Jump to content

Recommended Posts

We're the largest troop in our district too.  Along with being the largest comes with having a lot of experienced Scouters in out ranks.

I learned along the way that the best way for our district to have better camporees was for our adults to get involved and provide some input.  it's not that our adults need to organize it, but it helps us to see that the camporee is an event we want to participate in if our adults are involved in setting the agenda. 

I realized the hard way that a district is usually more desperate for adult help than our troop is.  It's actually good for us to participate.  I'm guesing this was different 25 years ago when distrcits had 2x or 3x the number of troops, but today with smaller numbers of scouts we have to help out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Even as a youth, and even more now as an adult, I disliked Camporee's being so themed and scheduled that the weekend felt like a day of school.  Go here for 50 minutes, then walk over her for 50 minutes, etc.  I also disliked that adults did all the planning.  Get scouts from around the district/council to come together and plan it.  That might be difficult to do twice a year, so just have one.  And build in plenty of time for the units to be able to "free-form".  Even on a troop campout, you'll have some scouts more jazzed about doing pioneering projects than others, or another group may want to go fishing and others not.  To me, the ideal behind a Camporee is for scouts to mingle with other scouts, make new friends, and see that they are part of a larger body, not be simply moving in a herd with their own unit members.  Similar philosophy on a smaller scale than summer camp really.

We dont have a theme and each patrol is given an order of events so that it evenly spreads everyone out.  There is no time limit nor do you have to participate.  I need to go back and copy that YPT information down so I can put it in the leaders guide.  

As a youth I enjoyed camporee be cause I got a patch.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Sablanck said:

We dont have a theme and each patrol is given an order of events so that it evenly spreads everyone out.  There is no time limit nor do you have to participate.  I need to go back and copy that YPT information down so I can put it in the leaders guide.  

As a youth I enjoyed camporee be cause I got a patch.

Yours sound better run that what I have experienced.  Ours often have the vibe similar to what others commented - it is expected that every scout will participate in every activity, which just makes it no fun.  if its an activity that some of the kids want to do , they get a lesser experience having to concern themselves with the kids who don't want to do it, etc.  Then again, I think the same people planning these events today are the same ones who were around planning them when I was a kid, which is a problem in and of itself :) I get lots of "invitations" at RT that they "need help".  Attended a few meetings for a few events, the same 3 people talked over everyone and did what they wanted anyway, so let it go. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, T2Eagle said:

The troop gets up at the time the PLC decides, and since they're mostly teenagers none of them are voting for 6.

I wish our kid's were like yours.  They chose to get up at 4:30 Saturday morning, to depart summer camp, and on our last backpacking trip they wanted to get up at 5:00.  Not sure why on the backpacking one, since the sun does not come up until 7:00!

Edited by MikeS72

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Camporees have changed over the years. 

When I was a scout, camporees/freezerees were held in wild, open spaces.  Bring your own "everything."  Nothing provided.  Campsites far apart.   Plenty of time to sit around the fire, work on camping skills, explore the forest/prairie/desert, shoot the breeze, take a nap, etc.

I don't find camporees enjoyable today.  Common characteristics:

- Troops are directed to camp too close together

- Almost always held at a council property (same place you've been a bunch of times)

- Over-reliance on established shower/latrine facilities

- Sometimes meals are provided by camporee staff (hard to fathom but true)

- Daily schedule crammed with the same old boring events, and almost zero free time

- [From darn near every camporee package] "NO CAMPFIRES, NO SHEATH KNIVES!" [Two important cornerstones of the old BSA!]

I oversaw a camporee a couple years ago.  I purposely left out dozens of "thou shalt/shalt nots" from the package.  Our committee set forth five fun, challenging events.  Otherwise, scouts and scouters, the time is yours.  Feedback was good.

Memory:  A WBer approached me Friday night. 

WBer:  "It's almost time for the cracker barrel."

Me:  "Yes..." [Waiting for the other boot to fall]

WBer:  "When are you planning on sending a runner to the troops to remind them?"

Me:  "I'm not.  They have the schedule and they know how to tell time.  I trust them."

WBer silently strolled away.

SMs and SPLs showed up right on time.

