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Camping Distance for Adults

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9 minutes ago, qwazse said:

But suppose after 6+ camping nights, one boy doesn't change his behavior, and gets the "go big or go home" speech, and the kid opts for home ... he will at least have amassed a few nights camping where some older boys took the time to march across a field and hold open the door for him to the promise of scouting. He and Dad leave with a few skills that they can build on with their family. And, his memories of camp might draw him back in a year or two.

I keep wondering to myself how such situations of daddy dependency will be viewed in this new era of "Family Scouting" (there seem to be varying opinions on what exactly that term means).

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Posted (edited)

Who is the instigator? Is the boy afraid to be without the dad? Or is dad afraid to let the boy go?

Frankly, our rule is we just don't allow it, it is not healthy for the boy (or the adult). However, now and then we have a youth that just cannot function, so we work with them. But it is really a very very rare REAL problem. It is mostly a discomfort that is quickly overcome by sticking to the "rules".

A conversation (likely several) about where the fear comes from will often fix the issue.  

EDIT: Oh, 100 yards is a suggestion, but a great one. It is usually easy to do if you are backwoods camping or private land. Less so for locations like National parks that have defined "campsites" and impossible for Camporees etc. 

Edited by HelpfulTracks
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8 hours ago, qwazse said:

Forgive me if this is redundant to my last post, but I want to emphasize that this is not a hill to die on!

True - fully agree - if that's where things are at.  I suspect that they are not.

@krikkitbotI'm guessing though that this isn't the big deal that you think it is.  My gut tells me that if you start talking about it you'll find that most everyone agrees with you.  Three months from now this will be done and you'll be off to your next challenge.

I see this as you coming along and saying - "hey, I've looked at what we're doing and think it would be better for the boys if they tent together instead of with adults."  Sounds pretty uncontroversial to me.  Again - I'm guessing most folks will just say - "hey, that makes sense to me too!"  If someone comes along and says "nope, no way, you've got not idea what you're doing."  My response would be - "no problem - if you and your son want to tent together go for it.  The rest of the boys will be tenting among themselves."  My guess is that it will take a camping trip or two for that scout to say "hey Dad, I want to tent with my buddies."

What I've seen in my short tenure is that most of the time families are happy to go along with whatever the Scoutmaster says.  Families put their sons in your troop because they have confidence in your troop.  So, now that you're the Scoutmaster that transfers to you.  As Scoutmaster you're going to have to make decisions like this pretty frequently.  It's just part of the gig.  Build consensus, don't be a dictator, but also make the calls you think are correct.  In the end, parents will follow your lead.

 

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On 3/2/2018 at 2:50 PM, JustAScoutMom said:

Was just a joke...my real comment was the one prior.

I found that my son actually preferred being in his OWN tent, rather than bunking with another scout.  Some may simply believe that they have to bunk with another...and they would prefer their parent over another boy.  Not sure if this is the issue, but maybe?

very good point, Justascoutmom....

 

Also another thought..... how different really, is this topic from those scouts that have a parent as a scouter and have never been on a trip without them.....not sleeping in the same tent, but they go on every trip.  I've seen life scouts that I'm pretty sure have never been on a camping trip without a parent along....?  Now i understand that within this can be a wide disparity between those with very close contact throughout the weekend and those that are very hands off and never interact together on the trip.... but generally speaking that's just a stepping stone or two away in my estimation.  Just knowing that mom or dad is "available" is something.   I can think of a couple cases where dad is the scouter & I used to think that it was dad that couldn't let go but now I'm pretty sure it's mom driven...

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Presence on a trip, or in immediate vicinity of a parent does change the dynamic. As does presence of any adult. This is why the 100yd distance is so important as a stepping stone to independence of the patrol. Which leads to patrol hikes without adults present and eventually fully independent scouts ready to be adults themselves.

The growth opportunities for the scouts should always be in the forefront of the scouters (and parents) mind as well as the obstacles we put in place (inadvertently) which have the effect of hindering that growth. Awareness of the growth opportunities as well as the choices we make which lead to being obstacles help us make better choices to help the scouts grow. Often we can justify a choice which hinders the opportunity for growth. I submit we should have not just any reason, but that reason should be compelling to a greater interest of the scout(s). We  should step in/out as needed with the goal of stepping out and back ,further and further to allow for the scout to become independent and be able to "do things for themselves and others".

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Posted (edited)

Funny part is at Philmont to lessen impact we all camped right together.  That was different.  Each adult had their own tent, but it was different being 3 yards from scouts as opposed to out of site.  They were annoyed by the snoring but that was just a bonus

Edited by Jameson76
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1 hour ago, blw2 said:

 

 

Also another thought..... how different really, is this topic from those scouts that have a parent as a scouter and have never been on a trip without them.....not sleeping in the same tent, but they go on every trip.  I've seen life scouts that I'm pretty sure have never been on a camping trip without a parent along....?  Now i understand that within this can be a wide disparity between those with very close contact throughout the weekend and those that are very hands off and never interact together on the trip.... but generally speaking that's just a stepping stone or two away in my estimation.  Just knowing that mom or dad is "available" is something.   I can think of a couple cases where dad is the scouter & I used to think that it was dad that couldn't let go but now I'm pretty sure it's mom driven...

