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xj-boonie

Summer camp - too many adults?

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I find camp a great place to do some service, do some training, and generally take some time to work on my sitting skills or how to talk to other adults skills. 

As far as adult/youth ratio? Yah, it depends (I wonder who said that before? Oh, yah, everyone,) I think a 10 scouts to 1 adult being a good norm, with a minimum of 2 required. One of the things that it depends on is how much of a need there is to be with the scouts. Typically you don't need to do anything as the scouts will take care of themselves. Maybe the first day to show the new scouts where to go if an older scout isn't available. 

Not being the SM or CC, it is very difficult to do the other thing which it sounds you need done. Keeping the well meaning adults away from the scouts and letting them do their thing. But yes, try to engage the adults in activity away from the scouts. 

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Luckily we have the opposite problem. Well, maybe TOO minimal adult coverage. Only 2 for 18. And I say possibly too minimal in case of an emergency where two-deep would be impossible. I guess if it comes down to it, our senior Scouts will get some OTJ training on how to handle the logistics of an emergency situation.

Actually, we are looking forward to it as somewhat of a vacation after the Monday rush to activities and figuring out the schedule and lay of the land. The acting SPL will get a good taste of the role as he's wanting to run for the position the next rotation and his experience and performance should prove his worth. We'll have a backup framework of course, but it's his show to run this year. I'm looking forward to seeing how ALL of them do!

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2 minutes ago, numbersnerd said:

Actually, we are looking forward to it as somewhat of a vacation after the Monday rush to activities and figuring out the schedule and lay of the land. The acting SPL will get a good taste of the role as he's wanting to run for the position the next rotation and his experience and performance should prove his worth. We'll have a backup framework of course, but it's his show to run this year. I'm looking forward to seeing how ALL of them do!

The scouts are responsible for finding their activities in our troop. If the adults want to see the lay of the land, we do it without the scouts. Summer camp is really good place for scouts to learn  practice navigating strange camps to find their courses and activities. It's a very growing experience for new scouts. The SPL goes to most of the logistics meetings also. We may send an adult with him the camp requires it. Our SPLs work so hard at summer camp that we pay his camp fees. It's benefit, but they earn it. 

Barry

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10 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The scouts are responsible for finding their activities in our troop. If the adults want to see the lay of the land, we do it without the scouts. Summer camp is really good place for scouts to learn  practice navigating strange camps to find their courses and activities. It's a very growing experience for new scouts. The SPL goes to most of the logistics meetings also. We may send an adult with him the camp requires it. Our SPLs work so hard at summer camp that we pay his camp fees. It's benefit, but they earn it. 

Barry

I guess I should have clarified. I meant OUR (adult) schedule and where everything was located for our own reference. Something that I don't recall from my time as a Scout that we have to consider as adults is medications. Depending on the camp, either we can do it or it has to be administered by the camp staff. Another wrinkle to iron out.

Although I can foresee some first-year campers needing some guidance if they are having to go solo to their first activity site. They will be coached on asking who's going to the ABC Area next and partnering up with others for those walks. You never know who you're going to meet at camp!

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We have 1 adult each day getting the first year scouts to the Brownsea Island program.  This is a great program, but the counselors can use the extra help herding cats with that many 11/12 year olds.  I did that my first year and wasn't too happy with the troops that dumped their hyperactive scouts off without providing help.

The rest of the troop is mostly on their own getting to their merit badges. Of course we do meals together and evening programs, but it's a controlled environment where the boys can have independence.

I'd have no idea what that many adults would even do unless you have a lot of special needs scouts.

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On 5/16/2018 at 3:35 PM, numbersnerd said:

... Well, maybe TOO minimal adult coverage. Only 2 for 18. And I say possibly too minimal in case of an emergency where two-deep would be impossible. ...

Usually, if emergencies happen, scout camp staff will step up and lend a staff member to supplement a missing adult leader.  

