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Eagle94-A1

Who Failed: the Troop, National, or Both

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Last night I sat on an Eagle Board of Review. I admit I was surprised when found out who it was because I had not seen them in 5 years.  I admit life threw him and his family some curve-balls and could understand why he wasn't around.

But the shock  involved weekend and long term. Found out that his troop goes to the same 4 places all the time, and they are in conjunction with merit badge universities. That is definitely the troop's fault. BUT here is the kicker in the 6 years he has been registered as a Scout, he has never been to a week long summer camp. That's right... 

NEVER BEEN TO A WEEK LONG SUMMER CAMP! (emphasis).

I wondered how he could ever earn Camping MB, and looked it up. A week long camp out MAY (emphasis) be used to meet the 20 days and nights of camping.

So who failed the Scout: Troop, National, or both?

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Last night I sat on an Eagle Board of Review. I admit I was surprised when found out who it was because I had not seen them in 5 years.  I admit life threw him and his family some curve-balls and could understand why he wasn't around.

But the shock  involved weekend and long term. Found out that his troop goes to the same 4 places all the time, and they are in conjunction with merit badge universities. That is definitely the troop's fault. BUT here is the kicker in the 6 years he has been registered as a Scout, he has never been to a week long summer camp. That's right... 

NEVER BEEN TO A WEEK LONG SUMMER CAMP! (emphasis).

I wondered how he could ever earn Camping MB, and looked it up. A week long camp out MAY (emphasis) be used to meet the 20 days and nights of camping.

So who failed the Scout: Troop, National, or both?

I'd say both.

National teed up this path of Eagle years ago. 

But the troop deserves the lion's share of the blame.  If the troop culture is to just fill squares, the scouts will go along with the flow.

Then the candidate is standing in front of the Eagle board of review...and hasn't fully experienced scouting at all.

Edited by desertrat77

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I would dare to say the Scout also failed themselves. 

I know most will only do what they have for options, but you mean to tell me a scout never wants for more and finds like minded people?

 

So you're shocked about the 6 years no summer camp, did you ask the scout if he even wanted to go?  Is the scout 18?  I would have pushed him to go back to his troop and push the other scouts that its not too late to demand a better program.

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Why do you assume that missing summer camp is a failure?  Is that a requirement that I am not aware of?  Can a scout not have a full and satisfying scouting experience through troop and patrol camping?

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Let's assume we have two scouts who in two or three years did the following ...

  • Mr. Tortise: attends summer camp and seven two-night camps with his troop for a total of 20 nights. Gets camping MB, plus an O/A sash.
  • Mr. Hare: attends no summer camp and ten two-night camps with his troop for a total of 20 nights. Gets camping MB.

Who has had the better experience?

Answer:

  • Mr. Inculcated-with-a-vision-of-the-pinnacle-scouting-experience-of-hiking-and-camping-independently-with-your-mates: who may or may not have partially attended summer camp (let's say he got homesick by night 3), went camping with his troop for three weekends, with his patrol once or twice, with his youth group for four days each summer, with his family for a weekend or two, with a few friends on gramps' back nine while cleaning his cabin one weekend, with a girlfriend or two some weekends, etc ...

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Posted (edited)

As much I feel strongly that kids gain more in terms of bonding out of spending a week each summer with their patrol/troop members than they do from a handful of weekend campouts, I also appreciate that for some kids it just isn't a possibility.  For some it may be about $, for others it just may be they have other activities that are important to them that they set summer aside for (working at a local Y or town day camp, for example). 

Based on our council membership #, and the numbers we know came to our council camp (and throwing in all the staff members, though some are over 18 and not really counted in membership #s), and estimating generously for those units I know go to out of council camps, I would say only about 60% of our scouts went to a week long summer camp last summer.  

Edited by HashTagScouts

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, scotteg83 said:

So you're shocked about the 6 years no summer camp, did you ask the scout if he even wanted to go?  Is the scout 18?  I would have pushed him to go back to his troop and push the other scouts that its not too late to demand a better program.

 

3 hours ago, JoeBob said:

Why do you assume that missing summer camp is a failure?  Is that a requirement that I am not aware of?  Can a scout not have a full and satisfying scouting experience through troop and patrol camping?

I am a big proponent of  summer camp because that is the place where bonding with the troop happens faster because you are there, with your buddies, 24/7. Further for many Scouts, summer camp is the first time away from their parents for an extended period. We did ask about why he didn't go to summer camp, and the reason was he did not want to be away from his family that long. Now he is almost 18, leaving for college in the fall, and is worried about how he will handle being away from his family.

While he met the requirements for Eagle, he not only did get the full experience Scouting had to offer, but also is not prepared to leave the nest. 

He is an Eagle, pending National approval,  but Scouting, whether locally or nationally, has failed to prepare him for life IMHO.

