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Mitch586

Camping requirements for rank advancement

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Hey everyone, during this time of coronavirus and uncertainty our troop has moved to an online format where we are trying to help the youth with rank advancement. We are doing Zoom meetings with trail to first class and merit badge breakouts. The question that some of my scouts have ask is how they can fulfill their camping requirements for rank? Thoughts? What is everyone else doing?  

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Posted (edited)

That's a great question.  I'm going to give my "opinion".  I can't say I've got the right answer.  I only have my opinion.  

We can't ask scouts to camp (individually, together or separated by reasonable distances).  We must put the health and well being of our scouts above rank requirements.  Also, our council ... and I think BSA ... has suspended all meetings, activities, etc.  Maybe, their own backyard with their parent, but I'm not sure that helps or if I could ask that as a leader. 

I applaud on-line meetings, on-line merit badges and on-line activities.  Hopefully, it will keep scouts connected with each other, with scouting and help them through this national crisis.  

My view is that camping, outdoors and the fellowship of camping are the heart of scouting.  ... Tenderfoot, 2nd class and first class ... Those first camp-outs imprint the heart of scouting.  I'd hate to see those key requirements compromised.  

So, my "general" view is the scouts needing camping requirements need to wait.   

My opinion might change if ...

  • the crisis goes on a year or more
  • the scout is turning 18 soon and has like 19 of 20 nights for the camping merit badge

At some point, we need to be flexible and favor the scout.  But, if the scout is new, I'd avoid finding flexibility to advance the scout's rank if they can't fulfill the camping requirement.  Those early ranks and rank requirements are core to setting the tone of scouting.  

Instead, work on the chess MB and do on-line tournaments.  Or, do an online trivia for US history as part of some MB.  ... or ...

Edited by fred8033

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fred8033: I hear you and agree so much. Really I have a new scout who crossed over a month and a half ago and is just rocking the rank requirements who is the main one asking. It is so hard to know how far we should go to keep them engaged. Thanks for your thoughts.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mitch586 said:

fred8033: I hear you and agree so much. Really I have a new scout who crossed over a month and a half ago and is just rocking the rank requirements who is the main one asking. It is so hard to know how far we should go to keep them engaged. Thanks for your thoughts.

Find ways to engage the scout.  It might not be with rank advancement.  But there are others.  STEM awards?  MBs that can be done without physical outings.  Scout having fellowship with his other scouts.  "Virtual" patrol meetings.   Maybe "virtual" patrol game nights?  Online patrol D&D tournaments?  

For example ... in a national crisis like today ... I'd question whether a virtual tour would be acceptable ... if the scout can show his investment and growth from doing the badge.

Scouting can help the scouts during this national crisis.  We just have to think outside the box.  

Edited by fred8033
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The scout and his patrol could make a rolling schedule of campouts. Say you missed two weekends so far, he schedules two weekends next month. And two weekends the following month or the month after summer camp.

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I agree with Fred.  Let's not dilute the program during this temporary problem, especially for younger and new scouts who will still have time to do all the requirements after this situation.  If there is a problem for a 17.5 year old, I would hope the BSA could make waivers on an individual basis and not a blanket policy for all.

 

Dale

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Assuming the shelter in place etc is lifted sometime in the summer, there will be pent up demand to go camping, etc.  Most units camp monthly AUG - MAY, with summer camps and HA in June and July (your results may vary with geography).  As some have noted, there will likely be chances to have multiple outings in a month.  For our unit we do 9 troop outings annually (not including 2 summer camps and HA) plus a new scout outing, plus likely 1 patrol outings, and then 2 or 3 bonus small group outings.  In 12 months, not counting HA, a scout could get 32+ nights camping and 15 events easily.

Just need a couple of leaders and some Scouts and BAM...you've got yourself an outing

 

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@Mitch586, to me this sounds like an opportunity. This is what I'd do. Call the scout along with the parents. Compliment him on his drive. Explain that right now we can't have campouts. Talk about how a scout is courteous, helpful and obedient, especially during a pandemic, and that there will be plenty of time in the future for campouts. Now is the time to adapt one's goals. All the adults are doing this so I'm sure he can as well. Then throw out some ideas. MB's. Planning campout ideas. Figuring out how to play card games online with his patrol, or checkers or chess, ...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Assuming the shelter in place etc is lifted sometime in the summer, there will be pent up demand to go camping, etc. 

For me and mine ... I'd replace "demand" with "desire".  I want to go camping.  I want my son to camp with his friends.  Our troop has at least one scouting camp out queued up each month until December right now and more planning in the fall.  March and April are canceled.  May probably too.  All summer probably too.  

Until my son has immunity through a vaccine or already having had the virus, I won't sign up my son for any camp.  Period.

My scouting fear is my last son is done camping as a scout.  He has two years before he turns 18, and a vaccine is at least 18 months out.  ScoutBook shows him with 120+ nights of camping and I'm betting that's about all he'll have.  I was hoping he'd have 150 by now, but that's another story.  His troop has planned 26 nights through November.   We were hoping 25 to 30 more next year.  At least, he's safe and healthy, as of now.  On the positive side, he probably won't catch Lyme disease unless it's from yard work and chores.

 

 

Edited by fred8033

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The center of Scouting is indeed the "safe outdoor adventure".    I ditto all the above comments/suggestions/encouragements.   

I remember my paleoscout era days.   A lot of my rank requirements were learned and passed in various backyards, not on campouts or hikes.   The skills  were then applied, practiced and perfected  in camp. 

Nature requirements?  ID plants, animals, animal signs?  Much of the IDing can be done with online, book  materials, and HOPEFULLY retained to apply when the outdoor part of our safe adventure  returns. I just saw a rufous sided towhee on our back porch feeder.  Squirrels,  chipmunks,  deer,  all thru the neighborhood.   

Passing the requirements?    With some effort, alot can be done online.   I just completed a video "BlueSky"   medical appointment.  Whodathunk such a thing would be possible  only a few years ago.  Skype, ZOOM (make sure the privacy settings are correct) has great potential.   Religious services,  choral practice,  family reunions and check ins,  committee meetings, meritbadge sessions (going to try Bugling in the near future !).   

If a Scout is Trustworthy,   much can be accomplished before we again take to the woods.   Our IOLS/BALOO session for May was canceled,  our October sessions are still on.   We shall see.   

Pass the Peach Cobbler, please.   

 

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