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On 5/16/2018 at 2:33 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

 DO NOT LET THE NEW SCOUTER ANYWHERE NEAR THE FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(and yes that is me shouting at you in warning, not anger ;) ) He needs serious Cub Scout Leader deprogamming, and trained as a Boy Scouter, or should I say Scouts, BSA Scouter. I've seen first hand what new, well meaning, just crossed over parents/former Cub Leaders hover around first year campers, and it is a complete and total disaster. Do not make the mistake.

 

#2 WELCOME TO DA FORUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

 

This needs to be repeated:

 DO NOT LET THE NEW SCOUTER ANYWHERE NEAR THE FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

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On 5/17/2018 at 6:57 PM, 69RoadRunner said:

We have 1 adult each day getting the first year scouts to the Brownsea Island program.  This is a great program, but the counselors can use the extra help herding cats with that many 11/12 year olds.  I did that my first year and wasn't too happy with the troops that dumped their hyperactive scouts off without providing help.

 

17 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

This needs to be repeated:

 DO NOT LET THE NEW SCOUTER ANYWHERE NEAR THE FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I cannot emphasis Peri enough DO NOT LET NEW SCOUTERS NEAR FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!   @69RoadRunner may have been one of the VERY few exceptions. But they are rare and far between. First year Scouters are still in CS leader mode and tend to treat the Scouts as such.

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5 hours ago, perdidochas said:

This needs to be repeated:

 DO NOT LET THE NEW SCOUTER ANYWHERE NEAR THE FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

I keep seeing this said.... I get the idea, and it probably has merit most of the time, but I have a problem with the statement generally....

it's basic premise demands that the veteran scouters that are presumably teaching those first years what's-what, a) are teaching them, and b) understand it themselves...

sorta like the idea that if an adult was a scout as a youth, that they understand the 'code' or whatever....

or when questioned about something a veteran of the (job/trade/hobby/or whatever) says something like, "I've been doing this for X years...".  to that the inside my head voice says "doing what, doing it wrong a long time?"...well, usually it's not out loud anyway....

I'll say this, as a "first year scouter" at the troop level, I 'got it' much better than some of the veterans of the adult lead troop did....

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19 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

 

I cannot emphasis Peri enough DO NOT LET NEW SCOUTERS NEAR FIRST YEAR CAMPERS!   @69RoadRunner may have been one of the VERY few exceptions. But they are rare and far between. First year Scouters are still in CS leader mode and tend to treat the Scouts as such.

We don't just meet the new scouter and send him off with the new scouts.  First, one of our ASMs has kids in the primary feeder pack for our troop and knows these dads.  Second, they've been involved with troop activities prior to summer camp.  Third, the adult(s) who help with the Brownsea Island scouts are simply ensuring they get to the program area and are asked to be available to assist the counselor if the counselor desires assistance.

Basically, they herd the cats when attention is lost or the counselor will first teach the adult and the adult can assist the counselor.  Also, an experienced ASM or the SM will spend time at the program throughout the week ensuring things are going well.

Where we go, sometimes they do not have a good counselor to scout ratio and the college/high school kid teaching can be overwhelmed at times.  Overall, it is a good program but as always, is dependent on the ability of the counselor.

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I think you all who are shouting "do not let new scouters near first year campers" need to chill out. (and aren't cub scout leaders also scouters?)  While I understand that cub scouts and scouting usa are different, I don't think one can make the general statement.  It's better to decide on a person by person basis.

What this adult is going to be doing is exactly what @69RoadRunner says - herding cats and be a general assistant.

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1 hour ago, 69RoadRunner said:

We don't just meet the new scouter and send him off with the new scouts.  First, one of our ASMs has kids in the primary feeder pack for our troop and knows these dads.  Second, they've been involved with troop activities prior to summer camp.  Third, the adult(s) who help with the Brownsea Island scouts are simply ensuring they get to the program area and are asked to be available to assist the counselor if the counselor desires assistance.

