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le Voyageur

Summer Camps and the Coronavirus

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Why would anyone pay that must for online merit badge class when there are hundreds of classes going on now for free. Your right that camp and council is starting to smell.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Reviving this one.

I found out the other day what my council plans on doing if summer camp cannot be live: going virtual. The powers that be figured out what MB instruction be done online, and will offer only those MBs. Max class size will be 30 Scouts, and the cost will be 1/3 of the normal cost of summer camp.

" I got a bad feeling about this."

My experiences with this camp have not been positive in the past few years. My sons were given merit badges they did not fully complete because they ran out of supplies. Oldest got  a kit from Hobby Lobby to actually earn it. Youngest is waiting to get a kit to finish it up. (mea culpa I kept putting it off until the store closed.)

I over heard a MB counselor state his class had earned the MB in 2 days, and they could goof off. There is no way everyone can earn Canoeing in just two days, especially when only 1/2 the class is on the water at a time due to not enough canoes and aquatics staff. It showed when the troop did a canoe trip, and B at that camp could handle the trip on calm, easy water. I would hate to have seen what would happen if they encountered serious weather like I did on my 50 miler in Canada.

This is also the camp that did not have enough shooting sports folks, and did not provide outsidentime for Archery folks to practice outside of class.

So many camps fall into the trap of trying to maximize profit while ignoring program

It is really simple math

There are X instructors and the camp has Y canoes that can each hold 2 Scouts, that means my class size is Y*2, and it takes Z hours in total to get the needed instruction.  You cannot change Z, the only variables that can change are X and Y.  

Same for rifles / archery / etc.  For handicraft you have tables that are X feet of seating, only so many butts can be in a class

Do the math

On another note ----- our troop has an outline for our own summer camp roughed in, we are playing wait and see with the council.  Plans would be for later July.  Site selected and basic timetable.  We have a pretty deep bench of leaders and can stand this up fairly quickly.  Needless to say we will definitely bail if they only can offer online for a "reduced" fee

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@Eagle94-A1

I echo your experiences, in general, with most Summer Camps over the past two decades (there have been few exceptions)...I have become more and more jaded.  And I feel as though I am titing at windmills...

It's like a whole cheating scheme that everyone is in on...and no one likes it if you make waves to point it out.

And it's all about the money...not about integrity or character building.

Councils want money through increased camper numbers.  The way to get that seems to  be to have a high number of Merit Badges awarded.  (notice I did not say "earned")  The result is the Merit Badge Mill.  

Parents want to see results for their money.  (awarded Merit Badges...notice I did not say "earned")  Most do not understand the Merit Badge program purpose or process.

Adult leaders want to see some tangible result of their time invested. (awarded Merit Badges...notice I did not say "earned")  How many leaders have you seen giving grief to camp staffs when their Scouts get a partial at the end of the week?  It is extra oversight, pain and paperwork to correctly call out a lot of bad apples https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/512-800_WB.pdf  And most of the time, councils never follow up or take corrective action. 

Scouts want Merit Badges to make rank because Eagle Scout is their (and their parents')  goal.  Guilt about awarded, but unearned, Merit Badges does not enter into the calculus of most 11-17 year olds.  "I need Eagle for my college application."  The result is the "Paper Eagle Scout"

Their is too much focus on the piece-of-cloth badge and ranks (the outward symbols), rather than the skills, experiences, and growth of the person (the inward man).  Videre quam esse?  Or, as Daniel Webster said... "The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as necessary to seem to know something as to know it."

The really sad part is, that the grand majority of MB's aren't really difficult to earn.  The bar  for most is extremely low, and easily achieved...

What message are we giving youth who go through these camps, and do not earn the badge, but are awarded it anyway?  What kind of person are we growing? "The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

There are many who will take exception to what I have said...please don't shoot the messenger...I have been involved in Scouting over 35 years.  I have been on staff of 15 summer camps, have attended National Camping School four times, and have been a Scoutcraft Director, Aquatics Director, and Climbing Director.  I have taken troops to summer camp for ten years.  I have been a Merit Badge Counselor an untold number of times...  So, I am speaking from those  things I have seen over the years...

I hope their is someone out there who has a vastly different experience...

 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

I echo your experiences, in general, with most Summer Camps over the past two decades (there have been few exceptions)...I have become more and more jaded.  And I feel as though I am titing at windmills...