 

Edited by desertrat77
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In our district, adults have almost nothing to do with the actual planning of Camporee. Scouts from all the participating units start gathering to plan events, patch designs, themes and what have you a few months in advance - for example, the first such meeting for our next Camporee in April will take place next week. There are adults involved who reserve the site, ensure safety procedures are being observed, et cetera, but the actual event is planned by Scouts and run by Scouts. There is a Camporee Senior Patrol Leader who chooses his own 'staff,' and he directs all the meetings. 

What I did notice at our Fall Camporall in October was that the boy who were there really got involved, and all of the kids I talked to had a fantastic experience. They loved the games (which they helped plan and develop), they ate well, they were thrilled to see friends from school who are in other troops, they got a kick out of the collection brought by a 75-year veteran Scouter - it was simply wonderful. They LIKED being surrounded by all the other troops because the got a sense of just how big and impactful the Scouting movement is - most of my kids hadn't grasped how widespread Scouting is in our community. And out here, every patrol in every troop is responsible for its own meals - no food is provided (except for the secret ingredients in the cooking competitions). There was designated "Troop Time" when boys could do whatever they liked with their friends, and our district and council visitors didn't bother us once, though they did visit us just to get to know the boys a bit - it was quite pleasant actually.

Our troop had such a good time that they are already preparing for next April; they are determined to win a number of events this time, and as a result, a lot of boys are passing off requirements and progressing in Scouting in ways that never would have happened were they not so motivated by their Camporee experience. So in my book, when done right, Camporee is one of the best experiences a Scout can have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Camporees have changed over the years. 

When I was a scout, camporees/freezerees were held in wild, open spaces.  Bring your own "everything."  Nothing provided.  Campsites far apart.   Plenty of time to sit around the fire, work on camping skills, explore the forest/prairie/desert, shoot the breeze, take a nap, etc.

I don't find camporees enjoyable today.  Common characteristics:

- Troops are directed to camp too close together

- Almost always held at a council property (same place you've been a bunch of times)

- Over-reliance on established shower/latrine facilities

- Sometimes meals are provided by camporee staff (hard to fathom but true)

- Daily schedule crammed with the same old boring events, and almost zero free time

- [From darn near every camporee package] "NO CAMPFIRES, NO SHEATH KNIVES!" [Two important cornerstones of the old BSA!]

I oversaw a camporee a couple years ago.  I purposely left out dozens of "thou shalt/shalt nots" from the package.  Our committee set forth five fun, challenging events.  Otherwise, scouts and scouters, the time is yours.  Feedback was good.

Kudos on the great camporee.  I've found in our district that they are begging for people to lead camporee planning.  I know our district camping committee would welcome a camporee just like you describe.  Huge props for organizing it.

59 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Memory:  A WBer approached me Friday night. 

WBer:  "It's almost time for the cracker barrel."

Me:  "Yes..." [Waiting for the other boot to fall]

WBer:  "When are you planning on sending a runner to the troops to remind them?"

Me:  "I'm not.  They have the schedule and they know how to tell time.  I trust them."

WBer silently strolled away.

SMs and SPLs showed up right on time.

 

Nice story and good point.  I most respectfully just wonder why the need to keep make it at the expense of WB folks.  There's 10 posts around here critical of people who have taken WB for every one supportive of it.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
53 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Kudos on the great camporee.  I've found in our district that they are begging for people to lead camporee planning.  I know our district camping committee would welcome a camporee just like you describe.  Huge props for organizing it.

Nice story and good point.  I most respectfully just wonder why the need to keep make it at the expense of WB folks.  There's 10 posts around here critical of people who have taken WB for every one supportive of it.

Thanks ParkMan.

The gent at the camporee was a fellow staffer who had spent the better part of the evening trying, in the most ham-fisted manner possible, to upstage and otherwise challenge me for the "camporee director" title.  I bit my tongue and let him have plenty of leash.  But when it was just the two of us, I used the cracker barrel question to let him know where we stood.

Edited by desertrat77
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the quality of a camporee any different than the quality of a troop? Doesn't it depend on how it's run?

