Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mrkstvns

What merit badges should a first-year scout do at summer camp?

Recommended Posts

56 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Note that some states, councils and specific summer camps restrict shooting activities by age. Rifle and other shooting sports might be better suited as a recommendation for second or third year scouts.

I disagree.

I've seen camps that restrict shooting activities, but when I've asked about the reasoning behind it, it's usually that the class is too popular and they don't have the resources to accommodate every kid who wants to do it. So an age restriction might be effective. 

There's certainly no valid excuse otherwise for restricting Rifle Shooting. Also, the general rule of thumb in BSA is that any registered scout is eligible to earn any merit badge.  Rifle Shooting is not something that requires exceptional strength, agility or skills beyond what an 11-year old typically has. A .22 caliber rifle has virtually no kick and is easily handled by even the smallest Tenderfoot. On the other hand, a 20-gauge shotgun does have some kick, so a conservative instructor might want kids to put off doing Shotgun Shooting for a year or two. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

Biggest advice I throw out to all leaders out there: make sure you are clear and firm to parents that a week of camp DOES NOT guarantee that /Johnny or Susie are coming home with 4 MBs. It is not the point of a week of camp with their troop.  

Yes.

Parents (and scouts) often assume that just because they take a class, they will earn a badge. (This is also true of scouts attending Merit Badge Universities, Midways, Camps, etc.)

In an ideal world, parents (and scouts) would read the requirements of a badge and see what can and can not be reasonably done in a camp (or class) setting. Most of the Eagle-required badges, in particular, have requirements for keeping logs or records over a period of weeks or months. Badges like Citizenship in the Community and Communication have requirements to attend public meetings (City Council, School Board, etc.) How can any parent be surprised when a scout comes home with a partial in those subjects. It's inevitable (unless the counselor is unethical and simply rubber-stamps the blue cards).  This is why I don't recommend that first-year scouts take Eagle-required badges other than Swimming.

Share this post


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

I disagree.

I've seen camps that restrict shooting activities, but when I've asked about the reasoning behind it, it's usually that the class is too popular and they don't have the resources to accommodate every kid who wants to do it. So an age restriction might be effective. 

There's certainly no valid excuse otherwise for restricting Rifle Shooting.

???

If you want to argue the validity of their rule, that is fine, you are welcome to take it up with them. That doesn't keep them from having the rule despite what your opposing opinion.

You asked what they should sign up for at camp. I replied that some STATES (as in state law) councils and camps restricted shooting based on age at their facilities so for first year scouts, there might be better alternatives.

 

1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

 

Also, the general rule of thumb in BSA is that any registered scout is eligible to earn any merit badge.  Rifle Shooting is not something that requires exceptional strength, agility or skills beyond what an 11-year old typically has. A .22 caliber rifle has virtually no kick and is easily handled by even the smallest Tenderfoot. On the other hand, a 20-gauge shotgun does have some kick, so a conservative instructor might want kids to put off doing Shotgun Shooting for a year or two. 

I didn't comment on eligibility. I commented on what may be allowed at summer camp. You seem to infer that I am personally opposed to shooting for 11 year olds when in fact, I am simply trying to inform you and others of the obstacles one might face.

For example, take this thread from this very site:

Lastly, there may be an assumed maturity issue at play that has nothing to do with physical ability. A .22 is still a deadly weapon and some states, councils, and camps might find that their insurance rates are better if they restrict such activity to older youth.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

If you want to argue the validity of their rule, that is fine, you are welcome to take it up with them. That doesn't keep them from having the rule despite what your opposing opinion.

You asked what they should sign up for at camp. I replied that some STATES (as in state law) councils and camps restricted shooting based on age at their facilities so for first year scouts, there might be better alternatives.

Not really arguing....just discussing.

Of course there are camps that have restrictions on certain merit badges for varying reasons. Thankfully, these are generally the exception, not the rule.

Just as there might be "better alternatives" for certain scouts and certain merit badges, so too there are often better alternatives than camps that put up too many obstacles for too many scouts (REGARDLESS of the reason/excuse).  

I'm really looking for general advice that holds true for most scouts/troops/camps --- not hiccups due to exceptions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m a little biased as a summer camp instructor for first year Scouts. But, I highly suggest to attend the summer camp’s first year program that usually are able to do a lot of requirements that can give a base knowledge to scouts. At the summer camp I staffed (hopefully again this summer), they spent the whole day with a instructor doing requirements and did one period doing a merit badge. 

 

I honestly wish I did a first year scout program at a summer camp when I crossed over.

Edited by ItsBrian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2019 at 5:33 PM, shortridge said:

If she decides that I suddenly have knowledge worth sharing and asks me, my recommendation to my daughter will be to take no merit badges at camp this summer.

Go to the sessions; ask a lot of questions; follow up with open periods in areas you like; visit the areas during evening program; learn plenty of skills; get plenty of practice; try things that you wouldn’t get a chance to do outside of camp. But heavens to Betsy, don’t take any “merit badge classes”!

If you really want to earn a badge that piques your interest, take what you’ve learned during this week and find a counselor back home that the SM recommends. There will always be plenty of time and opportunity for that.

If you or any Scout wants to spend the week doing nothing but rifle shooting in pursuit of that perfect score, then spend your days doing that! Ditto for gritting out the mile swim, mastering the bow drill, climbing the wall, or catching that elusive giant catfish.

But don’t waste camp taking a “class.” School is out. This is the summer. Enjoy it!

I concur 100%. This is the Scout's chance to spend a week doing what he wants to do. Parents need to keep their loving, sticky paws off for the sake of their child's growth as an individual. In some ways, I feel like enjoying summer is becoming a dying art. 

Completely off topic, it tickles me pink to see the expression "heavens to Betsy" still being used. That just put me in a great mood somehow. :happy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What MBs to take at Summer Camp?  The ones that would be difficult if not impossible at home.

Waterfront:  Swimming, Lifesaving, rowing, canoeing, sailboat, motorboat,

Outdoor stuff:  Astronomy (clear skies?),  Bird Study,  maybe Geology, Nature,  fishing, Map & Compass, Orienteering, 

Crafts?  Woodworking (carve that woggle !), basketry, I have seen Sculpture done well (clay and kiln?)

"other"   :   Hike around and explore....  

Don't forget the "unofficial " MBs: 

**The Write a Post Card Home.  When I was SM protemp one summer, I was surprised at the number of Scouts the DID NOT KNOW their own address.  Write a card home?  Glad I brought some, the Camp Store didn't sell post cards or stamps. 

**The Re-tie the Tent So It Doesn't Fall Down or Leak.  Got to practice all the knots you learned back home (I hope). Pioneering introduction.

** Read the Camp Map and Bulletin Board:   Yes, I do know where the Crafts Pavilion is . Do You ? 

** Scout Organization Study:  Sure I'm the SPL. Do I have to be the SPL at camp, too?  Duty roster? This is camp, I don't have to clean up, do I? 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I asked my son what he would suggest.  His first response was do the fun things that aren't merit badges like snorkeling and stand up paddle board.  His reasoning is that merit badge are in three stages 1) Why should you not do this activity.  2) You did it and you are hurt.  What is the first aid for it.  3) Do the activity for 20 minutes.  All over 4 hours during the week.

I kinda have to agree on that.

I would do things that are fun and will make camp memorable and fun for them.  Archery, Climbing, shooting, Mile Swim, paddle board, snorkel, horseback riding....  whatever else is fun for them.

Have at most one sit down class like first aid.

Do not do any of the classroom merit badges like citizenship in world/nation/community, personal management....  Those are best handled away from camp IMHO.

 

 

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
Sign in to follow this  

×