It's like a whole cheating scheme that everyone is in on...and no one likes it if you make waves to point it out.

And it's all about the money...not about integrity or character building.

Councils want money through increased camper numbers.  The way to get that seems to  be to have a high number of Merit Badges awarded.  (notice I did not say "earned")  The result is the Merit Badge Mill.  

Sadly you are correct. Last time I was an MBC at camp, I taught Lifesaving MB. I had between 25 and 30 students, and I was by myself. A lot of the skills for Lifesaving MBC at the time were skills I taught as a YMCA Lifeguard Instructor, and had a minimum of 2 instructors and  a ratio of student to instructors to follow. I want to say the ratio was 6:1. So I should have had more instructors.

I also had some discipline issues the first day. Constantly not paying attention, disrupting class, etc. I kicked them out of the class. Later that evening, the CD tell me he heard  from the SM that I kicked out his Scouts, and that I needed to  let them back in as I cannot kick out Scouts. When I informed him of the problems these Scouts were causing and how it was interfering with the other Scouts, he did not care. Long story short, NO ONE completed the MB that week because I had to deal with problems and I could not meet all the requirements as a result. Of course I had a bunch of angry SMs to deal with, and the angriest and most obnoxious was the SM of the Scouts who caused the problems.

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Sadly you are correct. Last time I was an MBC at camp, I taught Lifesaving MB. I had between 25 and 30 students, and I was by myself. A lot of the skills for Lifesaving MBC at the time were skills I taught as a YMCA Lifeguard Instructor, and had a minimum of 2 instructors and  a ratio of student to instructors to follow. I want to say the ratio was 6:1. So I should have had more instructors.

I also had some discipline issues the first day. Constantly not paying attention, disrupting class, etc. I kicked them out of the class. Later that evening, the CD tell me he heard  from the SM that I kicked out his Scouts, and that I needed to  let them back in as I cannot kick out Scouts. When I informed him of the problems these Scouts were causing and how it was interfering with the other Scouts, he did not care. Long story short, NO ONE completed the MB that week because I had to deal with problems and I could not meet all the requirements as a result. Of course I had a bunch of angry SMs to deal with, and the angriest and most obnoxious was the SM of the Scouts who caused the problems.

My Venture Daughter had a very similar experience when she taught LS MB at camp a few years ago.  Solo instructor, way too many students, disruptive scouts could not be dismissed, and dealing with loud, oafish adult leaders.  It was very stressful for her but she hung in there and did the best she could.  Trial by fire, "character building" time.

One of those weeks, I was across the waterfront most of the days, a student in the LG BSA class (superbly managed) and witnessed, from afar, what passed for swimming and boating instruction as well.  Far too many students for the instructors and equipment at hand.  Instruction varied in quality.  The rowing instructor couldn't row a boat and his lack of energy for any aspect of his job reflected.   Other instructors were solid but struggled to do their best to cope with the large class rosters and lack of equipment.

I guess for many councils, that's the plan--to milk those cash cows they call summer camps--under hire, keep maintenance costs low by not repairing things, buy cheap equipment, serve heat/eat processed pre-school meals, and yet pack those troops in camp elbow to elbow. 

With the dynamics of the BSA's bankruptcy and COVID 19, I don't think councils can afford to cheat the customer as they have in the past.  The BSA broke trust with many scouters and families with the dues debacle last year.  For many, it was the proverbial "straw."  Families were experiencing financial difficulties prior to COVID 19--the problems are only compounded now, as you know.

These issues aside, one of my council's camps saw a significant drop in attendance last summer.  They have worked hard to resolve the reasons why (poor quality/not enough staff, poor maintenance, lousy food, etc.) and have done quite a job in the off season to turn over a new leaf. 

 

Edited by desertrat77
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Posted (edited)

Appears that NCS is now canceling a number of classes which will impact all council camps.....

 

Edited by le Voyageur

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On 4/12/2020 at 11:03 AM, InquisitiveScouter said:

How many leaders have you seen giving grief to camp staffs when their Scouts get a partial at the end of the week? 

