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Adults who cook (for scouts)

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At our last campout, during lunch, I found one of the new parents cooking lunch for his sons patrol. As he was a new parent, whom I had never met before, I didn't feel comfortable approching him about this (and our SM was unable to attend that campout, so all of the adult leaders were new). Any suggestions on how I, as SPL, should handle this situation, if it occurs again in the future.

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Post a duty roster at your campsite, with the names of the boys that are scheduled to cook the meals. At the start of your campout, make a point of announcing to the group that the duty roster is posted and to check it.

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If you feel okay with the dad explain how cooking helps the Scouts plan and do a task to a good standard. Near enough is not really good enough with food.


Ask your SM to sit all new adults down for 30 min of this is how it works in this Troop and why. I do that every year. I cover what the parents can do to help and what they should not do that also helps. Very much I explain the why. Learning by doing.


It reads like the PL should have a duty roster up in the Patrol campsite somewhere. Is it your job to get the PL onto the task or is that the SMś job? Not familiar enough with SPL duties to know myself.


The solution really is to make sure that it will not happen in the future not to wait until it does.


Dad may just be doing his best and doesnt realise what is going on - it is his first time after all.

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Avoiding the issue to fight another day is sometimes the wise move. That's what it sounds like you did. Getting advice from your SM is an appropriate next step. In the mean time, we'll give you some advice too. :)


You could have approached the dad, asked him to step to the side, and explain that it's important for the boys to take the initiative to prepare the meals. He's welcome to assist. But, they need to be in charge. Whether you can take that approach depends upon a lot of things, many of which you might not be able to know in this situation. For example, would the dad respect you? Or, why was he doing it? (Perhaps things were running amock and he felt like he had to step in). As a SM, I would have done this. But, since your SM wasn't there, and it sounds like there were no other experienced leaders there, then you might have been stuck.


The only other thing I can think of is if you knew one of the other adults well enough to have them step in. That would probably work as well.


Best of luck!

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Happy new years all....

meamemg...Now that the issue is 'past history' the "BESTEST" thing you can do is sit all your green bars and troop guides down and let them hear up 'lose and personal'....PARENTS DO NOT DO SCOUTS TASK FOR THEM! RULE NUMBER ONE for all ACTIVITIES should be "IF a boy can do 'it'...

the adults don't!...

Then have a meeting of your new scouts and explain it to them...so no one mis understands...they should be encouraged to speak to their own parents about 'letting them learn' during campouts...and perhaps suggestion that dad (or mom) stay with the adults...

Then it is time to have the TROOP ADULTS get the word out to ALL parents that no scout ever starved to death on a campout, and if they want to cook...cook for the adult kitchen! (nicely, of course...but remember the troop 'belongs' to the SPL...it is his job to make it work and in this case, I think, the boys can be 'trained' to handle this matter well enough next time.


If a similar opportunity presents it's self in the future do not be concerned about interacting with an adult...start with the same respect and courtesy you would want exhibited toward yourself and ask the patrol leader (for this example) to stand ready to 'take over for Mr. X' when you ask for his 'help'...take the adult to the side and explain what 'we' are trying to accomplish with the 'program' and in 99 out of 100 instances, I'll wager the dad will 'stand down'. But if the boys know the 'rule' they should be expected to say 'Dad, thanks but thats my job". Then YOU have no problem...so talk to your guys!

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In our troop, the adults and scouts plan and cook their own meals -- it's made clear before camp -- the SPL makes a duty roster with names for each day. -- MB and advancements are signed off that way. -- If an adult doesn't get it yet, the SLP should go to the SM to inform them about the issue, and if it was up to me I would explain the troops program to that adult at that time. -- it's not as hard if they are new to the troop.I might say,(O by the way, we let the boys do all of the cooking themselves-- lets watch the skills they learn and how good it turns out) I HOPE. RM

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I have to jump in on this one. Being a professional Chef the temptation to cook is great. I was told early on to just step away and come cook with the adult patrol. IT was a little hard to break away but I learned quick. Now I will just walk by when the boys are cooking and give the a quick lesson on proper method etc. I can smell a burnt pancake from 100 yards out. we infoem the parents at their orientation meeting that the boys do it all and it's hands off. Adults camp together and eat together except once a year when the boys cook for us and we cook for them.

