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ItsBrian

What do your senior scouts do at summer camp?

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While you may be paid less, you get away from the parents, and you will work with folks that will become friends for a lifetime. There is something special about being Summer Camp Staff, and I wish I would have worked it in HS instead of college and as a pro. But since I was essentially supporting myself once my father left, I needed the money,.

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36 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

As I said in my post, I staffed at one of my councils day camp last year (I was paid, just made the cut off). I stated that it depends on the position I get it if can go or not.

Ive talked to people who staffed a summer camp and they got paid less then I did, and they worked there for around 2-3 years. I understand that the camp pays for your lodging, meals, etc. but like come on.

This is just so I have a idea of what I could do if I can get a week off at the day camp. :)

Fair enough. I'm not sure where you live but start looking in neighboring councils for camps with programs for older scouts. Many of them take solo scouts and mix them together. You and your buddy could have a lot of fun. Make it an adventure! Even if you're not old enough to drive you can get someone to drop you off and pick you up. My friend and I did just that when we were about your age.

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They always to seem to find something ...

  • Hang out and give sage advice to younger scouts.
  • Talk with adults around campfire after taps about how to solve the problems of the world.
  • Master a specialty like BSA Guard, Medicine, Shooting Sports, Climbing, Snorkeling, ...
  • Ask the camp director for a service project.
  • Retake a favorite merit badge, helping out the counselor in the process.
  • Walk around the lake (it's a 5 mile hike) with some younger scouts trying to master land navigation.
  • Walk around the lake and chat up the girls running the trading post at cub camp. (I later conveyed my troops apologies for that one.)
  • Build a giant hamster wheel out of lashings and sticks for a scoutcraft competition.
  • Convert a tarp named Bruce to a coracle named Kaitlin for an anything-that-floats competition.
  • Use up my bailer twine to rig a lakeside bivouac in the trees. (Think basket weaving, but beds instead of seats.)
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25 minutes ago, MattR said:

Fair enough. I'm not sure where you live but start looking in neighboring councils for camps with programs for older scouts. Many of them take solo scouts and mix them together. You and your buddy could have a lot of fun. Make it an adventure! Even if you're not old enough to drive you can get someone to drop you off and pick you up. My friend and I did just that when we were about your age.

We’ve been going out of council and out of state for 6 years. Not many have the programs that I know of.

We go to camps usually 2-3 hours away from home.

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Many BSA summer camps (ours included) have a high adventure program specifically targeted at older scouts who are not interested in earning merit badges. Very tempting activities like climbing, mountain biking, sailing, water skiing, etc. Minimum age 14 to participate.

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6 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

You  must go to a nice camp!:)

We do. 

We have found that the church-owned camps offer more activity for the older scouts. Our Church is making a real effort to engage the older kids. There are several church-owned camps that are within our travel distance and budget.

Many of my older scouts already have part-time jobs that pay a lot better than BSA. When they go to summer camp, they want a vacation ...not another job. 

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14 minutes ago, David CO said:

We do. 

We have found that the church-owned camps offer more activity for the older scouts. Our Church is making a real effort to engage the older kids. There are several church-owned camps that are within our travel distance and budget.

Many of my older scouts already have part-time jobs that pay a lot better than BSA. When they go to summer camp, they want a vacation ...not another job. 

I plan on getting a part time job as well, but in my state you basically need to be 16.

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I know for some troops the older scouts are expected to be mentors for the younger ones which means chaperoning them to their classes, working on their rank advances, and keeping an eye on them back at camp so they dont get into trouble doing things like fighting or bullying. Now no older scout should expect to have to pay to do this so the troop covers their fees.

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Since summer camp is not supposed to be merit badge camp; have fun. Camp and cook with your mates. Use the skills gained through scouting to have adventures. Go canoeing, fishing, hiking, mountain bike riding. Take an overnight (or 2) trip to a primitive campsite at a different location in camp. Backpack, or canoe to it, fashion a tripod over your fire to help with cooking. Catch, clean and cook fish for dinner. Sit around rhe fire jawing while twisting bark fibers into natural twine. Look at this as an opportunity to do real summer camp, not summer scout school.

