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Cooking in Camp...expectations

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We have instituted a requirement in our Troop that the Boys can not take the easy way out when cooking in camp....


Cold meals, Ramen and Pop tarts are not allowed unless they are part of a full meal...


Cereal is only allowed on Sundays for easy clean up.


This is to teach the Scouts to plan good hearty meals, work as Patrol, and develop good cooking skills. (which include cleaning up)


Since we have started this, it is amazing what results we are getting.

It was rocky at first, but now we have fantastic one pot meals... lots of Dutch oven cooking, and the boys are starting to enjoy their time under the dining fly.


What do you all typically do? And have you put in requirements like this in your Troops?

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In our troop, we do not have requirements; however, we lead by examples. The adult patrol would cook a fine (smelling and tasting) meal in the dutch ovens (DO) or the stoves and proceed to enjoy our meals. It caught some of the boys' eyes. They started to ask something along the line ... "The adults are lucky. You all eat so well!" We simply replied, "You can eat like this as well!" They usually responded curiously, "Really? How?" We showed them that camping does not mean that you can't eat well and healthily. We would teach them if they ask. We made available recipes books, links, and notes.


My son then asked me to teach him how to cook with the DO. At the next campout, his patrol cooked the meatloaf in the DO. It was a far cry from stirred can of Chef-Boyd R D. The other patrols took notice and tried other recipes at the subsequent campouts (pizza in the DO for example).


Intentionally, we allow the SPL and his direct reports to eat the adult patrol from time to time to give the taste of good cooking. Hopefully, they will encourage other scouts to take on the fine art camp cooking.


It takes time by this method, but they learn it and they like it!


Now that the adults in our troop have developed a reputation for our cooking, we may use it to our advantage! We may offer to cook for the patrol that shows the most patrol spirit (judged by the adult leaders) at a campout! This serves two purposes ... 1) develop the needed patrol spirits within our troop 2) further our lesson of cooking at campout!


By the way, our new scouts are taught how to cook and what constitutes a nutritious meal first. They are guided by Troop Guides who eat with them!




ps: We do not band them from taking the short cut to cooking; however, if they elect to, they would get a nutrition question and answer session from me or one of the scoutmasters about their choice after the campout based on what is being taught in the handbook. So, we do follow up with them on their choice of meals in terms of nutrition.


(The above information are only my own opinions. Please do not take them as guidances and/or teachings for I am not qualified to teach the exact the BSA's methodologies or guidelines, at least not on this forum!)(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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That is a good policy.


Of course now i'm working with Webelos, and the leaders and parents have a greater role in meal preparation than in Boy Scouts. But i'm going to allow myself to look back on the past :)


At least in my opinion, all Scouts (if possible) should have at least helped in the preparation of at least one meal if not two by the time they reach Tenderfoot. This would depend on the activity of the troop, ableness of the scout to attend, etc. (Keep in mind, unless my memory fails me, this is NOT a BSA requirement and should not be instituted in anyone's troop as such)


I found that patrols cooking together helped their ability to work together as a patrol. It only takes them smelling the adult fly one or two times before they really get into cooking and see how fun it is.


That is a good troop policy, schleining. It will help your troop in MANY ways.

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We have had a policy that once a menu item is cooked on a campout, it can't appear on that patrols campout menus for a year. It encourages them to try new things.

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We teach Scouts how to cook a variety of foods easily with minimal dishes to do but that meet their nutrutional needs. We teach them how to cook and why you cook. What they cook and when they cook it is up to them. If they are not cooking nutritional meals then we recycle the instructs. This way they learn to make their own ethical decisions based on the information they are given rather than by the orders they are given.


More education is more effective than more rules to fulfill the mission of the BSA.





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It is a rule impossed by the Adults.

AND HERE IS WHY before I get jumped on...


Our oldest most experienced Scout is a Second Class Scout, 12 years old and never camped unitl he joined Boy Scouts. We have 5 Scouts with 19 nights of Camping experience, most of which did very little camping before Scouting,or at least camping that required them to do something other than play.

The balance of the Troop are 11 years old and most are finishing up their Tenderfoot.

The Scouts plan the meals, do the shopping, and do the cooking, the ASMs and myself approve the menu. They get all the teaching/learning points and get to cook whatever they want, as long it falls in the guidelines of a good meal.


We lead by example too... The adults eat EXTREMELY Well during campouts, highlighted by many great Dutch oven meals.

The Scouts did ask the questions, but typically opted out for something easy and quick.

After seeing one Patrol eat Muffins for breakfast, PB&J for lunch and Ramen for dinner... I had enough.


We are adults and are supposed to teach them....letting them eat garbage is not a learning method, so we impossed this requirement.

There have been no objections from the boys, because they do like to eat good, a little more preparation and clean up, but they get to eat like kings.


I see other Troops out there that take the easy way out, and the bottom line is they do not learn and they do not eat well.




