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Cooking in Camp...expectations

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Why is the boys saying we are tired right now and want to eat later being lazy? I sometimes say the same thing after I come home from work. As someone said earlier the SM had a tantrum b/c the hands on his cock said to do something had to be done right now. The one boy was hungry so he did the resonable thing and tried to feed himself.(This message has been edited by sitrep)

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Wait a minute. I'm all for learning experiences, but where's the line drawn between a "learning experience" and just "letting them fail?" We don't want the boys to fail. We want them to learn. Sure, we learn by our failure, but we also become upset, disinterested, and turned off to scouting by our failure. One outing of bad food and bad weather can make an 11 year old say, "Forget this! Video games are much more fun!"


Now, am I advocating holding their hands? No. Do I expect that life should work out perfectly and everyone will be happy and content the whole time? No.


But these comments of, "They will know better next time," don't require them to go through a whole weekend of failure (not that I think/ hope that many in this thread are advocating failure, but it sure sounds that way).


If a boy forgets or doesn't wear raingear, it becomes a safety concern because he can get sick. It might be a good time to instruct the patrol on how to make rain gear from trash bags. Perhaps the patrol leader or SPL can dig up more rain gear in the troop. Thus a learning experience is created instead of the attitude "He'll be wet and miserable, but he'll be better for it." If I had extra rain gear, I'd loan it to the boy.


Anyway, if nothing else, terminology is important. Search for the learning experiences, but don't just hope they'll come out of their failures as better people.

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Excellent points & very well stated.


When we go camping, we (adults) always bring extra rain gear. Why? In case it is needed. Nothing worse than having a soaking wet Scout go home on Sunday & tell mom & dad he got drenched because he forgot his poncho & no one would lend him one.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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Just had a fantastic weekend at Camporee..

Here are the menus that the Patrols had for this weekend...


Friday night- DO Pizza

Saturday Breakfast- Eggs, Bacon and Toast

Saturday Lunch- Another DO PizZQ (They are quick to fix)

Saturday Dinner- One pot meal from BSA Field book, included noodles, beef, vegies etc.

Sunday Breakfast- Biscuits and Country Gravy.



Friday night- Beef stew

Saturday breakfast- Oatmeal and fruit

Saturday Lunch- Soup and Ham Sandwiches

Saturday Dinner- DO Pizza 2 pizzas for the Patrol

Sunday Breakfast- Cereal and Muffins, juice and fruit.


All the meals required the boys to do something like cook, work together as a team, clean up etc etc etc... in short...work as a Patrol.

One Patrol cooked a lot more, while the other fixed easier meals. They all ate well and no one went hungry.


I am all for learning by making mistakes, but letting a Scout go hungry, wet, and cold, is not teaching...

I carry a bunch of disposable ponchos with me every campout. IF a Scout forgets his raingear than he has a poncho and a lecture on being Prepared.

If a Patrol screws up a meal, we leaders always bring extra, typically enough to feed another patrol. They get to eat a hearty meal, and listen to instructions on cooking.

Not once has this become a "Well if we just forget they will feed us....I don't need raingear...the Scoutmaster will take care of me".

They are lessons that are taught without pain and misery.

A Scout that is taught that suffering makes him tougher just does not come back.


My 2.5 cents.



My Scouts eat well! Its all about the Skills Baby!

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Ed, just for yucks, when you give out the extra rain gear, do you make the scout walk like a duck before he receives it?


I must be really confused, who wrote they would let scouts "go hungry"? I know I said the adults of the troop I serve were ready to let the scouts get to the campsite without food, but that was because we knew there was a 24 hr food store 10 minutes from where we were. SO, who said let them go hungey

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I guess once again I am in the minority. If a scout forgets or fails to put on his raingear, I am not there to supply it unless the weather is such that the scout is in danger of hypothermia. If it is a matter of him just being miserable, consider it a learned lesson. I can't see how supplying a whole patrol with gear or food can teach them anything other than "we will get taken care of no matter what." Schleining, you are from the same climate as I am. I am also sure you know that nobody wears rain gear around here, the boys wait for the bus before school, get wet but soon are in a dry classroom or in the warm bus. Do they wear their rain gear the next day? Nope, same thing. Same with food. How many of these boys complain about what is for dinner? Do they cook the next night....nope, cause they know the food will be there. I do carry some low grade soup for that purpose. Although I have never had to use it, I am sure I will have to some day. I picked a flavor I am sure they will not like (I think it is broccoli) Will they starve, nope. Will they remember their food next trip, yup.

