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RememberSchiff

Adults taking more offsite breaks during summer camp?

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Locally I have observed unit adults leave camp* to

   - play golf (very popular)

   - have an un-rushed, relaxed breakfast.

   - find better cellphone or laptop connectivity

   - Walmart safari

   - laundromat run

   - ice, watermelon, ice cream rum

 

In recent years, judging by the sparse parking lot, this has become more prevalent. 

 

Signed out with sufficient adult coverage remaining at camp.

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    ice cream rum

 

 

:) Sorry, couldn't resist!

 

I have mixed thoughts about the adults leaving camp.  Some are tethered to electronics because of their jobs.   Even on vacation, the boss and everyone else in the company expects 24/7 performance.    If they need to go to town and spend an hour or two in a coffee shop to catch up with work, I think that is okay.

 

Work aside, if the leaders venture into town once or twice or so...I think that's alright.  As long as there is a plan for adult supervisor at camp.

 

Gone from camp all the time?  Routinely?  Just to loaf around town?  Not acceptable.  At least in my opinion.

Edited by desertrat77

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If all the boys are in MB "classes" from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm, why would the adults need to hang around all that much?  I usually have a book to read, games to play with other leaders in the leader's lounge, wander off exploring on my own in a new camp, make something fun for scouting (last time was a rocket stove I cooked on all week long), etc.

 

If it is impossible to supervise 20 boys scattered all over the camp, why try?  Just doesn't make sense to me. 

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I guess the question is what is the role of adults as summer camp?   

 

Troop should have couple adults to represent the troop.  SM or designee attends the SM meetings held daily by the camp.  SM or designee handles communication between the camp and scouts when situations arise of failure on either party.  Adults "audit" MB classes for quality control to ensure classes are providing necessary training/education.  

 

Otherwise our troop presumes the adults will be napping in camp.  We do have one adult who runs to town to buy watermelon for midweek evening snack.  

 

Many camps now have WiFi in the Scoutmaster lounge area.  Just because an adult is at camp, doesn't mean it is a vacation.  Many people "work from home" meaning they have a cell phone, laptop, and internet connection.  I'm self employed.  If I don't answer phone & electronic communication in a timely manner, I lose business.  That means no pay for the week at camp and no pay for the next week due to lost jobs.  Sitting in a chair in the middle of camp does nothing for the scouts or me.

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First year I went back to camp, one Scouter was "commuting" between camp and job. He was a minister, and there was 2 unexpected funerals to do. I had to make a Walmart run to secure the "secret ingrediant" for the cook off, and a lot of folks did too.

 

Second year I went back, I could not get off work. So I was commuting back and forth. Drive was 20 minutes, which was less time than I normally spent..

 

At all times, 2 adults are in camp.

 

Personally I'd love to take a vacation./

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If all the boys are in MB "classes" from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm, why would the adults need to hang around all that much?  I usually have a book to read, games to play with other leaders in the leader's lounge, wander off exploring on my own in a new camp, make something fun for scouting (last time was a rocket stove I cooked on all week long), etc.

 

If it is impossible to supervise 20 boys scattered all over the camp, why try?  Just doesn't make sense to me. 

 

I think that what you are talking about is different from what RS is talking about.  It sounds like all of your excursions are still within the camp.  If Little Johnny has some sort of accident or incident between MB classes and requires emergency medical treatment or a trip to the hospital or whatever, they can probably find you.  At least you were in the camp, not 20 miles away in town having a cup of coffee.

 

I also think it makes a difference whether it is THE Scoutmaster or another leader.   Little Johnny's parents would like to know why "THE leader" was outside the camp having his own special breakfast while others were making sure their seriously injured or nearly-drowned son received proper first aid before the ambulance arrived, and the Scoutmaster didn't know anything about it until an hour later. And I am not saying an SM cannot leave camp when necessary to conduct business or pick up something special for the boys or whatever.  But what RS seems to be describing is a more systematic thing, including trips out of camp that are not really necessary, or necessarily benefit the Scouts.  I think it is wise to keep such side trips down to what is really necessary, and to make them as brief as possible, especially if you are the SM.

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I was reviewing our Camp Leader Guide 2017 and there was a more detailed schedule of adult activities than I have seen in past summers.

 

I thought from my experience of the number of adults off-site Monday morning 9-11 for work/customer calls, Tues afternoon gathering stuff for fellowship campfires, Wed morning golf, ...

 

As for me, I usually wander around and take photos. Ice cream rum sounds good too. :)

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Been a few years since I've been unit scouting, but we (adults) always found plenty of "cheerful service" that needed doing.  Most summers, we assisted the aquatics staff since we were qualified in everything except BSA Aquatics School.  One year we made major repairs to the dining hall roof.  There was one night of the week when all the boys were on "outpost" for Camping or Wilderness Survival and we headed into town for a beer and a pizza.  We ARE adults, after all, and should be able to decide how we spend our limited vacation time.