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Have I got a suggestion for you!...I mean besides let 'em burn them!


I am not a pro...but I love cooking...do most of it at home...would love to be a pro but I hate your hours!

the suggestion? Give troop cooking lessons away from campouts or at a special campout.

I started this when I was a Webelos leader (after going head to head with nearly all the dads/moms who still wanted the boys to eat well...and I carried it Boy Scouts. We now have a shakedown campout for new boys ONLY (SPL, Guides and a few older instructors are brought along) every fall.


A major part of this is to break the boys down into smaller cooking units and have them cook four meals (sometimes five) over that first weekend. No quickies, every thing from scratch and because it is a NSP thing... no deadlines or activities to interfere.


"Other" scout stuff is worked in around the cooking...knots, camp set-up, equipment use are worked in along with a few games and a small bit of down time...and new scout parents are kept out of NSP shakedown camp by the Scoutmaster who spends the weekend leading them through a complete patrol planning and execution process so they can see what it is like.

Give it some thought...give it a try...


Final note: NSPs start in March for us, Shakedown is late March-early April...we have a cooking contest (with nice prizes) worked into the June-August period (when our CO decides to hold its communittee picnic)...about half the New Scouts sign up! Its great!



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our NSP starts in late Feb. The boys have a cooking challenge campout in April. It's no holds barred compettion. As long as you can cook it over an open fire or on a camp stove it's game. Past menus included dutch oven duck with glazed apples, A full blown mid eastern meal, leg of lamb and a smoked turkey. Since the boys do all the cooking it's a great chance for the adults to hang out and show the new parents how things work.

There are prizes for all sorts of things from best overall meal to best clean up.

We use a modified IKA 40 point system.

I usually meet withthe individual patrols and help them throughthe finer points of their menu and techniques.

The famous line is "if you are going ot make a mistake, let me know first so I can stop you."

I do however like your idea of a seperate cooking campout for the NSP. It seems the troop can cook high end but just can't seem to get pancakes right.

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IKA= Internationale Kochlunst Ausstellung

AKA. the Culinary Olympics

10 pts for taste

10pts for originality

10 for presentation

10 for sanitation/teamwork


We then break those catagories down as in Sanitation. Did the patrol handle the food properly? Did all Patrol members have a job and work together?

Originality is fairly straight forward. Did they try something new and push themselves? Not just the usual Mac and Cheese.


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love it!

two years a go we had a boy (in the lone scout side of the contest)build a 'smoker' on site with a 'table top' $7.00 charcoal grill (smoker lid was a leaf covered 'basket' made on site with small saplings) then he proceeded to smoke three trout, roasted potatoes in a D.O., steamed fresh green beans in his mess kit and produced a pine-apple upside down cake in a second D.O.


As I mentioned before this is done at the church community picnic...Members of the church are "drafted" by the pastor to be judges...Our little 'show off' then proceeded to produce from his backpack a checker board plastic table cloth, table setting for four, plastic wine glasses, two small candles, cloth napkins and a semi chilled bottle of sparkling cider (white)...

Since I was not a judge I could not deduct for the plastic nor the cake (my favorite BTW), but too heavy for the trout....


Don't you just love this stuff when the boys reach higher than you expect!

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we should just start a new topic just for these kind of events.

Our guys did someting simular in a large cardboard box usually used for garbage. they used the table top grill and took the grate off and used that to hold the turkey about 18' off the coals.

used the bottom for the caols and put the chips in a #10 can in the center for the smoke. Best turkey I've had in years.

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