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Camping OR Backpacking MB as Eagle required?

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Really?  Troop 22 provides the opportunity for any Scout to camp 30 - 33 nights a year, including the patrol campouts (33 every other year when the troop does its own summer camp.) .   Those qualifying for the high adventure trip get 8 more = 30 - 41 nights/year.   Scouting is outing.  If you don't want to camp, why are you in Scouts?

 

Oh, that's right.  For the resume.

 

What percentage of any unit's Scouts have 50 nights over the course of their time in Scouting? That would be an interesting statistic to see. I ran a report for my own unit just for giggles. 26 of 75 Scouts have 50+ nights. Two have over 100. The boys with over 50 nights, as you would expect, are usually 14 or older and Star or Life or Eagle.

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What percentage of any unit's Scouts have 50 nights over the course of their time in Scouting? That would be an interesting statistic to see. I ran a report for my own unit just for giggles. 26 of 75 Scouts have 50+ nights. Two have over 100. The boys with over 50 nights, as you would expect, are usually 14 or older and Star or Life or Eagle.

Of our Eagles, all have more than 50 nights of Camping.  

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Nope. It should be under the auspices of Scouting. I'd be okay if you counted Scout-based cabin camping but limited that number to a % of the 50 nights (say 30%).

 

If you let any camping count you know you'd have guys that never show for unit events and camp in their back yard to get the requirement done.

 

Eagle is already too easy. If we are going to give a badge for camping, let's actually require some hard CAMPING!!! Otherwise we might as well just hand them the badge after three years in Scouts.

 

As the requirement stands now, boys can camp in their back yard with their patrol every weekend and have it count. (Actually, some of my scouts' back yards abut some awesome game land, so the ASMs and I would wrestle over who gets to chaperon.)

 

Think about this: Is the MB to prove that boys can camp? Or to prove that they are good at propping up troop numbers? If the latter, then change the MB name to "JTE Score Boosting."

 

We have gotten so obsessed with protecting BSA's brand that we've missed out on how to promote the brand. Son #1 and I were once rigging canvas for our youth group at a music festival. This girl pipes up and says "I wish I could tie knots like that!" Cha-Ching: instant venturer. Actually two. Her brother saw her signing up for shooting sports and he joined in!

 

Maybe the requirement should read: "... at least 50 nights ... half of which must not be scouting-related activities." It would be like introducing the world to our best scouts up-close and personal!

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As the requirement stands now, boys can camp in their back yard with their patrol every weekend and have it count. (Actually, some of my scouts' back yards abut some awesome game land, so the ASMs and I would wrestle over who gets to chaperon.)

 

I would suspect the spirit of the requirement is not to camp in your backyard with your patrol, unless your backyard is a 2000 acre ranch on the Red River where you are actually "camping". I would argue that the Camping MB pamphlet give several examples under the heading "What is Camping?". None that I saw mentioned camping in your back yard or camping in a public city park or in a baseball stadium.

 

I would think that the definition is to camp in open country, as it notes in the Introduction in said pamphlet.

Edited by Col. Flagg

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I agree with Col Flagg, not only does that not fit the spirit it also belies the promise of adventure. One misses the entire point of all the badges, awards, ranks etc... when the goal is the badge, award, and rank. Some wonder why boys get bored with scouting after a few years, I suggest it is primarily a result of lack of adventure, in other words been there done that. If we encourage adventure and the joy of discovery whether it is a new plant, new constellation, new camping destination, new food to be cooked, new way of lighting a fire, etc... then the complaint ceases to be boredom.

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The thing that strikes me about the Hiking MB, and probably the reason that so few Scouts in my troop earn it, is not the total of 50 miles hiking, but the requirement of a 20-mile hike in one day. That's a lot for one day. I don't think I ever did that. My recollection of my Philmont trek is more like 7-10 miles per day. I am certain that my son never hiked 20 miles in one day.  I seem to recall a 15-mile historic trail somewhere but do not recall whether that was one day or two.  But never 20 miles.