A few mos ago, new scouts, rain, they refused to wear rain gear, wind, miserable scouts, one even cried about being cold. I was not about the let them be in danger of hypothermia, nor was I going to put them in a warm car to quiet them up. Guess what, next camp I had all the boys there ready to camp. They got out of the rigs with their rain gear on! Everyone on this thread has a different view how this should be handled. Some say that we will lose scouts. The fact is these things we talk about are small parts of the overall trip. If the boys are having a good time the rest of the trip and there is only one thing to complain about the entire trip, they will stay and they will remember. Some even get used to the misery.

I have had camps the the boys are given 2 matches, if they cannot start a fire then they do eat their dinner cold. Is this right? I think it is because should they ever get lost in the woods I feel confident they will be able to start a fire, cook food, make shelter and stay dry. I was told that one of my scouts was asked last BOR what he liked most about camping.......his reply........."the rain"


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Nope! But they have to quack!


There were a lot of poster who in one form or the other said "Let 'em go hungry." I wasn't one of those posters. I don't consider excuses valid reasons for not doing something.


Nice spin on the methods, Bob.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I am not saying do the work for them or baby them, I am just saying that I don't let them go without. Its really that simple.

Raingear- yeah I wear it... the kids may not always, but we encourage them to wear it.

Don't get me wrong, I am not talking about the "perfect experience" and I am not saying anyone has lef tor os going to to leave, but I have talked with SMs in our area that have had it happen.



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I think the scouts should cook a nutritious meal & pop-tarts are tasty, my fave is the chocolate fudge one, but I don't think they constitute a nutritious meal!


Now, I have a question regarding cooking in camp for an overnight campout that my son & most of his troop will be going on May 21st. The instructions they all received from the ASM on meal planner is as follows:


Lunch - please bring a bag lunch (sandwich, snacks, fruit, etc.)


Dinner - Bring meals that can be cooked on a personal stove (made from empty coffee can)in mess kit (canned food - stew, beans, pasta, soup, bagged meals just add water)


Breakfast - cereal in individual box or Ziploc bag, bagel, cereal bars, no meals that need to be cooked.


Each Scout has to bring their own meal.


The troop is providing the water, hot chocolate, ice tea, milk, orange juice, coffee, tea, spices & condiments & evening snacks & desserts.



Now as the mom of a new scout, this will be his 2nd overnight camping trip with his troop, I was a little disappointed that the boys were told what to bring. I thought that the boys were supposed to plan their meal as a patrol & cook as a patrol. I would like to know how & if this cooking will fulfill requirement #3 for Tenderfoot? Their 1st camping trip it was pouring rain & very windy & I believe the leaders cooked while the boys assisted. I'm not sure & my son is asleep since it's 1:47am EDT!


I could see them using the canned food for lunch because it's quicker & I'm sure that they want to get in as much stuff as the can during the day, like working on skills & rank requirements. I just thought that dinner would involve a little more than opening a can of Spaghetti-O's or something like that. As a Webelo my son & most of his den did foil cooking on an overnight summer campout & they helped & prepared their own meal. The DL however did put the meals on the fire though. I think doing a foil meal for dinner would have required more planning & thinking on the boys part than the way it is now. It's not hard to buy a can of food! It would take more thought to get the right veggies - like potatoes, carrots, onions, etc. & pick out the meat or chicken & budget for that.


I also think that the scouts will learn from their mistakes & the new scouts will get better at preparing menus & cooking their food. I think we all learn from our mistakes, I know I still do!



