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Activity Differentiation

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@Thunderbird and @Onslow Not sure what is confusing.  Back country camping on one chart and age appropriate activity chart on the other.   BOTH are current in the GTSS.   

What is to catch up?

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Well the 2nd(gold) document lists multi night backpacking as an approved activity for younger Scouts while the GTSS explicitly lacks a "backcountry/wilderness" check for younger Scouts. Everywhere except outpost camping at council camps, backpacking is a backcountry activity. Hence the tendency to ignore gtss and go with the other doc.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, oldbuzzard said:

Well the 2nd(gold) document lists multi night backpacking as an approved activity for younger Scouts while the GTSS explicitly lacks a "backcountry/wilderness" check for younger Scouts. Everywhere except outpost camping at council camps, backpacking is a backcountry activity. Hence the tendency to ignore gtss and go with the other doc.

 

Um, @oldbuzzard, most backpacking is not back-country. The stuff that sells magazines, sure. But the majority of trails are within a couple hours of emergency extraction. Some of them are entirely country roads or railroad beds with a decent homestead every mile or so. My SM made sure that our entire scouting career was either backpacking or orienteering -- and that whole time I never saw real back-country -- not even my 1st 50-miler. That was a local trail along the rooftops of our county -- sort of a graduation present from him the summer before I went to college. Only a couple of scouts in our troop went to Philmont.

It wasn't until I went to National Jamboree that I really learned about back-country minimal impact camping. And I only got to apply those lessons as a young adult.

Maybe this is indicative of one of our problems as scouters. We've set the bar so high that we've taken the adventure away from throwing a pack on and hiking through town and camping in some tucked-away ravine in a community park. In the process, a lot of folks miss out on seeing boy scouts backpacking past their piece of sidewalk!

Edited by qwazse
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7 hours ago, qwazse said:

Um, @oldbuzzard, most backpacking is not back-country. The stuff that sells magazines, sure. But the majority of trails are within a couple hours of emergency extraction. Some of them are entirely country roads or railroad beds with a decent homestead every mile or so.

Fair enough... but none of that matches my anecdotal experience as a scout, adult, or scouter.

As a Scout in the 80s we did backpacking trips on the Uwharrie Trail and at Grayson Highlands in VA. Uwharrie is definitely not magazine cover material but was under an hour away. Mt Rogers and the wild horses were on the AT and closer to 2 1/2hrs away; along with Roan mountain, it is one of my favorite spots on the AT outside of New England. Both were backcountry.

As an adult, I have never seen scouts backpacking in the type of areas you describe. I've seen and talked to scouts on the PCT, Superior Hiking Trail, and in  the Porkies but all of them were backpacking for the experience not training. Most of those groups had smaller/younger scouts along. I've read plenty of trail registers of scout groups in the White and Green Mtns. The only scout groups I've seen doing "backpacking" training hikes in Seattle, NC, and MN were groups training for Philmont.

As a scouter, our scouts have done less backpacking than some of the adults would prefer but they seem to mirror my view that backpacking is a method to do things you couldn't do otherwise, not a goal in and of its self. We run our own 2 week summer camp with a 3 day 2 night out of camp trip. The trip rotates between a river canoe trip, a 100 miles bike trip, and a backpacking/hiking trip. All the scouts regardless of age do the trip. This year is backpacking, due to LNT we will probably need 3 crews. The newly crossed over scouts may base camp hike. The other 2 crews will be backpacking. So far I've loaned the PLC my SHT maps, we'll see what the plan is after the CoH on Monday. I'm curious since I'm "leading" one of the groups.

As to backcountry and extraction...I think that "majority of trails are within a couple hours of extraction" statement is *very* questionable. My wife has done medical support for trail races on the SHT, which while more rugged has more roads/logging roads/4WD driveable snowmobile trails than either the AT or probably many portions of the Laurel Highlands Trail.In a medical emergency it took six hours to evacuate someone 2 miles.Running in a local county park it took 2 hours to evacuate someone under a mile with a broken arm. I think that the most useful element of a good WFA/WFR course is the field experience to show how slow and difficult rescues are. This realization helps folks grasp why the front/backcountry lines are so close together.

 

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On 6/7/2019 at 11:30 AM, RichardB said:

@Thunderbird and @Onslow Not sure what is confusing.  Back country camping on one chart and age appropriate activity chart on the other.   BOTH are current in the GTSS.   

What is to catch up?


Because there is no checkmark next to "Wilderness and Backcountry" for younger Scouts BSA Scouts (age 10-12) on the "Age Appropriate Guidelines for Camping" chart that is part of the online GTSS.

But there is a checkmark next to "Backpacking—Overnight, Backcountry" for younger Scouts BSA Scouts (age 10-12) on the "Age Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities" (gold colored pdf).

This is confusing to Scouters, because it is not clear why there is a difference.   I would think that backpacking is an age-appropriate activity for all Scouts in the Scouts BSA program (ages 10+), but that younger Scouts should be doing shorter mileage with small elevation gain/loss.  Is it the "backcountry" that is the issue?

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