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Camps Where SCOUTS Cook Meals


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Having worked MHA I'm a bit confused that they are now using stoves on the treks....must be a new policy shift. I'll touch base with them for clarification....

The Mountain Man program at BRMC has been running now for over 20 years and was an off shoot of their High Knoll program. It's more of an enrichment program instead of high adventure, blending the Eastern long hunter era with the Mountain Man era.  There are You Tube videos of the program, but those are dated and poorly done.  

 

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I just got back from a trek run by the summer camp we were at. It wasn't so much cooking our food (more like rehydrating) but it was a challenge that we all shared. In that respect it was similar to p

Returned from Camp Baldwin, OR couple weeks ago. I am sold on patrol cooking at summer camp. Okay yes it is harder but its better. Our troop is on the path from being 'troop method' to being patrol me

We just returned from Freeland Leslie, a Patrol cooking camp.  51 scouts, 6 patrols,   23 first time summer campers.  Only 5 adults present all week with 1 - 2 other adults rotating in to provide a bi

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18 hours ago, le Voyageur said:

The Mountain Man program at BRMC has been running now for over 20 years and was an off shoot of their High Knoll program. It's more of an enrichment program instead of high adventure, blending the Eastern long hunter era with the Mountain Man era.  There are You Tube videos of the program, but those are dated and poorly done.  

Well, maybe the BRMC needs to hire somebody a bit more creative about promoting their camps and programs. Sounds to me like they've put a lot of work into creating a strong Mountain Man program but are just shooting themselves in the foot with a poor web site and poor videos.

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You've hit the nail square on the head....spent several hours with the NCAP team last season detailing improvements...now, it's a wait and see.   On reflection concerning MHA, use of stoves, yes they do carry. They are small backpacker stoves, one per crew (9+2+1) and are used simply for making morning coffee...meals require the traditional campfire, rain or shine...the only meal the crew dose not prepare is at the end of the trek which is prepared by Base, being a Bean Hole supper.....

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  • 6 months later...
On 9/23/2019 at 8:42 AM, mrkstvns said:

Many thanks to all the scouters who posted suggestions for camps to add to the list and for those who posted comments about how camps implement their "Patrol Cooking".  I searched out the web sites for all camps offering some level of "patrol cooking" and foiund quite a lot of variability, from camps doing an outstanding job and fully embracing the patrol method, to camps that do little more than provide some instant oatmeal and tell scouts to heat their own water.  I read your comemnts....I read the web pages....I looked on other scouting forums....I downloaded the Leader Guides for all of these camps.  

Camps that do offer patrol cooking didn't make "the best" cut for various reasons. Some had patrol cooking in only a couple sites and only by special request. Some on some days of the week, but not others. Some required troops to bring their own food (which is just plain lame). Some offered patrol cooking for a meal or two per day, but otherwise pushed scouts to their mess hall. Some did not offer real cooking at all, just mixes or cold sandwiches (which is also totally lame).   

All this info led me to a picture of which BSA camps are truly THE BEST for troops who want Patrol Cooking...

SIX BEST BSA SUMMER CAMPS FOR TROOPS EMBRACING PATROL METHOD:

Troops that fully embrace the Patrol Method and want a high-quality summer camp experience should seek out these 7 camps...

  • Camp Dietler (CO)
  • Camp Freeland Leslie (WI)
  • Camp Bell (NH)
  • Camp Liberty (PA)
  • Camp Sabbatis (NY)
  • Camp Baldwin (OR)
  • Voyageur at Many Point Scout Camp (MN)


BSA SCOUT CAMPS OFFERING SOME LEVEL OF "PATROL COOKING"

Troops that want some level of "cooking" during their summer camp experience should look into these camps (quality may vary):


 

Unfortunately Camp Dietler has been shuttered for the 2020 season.  There is hope for a revival in a year or two. Slow registration numbers, increasing costs, and then Covid-19.  😞

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Unfortunately Camp Freeland Leslie, which did run an excellent Patrol Method program, was sold off to help National pay for the bankruptcy settlement.

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6 hours ago, RonF said:

Unfortunately Camp Freeland Leslie, which did run an excellent Patrol Method program, was sold off to help National pay for the bankruptcy settlement.

🎶 I used to be a CFL staffer, as you can plainly see, but if I weren’t a staffer, I’d grow up and have a family. 🎵

Bear Paw Scout camp hired CFL’s commissary director for this summer. It has had maybe 20% patrol cooking these last 3 years. It is ramping it up this summer after CFL shutting down.

 

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32 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

🎶 I used to be a CFL staffer, as you can plainly see, but if I weren’t a staffer, I’d grow up and have a family. 🎵

Bear Paw Scout camp hired CFL’s commissary director for this summer. It has had maybe 20% patrol cooking these last 3 years. It is ramping it up this summer after CFL shutting down.

 

Our Troop spent decades at Lefeber which was a patrol cooking camp.  We then went to Long Lake one year and the scouts hated it. Last 4 years we went to CFL and loved what they did there.  Now, we are headed to Bear Paw.  Hopefully it works out and keeps Patrol Cooking a permanent fixture. 

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An unfortunate update on my post: its a few years later and that patrol of young Scouts are older now. I hate to say it, but they don't remember the patrol cooking favorably and don't want to go back that camp. As an adult, I thought it was great and I observed the guys made a lot of progress and it was good for them in every way. But in our troop, the Scouts decide which summer camp to visit and they have firmly crossed that one off the list. <heavy sigh> This year's summer camp dining hall food was uneven, at best, but they don't want to cook at summer camp.

