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Observation vrs Participation

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In another thread there is an ongoing discussion about how limiting parental participation may be a recruiting issue. In the course of discussion it has been noted that all activities are open to parental observation, however OGE noted that a class 5 whitewater trip might not be for everyone. It has also been noted on some outings, i.e. Philmont, National Jamboree, that adult participation is limited.


How does one limit adult participation without restricting a parents ability to observe? How would a concerned parent observe a Philmont crew?


I'm wondering because I may have to provide an explanation to a grandparent that has indicated he wants attend a high adventure trip. He's not a registered leader but wants to attend with his grandson and I frankly have concerns about his physical ability to do the trip. This scout(15 yrs old) has not attended an outing without his father or grandfather present and his father, who is a registered adult, cannot attend this outing. We have not limited adult(parent)participation in the past.




Thanks in advance gang.



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As it applies to observation during the high adventure trip I really don't have any ideas... and as it applies to the Grandfather, I hate to be the one to suggest weeding out, but... In my troop, when we'd prepare to go on a Philmont Trek or another 50 miler, we'd have Prep Hikes. These would be every few saturdays to slowly work up the scouts (and adults) to the required load and exertion, as well as bind them together a bit. I'm not sure how long you have till you go on your trek, but I'd suggest having everyone do prep hikes... make everyone realize what they're getting themselves into (young and old alike). The grandfather though it's obvious he cares deeply, might realize that he wouldn't be able to keep up. That would also give him an opportunity to see the caliber of group his grandson would be with. Maybe you'd even be surprised and find that the grandfather can keep up with the best of them (I really don't know any details about his physical condition, but it's a possibility).

 -Curtis :-D

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What kind of High Adventure trip is it? Is there room for him if he could handle it?


My answer to parental observation on a resticted trip is if you insist on going when ther is no slot for you or you cannot physically handle it, you need to deceide if your going to allow your son to attend without you because there is no way to observe a trip like philmont.


Isn't it ironic, the G2SS says all scouting activities are open to parental observation, and NONE of the 3 national high adventure bases, nor the NSJ allow for it!

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How to participate? Sign up and meet the qualifications. For example for the National Jamboree - be a contingent SM or SA, Staff member, etc. Another option, just go (Jamboree is a public event). For Philmont - do the same, sign-up.


Parental observation is an opportunity, not a given.



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I think the key is that Philmont, Sea Base, etc, is open to parental participation IF they meet the participation criteria. I "went" with YoungSpiked Eagle to the 2001 National Jamboree, I was an Asst Scoutmaster in one troop, he was a patrol leader in another. A few friends of mine "took" their sons to Philmont, they were the adults and their sons were in the Crew. Likewise when a contingent went to the Boundary Waters, there were father and son attendees, but the parents were there for all the boys. How many scout memories are built on what I did in scouts with my dad and what I will want to do with my son? If need be, participation has to be restricted to those who can safely do the activity, but this isnt always so.

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High Adventure is more rigorous than regular Scouting activities and may require some qualifying restrictions.


For trips that are considered strenuous or trips that require advanced skills, we ask all participants to attend special training events for physical conditioning and/or skills development. This would apply to all participants, youth and adult.


It is important for all members of the group to have the necessary skills and physical ability to safely complete the high adventure.


If grandpa can successfully accomplish those training requirements, then I'd welcome him to the group. If not, then I would explain to him why this trip is not for him.


It's for the boys. Adults are there to enable and support the Scouts on the trip. If adults are impairing the program or placing an undo burden on the boys, then it's not appropriate for them to participate.


If he's not qualified, I would inform him of that as kindly and diplomatically as possible. Respect his desire to help, and counsel him in other ways he can help the troop.


If he does qualify, let him go.


I also believe that high adventure should be about a group of boys, rather than a group of adults with boys tagging along. In our troop we ask that any high adventure group have a majority of youth participants. Philmont has similar requirements.


Good luck to you.



Cliff Golden

Scoutmaster Troop 33

DeKalb, Illinois

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There comes a time when common sense must kick in.

Even the National Jamboree is not allowing visitors in until Wednesday and there are times when visitors have to off the Jamboree site.

If people want to fully participate in all the programs they can make themselves known to the unit nominating committee, fill out the necessary paperwork, hopefully buy the needed equipment (A full Scout Uniform??) get trained and as long as they meet the requirements for any activity, participate to their hearts content. In fact most units I know would welcome them with open arms.


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Age is not a reason for a person being asked not to attend a place like Philmont but physical ability is. To put it plainly, if an adult were to attend philmont and he is not able to complete the trek, the evacuation will really hold up the scouts and that would not be fair. An overnight camping trip is one thing, but any extended wilderness trip, be it hiking, canoeing, sailing or other, all that attend should meet a basic level of physical ability.


There are plenty of adults over the age of 55 that are in great shape and if they can complete the trip then there is no reason they cant go.


If this grandfather isnt up to the phyisical aspect of the trip then he should NOT go on it. He would just be hindering and not helping.


When ever any troop is going on an extended high adventure trek there should be a training scheduale to evaluate the physical abilities of those looking to attend as well as getting in shape. For our troop going out to philmont it began last spring, with a lot of backpacking trips and early morning PTs. Any adults that cant's hack it on these weekend trips or PTs arent going to NM.

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