(edited for spelling)(This message has been edited by schleining)

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We are pretty much in the same boat as Schleining. We started a new troop with 11 year olds last June. Four of them have made 1st class so far and we have a few others still at Tenderfoot or 2nd class. We just added 6 new boys and formed a NSP. Over the past year, we have really struggled with camp cooking. We get the same sniffing of the adult food and complaints about how good we eat. We go thru the same lessons of, "you can eat this way too if you want". They have been taught. While I realize they are 12, many of them are a very immature 12 and playing is far more important to them than cooking. They are happy with Raman until they finish it and are still hungry. We kept waiting for reality to sink in along with the instruction and the light to click on that they actually CAN cook and they CAN cook good food. So far, it is still touch and go. Several of them think they can speed up the cooking process by turning up the stove full blast. Of course, that results in food that is burned on the outside and raw on the inside which is not good when you are talking sausage instead of carrots. The boys also tried to get away with meals consisting of pop tart and such. Since they are under our care and guidance and the parents do have an expectation of us bringing home healthy kids, we have had to go the route of others here. The boys have to adhere to the handbooks guidance on nutritious meals and they have to get the menu approved by the SM or an ASM. They do have to cook what is on their menu. We've had them buy the food that was on their approved menu only to have them decide once they got to camp that they would only cook about a third of the menu items. I've started some cooking demos at meetings and am urging them to find well balanced recipes that they WILL eat and that they try out cooking themselves at home. We are hoping to have a cook off campout in the near future. Scouting is supposed to be fun. We want them to understand that cooking can actually be creative and fun and that they get to eat the delicious reward of their efforts. So far, swinging sticks and falling in creeks holds more appeal to them. Once we get this group "trained", we are hoping we can be less hands off and the "older" boys will take over in inspiring the new scouts.

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But Jerry...how can they get practice at cooking a food that they only get to cook once? Even if everyone cooked at every meal they would only get to cook a food one time a year. What harm is there in cooking a healthy meal that they like more than once?


You have them for several years. The chances that they will cook the same thing over and over again is slim. There are better ways to motivate and achieve the mission of Scouting than through dictatorship.





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Our patrols write their own menus and submit them to either the SPL or an assistant Scoutmaster for review. If the menu consists of poptarts, cup-o-noodles, and pop, they are asked to review chapter 10 of the Boy Scout Handbook and discuss how their menu is supported by what they've learned from the handbook. Then they are asked which one of them will be working on 2nd Class req # 2g or lst Class #4a, and how he can meet the requirement with the existing menu.


No rules, no policies, no pre-approved food lists. Just teach them what they need to know, give some ideas, and let them know they're expected to follow through.


This is not the easiest way, but they learn better. Remember that the objective is NOT that the boys eat the right foods on a campout. Rather it is that they plan, select, shop, cook, and eat in a healthy manner. It is to help them make decisions that will help them throughout their lives.

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I am not the one that only allows them to cook the same meal once.

They can eat the same thing every campout for all I care, it just has to meet the criteria mentioned before.

That was jr56 that only allows a meal to be cooked once.


Our Patrols only have 4 to 5 Scouts in them. They get plenty of practice. Figure we eat 5 meals every campout and they mix up the cooks on the roster...plenty of cook time.


And yes, I said 5 meals... We used to have the boys eat before they came to the meeting place on Friday nights, but by the time we got to the Campsite, most of them complained about being hungry. So we started adding a Friday night meal, a small meal..hamburgers/hot dogs, but they need to have something more than a cracker barrel on friday night.

Just about all of out camp outs are 2 nights (Fri-Sun).



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I agree...

I suppose I should clarify... The "Requirement" is not written anywhere. It is just something we do. I am sure as the boys learn and get better we will lighten up.


I have faith in these young men, but as SR540Beaver stated, we have immature 11 year olds that are growing getting mature right under our eyes. We started our Troop in June of last year also.

These youngsters like to horse play and find a short cut whenever possible. But we see them see them getting better all the time.


Last year we would joke amoung the adults that we had a group of Webelos disguised as Boy Scouts. Today we have a better Troop and better Scouts, but cooking has been a challenge, and that is why we did what we did. And I am happy to report that it works.


I like to think of myself as a Scouting purist.. but at the end of the day you have to teach the boys how they learn. If it is by letting them go, fail, starve, and poof the light goes on...good, it worked.

Forcing good inspectable menus worked for us.



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We don't have any requirements for cooking, but all of our Scouts are trained from the beginning on how we prepare our menus and cook. It's been built in to such an extent now that everyone pretty much knows what they should be doing, and pass that on to "the next generation".



Friday night we'll eat on the way up and have a cracker barrel.

Saturday breakfast is usually a DO meal, something like a mountain man breakfast.

Saturday lunch is something easy, like PB&J.

Saturday dinner is usually more involved and could be something in the DO again, or a grilled dinner.

Sunday morning is usually something easy to get together and clean up so we can concentrate on preparing to leave.


We've got 5 DO cookbooks and at the meal planning meeting, we encourage them to look around for new things to try, but we don't tell them what to choose. We might "coach" :) them a bit if they think dinner should be Slim Jims and Cheetos.


I personally don't believe in letting them screw up to the point that they don't have anything to eat. Usually, there's enough things happening on their own to give them a challenge. I think that there are better ways to teach them.

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We consider summer camp a great place to practice cooking. Everyone gets a shot at it! On Troop weekend campouts we (the adults) might tell the SPL dutch oven cooking only or cooking over fire only. There are times our entire weekend revolves around cooking. And most weekends, the adults eat what the Scouts cook. We as adults don't always have our own menu.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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