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HELP..Extra camping nights needed

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I am also in the NE, and we tent year-round. There is no such thing as indoor camping. One doesn't just camp in perfect conditions. Rain, snow, ice, cold, heat, bugs, etc... One of the reasons to do it all is for the boys to learn to do things for themselves and others. To insulate the boys from these experiences hampers their growth and denies them the adventure. Scouting IS an outdoor program.

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I am also in the NE, and we tent year-round. There is no such thing as indoor camping. One doesn't just camp in perfect conditions. Rain, snow, ice, cold, heat, bugs, etc... One of the reasons to do it all is for the boys to learn to do things for themselves and others. To insulate the boys from these experiences hampers their growth and denies them the adventure. Scouting IS an outdoor program.

 

Fully agree.  It just comes down to finding adults that are robust enough, experienced enough and healthy enough to do a year round program.  

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... While it is allowed, most of our scouts do not have the proper equipment to camp in a tent in the coldest winter months of Dec. Jan. Feb. and March when we have snow on the ground and overnight temperatures often dip down to below 0 and we will not allow scouts to camp in conditions for which they are not prepared. ...

You're right in that they shouldn't camp where they're not prepared. But it's not just gear. More likely it's knowledge. If your troop can find someone that can show the scouts all the tricks of staying warm and dry in cold weather (I've done 19 below) then that's one more challenge the scouts can learn from. The gear we use is not a lot different from what we call typical in the Spring and Fall. There's just more of it.

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I've had Scout get hypothermic in the summer at Philmont, so if Scouts are not using the skills they've been taught then even prepared and skilled Scouts can have issues.

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Our scouts ask for winter weekends in a cabin. I supposed there's a lot to be gained from them - just not nights towards Camping MB.

 

As I said elsewhere, I only saw the outside of boy scout cabins until my boys joined this troop. It was a magical memory, bunking down in the snow wondering how the "other half" lived.

 

However, I also got frost-bite once, and later spent a long night as SPL in a warming "hut" (i.e. re-purposed dining hall) thawing out unprepared crossovers. Learning how to attend to myself taught me how to attend to symptoms in others. Hypothermia? Got a mild spell of that myself as an adult one June training for BSA guard.

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Most kids today are not acclimated to winter camping.  They are never out in the cold long enough to train their body to handle the cold.  Then they are not equipped with appropriate gear and they don't have the knowledge to put it all together.

 

It reminds me of my kid brother (a scouter from "down south") who wanted to learn how to winter camp.  I told him sure, you teach me about BWCA treks and I'll train you for winter camping.

 

We got out there on Saturday morning and I marked a "donut" in the snow and started shoveling the donut part into the donut "hole" to mound up a hut.  He said, "If I wanted to shovel snow, I could have stayed home and shoveled the driveway."  I didn't say anything.  After about 10 minutes he said, "I'm cold", to which I replied, "I'm not."  He started shoveling.  :)  The first rule?  Never stop moving. The equipment doesn't matter, whatever shovel is handy, will do

Edited by Stosh
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Sleeping in a cabin during the winter does not count towards advancement or nights for the camping merit badge, yet we have plenty of boys advance in rank and get the merit badge.  All I said is that if a scout is not prepared we do not allow him to sleep outside during the coldest months.  The cabins have wood stoves, bunks and electricity but they are far from the Holiday Inn.  The scouts spend their days outside and have the appropriate clothing for that.  All of our leaders and many of our older scouts have the equipment and "training" to stay safe in those overnight temperatures and some of them do sleep outside all winter.  We generally have one camp out in the winter that has a very large porch that is covered but unheated.  Scouts are encouraged to set up their tents there to "test" winter camping if they are unsure.  It gives them a safer feeling knowing that if they are cold they can go inside the cabin during the night.  Our unit feels that it is better to get a scout out, away from electronics, and spending time with friends, even if they only have a 40 degree sleeping bag.  Your unit may do things differently, but this works for our unit and our scouts.

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Sleeping in a cabin during the winter does not count towards advancement or nights for the camping merit badge, yet we have plenty of boys advance in rank and get the merit badge.  All I said is that if a scout is not prepared we do not allow him to sleep outside during the coldest months.  The cabins have wood stoves, bunks and electricity but they are far from the Holiday Inn.  The scouts spend their days outside and have the appropriate clothing for that.  All of our leaders and many of our older scouts have the equipment and "training" to stay safe in those overnight temperatures and some of them do sleep outside all winter.  We generally have one camp out in the winter that has a very large porch that is covered but unheated.  Scouts are encouraged to set up their tents there to "test" winter camping if they are unsure.  It gives them a safer feeling knowing that if they are cold they can go inside the cabin during the night.  Our unit feels that it is better to get a scout out, away from electronics, and spending time with friends, even if they only have a 40 degree sleeping bag.  Your unit may do things differently, but this works for our unit and our scouts.

 

Fairly common. A major advantage with a heated cabin is the ease of drying gear after a day's activities. :)

 

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Edited by RememberSchiff

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Our unit feels that it is better to get a scout out, away from electronics, and spending time with friends, even if they only have a 40 degree sleeping bag. 

 

Wow, even in Texas we require at least a 20F bag. I could not imagine being north of the Mason-Dixon and not having at least a 20F bag. I'd be in the cabin too. ;)

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Wow, even in Texas we require at least a 20F bag. I could not imagine being north of the Mason-Dixon and not having at least a 20F bag. I'd be in the cabin too. ;)

 

Our former SM used to call that (a 40F bag or similar, basically made for sleepovers in a house) a "Sesame Street sleeping bag," as in "all new Scouts bring in your camping gear to next week's meeting so I can see it before the camping trip, and I don't want to see any Sesame Street sleeping bags!"

Edited by NJCubScouter

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When we winter camp we either use the program's -34o bags or our own winter military bags.  Our biggest problem is finding wool clothing for the boys.   

 

Personally?  I think the sleep time in the -34o bag is the best part of the weekend. 

 

On personal outings, 2 wool blankets and a waterproof barrier over a 0o bag works quite well, too.

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Our former SM used to call that (a 40F bag or similar, basically made for sleepovers in a house) a "Sesame Street sleeping bag," as in "all new Scouts bring in your camping gear to next week's meeting so I can see it before the camping trip, and I don't want to see any Sesame Street sleeping bags!"

 

We had a Scout crossover and bring his alligator sleeping bag. The thing was essentially two blankets sewn together in the color and shape of an alligator. I kid you not. More ironic was the kids came from VERY wealthy parents (think Maserati driving mom and dad), so money and good gear was not an issue. Giving a darn about your kid was the issue.

 

Thankfully, at shake down this was discovered and we loaned him one of several 0F bags we have in the garage.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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Sleepover? Let's keep the outing in Scouting - a summer bag.  :laugh:

 

Yeah, yeah, if I had thought about it for another second that's probably what I would have said.  Although I think the former SM may have been referring to a  bag that was not really meant for outdoor use, regardless of season.  I always assumed, by the way he said it, that he had actually once seen a kid show up on a camping trip with an actual Sesame Street sleeping bag, although one time he also referred to a "Spongebob sleeping bag."  Maybe he had seen both.  :)

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