Our council camp, along with several out of council camps we attend, have a SM meeting on Friday night.  That meeting is where we get the health forms returned, and have the opportunity to check on which MB's our scouts have completed and which ones they earn partials for.  If I have a scout who shows a partial, I check with the counselors who are present to see what they did not complete.  In one instance, the troop printout showed a scout with a partial for Rifle, which I questioned, just to be sure that he had actually done all of the 'explain/show' portions of the class.  When they looked him up, it turned out that he had completed everything, and it just missed getting input before the print out was run.  If the counselor had told me that he did the shooting part of the badge, but did not complete all of the discuss/demonstrate items, I would have gone back to the scout and let him know that he would have to find a counselor back home to finish up with.  In another instance, I had a scout showing as complete for a couple of MB's that included requirements done after he had gone home sick.  When I told the counselor, he looked at his attendance rosters, which showed the scout be present the day after he left camp.  Corrections were made, and the scout finished the requirements at home a couple of months later.

As a long time camp staffer in multiple councils, I understand the problems that sometimes arise when dealing with the large number of scouts in camp each week.  Everyone is entitled to make a mistake, as long as they are willing to correct it and learn from it.

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CDC/FEMA documents leaked to Washington Post.  While the details are probably changing, the priority is interesting and not a surprise for the many families out there that have dual incomes.  Notice the term locally attended.... that could be a bad sign for HA bases.  Again, leaked document that could easily change, but you can see the CDC mindset.

The first priority, according to the CDC response document, is to "reopen community settings where children are cared for, including K-12 schools, day cares, and locally attended summer camps, to allow the workforce to return to work. Other community settings will follow with careful monitoring for increased transmission that exceeds the public health and health care systems."

https://www.thehour.cvom/news/article/CDC-FEMA-have-created-a-plan-to-reopen-America-15200830.php

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I'm not surprised with this line of thought.  When this was ramping up, college spring break was just starting...exactly the wrong thing to do--take a bunch of college kids, disperse them all over the country / hemisphere, and bring them back a week later.  On a smaller scale, that's basically what happens at HA bases...folks from all over coming in and going out.

I wonder what "locally attended" means in a summer camp context.  In council?  Within xx miles?  Can a camp say "if you're from these states you can attend, but if you're from those states, you can't" ??

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3 hours ago, Chisos said:

I'm not surprised with this line of thought.  When this was ramping up, college spring break was just starting...exactly the wrong thing to do--take a bunch of college kids, disperse them all over the country / hemisphere, and bring them back a week later.  On a smaller scale, that's basically what happens at HA bases...folks from all over coming in and going out.

I wonder what "locally attended" means in a summer camp context.  In council?  Within xx miles?  Can a camp say "if you're from these states you can attend, but if you're from those states, you can't" ??

If councils only allowed “locally attended”, then they would lose staff as well.

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if Any summer camp is to happen I could see the following requirments

1. limit the number of camper to 1/4 Camp normal capacity (bases on last years attendence)

2. Test camper for fever at check in

3. Test staff daily

4. Have isolation areas set up

5. Limit the number of weeks (possible skip weeks for cleaning)

6. Decrease the days to five (for cleaning)

7. one scout per tent

8. No foreign scouts or scouters

9. no out of state scouts

10 decrease size of any merit badge class to 10 or less

Just my ramblings , still having a hard time believing any summer camps will happen, praying they do, Offering to help out as health office for free at my local camp

Fr. John

 

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12 minutes ago, jcousino said:

if Any summer camp is to happen I could see the following requirments

1. limit the number of camper to 1/4 Camp normal capacity (bases on last years attendence)

2. Test camper for fever at check in

3. Test staff daily

4. Have isolation areas set up

5. Limit the number of weeks (possible skip weeks for cleaning)

6. Decrease the days to five (for cleaning)

7. one scout per tent

8. No foreign scouts or scouters

9. no out of state scouts

10 decrease size of any merit badge class to 10 or less

Just my ramblings , still having a hard time believing any summer camps will happen, praying they do, Offering to help out as health office for free at my local camp

Fr. John

 

How about ... no staff that has recently traveled out of state ... or staff must quarantine at home for three weeks after traveling out of state before arriving at camp

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22 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

If councils only allowed “locally attended”, then they would lose staff as well.

My state currently has a 14 day quarantine for people traveling back to the state from elsewhere. That might be possible for out of state staff. Not really possible for out of state campers. 

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