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Many camps require the scout to adult ratio to be kept at all times, regardless of what the scouts are doing. The adults' job is the constant safety and well beingnof the scouts. Running errands related to camp is ok. Food runs or off site fun for adults is just irresponsible. They'd never be allowed in our unit.

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We have a lot of parents go to camp with us, but they are instructed that this is their vacation and they need to plan accordingly without their sons because the scouts are on their own. We reserve two separate camps so the adults aren't mixed with the scouts. In general the adults look for local activities that fits their personal interest. That has included a lot fishing and occasional golf.

 

Oh the scouts will ask for occasional volunteers for BORs or something, but that is very occasional.

 

Summer camp is an opportunity for intense patrol method. I've heard many times from first year parents that their son came back a different person (more mature).

 

That being said, I remember letting a few scouts go have some father son time with their dad. Dads understand the program and plan their time so that it doesn't disrupt their sons experience with their patrol.

 

The SPL is the camp go-to unit leader unless the camp staff absolutely needs the attention of an adult. He is the first person in our troop to enter camp (with all the troop documents) and the last to leave. As a result, the SPL works so hard that the troop pays his camp fees. Many scouts working towards SPL try to plan for getting elected in the January election so they can be the summer camp SPL. It's very hard work, but They look forward to the challenge and responsibilities of an adult. And some scouts have seen that job and wait until their 2nd stint as SPL.

 

If our adults want to monitor a class, we ask them to find one without our scouts.

 

We had one mother whose older son in a different troop attended the same camp the week after our troop. She didn't go home two weeks. She said the two troops could not have been more opposite, she only read novels during our week and worked her tail off with the next week with the other troop. She never went to camp with the other troop again. Parent vacation time is valuable, let them enjoy it while their sons do their scouting stuff. Your scouts certainly don't need them.

 

Barry

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A lot of good ideas floating around thus far, all of which I tend to agree.  Yet one must also remember that:

 

1) the camp has medical staff to handle such emergencies, most of which are at a higher level of training than the troop's scouters.  A RN or EMT can do better for my boys than I can and they have the equipment to handle such things.  That leaves me more in a consoling role than actual medical assistance.

 

2) A walk around on Monday to check out the quality of the MB instructors will take a very short time to determine whether or not the boys are receiving decent instruction.  The more dangerous MB's, i.e. shooting sports, archery, etc. will have qualified range instructors to monitor the activity.  Again, a higher level of qualification than most troop scouters.

 

3) Program communication is the responsibility of the scouts, not the scouters.  Yes, there's a meeting of SM's to give out information to keep the adults "up-to-date" on the day's activity, but the SPL meeting does the same thing.  Many times, the SM/SPL meeting is the same thing with both present.  I don't see this as a "must attend" by scouters, but serves as a general backup to less experienced SPL's.  If the SPL is not up to the task, maybe he should be sending someone who is.

 

4) The camps have spent more time developing training for the adults these past few years in the camps that I have attended and I use the opportunity to "review" many of the skills being taught in the SM Fundamental level of training.  It also offers one insight into the quality of the S->FC instruction being done by the camp.  I also rely on the feedback from the boys when they test out of their requirements if the program is serving it's purpose as well.  I have had to do the Totin' Chit over because the training fell well short of its intended purpose.  This was brought to my attention by the boys.  The same holds true for any MB classes.  I don't need to attend them if the boys are not satisfied with the instruction taught.

 

5) It really isn't the job of the troop scouters to have to monitor the quality of the camp.  This is something that should be done at the troop level each day which make take only 5 minutes or 30 minutes at the most.

 

One must realize that the boys are paying for a quality program at summer camp and if that isn't happening at that camp, one needs to find a camp that does.  Out of all the camps I have attended, and there have been plenty to choose from, I have found that for the most part, the troop scouters are pretty much either redundant or not needed to insure the safety and instruction for the boys.  That pretty much leaves the troop scouters plenty of free time to either get out of the way of the boys and their leadership or they tend to meddle where they don't belong.

 

The only time I have been "involved" with issues of the camp have been in private discussions with the camp directors.  I owe it to them to insure the program they want for the boys is being fulfilled by their staff members.  The good camp directors don't get any "visits" from me.  Only once did I have to go "over the head" of the camp director and discuss an issue with their council camping committee chair.  It was resolved in short order.

