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Dad & Sons in the same tent

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Our boy scouts tent with their patrol members. This gives them a sense of independence and most boys wouldn't think it's very cool to tent with dad anyway. I don't think there are any written rules about it but I would try to discourage it.

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Our troop discourages it. That being said, my son's first year with the troop, I tented with him on the first few campouts. He's Type 1 diabetic and I was concerned he might have problems during the night. I would wake up every few hours and check his blood sugar. That would have been impossible if he tented with his patrol. After a few campouts, he requested to tent with his buddies and I reluctantly agreed. He just surpassed 50 nights camping without me in the tent. I still don't sleep through the night. Unless there is a medical reason, I would discourage dad/son tenting.

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from the Guide to Safe Scouting:  check out number 7

Leadership Requirements for Trips and Outings


Two-deep leadership:Two registered adult leaders, or one registered adult and a parent of a participating Scout, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips or outings. There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when no adult leadership is required. Coed overnight activities require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA.

During transportation to and from planned Scout outings,


Meet for departure at a designated area.

Prearrange a schedule for periodic checkpoint stops as a group.

Plan a daily destination point.A common departure site and a daily destination point are a must. If you cannot provide two adults for each vehicle, the minimum required is one adult and two or more youth membersnever one on one.

Safety rule of four: No fewer than four individuals (always with the minimum of two adults) go on any backcountry expedition or campout. If an accident occurs, one person stays with the injured, and two go for help. Additional adult leadership requirements must reflect an awareness of such factors as size and skill level of the group, anticipated environmental conditions, and overall degree of challenge.

Male and female leaders must have separate sleeping facilities. Married couples may share the same quarters if appropriate facilities are available.

Male and female youth participants will not share the same sleeping facility.

Single-room or dormitory-type accommodations for Scouting units: Adults and youth of the same gender may occupy dormitory or single-room accommodations, provided there is a minimum of two adults and four youth. A minimum of one of the adults is required to be youth-protection trained. Adults must establish separation barriers or privacy zones such as a temporary blanket or sheet walls in order to keep their sleeping area and dressing area separated from the youth area.

When staying in tents, no youth will stay in the tent of an adult other than his or her parent or guardian.

If separate shower and latrine facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted for showers. The buddy system should be used for latrines by having one person wait outside the entrance, or provide Occupied and Unoccupied signs and/or inside door latches.Adult leaders need to respect the privacy of youth members in situations where the youth are changing clothes or taking showers, and intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adults also need to protect their own privacy in similar situations.

Two-deep adult leadership is required for flying activities. For basic orientation flights, the adult licensed pilot in control of the aircraft is sufficient for the flight, while two-deep leadership is maintained on the ground.


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You did not say if you were talking about Cub or Boy Scout camping.


The others have given you the answer for Boy Scouts. For Cub Scouts the answer is different.


For Cub Scout camping the father & his sons should tent together. If the father is in charge of another Cub Scout in addition to his own sons, than OGE's "Guide to Safe Scouting" rule #7 would come into play. In that case the boys would sleep in 1 tent & the father would sleep in another.


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Yes, I am the troop Chaplin and committee member. My son is 11 and I think we both like to sleep in the same tent.. He participates in all activities with his patrol. We always take time in the tent at night to talk about the days activities. We pray, call Mom, review the day and prepare for tomorrow.


I AM NOT CRITICIZING BUT most Dads seem thrilled to get away from their sons. I may feel the same way when he's 16!


Is there anyone along this way who has stayed with his sons (in the tent)??


Thanks again for the great responses





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My Dad went with me on the High Adventure trips we did when I was a Scout.


The first year, we used a tube tent together ... a couple of times. Then, we went to just sleeping under the stars (California in 1969-71 did not have nearly the bear challenges Philmont seems to these days).


The second and third trails? We were all in the same circle, but Dad was a few folk away.


On ordainary campouts? I slept with my friends.