I'm the district camping chair and the key seems to be to keep mixing it up. It also has to be relatively inexpensive and work with 200+ scouts. This is a lot harder than figuring it out once and then getting into a rut. All of the bad stories that have been mentioned seem to stem from people looking for a quick easy plan, and that means doing what has already been done before. Advancement is super easy to plan.

But doesn't every single troop have the same problem?  It takes imagination to come up with a new program and that's a fine balance between crazy and diving down into the details to guess how it will play out. There's a lot of massaging required to take an off the wall idea and make it work for hundreds of people. To be honest I don't see many people, scouts or adults, that are willing to take the time to come up with fun ideas. There are some and when I find someone that wants to run with an idea I give them whatever they want. But the vast majority of people want easy, simple, and what's been done before.

Back in 2002 we had the OA running camporees and it was horrible. It was the worst type of advancement possible because the scouts were running it and that's all they knew. After that someone from my troop said he could make it more fun and he just took over. Things got much better. There is never advancement just for the sake of advancement. There are always events that involve outdoor skills. And yet, at one point a few years ago while I was SM I asked my troop and they said they weren't interested because "they just sat waiting around to do the next 10 minute event." A year ago I volunteered to run the camporees and I made a few changes. First of all I started asking scouts for ideas (this is where zombies came from). Next, I made sure we had enough throughput to handle all the patrols so there are no lines. It's simple math but it took some time to get it across to people. Next I added patrol vs patrol competition. I also push for events that last between a half hour and an hour. The schedule is also flexible. While all the scouts participate in the morning, in the afternoon some would rather hang out at their campsites and some want to do every last event. It's up to them. We also put the patrol competition as the last event, around 3pm. It tends to tie the day up nicely. The scouts also get super into the competitions. I don't think they'd like to do it all day but an hour seems to work well. Lots of intensity.

Next fall we're going to have a cardboard canoe event. I'd like to figure out how to do a simulated disaster with a steam punk theme (UFO crash site, old West, semaphore for communication). Another idea is create a framework and ask for troops to take on creating an event based on certain criteria. I just want to force some scouts to see that imagination can be fun. It also takes imagination to solve problems, so it's a good skill to have. It's also really fun when it works and I see a bunch of scouts and adults having fun.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Nice story and good point.  I most respectfully just wonder why the need to keep make it at the expense of WB folks.  There's 10 posts around here critical of people who have taken WB for every one supportive of it.

In my limited experience, when I've had an adult leader outside our group be critical in a condescending manner, it's been a WB.  That does NOT mean all or even most WB are condescending.  They aren't.  The ones who are give the others a bad reputation.

I'd suggest that all WB training include some time spent on being helpful and friendly.  Also knowing when it's a good idea to not be "helpful."

For much of my time in our troop, we were a smaller group of mostly younger scouts.  We've had a couple with Autism and one with Down Syndrome.  We're not perfect. We do the best we can and that often meant adults doing more than ideal.  It's now paying off as we have some older scouts who can lead and our troop has grown.  We're still not perfect and never will be.  We do our best.  Sometimes success is defined as getting everyone back in one piece. 😀  OK, that's an exaggeration, but has some truth in it.

Another adult leader and I have been completely turned off from taking WB training because of our experience at Camporees.

  • Sad 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ParkMan, a post script to my original....

In a nutshell, there are a fair number of WBers whose conduct invites such criticism.  Regardless of their actual role at any event, be it staff, director or participant at unit level, they assume they a) are automatically a roving de facto official/authority figure and b) they've cornered the market on knowledge.  And they aren't subtle about it.  Demanding, condescending, rude, conversation interrupters, changing things for the sake of change, changing things they have no actual authority over but doing it to flex their beads, etc.   All because they've attended a six day management course and rubbed shoulders with council and district luminaries. 

Edited by desertrat77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HI @desertrat77 & @69RoadRunner,

I fully acknowledge that there are lots of Scouters who get their beads and then walk around like self appointed experts.  There are many, many more who do not. 

Scouters come from a wide array of backgrounds and there are numerous archetypes.  I try not to make fun on them in my posts.  I just seems to me like it's considered good sport for some reason to make fun of the WB'ers - so much so, that it's considered the "thing to do" to make fun of the WBers. It's like they're the OK group to kick around.  Feels like folks do to them the exact same kind of thing you all accuse them of doing. 

