. Reschedule if even one participant can't show. This is where you all decide you're gonna be a team. It is where you all decide what are "must do" preparations. And it's not one-sided:

  • Adults may need to get special training, maybe lose a little weight, re-arrange other obligations, this is where the boys hear them commit to doing that.
  • Boys may need to gear up, plan payments, conditioning, and shakedowns. This is where adults hear them commit to doing that.

I honestly think this kind of verbal "shake on it" agreement will get you more traction than a written contract.

Edited by qwazse
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  • 3 weeks later...

When we signed up to go with my son's troop in 2010, we told them that we could not attend shakedown hikes if they were held on Saturday, but would make anything they held on Sunday. He was involved at a high level in sport we thought might take him to college that demanded every Saturday morning during the shakedown period. What do you know? Almost all the scheduled shakedowns were conducted on a Saturday. He went to the few that were on Sundays, but missed all the Saturdays. And he still caught crap from the SM. But I was going to raise holy Hell with them if that was a real problem because we made our scheduling issues known at the time of sign-up and they went against that anyway for the convenience of the SM (who wasn't even on our crew--same trip, different crew). I was the adult leader on the second crew who had received the wilderness First Aid training, so I think he didn't push the issue any further because he couldn't afford for me to drop out. So remember that they gave you a blank check when they signed up and don't abuse that. Show some flexibility.


But as qwasze notes, you know your people. My son didn't need a lot of conditioning after swimming 3 or 4 hours a day 6 days a week year round except for competitions. And the few Sundays were enough for the equipment shakedown and to get use to the pack. Indeed, what with track, cross-country, swimming, football, and lacrosse, every youth on that crew was a well-conditioned high school athlete--there wasn't a whole lot of conditioning needed for the youth. If our SM had been able to see that, things would have been much smoother. So consider the level of conditioning already attained for the members of your crew. My experience is that the adults will need the conditioning much more so than the youth and the ones who aren't in condition now won't be as a result of the shakedown hikes. They are helpful, but don't happen enough to constitute real conditioning.


On the flip side, we had the boys select their trek. They selected the third longest, most difficult itinerary. If your crew members are not dedicated enough to condition as needed, you need to provide some guidance on trek selection. 


Gear is a personal issue. Let each scout choose their own in light of there shakedown experiences, as long as what they choose is adequate. I feel this is a part of the learning experience and it is intensely subjective and personal. (I have heard from troops returning from deployment that a LOT of this goes on during deployment. You don't really know until you get in the field, even if you train.) There's a money issue here, too.


And be ready to refund their money if they don't meet the arbitrary requirements set down after they have committed. And yes, these expectations are largely arbitrary in their particulars.

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