We found (myself included) that the first summer camp is the hardest on families because it is, for most, the first time the parents and sons are separated for more than a couple nights. So we started teaching the parents how to get through that week by advising they send a letter each day, but writing how they are excited to learn what new adventures he experienced and what stories they will tell. Don't say how they miss him, but instead how this is an experience he will remember for years to come.

When I was SM, we asked the new parents to attend the first campout so that we could show them how the patrol method program works. But then we would suggest they stay home the next few campouts to give their son and themselves a chance to grow from the brief separation. After that, the new ASM parents should start camping with the troop. All and any parent was welcome to summer camp because 6 days of an intense patrol method lifestyle was the best way to build a base of support for our program. Even at summer camp, the adults typically camped in a different camp site to give the scouts the separation needed for patrol method scouting.

Just telling parents that they will feel a type of depression when they are separated from their kids for a few nights is normal, but a part of life as they watch their kids grow into adults. I found that just acknowledging that parent homesickness was normal made it easier to for them to endure the separation and themselves grow from it.

Barry 

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21 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

... Often we can justify a choice which hinders the opportunity for growth. I submit we should have not just any reason, but that reason should be compelling to a greater interest of the scout(s). We  should step in/out as needed with the goal of stepping out and back ,further and further to allow for the scout to become independent and be able to "do things for themselves and others".

This "long-leash" principle is pretty common. We need to remind ourselves that we're dealing with an age range of 10.5 - 18. Moreover, the age of our parents is even wider. That's a lot different than most schools and sports leagues. When our school board decided to consolidate middle and high school kids into the same building, there was a huge outcry from parents of elementary school kids. I had had a positive experience when my 8th grade was moved to my high school, but I was less perturbed. Some of my teachers were brought up in one-room-schools (the old buildings were historic landmarks ... some of which we'd pass while hiking), so in addition to scouting, the concept wasn't strange to me. But, for others, thinking about all that is a bit traumatic.

That's why the ideal committee guides the parents of younger scouts, the ideal SPL/ASPL looks those parents in the eye, greets them, and engenders trust, and the ASM's keep a good pulse on what's eating at the SM so they can assist him accordingly.

Sometimes rules help give parents a vision, sometimes they scare and blind them. I like @Eagledad's home-grown "parental homesickness" diagnosis. It might help folks see where they fit in that big field with their boys' patrol in the far corner from them!

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22 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Funny part is at Philmont to lessen impact we all camped right together.  That was different.  Each adult had their own tent, but it was different being 3 yards from scouts as opposed to out of site.  They were annoyed by the snoring but that was just a bonus

The troop policy is basically that tents are private safe areas so long as the scouts aren't disrupting the sleep of those around them. I didn't realize how much the scouts took that to heart until a back packing trip where I was forced to listen to some teenager discussions in a language they were more accustomed to using at school. I told them the next morning during breakfast that while the tent is a safe place to have private discussions, it's not sound proof.

Barry

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

Just telling parents that they will feel a type of depression when they are separated from their kids for a few nights is normal, but a part of life as they watch their kids grow into adults. I found that just acknowledging that parent homesickness was normal made it easier to for them to endure the separation and themselves grow from it.

Barry 

 

Never thought of it like that before. Maybe that is why we are having so many problems with helicopter parents: THEY cannot cope with their child's absence. (caps for emphasis).

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10 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

Never thought of it like that before. Maybe that is why we are having so many problems with helicopter parents: THEY cannot cope with their child's absence. (caps for emphasis).

Maybe. I acknowledge that scouters today seem to be working with a different kind of parent generation than the parents I was working with  just 15 years ago. 

One of the BIG differences between volunteering in a Cub Pack and a Troop use to be that scouters had to work with parents more closely in the pack because they were more hands on with their sons. I don't think that difference is as broad today as it was just 15 years ago. Troop leaders have to be better today because they have to work one on one more with the parents than past generations of scouts.

I have a psychologist friend and we've had a lot of human behavior discussions over the years. Recently he said I was one of the best human behavior experts he ever knew. That was a surprise to him because I'm an engineer. I told him that nothing teaches the fundamentals of human behavior better than working with parents.:o 

My high school teacher son recently said the same thing.

Barry

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9 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I have a psychologist friend and we've had a lot of human behavior discussions over the years. Recently he said I was one of the best human behavior experts he ever knew. That was a surprise to him because I'm an engineer. I told him that nothing teaches the fundamentals of human behavior better than working with parents.:o 

 

8 hours ago, Tampa Turtle said:

A Boy Scout Troop is a fascinating human laboratory. 

Funny you say that. One of my Eagles and his ex-girlfriend paid me a visit one night and we had very interesting chat, She was a PhD student in psych, working on her dissertation human behavior and leadership. Both of us started talking about how working at a Boy Scout summer camp  as staff would be an excellent field study for her. And then we reminisced about summer camp, the troop, etc. 

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13 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

Funny you say that. One of my Eagles and his ex-girlfriend paid me a visit one night and we had very interesting chat, She was a PhD student in psych, working on her dissertation human behavior and leadership. Both of us started talking about how working at a Boy Scout summer camp  as staff would be an excellent field study for her. And then we reminisced about summer camp, the troop, etc. 

 Woodbadge is another fascinating arena to observe human behavior.

Barry

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Related question. Do you place a limit on the number of adults going on each camping trip? 

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