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tpolly

First Year Scouts Should Parents Attend

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My Son will be Crossing over this month and we will be attending summer camp with his new troop.  I plan on joining also as an ASM.  But I was wondering if it might be a good idea to sit out his first summer camp.  My hope is that with my absence he will assimilate into the troop better.  I'd like for him to have an experience that is his alone and not something he feels the need to do just because I may be going also.  Any advice on this? 

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One of our local troops has a hard rule on this: No parents at summer camp for any first-year camper. Doesn't matter the age, if this is the scout's first time at summer camp, no parent of that scout can attend.

Of course with exceptions only for any medically required or otherwise necessary situations. But generally, unless a parent can show a real definitive reason they must be at camp, they're not allowed.

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Also a good idea to help those of us used to the cub scout process have some time to adjust to the Patrol method.

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I welcome first year parents to attend some or all of summer camp, I view it as the best opportunity for me to train them.  I'm explicit in my training, both in the run up to camp and after arrival: here's how things work, here's the hierarchy, here is the very limited role we as adults play in this process, and I'm not afraid to step in to counsel or correct behavior that doesn't fit what we discussed.  It's no different from all the many times I've had adults at work that I needed to train and lead

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It depends a lot on the program. The adults camp is set around 100 yards away from the scouts. Or as out of sight as we can. The adults even reserve a separate campsite at summer camp. The distance prevents that father son camping question. Each have to go out of their way to see each other. 

Barry

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My sons first year at summer camp, I told him he would be on his own, I would not be there.  I did, however volunteer to be there the second half of the week (troop had a few adults that could be there the whole week, but others that couldn't commit to the whole week, so we had a rotation to give additional adult coverage during the week).  That gave my son the ability to adjust on his own without me there, and by the time I got there he had adjusted enough to not need me or spend much of any time with me when I was.  That could be a consideration for you to talk tot he troop about.

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I have seen it both ways.  We had an ASM that basically was in charge of the first year parents.  When we went to camp, we assigned them jobs like you are the photographer for the waterfront activities, you are the photographer for horsemanship.  You just need to have a barrier that prevents the umbilical cord.  The youth need to know that they need to talk with the patrol leader and SPL and in last case another adult than the parent.

The parents need training about what to expect.  Sadly, the training that I have seen for adults at summer camp is really bad so I don't recommend it.  but it does keep them busy.

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2 hours ago, tpolly said:

My Son will be Crossing over this month and we will be attending summer camp with his new troop.  I plan on joining also as an ASM.  But I was wondering if it might be a good idea to sit out his first summer camp.  My hope is that with my absence he will assimilate into the troop better.  I'd like for him to have an experience that is his alone and not something he feels the need to do just because I may be going also.  Any advice on this? 

Sounds like you "get it", so I'm sure you'll make the right decision.

The first year my scout joined his new troop, he told me straight up that he didn't need me around at summer camp nor on all his campouts. Cool.  No need to use up a valuable week of vacation, and I only went on the weekend campouts (maybe 2 all year) where the SM invited me because he needed to provide adequate adult leadership (or he needed more drivers to transport scouts). I was there for the Scoutmaster, not for my kid.  The SM was quite experienced and made it clear to all adults on every campout that their job was to enjoy lounging around in the adult campsite and not to supervise the boys' campsite because the SPL already had that covered.

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1) WELCOME TO DA FORUMS! :)

2) GOOD FOR YOU FOR WANTING TO MAKE YOUR SCOUT'S EXPERIENCE AWESOME!

I also believe it is best if first year parents don't go if at all possible. I had to go my oldest son's first year to insure 2 deep leadership. But I was busy with aquatic supervision classes, so I only saw him at meals and before lights out. But I know of two lawn mower parents who not only went to summer camp, but followed them around all day and even allowed son to sneak into their tent the entire week. 

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@tpolly, welcome to the forums and thanks in advance for all you'll do for the youth!

Personally, I think staying away is a dumb idea. I landed in camp with Son #1 and spent a lot of time fishing, meeting staff, getting to know our troop leadership, taking any available adult training, landing a bullseye when the archery range was free, hiking, training for the mile swim, helping some other troops' first years learn to swim, fishing. I would line up at the payphone (!) to chat with Mrs. Q every other day or so, and she would ask how the boy was and I would say, "I saw him moving, looked like he had a smile under the dirt on his face. ... You should see the bass in this lake! ..."

It helped that I was an ASM when I turned 18, a decade earlier, so I kinda knew the drill. Regardless, if you are interested in being an ASM, you need to get training. And the best training you can get is fishing with meeting leaders from other troops and enjoying afternoon naps consecutive days.

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When my son crossed over, he went on 4 weekend campouts with the troop without me.  I had signed up as ASM right away, but only came to meetings. 

 

I went to summer camp his first summer, but that was for me, not him.  In fact, there was very little times we were together.  I took a training class the first two days.  Summer camp is the closest thing I have to a personal vacation, and I very much enjoy it.

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On 2/13/2019 at 4:45 PM, qwazse said:

Personally, I think staying away is a dumb idea.

Why is it a "dumb idea"? You detailed why going to camp was good for you. But what's so "dumb" about a parent or adult leader wanting to keep their distance from their own scout, especially the first year at camp?

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 10:55 AM, tpolly said:

  I'd like for him to have an experience that is his alone and not something he feels the need to do just because I may be going also.  Any advice on this? 

I believe that's a Great Idea.... I am NOT my son's SM, he attends another Troop.  I have learned to let him do his thing and he seems to enjoy when I am not looking over his shoulder.  I do go on campouts with his troop from time to time.  When I go to Summer Camp my troop and his troop stay on two totally separate sides of camp.  From time to time I do find my way over there just to see what he's into. 

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On ‎2‎/‎13‎/‎2019 at 3:45 PM, qwazse said:

@tpolly, welcome to the forums and thanks in advance for all you'll do for the youth!

Personally, I think staying away is a dumb idea. I landed in camp with Son #1 and spent a lot of time fishing, meeting staff, getting to know our troop leadership, taking any available adult training, landing a bullseye when the archery range was free, hiking, training for the mile swim, helping some other troops' first years learn to swim, fishing. I would line up at the payphone (!) to chat with Mrs. Q every other day or so, and she would ask how the boy was and I would say, "I saw him moving, looked like he had a smile under the dirt on his face. ... You should see the bass in this lake! ..."

It helped that I was an ASM when I turned 18, a decade earlier, so I kinda knew the drill. Regardless, if you are interested in being an ASM, you need to get training. And the best training you can get is fishing with meeting leaders from other troops and enjoying afternoon naps consecutive days.

NOW IF this is what the parent truly does then I 100% agree with what you're saying.  If the OP wants to go do all the training and the fun adult stuff then yes GO and have fun....but don't be up your sons Butt watching over him and stopping him from having fun.

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My dad was an ASM and went to summer camp my first two years. I saw him at mealtimes and sometimes not even then. He had to have been anxious as heck when skinny shrimpy me did the mile swim and the Wilderness Survival overnight, but never showed it!

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