 

Admittedly a different animal, but I had a group of 9 cub scouts(Wolf - Webelos) (and 6 adults) do 13+ miles in a day as a part of the HOST (History of Scouting Trail) here in DC.  Yes that is urban hiking instead of outdoors, yes, there is less elevation changes and more bathrooms.  No, we didn't plan to hike that much, it had been pitched as closer to 10, but the estimate was a bit off.  It did take the whole day, so I am glad we had one of the earlier start times.

 

I would have to believe that a decently practiced troop of boy scouts on a well selected route could do that.  20 Miles in one day, with day packing gear (not a fully loaded Backpack) is something this old body could probably still make - with a little more warm ups - and not that I am volunteering. :)

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We have gotten so obsessed with protecting BSA's brand that we've missed out on how to promote the brand. Son #1 and I were once rigging canvas for our youth group at a music festival. This girl pipes up and says "I wish I could tie knots like that!" Cha-Ching: instant venturer. Actually two. Her brother saw her signing up for shooting sports and he joined in!

 

Maybe the requirement should read: "... at least 50 nights ... half of which must not be scouting-related activities." It would be like introducing the world to our best scouts up-close and personal!

 

I could buy into that.  Now the boys need 20 nights, with 50 half of which are non-scouting, that would add another 5 and still double the nights out in a campground.  I would shy away from one's backyard with family, but would support club, school, and church outings.

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My son is working on the Hiking MB this summer. Note that is is 70 miles total, not 50 miles as discussed above.

 

1 - 5 mile hike

3 - 10 mile hikes

1 - 15 mile hike

1 - 20 mile hike

= 70 miles

 

to the OP, I see your point on offering Backpacking as an alternative to Camping. However, I wonder how many boys earn Camping v. Backpacking now? Is Backpacking popular? Several boys in our troop are going to be completing the Camping MB this summer at camp(meeting the prerequisites) I have not seen many of the boys in our troop go for that one. However, they have been training for Philmont, so that may change if the training schedule matches the requirements for Backpacking MB.

Edited by Wing
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Fact is, I'd rather go back to the 50 night requirement and drop all of the stipulations.

 

I'd trade legalism of all the details for 50 nights of scout camping.  

 

 

Really?  Troop 22 provides the opportunity for any Scout to camp 30 - 33 nights a year, including the patrol campouts (33 every other year when the troop does its own summer camp.) .   Those qualifying for the high adventure trip get 8 more = 30 - 41 nights/year.   Scouting is outing.  If you don't want to camp, why are you in Scouts?

 

Until last year, also true for our troop for 15 years.  26+ nights camping a year.  33+ if you went on a high adventure.   Each of my sons has easily had over 100+ to 150+ nights ... 200+ if you count camp staff.   

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No different than if I see a QM staring at the frame of a busted trailer ... I might challenge him to take a welding class. Or consider an internship with an auto-body shop.

 

Not every good thing a boy may do has to lead to Eagle rank.

 

Furthermore, as it is, Backpacking MB:

  • Only requires 3x3day treks and 1x5day trek for a total (subtracting bookend days) of 10 camping nights. <Insert protracted debate over interpreting "day".>
  • You don't necessarily have to sleep under canvas or less. <Insert protracted debate of interpreting "carry everything you need" when some campsites have adirondaks.>
  • There is no stipulation to do any trek as part of a recognized scouting activity. <Insert protracted debate over whether those self-serving stipulations have helped or hurt BSA.>

So right now, any SM could just challenge boys to try Outward Bound or AMC, and they could use what they've done there toward this MB.

 

I'm concerned that a rather elegant hobby MB will become marred by specifications once we border the badge with silver.

"Not every good thing a boy may do has to lead to Eagle rank."  

 

From your lips to God's ears!!!  I will pay big bucks if someone would beat this into the thick skulls of many of our parents!!!

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