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Camping Nights

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OK SM's and OA advisors, give me your thoughts.

 

Would you count one of the "spend the night on the aircraft carrier" or "spend the night in the museum" type of activities as a camping night for OA eligibility?  I'm leaning towards no, but checking to see what others may have done.

 

OA Chapter Adviser here - the bottom line is: it is the Scoutmaster's decision to make.  The OA qualifications do not mention specifics, and we aren't going to make up qualifications as we go.  Some will only count camping nights done in tents, other's will count nights done in "camping structures" like, cabins.  I don't know anyone who would count a hotel room stay, but who knows.

 

My son's scoutmaster asked me a similar question, and here is a paraphrase of his decision, basically, if there is a furnace, air conditioning, or indoor plumbing, it doesn't count, otherwise, it does.  I think this came up with because of a camp out where the scouts stayed in tree houses, not the fancy things you see on TV, more like a covered deck with some plywood walls and windows. 

 

I can go back further, when my troop as a youth spent a week sailing each patrol had its on yacht, and we counted that as camping.  Those boats were definitely more comfortable than the tree houses mentioned above.

 

If I were a scoutmaster, I would probably apply the same standard as my son's unless further clarification to national policy is made.  Basically, use some common sense.

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From the OA:  "Other than defining the length of time needed for a camping activity to be considered a long-term camp*, the National Order of the Arrow Committee leaves the interpretation of the camping requirement to the unit leader."

 

Link to source.

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From the OA:  "Other than defining the length of time needed for a camping activity to be considered a long-term camp*, the National Order of the Arrow Committee leaves the interpretation of the camping requirement to the unit leader."

 

Link to source.

 

I knew that existed in writing somewhere, I just couldn't find it! 

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I knew that existed in writing somewhere, I just couldn't find it! 

 

We are still stuck with the term "camping" without definition.

 

Am I "camping" if I stay at a Holiday Inn? Indoors on a aircraft carrier? Indoors in a cabin?

 

The same source even says:

 

"Lodges are expected to plan a program and activities to support the purpose of the Order, the local council, and its units through outdoor program promotion and service. This includes the council resident camps, camp facilities, unit camping, Cub Scout outdoor experiences, and the Webelos-to-Scout plan."

 

Same doc, there's a great section on Camping Promotion (page 12) that talks all about camping and being outdoors.

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I agree with what Joseph said. It is up to the discretion of the SM. The OA reps are not going to go through the records of each scout nominated. 

 

If I go into a unit to facilitate an election and the scoutmaster gives me a list of names, I'm not going to question how the nights were earned or if they did them in the course of 24 months or if it was 25 months. I'm going to trust the scoutmaster won't send someone who is used to glamping in the Hilton to spend a weekend sleeping without a tent and doing arduous work. 

 

With that being said, don't you sleep on the deck of carriers? If that's the case, I would definitely count it. 

 

I have spent the night in a tent inside a sports arena. I wouldn't count that myself but if you go by the definition, it is a night spent in a tent that I pitched. ;) 

 

Ultimately I guess the fall back is the first point of the scout law. 

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With that being said, don't you sleep on the deck of carriers? If that's the case, I would definitely count it. 

 

None that I have seen. It is usually in the NCO bunks. I've been lucky enough to get the flight bosses quarters once on the Lex, though I shared it with two other adults and slept on the deck (read: steel floor). 

Edited by Col. Flagg

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I guess I never worried about the "glamping" much because it was completely foreign to my upbringing (lots of cold nights falling asleep watching the smoke coming out of some city-troop's cabin), and somewhat foreign in my sons' troop.

 

SM's didn't worry much because the elections were a serious hurdle, especially in my boys' troop. If a genuinely cheerful and helpful scout needed to count some hard-roof outing toward O/A nights (and they all seemed to have a good idea of what was going in those tallies), the boys would let it slide. Foul-mouth cusses and practical jokers could camp topside in the rain/snow 40 nights a year and lose consecutive years in a row.

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kindof a funny semantics game when you think about it....

what is camping?

why is canvas required?

and if you start to think about how folks lived a few generations ago, we might call their normal life full time camping....  it was certainly rougher living than I experience when I go camping in my nice REI tent sleeping on my thermorest....

 

BSA requirements and writings aside....and looking more at intent....I kinda feel like a good general definition for camping might be temporary living while en route.  Might indicate a certain "doing without" your normal stuff.

I kinda like how one of you put it earlier, regarding the intent.

 

And re. the aircraft carrier....