Basically, they herd the cats when attention is lost or the counselor will first teach the adult and the adult can assist the counselor.  Also, an experienced ASM or the SM will spend time at the program throughout the week ensuring things are going well.

Where we go, sometimes they do not have a good counselor to scout ratio and the college/high school kid teaching can be overwhelmed at times.  Overall, it is a good program but as always, is dependent on the ability of the counselor.

With all do respect, there is absolutely no reason for adults to "ensure they (scouts) get to the program area" and "make themselves (adult leaders) available to assist (camp staff). One is just an excuse for the other. 

The primary mission for the troop is growth of your scouts. If you are uncomfortable letting your young adult scouts find their way in an area that doesn't get any safer than a Scout camp, then we can have a discussion about that subject. There is no safer place for your youngest scouts to grow and mature than the environment of summer camp. It is a safe place for them to make bad decisions.

If your troop feels the need to supply volunteers to the camp, then they need to approach the camp director first when they arrive at camp. The adults need to leave for those program areas before the scouts and come back after. The scouts just need to be walking around camp with scouts. 

We typically had about a dozen adults attend camp with us. The only direction they were given is stay away from the scouts and enjoy themselves. If they wanted to help at programs, they could, but not along side their sons or scouts. They could fish, hike, sail and canoe, but not around the scouts until free time. Then if dad and and son wanted a little dad and son time, they could do it during free time. But the adults knew summer camp is where the scouts get intense patrol method experiences and we would rather give as much of that experience as we could. Which is why our troop typically puts the adults in a different campsite. Not far, the giggling new scouts still kept me up at night. Usually just across the road, but the intent is clear. 

Our experience every year is that the parents of new scouts tell us their sons came back a different person. In a very good way. I'm pleading, don't miss this opportunity to let these young men stretch their confidence and maturity by letting them make their own decisions at summer camp. If they get lost, they and their buddy will learn to ask for help. If they aren't in the mood to go to an uninteresting program, they and their buddy will learn from the consequences of their decision. But the adults must be prepared that the scouts had the best time of their lives because they chose something different from the adults.

As you watch these boys grow to make adult decisions, you will grow to love this scouting stuff.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, blw2 said:

I keep seeing this said.... I get the idea, and it probably has merit most of the time, but I have a problem with the statement generally....

it's basic premise demands that the veteran scouters that are presumably teaching those first years what's-what, a) are teaching them, and b) understand it themselves...

sorta like the idea that if an adult was a scout as a youth, that they understand the 'code' or whatever....

or when questioned about something a veteran of the (job/trade/hobby/or whatever) says something like, "I've been doing this for X years...".  to that the inside my head voice says "doing what, doing it wrong a long time?"...well, usually it's not out loud anyway....

I'll say this, as a "first year scouter" at the troop level, I 'got it' much better than some of the veterans of the adult lead troop did....

Well, then you are a better man than I am.  When I was a first year Scouter with the Troop (after having been a TDL, DL and 1 1/2 year WDL, and still being a WDL for the next Den), I was assigned a job by the SM as Advancement chair. Best thing they ever did.  When the NSP (my former Webelos Den) was not working right, and having problems menu planning, I almost jumped up to help them. Thankfully, I had a job to do with the Troop, and couldn't do that.   It's too tempting for most of us WDLs to turn the NSP into a Webelos III den. 

2 hours ago, xj-boonie said:

I think you all who are shouting "do not let new scouters near first year campers" need to chill out. (and aren't cub scout leaders also scouters?)  While I understand that cub scouts and scouting usa are different, I don't think one can make the general statement.  It's better to decide on a person by person basis.

What this adult is going to be doing is exactly what @69RoadRunner says - herding cats and be a general assistant.

A Boy Scout leader shouldn't be herding cats. The SPL and PLs should be. 