Again - I mean no disrespect by it and don't want to hijack the topic on the point.  I just mention it because I really just think that it's considered so OK to make fun of them that I don't even think folks give it a second thought.

Edited by ParkMan
accidental submit. Correcting now
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

HI @desertrat77 & @69RoadRunner,

I fully acknowledge that there are lots of Scouters who get their beads and then walk around like self appointed experts.  There are many, many more who do not. 

Scouters come from a wide array of backgrounds and there are numerous archetypes.  I try not to make fun on them in my posts.  I just seems to me like it's considered good sport for some reason to make fun of the WB'ers - so much so, that it's considered the "thing to do" to make fun of the WBers. It's like they're the OK group to kick around.  Feels like folks do to them the exact same kind of thing you all accuse them of doing. 

Again - I mean no disrespect by it and don't want to hijack the topic on the point.  I just mention it because I really just think that it's considered so OK to make fun of them that I don't even think folks give it a second thought.

ParkMan, points well taken.  I think the criticism continues because many WBers are so tone-deaf and persistent, it becomes a stereotype that just keeps going.   The WBers we're critiquing are notoriously oblivious about their actions  and attitudes.  And if they aren't, they don't care and trod heavily instead of focusing on mutual cooperation and respect.  It's especially ironic given the source of their pride is a course that is supposed to be the pinnacle of scout leader training.

Many just can't "be folks."  

Edited to add:  Yes, there are plenty of other stereotypical scouters out there.  Myself included.  But at the end of the day, these others will roll up their sleeves and work with you on a level playing field.  Many WBers just have a hard time doing that.

Edited by desertrat77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make a point to assure everyone that I was a pompous windbag long before I was assigned to the Crow patrol. If anything, WB helped me tone it down. I wear my beige neckerchief because, 1) it shows that I am ready to serve and 2) it's the only one that's sized right.

Regarding camporees in general. The lessons learned from this thread:

  • Have a lean, but effective, committee.
  • If a small group wants to do their thing, let them form a subcommittee to make it so. Give them space (or award scouts for visiting their station) according to their reputation for doing it well.
  • Don't let new regulations throw you completely off the rails.
  • Ideally, ask each troop/crew to contribute something (e.g., run a station, direct parking, etc ...).
  • You've heard from leaders here who don't think much of district events. Contact the leaders of troops/crews in your district who haven't attended recent camporees. Ask them if there is anything specific that has led their youth to stay away from them.
  • Bringing in girls? If you have female venturers who've shown up at camporees, ask them about for a summary of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
    • By the way, we should have been inviting GS/USA to these kinds of things all along. Our council and area Venturing Officers' Association certainly made that effort, and these kinds of synergies needed to be elevated by BSA, but they weren't.

I want to also add: if you have young leaders who want to plan something adventurous for their district, bend over backwards to promote their idea. I've seen us lose really good leadership because the naysayers held sway.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WBers are an easy target when the subject brings some focus on them. But, I've watched just about everyone from leaders with religious opinions to brand new Tiger leaders taking a hit because they use incorrect pronounciations of common Boy Scout terms in their questions. We have had several posters on this forum (some kicked off) who showed no respect for anyone but themselves, that includes scouts. So, I agree, it's the Scout Law and Oath that are taking the biggest beating. 

Part of the problem with the Woodbadgers in our District was the District Committee's automatic acceptance of using ticket items to fill district and even council activities coordinators. WHO APPROVED THAT? We manage to nip that in the bud several years back. But, that doesn't mean some Woodbadgers don't let the beads go to their head. Still, the same can be said of adults who are given the responsibility of Leadership in their unit, district, and council. I have watch and cleaned up more messes by incompetent district/council volunteers than any Woodbadger I can think of. However, the fact is we belong to a volunteer organization which accepts just about anyone's knowledge, skills, or egos in running this complicated machine. I admit to being very humbled when I stepped over to the district and council operations. You can't imagine how much incompetence keeps the cogs of this program moving forward. I have more respect for the professionals patience when I was outside looking in. 

I will admit to finding myself looking in a mirror more than once when it comes to commenting about other scouters. Setting the example of the Oath and Law in actions is a lot hard than most scouters realize. 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×