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19 hours ago, gblotter said:

Many BSA summer camps (ours included) have a high adventure program specifically targeted at older scouts who are not interested in earning merit badges. Very tempting activities like climbing, mountain biking, sailing, water skiing, etc. Minimum age 14 to participate.

I think more camps than most folks realize have a ton of these kinds of activities available, and more. Unfortunately in the earlier years of scouting, the focus is so sharply on merit badges that few scouts even realize there is other stuff to do at camp. 

I've seen older scouts go to camp and do 1 easy merit badge the whole week, spending the bulk of their time in other activities and having a blast. I think my favorite week of camp I did as a kid was the last one, when I was done with my Eagle reqs and only did Metalwork. Spent the rest of the time running around camp, mountain biking, climbing, the camp had a "gateway contest" (which troop had the best entrance to their site) and we went nuts on that. Built a monkey bridge over the entrance and did a bunch of stuff I'm sure wouldn't be allowed today. :) But it was an awesome week. 

I think the default response when kids and parents ask "what can they do at summer camp" is to hand them a merit badge schedule. I kind of wish we could require each scout to do at least one thing each week that they don't get a badge for. But I'm sure some parents would protest. 

Honestly camps are part of the problem, too. They market it to get more kids to go, and they get parents to write those checks by touting the tangible benefits of camp. "Do 6 months worth of scout work in a week!" that sort of stuff. 

Edited by FireStone

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5 hours ago, FireStone said:

I think the default response when kids and parents ask "what can they do at summer camp" is to hand them a merit badge schedule. I kind of wish we could require each scout to do at least one thing each week that they don't get a badge for. But I'm sure some parents would protest. 

 

Since oldest has been in Scouts, only 1 of the 3 camps he went to had any free swim or boating during the day. One had free swim as a nite activity, but no boating. None of the camps had free shooting during the day, 2 only at nite, and one of those limited to shotgun OR rifle shooting. Son still has a partial in Archery MB.

Additionally you would have some Scouters protest.  One SM thought one of my Scouts wasted his time taking Swimming a second time.

 

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Brian depending on where you live there are some great older boy camps around. My son and a friend went to Camp Rainey Mountain in Georgia last year and did a week of whitewater rafting camp. CMR shares the program with Camp Woodruff. Both are in northern Georgia not far from the Smokey Mountains. It was a 10 hour trip each way and they  weren't the scouts from the furthest away. There are aquatic bases in a couple of the northeast states too. Just about every camp with older scout programs allow scouts to come as provisional campers (you don't have to go with your troop or own adult).

Here in the Great Lakes State, there are backpacking camps offered at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, ATV camps, horse trek camps, canoeing and kayaking camps along the many rivers in the state.  And sailing adventures in Straits of Mackinac area. Philmont has individual treks available for interested scouts. Sea Base has a match board for scouts that want to go but have no troop to go with. Not sure if Northern Tier has a similar thing.

What I'm telling you is you don't have to be stuck with your troop at the local minimalist summer camp. Read the ads in the back of Boys Life and research a place to go. That's how my boy found CMR. The sky's the limit.

 

 

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Older scouts have a great opportunity to make their own fun and create their own program.  I like Qwazse's ideas.  But in addition ...

  • When the camp offer's a challenge ... like create a camp fire skit ... or troop to earn the most points ... XXXX ... go whole hog on it.  In focusing on the best skit or most points or ... you will be creating a great experience for yourself and others.  ... BUT DO IT WITH FUN AND A SMILE ON YOUR FACE !!!!    And if you don't win, who cares.  It was doing the stuff and obsessing on how to win that you create fun for each other.  
  • Take a nap.  It's a lot of fun to be at a busy camp and decide ... ya know, I'm going to take a nap.  :)   Then you are refreshed for the next thing.

Being a senior scout or experienced scouter, takes the stress off ya.  You don't have to earn or do anything.  You get to choose.  That's cool.

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15 hours ago, fred johnson said:

 

Being a senior scout or experienced scouter, takes the stress off ya.  You don't have to earn or do anything.  You get to choose.  That's cool.

It’ll be like that once I end my 2nd term as SPL in May. :) 

 

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