Edited by perdidochas

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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

With all do respect, there is absolutely no reason for adults to "ensure they (scouts) get to the program area" and "make themselves (adult leaders) available to assist (camp staff). One is just an excuse for the other. 

The primary mission for the troop is growth of your scouts. If you are uncomfortable letting your young adult scouts find their way in an area that doesn't get any safer than a Scout camp, then we can have a discussion about that subject. There is no safer place for your youngest scouts to grow and mature than the environment of summer camp. It is a safe place for them to make bad decisions.

If your troop feels the need to supply volunteers to the camp, then they need to approach the camp director first when they arrive at camp. The adults need to leave for those program areas before the scouts and come back after. The scouts just need to be walking around camp with scouts. 

We typically had about a dozen adults attend camp with us. The only direction they were given is stay away from the scouts and enjoy themselves. If they wanted to help at programs, they could, but not along side their sons or scouts. They could fish, hike, sail and canoe, but not around the scouts until free time. Then if dad and and son wanted a little dad and son time, they could do it during free time. But the adults knew summer camp is where the scouts get intense patrol method experiences and we would rather give as much of that experience as we could. Which is why our troop typically puts the adults in a different campsite. Not far, the giggling new scouts still kept me up at night. Usually just across the road, but the intent is clear. 

Our experience every year is that the parents of new scouts tell us their sons came back a different person. In a very good way. I'm pleading, don't miss this opportunity to let these young men stretch their confidence and maturity by letting them make their own decisions at summer camp. If they get lost, they and their buddy will learn to ask for help. If they aren't in the mood to go to an uninteresting program, they and their buddy will learn from the consequences of their decision. But the adults must be prepared that the scouts had the best time of their lives because they chose something different from the adults.

As you watch these boys grow to make adult decisions, you will grow to love this scouting stuff.

Barry

Barry,

With all due respect, this is a request from the camp, as stated in their Brownsea Program letter: "We ask that every Troop with Brownsea Scouts designate a Leader to participate in the
program with those Scouts throughout the week."

I appreciate your concern, but having been to camp a time or two, the scouts are perfectly fine with finding their way around and are usually better at it than us old timers.  Occasionally they need to look at the map the first day, but they seem to remember where everything is from the opening tour better than we do.

And while we don't put the adults in a different site (the camp doesn't have that capacity/availability), we have typically had the adult tent(s) as separated as possible.

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@xj-boonie, welcome to the forum. Thanks for starting the thread and participating. I do hope you stick around. Some of the responses here sound a bit harsh but there are some gems of wisdom there. While I don't go in for absolute rules there are guidelines that, if understood,  will make your decisions more effective in developing the scouts. I'm not going to get into them but suffice it to say that you can take everything here with a grain of salt and you'll be good. There are always exceptions. If there weren't then everyone would know the rule. Case in point: step in before a scout gets seriously hurt. So, in this case the scouts need to develop independence and at the same time it should be the older scouts that teach it. But some scouts need more guidance. Good luck.

@Eagledad, a week or so ago there was a thread about training and patrol method. You had said it was all there, people just had to dig for it. Well, this is the perfect example of how that isn't going to work. Volunteers do have limited time. Training needs to be effective and succinct. I really do like your description about scout growth. I use it all the time now. Unfortunately, you're the only one that really talks about it. It's a constant battle to convince parents that older scout growth is the key to a good program. They just look at me stupid and go back to where they were. Both a two hour (for parents) and a full day training (for scouters) of patrol method/boy led/fun with a purpose would prevent all these confusing threads. Just imagine if the BSA put on such a training. Every time someone new came here and started asking about adult/scout interactions we could just say "we strongly suggest any adult take this training. It will really help. There are scenarios. You can roll play. It's fun. You'll finally get past all the mystery and know when to step in and when to step back."

But no, we'll never see it. Instead we now have this vague phrase, family camping, that's really going to make things worse.

Sorry if I sound grumpy. I tore up my back yesterday and now I just have to wait, horizontally, until it heals.

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