My son? The closest he's ever come to sleeping with me was last year, where he was ad hoc SPL for an OA overnight troop supporting inductions during the summer camping season. He was two tents away in leader country.

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Tenting with their patrol is very important to the social development of the boys. When I see a scout wanting to tent with his dad, I see a boy who isn't being integrated into the patrol and viewed as an outcast by his peers. These situations are learning experiences both for the outcast boy and the other scouts who need to learn to deal with it.


Anyways, I see plenty of my son at campouts that I don't need that one on one time after lights out. He appreciates the break from me too. Ok I DON'T SNORE THAT LOUD!

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Now I'm a mom and that adds a slightly different dynamic but I am 110% certain that the boys in my son's patrol would NOT look well on him sleeping in my tent on a campout. He'd get razzed no end. By the way, he's 11 also and suddenly very image-conscious.


Although *I* might like the opportunity to spend a little time with him and catch up on the day, it just wouldn't fly. This is especially important to consider if the "norm" for your son's troop is for the boys to tent by patrol.


If it is a security/safety issue (lots of young scouts have little experience being outdoors and can get frightened at night) then here's a place for the SM or the adult patrol advisor to have a discreet conversation with the patrol leader or maybe the SPL too. I know that in a few cases we've specifically asked the PL or SPL to set it up so that younger boys were sharing a tent with an older boy they could trust in cases like that, especially the first couple of times out.


Last thought, our campouts aren't that long - Friday night to Sunday morning. There's a lot of time for the boys to "catch up" and call home, etc, when the campout is over (actually we try to discourage calls home during the campout too because they also tend to result in homesickness and detachment from the group - they're not really immersed in what they're doing, they're still half-way at home, mentally speaking.)


Part of the maturation process which scouting emphasizes includes the boys beginning to learn to make decisions for themselves and then live with the results (within reason) - something that is harder to do when each night they are getting back together with Mom or Dad to regroup.



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Unless there is a medical reason, I would encourage you to allow your son to sleep with his patrol. That's the way we do it. And I think it is consistent with scouting principles. Based upon your logic, you should eat with his patrol, go to his patrol meetings and spend every moment with him. There will be plenty of time for you guys to bond. Allow him to get the most out of the patrol experience. As long as you are joined at the hip with him, he won't experience the full value of scouting, including other benefits, such as association with other adults.


Hey, I miss the father/son moments at time too, but I cherish watching him mature from "afar".

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You'alls response has been terrific. I thought I would wait for days to hear from anyone. Execellent job to everyone for their help.


What I learned that I didn't know:


1. When my son in went into scouts from webelos, his group was divided up and split among the older scouts. As such the younger scouts became "second class citizens" in each patrol. They did not select their patrols and friends were divided "evenly" between the older scouts.


2. There was no discussion or awareness of any "2 year" rule. The new scouts are being "assigned" to tent with someone.


3. The older scouts took all patrol positions and have excluded the younger scouts from even observing the "green bar" meetings.


When does a boyscout have the opportunity to be a asst or partol leader??


4. I have 14 year boys "telling" my son where and with whom he will tent. As I have told more than one person on occasion, I'll raise my own son, thank you very much.


We're a very new scout troop and I think we need more conversation about some of these things.





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"When my son in went into scouts from webelos, his group was divided up and split among the older scouts."


Obviously the troop does not utilize the "New Scout patrol" concept recommended in the Scoutmaster Handbook. As you discovered, the mix 'em up approach can have drawbacks.


What is a "green bar" meeting? If you're referring to the meeting of the patrol leaders' council, that meeting is for patrol leaders, senior patrol leader, scribe, and Scoutmaster. Patrol meetings include all members of the patrol.

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forgive the long post...


the troop you are in has its own ideas about boy scouting that folks in this forum will have trouble with but it is a very old style of scouting...I am not taking a side in this methodology or style of scouting but I am familiar with it (I was in such a troop 40 some years ago...)Today I am a believer in the New Scout Patrol system...but still I understand the old style of scouting...