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IMO, if summer camp utilizes a dininig hall, scouts should not be able to use those days towards camping merit badge. #PuttingOnFlameRetardantSuit

IMO, if summer camp utilizes a dininig hall, scouts should not be able to use those days towards camping merit badge. #PuttingOnFlameRetardantSuit

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

IMO, if summer camp utilizes a dininig hall, scouts should not be able to use those days towards camping merit badge. #PuttingOnFlameRetardantSuit

IMO, if summer camp utilizes a dininig hall, scouts should not be able to use those days towards camping merit badge. #PuttingOnFlameRetardantSuit

I'm more of the opposite opinion. Teaching kids to tailgate in the woods is not what camping and outdoor experiences should revolve around to me. If you are often lugging a dutch oven with you into the woods or carting firewood or water for cooking, I would say that's counterproductive. I don't like to see so many people spending time around camp fires or worrying about food when there are trails to hike, wildlife to see, streams to explore, etc. I could see value in one rank requirement revolve around cooking a party meal and the rest of it focused on meals that are portable, eat on the go, and leave a minimal trace. At some point we're also going to have wrap our heads around the fact that campfires in the woods, or any kind of flame, may become harder and more ill advised to do.  

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4 hours ago, RainShine said:

An unfortunate update on my post: its a few years later and that patrol of young Scouts are older now. I hate to say it, but they don't remember the patrol cooking favorably and don't want to go back that camp. As an adult, I thought it was great and I observed the guys made a lot of progress and it was good for them in every way. But in our troop, the Scouts decide which summer camp to visit and they have firmly crossed that one off the list. <heavy sigh> This year's summer camp dining hall food was uneven, at best, but they don't want to cook at summer camp.

Was that an established BSA Council-run camp?  Did the Scouts pick the menus and buy the food?

We did our own summer camp in 2020, with the primary focus on Cooking MB for all Scouts who needed it.  Each Scout within a patrol who worked on Cooking Merit Badge came up with menus (counselor-approved), made their own shopping lists, and did their own shopping (we took field trips from camp).  Yes, it was a logistical challenge, but they owned it.  For the last few meals of camp, there were not enough meals to cover the requirements for Cooking MB, so younger Scouts worked on their TF, 2C, and 1C requirements.

They learned a tremendous amount. I definitely noticed an increase in cooking skills, teamwork, and speed on subsequent weekend camping trips.

Our Scouts remember this as one of their best camps.

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There is patrol method, and then there is Patrol Method. I found that no scouting activity bonds and challenges scouts more than patrol meals. Nothing comes close. Meals should be a team effort with building the fire, collecting wood for the fire, preparing food, cooking food, then cleaning up afterwards. Patrols that struggle the most don't work as a team. Instead they typically assign two to four scouts who feel stuck with tasks. Patrols where everyone is working to get the meal prepared are typically well bonded and spend half the time for meals preparation. 

Preparing meals is a skill, if not an art. My older son loved to be troop guide mostly because he liked to teach his patrol how to cook. And traditionally, he cooked a turkey for their first evening campout. 

I understand the dilemma of preparing meals at summer camp. We more than not don't because there are many camps where the scouts can prepare their meals. From a logistics perspective, getting food to patrols to prepare is a lot more challenging than just preparing the meals and having the scouts stand in line with their trays. But, from a character building and scouts skills perspective, scouts grow so much more preparing their own meals.

Then there is the high adventure treks. That is another level of team skills all-together. Introduce sumping for clean-up to encourage the scouts to cook better. I'm not talking about digging a hole, but consuming all leftover bits.

There are different ways to challenge patrols so that they grow together as servants to each other. And I challenge troop leaders to look for those methods. But, nothing like cooking as a team creates that servant bond.

Barry

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4 hours ago, RainShine said:

An unfortunate update on my post: its a few years later and that patrol of young Scouts are older now. I hate to say it, but they don't remember the patrol cooking favorably and don't want to go back that camp. As an adult, I thought it was great and I observed the guys made a lot of progress and it was good for them in every way. But in our troop, the Scouts decide which summer camp to visit and they have firmly crossed that one off the list. <heavy sigh> This year's summer camp dining hall food was uneven, at best, but they don't want to cook at summer camp.

It's funny as the scouts in my Troop have no desire to have dining hall.  The first dinner at camp this year was dining hall and otherwise it was patrol cooking.  While our scouts have less "free" time due to the work involved in patrol cooking, the patrol cooking aspect of summer camp is typically listed as one of the scouts (especially older scouts) highlights of summer camp.

The senior patrol usually sees it as a challenge to produce the best food, start eating first and complete KP before any other patrol.  Other patrols, those who build strong teams, typically start challenging the senior patrol by the end of the week.  Patrols don't necessarily follow the recipes.  They make up their own variants.  Many times those fail, but sometimes they work better than the provided recipe.  They learn from failure and learn that taking different approaches to a challenge sometimes leads to better results.

Unfortunately, it seems like many summer camps are headed to dining hall only.  They can typically eek out an additional merit badge and more camp wide games.  My troop, as long as the scouts continue to agree, will continue with patrol cooking.  That does mean we sometimes miss a camp wide game or end up with less merit badges, but the impact on the patrol bonding is a great tradeoff.

That said, I do wish our Troop was better at utilizing the patrol method beyond summer camp.  We have patrols at camporees, outings and Troop meetings ... but we haven't been able to gain momentum in patrols meeting on their own (and many times patrols are mixed at meetings due to lack of attendance).  Summer camp patrol cooking is that one time of year I see the patrol method shine.

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