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Philosophy on Camping Nights for OA Eligibility


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  • Have experienced 15 nights of Scout camping while registered with a troop, crew, or ship within the two years immediately prior to the election. The 15 nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of at least five consecutive nights of overnight camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. Only five nights of the long-term camp may be credited toward the 15-night camping requirement; the balance of the camping (10 nights) must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps of, at most, three nights each. Ship nights may be counted as camping for Sea Scouts.

OA "Selections" coming up. (They are not really elections. ) We have a First Class Scout who attended Summer Camp, so has the long term nights covered.  After camp, he also went on our canoe trek of 6 days and 5 nights.  Each day, they packed up camp and canoed to a new site, setting up a new camp.  

I think we should count those as short term versus long term nights, for eligibility purposes.  I believe the philosophy behind the  eligibilty requirement is to eliminate camping in one place for the required nights.

Thoughts?

Also to inform the discussion, consider 2021 OA policy:

  • The limitation on counting no more than three (3) nights of virtual short-term camping in a single month is increased to five (5) nights per month. All other requirements for virtual short-term camping eligibility remain in effect.
  • The requirement for a long-term camp of five (5) consecutive nights is relaxed. While council long-term camps should be utilized if available, any combination of short-term and/or long-term nights, in camp or virtual, that are part of a BSA unit-organized unit camping event held within the two years prior to election may be counted toward the 15 night requirement.
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I was my Lodge's Unit Elections Committee Chair in my sordid youth, among other offices, and I am more and more agnostic on the whole OA thing, including the selection process. So I won't weigh in on your dilemma, as I fluctuate between a purist who longs for the old days and a realist who thinks this kid belongs in the OA.

I only want to add that while I think you are partially correct on the philosophy of the requirement, it is also to show a regular and recurring commitment to the unit's camping program, with the idea that one (theoretically) must attend several camping trips over that period to meet the requirement. That is supposed to help the unit members answer those "Who among you..." questions. At least that was my understanding.

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Concur... but he has not been in Scouting for full two years. Joined at 13.  Very active, great skills, and participates a lot.  Def an "honor camper" already. I think it would be a disservice to him (and the Troop) to have him wait another year.

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3 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

... I believe the philosophy behind the  eligibilty requirement is to eliminate camping in one place for the required nights. ...

I always believed the philosophy was to provide scout's fellows a sufficient amount of overnights with the troop on which to judge the candidate's merits. More nights throughout the year = more data points.

Since the canoe trip was a troop excursion and not some big-ticket provisional HA, it would mean the lad's character was manifest to the rest of your scouts on that trip. If he was a saint to scouts on land where you all were watching, but a jerk in his boat every time you adults were around the bend, he won't get elected.* If your boys are like mine, word gets around if one scout made the others' overnights miserable.

So, we're starting at different points but reaching the same conclusion. Lacking any other reservation on your part, count the nights.

*A rose by any other name ...

Edited by qwazse
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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

We have one trip sched next month for 2 nights.  He'll be short 2, unless we count all the nights of August, then he'd be over the requirement.

No camping in September, October, or November? I think I see where the problem is. 

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56 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

No camping in September, October, or November? I think I see where the problem is. 

Troop was camping.  This Scout is also deeply active in school, sports, band, and church.  I wish every Scout was as well rounded as he.

Don't jump to conclusions without asking about the facts.

You aren't making a very splendid figure @mrjohns2

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1 hour ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Troop was camping.  This Scout is also deeply active in school, sports, band, and church.  I wish every Scout was as well rounded as he.

Splendid figure? Never said I was shooting for that. Judge a little less yourself. 
 

Since he has chosen to not camp with the troop for the last 3 months, then being OA eligible wasn’t important to him. 
 

Don’t shirk the rules @InquisitiveScouter, it isn’t very obedient of you. Not everyone gets a ribbon, trophy, or sash. 

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OK, bit of an aside, but I always found the Req's for the Camping MB weird. The Scout can only claim one long term camping trip (up to 6 nights) and needs 20 nights. But no guidance on what a short term camping trip is. 1 night? 2? 3? 4? 5?. What about a Scout who has done multiple long term camps? It seems weird that they can use a one night car camping trip, but no nights at all from that 12 night Philmont expedition because they already had a summer camp counted? Or does it camp for x nights?

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2 hours ago, UKScouterInCA said:

OK, bit of an aside, but I always found the Req's for the Camping MB weird. The Scout can only claim one long term camping trip (up to 6 nights) and needs 20 nights. But no guidance on what a short term camping trip is. 1 night? 2? 3? 4? 5?. What about a Scout who has done multiple long term camps? It seems weird that they can use a one night car camping trip, but no nights at all from that 12 night Philmont expedition because they already had a summer camp counted? Or does it camp for x nights?

Same reasoning I was questioning, @UKScouterInCA.  It is all poorly worded.  I believe the intent is to have a Scout set up camp multiple times, in a multitude of different settings, and fit into the mindset @qwazse outlined above.

Look at the relaxed OA requirements for camping above.  If you are a letter-of-the-law person like @mrjohns2 , then a Scout could have camped in his own back yard 27-31 May (5 nights in May) and then 01-05 June (5 nights in June) and have been eligible with short term nights.  Never move his tent for this "virtual camping" experience.  Not exactly what we'd be looking for, huh?

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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2 hours ago, UKScouterInCA said:

OK, bit of an aside, but I always found the Req's for the Camping MB weird. The Scout can only claim one long term camping trip (up to 6 nights) and needs 20 nights. But no guidance on what a short term camping trip is. 1 night? 2? 3? 4? 5?. What about a Scout who has done multiple long term camps? It seems weird that they can use a one night car camping trip, but no nights at all from that 12 night Philmont expedition because they already had a summer camp counted? Or does it camp for x nights?

Asked and answered here: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/06/24/ask-expert-isnt-camping-night-camping-mb/

Wade through the myriad comments, if you dare.

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9 minutes ago, qwazse said:

Asked and answered here: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/06/24/ask-expert-isnt-camping-night-camping-mb/

Wade through the myriad comments, if you dare.

From the article:

"Short-term campouts provide variety in both preparation and experience, and the Scouts are more likely to have to set up their own tent and take more responsibility for outdoor living skills. A long-term summer camp is still a long-term camp even if the Scout is there for only a portion of the time. It’s an entirely different adventure and usually doesn’t call for the same level of self-reliance required for a short-term camp."

I think we'll count the canoe trek as 5 short-term camping experiences, with a day of canoeing between each one 😜

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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7 hours ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

From the article:

"Short-term campouts provide variety in both preparation and experience, and the Scouts are more likely to have to set up their own tent and take more responsibility for outdoor living skills. A long-term summer camp is still a long-term camp even if the Scout is there for only a portion of the time. It’s an entirely different adventure and usually doesn’t call for the same level of self-reliance required for a short-term camp."

I think we'll count the canoe trek as 5 short-term camping experiences, with a day of canoeing between each one 😜

Your mental gymnastics could come back to bite …

  • Philmont trek is a series of overnights interrupted by hikes with full packs.
  • Seabase sailing adventures is a series of overnights interrupted by rolling up your bunk, stowing it in the hold, and snorkeling reefs or touring islands.
  • We could say the same for extended adventures with dog sledding, cross country skiing, or circus caravans.

Look, let’s clear all of the machinations off the table and do what this forum prattles on incessantly about doing. Be boy led.

Have the scout read the requirements, look at his camping log, and ask him what he thinks should be decided.

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