Some realities have to be faced and accomodated or addressed or your tenure with the troop may be rocky...


The patrol style you mention has been called by some- "eternal patrols" (never dying) because in theory as older boys quit or age out (18 yrs old) -new blood is pumped into the patrol...ie. new young scouts. So the patrol is always renewed. In these patrols, theoretically, the older scouts take charge of, mentor, and yes sometimes boss the younger scouts ...as they train them to become skilled and vauable members of the patrol.


The current fashion -is the new scout patrol where 6 to 12 boys roughly the same age, are formed into a new scout patrol and these boys may stay together for the rest of their scouting career or may as the troop customs hold... breakup from time to time and reform as the mood strikes, forming and reforming different 'cliques' of friends as they grow up and change themselves...In the best of cases these patrols "die out" every five to eight years as the boys quit or age out.


"Being assigned to tent with someone"...is not unusual...probably closer to the norm...the patrol leader or maybe even the SPL will frequently assign scouts to bunk together...first to help boys get to know each other, second to prevent boys from becoming 'herd bound' with say "just" one friend, maybe to prevent a particular boy from being "left out" because of some difference and sometime to spread the pain...say you have an "all night talker"...patrol leaders spread the pain across the patrol weekend to weekend so one poor kid does not loose sleep at every camp...


Green bar meetings (another old scouting term for leadership council- currently the Patrol leaders council) is a closed meeting in many troops. Sometimes (many times in fact) limited to one adult observer -the scout master. While in our troop all are welcome who have business or would like to place business before the council most troops have the scouts give their concerns or ideas to their representative (patrol leaders) for the Green Bars meeting.


"Older scouts took all the positions" in most mixed age patrols "took" generally means a defacto election where the newer scouts are either too timid and/or way out numbered by older scouts who are not going to vote for a "newbie" in the first place..."democracy" is not pretty.


In troops using the new scout patrol methodology many new scouts get a first taste of leadership quickly with a rotating patrol leader situation under a troop Guide (older scout mentor)until every one has a chance to lead...unfortunately, after the initial taste of "power", some boys never again get a real chance at the Patrol leader job because other boys will not (for whatever reasons) vote for a particular boy again...its that democracy thing.


...but there are other leadership jobs that are appointed and the ASPL and the ASMs can help there...These job give boys a chance to take a more active role in the operations of the troop without having to curry favor of a fickle electorate.

Troop guide, historian, chaplains aid, scribe, quarter master, ASPL, OA representative,etc.



As to your comment about 14 year olds telling your son with whom he will tent with and your comment about raising your own son...{AND PLEASE TAKE THIS AS IT IS MEANT AND NOT AS AN ATTACK}...Try to remember this is a boy scout troop not your private family camping.

After such a confrontation at one of our events...the SPL would request a meeting with you, he and the Scout master. At this meeting I have no doubt our young Eagle (SPL) would explain unit bonding...and his program for the troop. He would then request you either butt out of his troop operation (note the description His troop...cause it is His troop while he is SPL) He would do this in a very diplomatic way...kid is smooth as silk handling adults...gonna make a great lawyer some day...but in the end the decision would be his -not yours...and I have no doubt that if you made an issue of it your registration and that of your son would be returned to you buy the troop committee and the CO who believes in our program whole heartedly.

The notation that "we are a very new scout troop and I think we need more conversation about some of these things"...is another area you may find some heartburn in...for BSA units on some things there is little room for discussion ...there is a thing called methods and aims of scouting as well as program requirements that for many troops and Scouters is etched in stone and nothing you or I say will make a difference...and you learn to live with it or leave the troop-(FScouter aren't you proud of me)...right or wrong its the way things are...in Boy Scouting...some time you have to take the good with the bad.


I hope scouting works for you...warts and all it is a good thing for boys...


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