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RememberSchiff

Getting indoor parents enthused about outdoor program

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6 hours ago, Chadamus said:

RememberSchiff, to your point about pictures - maybe an album the parents can peruse on the Troop's website. Images of smiling, dirty faces so they can see how fun it can be.

Calling all Webmasters...

 

 

edited for spelling

Yes!

There is no better way of promoting scouting than lots of photos of kids doing fun stuff with sniles on their faces.

It won't work for all parents but show them what their childre are doing an they'll more likely want to get involved.

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8 hours ago, LeCastor said:

I don't think that's necessarily the point RS is trying to make.  Personally loving the outdoors and being enthusiastic about the Outdoor Program (as a method of Scouting for the youth) are not totally the same thing.

True, but you sort of need to enjoy your surroundings and living conditions to enjoy what you are volunteering to do.

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8 hours ago, LeCastor said:

I don't think that's necessarily the point RS is trying to make.  Personally loving the outdoors and being enthusiastic about the Outdoor Program (as a method of Scouting for the youth) are not totally the same thing.

Yes, maybe we should discuss with photos how the Outdoor Program (aka Outdoor Method) can help achieve the Aims of Scouting.

To my indoor parents, I sometimes say our Outdoor Program is our hands-on development lab.

Another $0.02

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The last thing you want is a Boy Scout parent who has never camped at least once because they will have a lot of misconceptions, fear, and embarrassment of an area they know little. It often influences the boy.

I think this is where some Cub Scout packs make a mistake by doing almost no Family camping at all. As a slightly older parent of my peers I found a whole generation of parents who had never really camped at all and were quite skittish about it. We did a lot of 'introductory' cub and parent games (set up a tent, sleeping bag packing competitions, candy fire instruction, packing list skits) that were aimed at the parents as much as the kids. Tried to get the fear factor down. I also organized the older Webelos and some Boy Scouts to be on the look out for families that might need help setting up.

Since I had never camped until my Tiger Cubs made me do it (I am naturally a bit of a bookworm) I was introduced to outdoor adventure late (fortunately some scouters took me under their wing) so I tried to translate between the two worlds. (That is why I always end up being the new parent instructor in the Troop.)

I think @Cambridgeskip's pictures are brilliant. Not only do they convey that the kids are having fun but that the parents feel more involved. I knew a troop where a dad was a professional photographer...not much of a camper...but his big contribution was taking a lot of candid action shots from a distance. They are some of my favorites of my son. I have tried to recruit a parent to do that at campouts but a big fail is they never upload the photos in a timely manner. Likewise I wish I could make this a primary role of the Troop historian...seems a natural fit doesn't it?

On Scout Sundays our Troop used to set up a 'sample campsite' complete with lashed bamboo gateway and 1920's canvas tent with a fire and dutch oven troop at our Sponsoring church. Naturally the older parishioners loved it which went a long way in smoothing over the latest damage we had inflicted in the church BUT an unseen benefit was some of our scout parents saw it and really started digging the outdoor method.  Sometimes it was enough to 'satisfy' the more potentially disruptive over-protective parents from coming out to inspect a trip and got some of the younger new scouts excited about camping. It was a win-win.

I think that after a while the younger parents have an appreciation for exposing their boys to the 'big trips' (Appalachian Trail week long section hikes, Seabase, Philmont) when they see those pictures but the monthly campouts are a tougher sell. Sometimes we have turned a parent around by trying to link campout skills to things a boy can do it at home....a boy that suddenly starts cooking at home, using a knot to solve a problem, or knows how to pack for an over nighter and says he learned it in scouts can spark that outdoor program enthusiasm. 

I guess when in doubt throw in that "unplug the electronics and get in touch with the real world" speech.

My 5 cents.

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Here is an interesting article from the May 1992 issue of Scouting where experienced Scouters were being trained how to instruct reluctant Scouters in camping skills.  Maybe worth revisiting??

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Edited by LeCastor
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Our Scoutmaster always has hot coffee ready for the adults at the time of the wake-up call.  That always makes me more willing to go camping.  :D

As mentioned by others, at our last Court of Honor, there was a slide show of some of the camping trips the boys had been on, and it really did have parents saying how fun it looked. 

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Our Troop is going to be holding "Camping for Dummies" and "Backpacking for Dummies", specifically for adults, during our regular Troop meeting times.  We'll see how many parents we have attend.  I think it's a good idea for those who might be interested but aren't sure what equipment they need, or what we do on our trips, but I have my doubts as to how many will show.  I'll report back mid-March.

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Consider involving the Scouts. The Quartermaster can give a "tour" of the Troop trailer and chuck-boxes. Scouts can explain and demonstrate how the lanterns/stoves/etc work. Have different types and styles of tents, backpacks and sleeping bags on-hand.

The parents will pick up on the passion and enthusiasm of the boys. Excitement is contagious!

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1 hour ago, Chadamus said:

Consider involving the Scouts. The Quartermaster can give a "tour" of the Troop trailer and chuck-boxes. Scouts can explain and demonstrate how the lanterns/stoves/etc work. Have different types and styles of tents, backpacks and sleeping bags on-hand.

The parents will pick up on the passion and enthusiasm of the boys. Excitement is contagious!

We do this every year when we have new parents come in to the troop. We walk them through everything and even invite them to attend our plc meeting and the annual planning. They love to see us at work and I think it really shows them what the older scouts can do. 

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On 1/17/2018 at 3:01 PM, RememberSchiff said:

How do we get indoor parents enthused about an outdoor program? Specifically that they understand our Outdoor Method and appreciate the outdoors even if they do not want to experience it themselves.

I don't have a complete answer, but I like it when families come to a cub scout family weekend hosted by Council.   It is a weekend of easy, supported camping.  Venturing camp staff will meet you at your group site and offer to help you if you need help setting up.  Meals are all in the dining hall, but the kids run around outside all weekend and it's great.

Our Pack weekend campouts are also good.  It's a cabin camping weekend with dining hall food and outdoor activities planned by the den leaders, and a  lot of advancement stuff related to the outdoors.  Parents can come along, or if they don't come, they can have their kids in a supervised outdoor overnight activity. 

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On 1/17/2018 at 9:20 PM, ItsBrian said:

My apologizes.

Anyway, I personally don’t believe you can “make” someone outdoorsy. Either they are scared of bugs or they’re not. Either they are scared of sleeping in a tent or they’re not. Either they can survive outside without flushing toilets or they can not.

Honestly depends on how they were raised and experiences.

I think that people can and do change,  but not always.  

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2 hours ago, WisconsinMomma said:

I think that people can and do change,  but not always.  

I agree that people can change, but there’s a slim chance of them from growing up not going camping & not liking the outdoors to liking it and going tent camping.

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28 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I agree that people can change, but there’s a slim chance of them from growing up not going camping & not liking the outdoors to liking it and going tent camping.

Our Scoutmaster, who builds fires with the stick and string and sleeps outdoors on every single trip, claims he was never outdoorsy.  I didn't know him when he was Cubmaster, but he (a Brit) says he was influenced by Bear Grylls, and he started getting really into survival stuff when he became Scoutmaster.  At the same time, he keeps baking us treacle tarts in the cardboard oven, lol.

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I think we can see the problem right here on this thread. Instead of keeping the focus on the question of how to get "indoor parents" to be supportive of the outdoor program, most of the posts have been about converting the "indoor parents" into "outdoorsy" parents.

The true believers in scouting will not leave these poor people alone. Is it any wonder why the "indoor parents" avoid the unit altogether?

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