Edited by Eagle94-A1

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From 11 to 13 I did not know summer camp existed.  We had a great time the rest of the year… Scouts advanced,  lots of weekend trips and a good Scouting experience.  When I was 14 we were offered Council Provisional Troop summer camp.  A few Scouts went, had a great time and many were subsequently on staff. 

Summer camp may not be essential to Scouting, but it does enrich Scouting greatly.  If a Scout has an opportunity, but never does… it’s their loss, but does not preclude Eagle.

In my District many Troops do not go as a Unit to summer camp or make alternatives known to Scouts.   Part of camp promotion includes offering a Provisional Troop and encouraging Scouts attending camp with a neighboring Troop when feasible. The Council mails publicity material direct to families about camp, including Provisional options.  We do what we can to lead youth to the summer camp lake and hopefully make them swim!

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58 minutes ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

In my District many Troops do not go as a Unit to summer camp or make alternatives known to Scouts.   Part of camp promotion includes offering a Provisional Troop and encouraging Scouts attending camp with a neighboring Troop when feasible. The Council mails publicity material direct to families about camp, including Provisional options.  We do what we can to lead youth to the summer camp lake and hopefully make them swim!

 

WOW!  Every single troop I have been involved with in 6 different councils over 30 year has gone to summer camp as a troop. I really feel sorry for your Scouts.

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To clarify... the Troops who do not are typically the smaller and not very good Troops.  Many do not last long.  As s District we do what we can and as many know... it's tough getting them to improve in many areas. I'm happy to report the Troops I've been involved with as an adult have gone -  ranging from one in a wealthy neighborhood to a homeless shelter. 

 

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Not concerned about summer camp attendance but scouts do miss out on some things that are likely not available locally.

The OP did say he hadn't seen this scout in FIVE years?   That's the scouts entire time!  Not sure if he is in the troop or just a district rep.

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7 minutes ago, PACAN said:

... The OP did say he hadn't seen this scout in FIVE years?   That's the scouts entire time!  Not sure if he is in the troop or just a district rep.

@PACAN Eagle BoR's in some parts are comprised entirely of district reps. (Scouters in our district prefer a mix of unit committee and reps.)

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Maybe nobody failed? Or rather the issue is the perception vs the reality of eagle. Eagle is a list of requirements. Our perception is that it's about character and self sufficiency and other subjective ideas. I don't see how any list of requirements ensures any of these traits. I truly see where you're coming from. I've been there but I don't see a way to improve the situation.

What character really gets down to is a desire to do the right thing. How people get there is a much bigger topic than scouts and orders of magnitude bigger than a rank patch.

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We all failed.  We try to pre-package Scouting into discrete things like merit badges, Summer Camp, service projects, etc.

Scouting is a game with a purpose!

Did he have a good game? 

Did we meet the purpose?

What makes an Eagle Scout?

As a Scoutmaster, I have written many letters of recommendation over the years.  Some are easy.  Some are not. 

The easy ones are long letters regaling the BoR with how I have watched this young person grow and learn, and some of the experiences we have shared.  They usually end with this statement,

"Jimmy is an Eagle Scout, and I am glad you have the chance to meet him and confirm what I have learned."

For the ones that are not easy...

"Jimmy has met the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout."

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

We all failed.  We try to pre-package Scouting into discrete things like merit badges, Summer Camp, service projects, etc.

Scouting is a game with a purpose!

I think you are right. National has focused solely on folks getting Eagle, and it has spread downward through the ranks. Heck I had one SM tell me one of my Scouts was wasting his htime because he took a MB he already had a second time because he enjoyed it. Instead that Scout should have been taking MBs he needed for Eagle. Scouting and summer camp in particular should be about fun.

 

5 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Did he have a good game? 

Did we meet the purpose?

In all honesty I do not think he had fun in Scouting. He did it because his mother pushed. As for meeting the purpose, again I don't think so. Scouting is suppose to prepare you for life. And he is afraid of leaving his family to go to college. I have only seen this once before in an Eagle, and it was one form the same troop. He passed up scholarships to out of town universities to stay with his family.

5 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

What makes an Eagle Scout?

I know, I know, meeting the requirements. He met them. 

5 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

As a Scoutmaster, I have written many letters of recommendation over the years.  Some are easy.  Some are not. 

The easy ones are long letters regaling the BoR with how I have watched this young person grow and learn, and some of the experiences we have shared.  They usually end with this statement,

"Jimmy is an Eagle Scout, and I am glad you have the chance to meet him and confirm what I have learned."

For the ones that are not easy...

"Jimmy has met the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout."

Thankfully I have been extremely fortunate in that regard. Every Eagle who has asked for a letter has been outstanding. I even went to bat for one Eagle who had some delays in his EBOR due to his dear old Uncle Sam sending him to San Antonio for sometraining.

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