I led a pack trip to the USS Yorktown several years back.  As a pack we also did several other trips like that... I always called them overnighters.  Slept with the whales at Sea World, under the shuttle Atlantis at KSC.  honestly, I don't see a hill of beans worth of difference in the experience when compared to a camp at the local BSA scout reservation on trips where we eat in the dining hall.....except a certain exposure to nature.  Nature gives an opportunity for a certain kind of freedom, adventure,and life lesson to a boy, as BP wrote.... but a very similar experience can be had with some of these overnights, too.....  and when you roll back around to the earlier point made about the intention of comradere with other scouts...

well I could certainly buy into the idea of considering the bigger picture if it wasn't for a scout that missed every traditional camp out.....

 

But, a rule is a rule.... so back to the semantics....

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OK SM's and OA advisors, give me your thoughts.

 

Would you count one of the "spend the night on the aircraft carrier" or "spend the night in the museum" type of activities as a camping night for OA eligibility?  I'm leaning towards no, but checking to see what others may have done.

 

I'm an ASM, but if I were advising my SM, I would say no.  Those aren't camping, they are sleeping indoors. 

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OA was once a " national brotherhood of honor campers" and, later, "The National Society of Scout Honor Campers."  Those descriptions seems to have gone away.  Still . . .

 

We know what is required by National Council.  http://www.oa-bsa.org/pages/content/membership-and-induction  Within two years of being a candidate for election, each candidate must have experienced fifteen nights of "Boy Scout camping," which is also "overnight camping" " approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America."

 

While OA is not going to audit the unit records, that does not mean that whether a candidate for election has his fifteen nights should be a matter of the Scoutmaster's discretion.  The Scoutmaster's role should be ministerial.  The Scout has the fifteen nights or he does not.  The burden should not vary from unit to unit.

 

But what is "Boy Scout camping"?  As in other things, BSA leaves questions where there should be clarity. 

 

BSA has various definitions of "camping."

 

Individual Scouts and Scouters Application for National Camping Award

What Counts As Camping ?

>Sleeping in tents.

>Staying in rustic cabins (no electricity).

>Under the open skies.

>You participated in setting up and breaking camp.

>You participated in camp chores.

>You participated in camping activities (hiking, swimming, nature exploration, conservation projects, etc)

 

Advancement to First Class

What counts as camping?

On at least five of the six overnight campouts used toward First Class, the Scout must “spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee).

 

Camping Merit Badge

tSleep 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

 

Journey to "Excellence"

Then we have the program designed to "encourage excellence."  Really.  That what it says.

In this bubble, a "weekend campout" may be a weekend spent indoors watching videos or playing electronic games.  This is said to encourage excellence in "short-term camping."  It, of course, does nothing of the kind.  The method is the "Outdoor Method":  

 

 

Boy Scouting is designed to take place outdoors. It is in the outdoor setting that Scouts share responsibilities and learn to live with one another. It is here that the skills and activities practiced at troop meetings come alive with purpose. Being close to nature helps Boy Scouts gain an appreciation for God's handiwork and humankind's  place in it. The outdoors is the laboratory for Boy Scouts to learn ecology and practice conservation of nature's resources.

 

Even the bureaucrats of the Journey to Mediocrity bubble cannot turn "indoor" into "outdoor" and "nature" into video games.  Nine "lock-ins" is a joke as "excellence" in "short-term camping."  (JTM also does not require any actual use of the Patrol Method - such as Scouts selected by their peers who plan or lead anything or who are responsible for anything --  to "earn" the status of "excellence" in the Patrol Method.)   LTM's definition ought to be rejected out of hand for demonstrated lack of knowledge of the Boy Scout program.

 

The Outdoor Method

The description of the Outdoor method quoted above out to also be taken into account.  OA is part of the Boy Scout program.  It recognizes excellence in participants in the Boy Scout Program, a program designed to take place outdoors."  So "camping" under that standard out to be seen as an outdoor activity.

 

BSA should clear this up, and now would be good.

Edited by TAHAWK

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Maybe this will help. It defines long-term camping as "A camping experience consisting of five or more consecutive days and nights in the outdoors." 
 
Would it be too much a stretch to say that short-term camping would be anything less than five days and nights in the outdoors?
 
There's also the National Outdoor Award. Imagine if we allowed indoor sleeping to count as "camping". How would you then deny someone those nights counting toward this award? The very award has "outdoor" in it. The first sentence begins with "Do you enjoy camping under the stars". It would be a travesty to allow indoor nights to count toward an outdoor award. Might as well allow my video archery score to count toward my Archery MB. ;)

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Advancement to First Class

What counts as camping?

On at least five of the six overnight campouts used toward First Class, the Scout must “spend the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect (such as a lean-to, snow cave, or tepee).

 

Camping Merit Badge

tSleep 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

 

So by these definitions, my night in a tent that I pitched inside a (very posh) sports arena should count as a camping night, right?

 

Wrong

 

Maybe that's why SMs are given latitude in whom they nominate.They exercise judgement and trustworthiness.

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