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Campouts should be the time when scouts take the things they have been taught and apply them to real life situations. How well individuals, patrols and troops apply those skills determine who passes advancment requirements, who is using their scout and leadership skills correctly, who can teach and who still needs to learn, who is ready for more advanced training and who needs more practice.


If all you make out of the outdoor experience is to see who can do what an adult tells them to do and who disobeys then you have a lot to learn as a scoutmaster. You should get thee to a training course or find a better mentor than you have so far.


The PLC should determine where you are going, determine a schedule, find out what kinds of facilities are available and what kinds of fires are allowed, and then let the patrols make their own food and preparation choices based on what they have learned in troop meetings, the BSA Handbook, and through other life experiences.


Dictating is not good scout leadership unless there is as immediate threat of danger, no matter what kind of cockeyed excuses some adults use. Unfortunately some adults just enjoy being the "in charge" of other people and they find kids easy to subjigate. The fact is that children are probably the only people who let them get away with it.


But commanding is not scouting in any way shape or form.


Dug says "But there is a difference between disorginization and being lazy"


Not really. Both are personal choices. You can choose to plan and you can choose not to be lazy. You cannot make those choices for them. A boy who is exahausted from a rafting trip however is not lazy, he is physically tired, and there is nothing wrong with recognizing that or with knowing that the solution is rest.


Too many bosses not enough scout leaders.

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It sounds like the ASM want the Scouts to experience a different style of cooking. Is it possible the Troop is planning a backpacking trip in the future?


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I think this idea of allowing a boy to learn from the consequences of mistakes has value, but there is a very fine line here. You don't want him to learn that camping is miserable and uncomfortable, and that the adult leaders are tough and mean. That just results in one less Scout. I imagine the following dramatized conversations:


1. Parent: How was the campout?

Scout: OK, but the food was really bad. Just ramen noodles, and they weren't cooked enough.

Parent: Who decided that you guys would just eat ramen noodles?

Scout: Well, we did, because Joey thought it would be easier. The adults were eating steaks.

Parent: What will you do next time?

Scout: Not let Joey get the food. I'll get the food, and it won't be ramen.


Good lesson learned


2. Parent: How was the campout?

Scout: Terrible. I forgot my poncho, and I got totally soaked while we were backpacking.

Parent: Didn't anybody have an extra? What did Mr. Scoutmaster say?

Scout: I asked if anybody had an extra, and Mr. Scoutmaster said I needed to learn the hard way not to forget my poncho next time.

Parent: Well, that'll be easy.

Scout: Why is that?

Parent: Because there won't be a next time.

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Whoa! For all of those who took exception to my "failing in a controlled environment" post, let's review.


What do you not understand about the word controlled? We have back up plans like additional raingear. However, if you'll remember, I said the boy WITH the best rain gear walked around soaked all the time. He HAD rain gear. He decided not to wear it. Now, we could have taken a page from Ed's book and made him wear it because it was what we wanted him to do OR we could let him learn that walking around wet for days is miserable and decide on his own.....which he does now......most of the time.


The dining fly? They had one. They decided not to put it up. After a few days of rain, they saw the value in it. It was summer camp, they didn't have to cook. It was mainly for sun or rain protection and to have a dry table to sit at. Again, it wasn't a matter of letting them fail, sucking it up and hoping they would come back to troop meetings after camp was over. They had it available to them the whole time and every time they ran for the adult fly when the rain would start, we would ask them to leave our area and reminded them that their fly was nice and dry in the trailer any time they wanted to get it out. They've never failed to set it up since then.


The kid with the wet canvas shoes? One of the female committee members who came to summer camp drove into town to Wal-mart and bought many of the boys dry socks and cheap tennis shoes.


That is what is called failing in a controlled environment. If safety or health becomes a concern, then we step in immediately. If not, we let them suffer the consequences of THEIR actions and learn from it. We could MAKE them do what we want and have them continue to resist or we can let them do it their way and discover that the way they were taught actually is better and make a choice to do it the right way.


This isn't rocket science.

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