 

For the most part, the scouter has two options while at summer camp.  1) Take the necessary training offered to learn something to take back to their troops, or 2) monitor the quality of the camp program to insure a good experience for their boys.  Other than that, they can run to town to pick up treats/rewards for the boys, play cards, hang out with the boys around the campfire, take a nap or whatever they wish to do with their vacation free time.  Generally I have some "project" to do/make while at camp that can be used to instruct the boys.  Last summer I made a rocket stove out of a 3# coffee can and cooked all my meals on it.  The boys had as much fun with that as they did with the patrol's shepherd's stove for cooking for the week.  The year before, I brought my kayak and spent a lot of time fishing as well.  None of which necessitated the involvement of the boys.

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A lot of good ideas floating around thus far, all of which I tend to agree.  Yet one must also remember that:

 

1) the camp has medical staff to handle such emergencies, most of which are at a higher level of training than the troop's scouters.  A RN or EMT can do better for my boys than I can and they have the equipment to handle such things.  That leaves me more in a consoling role than actual medical assistance.

 

A consoling role is fine.  But you can't be in a consoling role if you are outside the camp playing golf or whatever and, at that particular moment, a cell phone call chooses not to go through and you're still playing golf while the Scout has been taken to the hospital.  You don't even know what is going on.  Yes, there are other leaders back at camp.  But if you're the SM, I think trips outside of camp should be minimized.

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I guess the question is what is the role of adults as summer camp?   

 

That is the question, and it seems that for a number of people here, the answer is not what I thought it was.  I always thought the reason for a leader to be at summer camp was mainly to provide sort of a generalized supervision of the Scouts ("generalized" because the leaders aren't actually with the Scouts most of the time) and to "be around" in case "something happens."  This also satisfies the BSA's two-deep leadership requirement for overnight activities.  Plus if the SM is there he can do SM conferences and if enough committee members are there they can do BOR's, but that is really secondary.  The main purpose, unless I am wrong, is to "be there", and you can't be there if you aren't there.

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That is the question, and it seems that for a number of people here, the answer is not what I thought it was.  I always thought the reason for a leader to be at summer camp was mainly to provide sort of a generalized supervision of the Scouts ("generalized" because the leaders aren't actually with the Scouts most of the time) and to "be around" in case "something happens."  This also satisfies the BSA's two-deep leadership requirement for overnight activities.  Plus if the SM is there he can do SM conferences and if enough committee members are there they can do BOR's, but that is really secondary.  The main purpose, unless I am wrong, is to "be there", and you can't be there if you aren't there.

 

Nailed it!

 

How many times have we heard folks in this forum talk about "get a cup of coffee and sit back"? Do you head out to Sbux on your camp outs to get that coffee? Or are you sitting around the camp fire being "available" for your Scouts? You can still have a boy led troop effectively using the Patrol Method and still be around camp for your boys.

 

We tell all of our adults (all trained Scouters, not just parents) that their job is to 1) circulate and be seen, this provides support and encouragement and also let's the boys know you are there if needed, 2) get trained, 3) relax and chat with others to exchange ideas, 4) problem solve or support when needed, 5) enjoy themselves but remember their role.

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Two years ago, my home Troop asked me if I would be an Adult Presence at summer camp.  Scoutson had graduated two years previous, but I kept in touch with Troop as the Commissioner.   No other parents would escort the boys. We had twelve good Scouts wanted to go to camp.  The next up SM was going with his newscout son and so I agreed, that made the necessary two Adult Leaders.   Wife was not happy.  Why should I put out, we were (so she thought) done with Scouting, if the Scout parents want their sons to be Scouts, shouldn't they "take up the reins"?  Maybe they should be the ones to explain to their sons why they were not going to camp.  I am really glad she had no way to actually speak to the Troop parents ! ...

 

But I went.  Being somewhat senior in the situation, I became the SM du jour, so to speak.  I had the necessary training and certs, so I went. We had two Patrols, one new SPL, and the soon-to-be new SM as my adult partner.

When we arrived and set up camp, I was approached by the Camp Director . Would one of us adult leaders be willing to staff a Camp activity?  They were lacking several staff positions due to illness and general lack of local Scouts, evidently.  My partner and I talked, and when our boys were out and about, I helped at the Axe Yard.  Poor kid there was overwhelmed. He had just been told "you're the Axe Yard Counselor. Teach Toten Chip. Safety, etc. " and left there, basically to set things up and make it work.  I worked there for  four days, every afternoon after lunch. 

 

Leave the camp?  Ha!   They had most of the Troop adult escorts helping at the various camp stations.... crafts,  nature, Trail to FC, every where were Troop Leaders.  

It was sad the camp couldn't make things work for the boys without the Troop Leaders to help, but there you are.   Our Scouts had a vacation, earned some stuff, played Hearts in the evenings.  Our newish SPL earned a camp patch for the Troop.  My partner learned how a Boy Led Troop might  happen.   

Came home and made up with wife.    

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