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Closing Down a Troop for the summer

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As far as Summertime meetings go, I am not going to debate the merits of that in this discussion.


This isn't that discussion.


Why would any Scoutmaster worth his salt allow his PLC to shut the place down for the summer? This is the time of year when kids are available!!

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I am with you John. In fact, our troop takes advantage of the summer break, when kids are out of school to ramp UP our troop's activities.


Of course we went to summmer camp, but for our other summer campouts, we extended them beyond the regular 2 nights. One was a 3 nighter (caving and canoeing), and the other ended up being a 4 nighter (5 full days on the Suwannee River!). Additionally, the PLC (with committee assistance) organized extra activities, including a Surfing Day and a river clean up (with free canoes!). Finally, we had 3 troop meetings at the college pool (across the street from our regular meeting place). Overall, it was a busy summer, and the PLC is planning for another one this year.


We had also planned a day-sailing outing, but that fell through. This year we have a sailboat owner on the committee (who used to own a sailing school), so we may be able to pull that off as either a PLC or a troop activity.


Summer on the Gulf Coast can be hot. Days with highs below 90F are rare and humidity is always up there as well, so the abundance of aquatic activities is understandable. For the same reason, we ususally do a summer camp in the higher (read cooler) altiudes of the southern Appalachians to seek some relief. This year we will be at Daniel Boone, which, I believe, is the highest camp this side of the Mississippi.


If scouts are on family vacation, that is fine. In fact that is why we plan so many activities, so that if you miss one, you can catch another at different time. It's clear that the scouts are beginning to look forward to all the extra activites we are doing throughout the summer.

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"Why would any Scoutmaster worth his salt allow his PLC to shut the place down for the summer? This is the time of year when kids are available!! "


I have to agree. I just have no idea where this concept comes from. In fact, it was something I had to adjust to when I went from being a cub/webelos scout to a boy scout that 1) troops met all summer, and 2) there was no punch & cookies at the meeting :).


I was in scouts for 7 years till I aged out. My troop wasn't always the best, in fact for a couple of years we had problems. BUT we met every week. We did a campout every month. We participated in scout show and any district/council camporee every year (doing so was NOT an option, as far as I knew as eithe a scout or adult leader).


During the summer we spent atleast one week in summer camp. A few kids did a second week of 'provisional camp' (ie, going it a second week without your troop). We tried doing a second week of our own summer trip. Sure, we had some kids not appear for a week or two for family trips, but we still met.


To me, that's the standard for ANY troop: meet every week (unless a holiday), camp once a month, participate in district/council camporees, participate in council scout show, attend summer camp, do a week-long troop trip.


When I hear of troops not doing many of these things, I just shake my head.




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Yah, it's not da PLC that does that typically, eh? It's da program adults who set the expectation of a summer shutdown.


Sometimes it's because the sponsor is a school, and da school facilities aren't available in the summer, so they just don't meet.


Sometimes I reckon it's adult burnout, eh? The adults just want the summer free.


Sometimes I think it's because a few strong-willed folks on da unit committee don't want the scoutin' calendar interferein' with their personal family vacations.


Most of the time, I think it's a carry-over from Cub Scoutin' and from "that's the way we've always done it."


But then, I'm a northerner, eh? You southern folks that have to swelter in da summer may have different feelings! :)




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50 weeks a year for our Troop, we don't meet for two weeks during Christmas to just after New Year.


Hot here in South Carolina in the summer. Oh yes, we meet every week during the summer, but we generally do not camp in July and August unless the boys plan a white water trip to the mountains. Summer camp is in June. The guys like to go caving in July - always cool in the cave. August we may just have a family picnic and pool party. We usually have one Saturday when we empty out the trailer, clean out all the patrol boxes, set up and check out all the tents, inventory and reorganize. Another Saturday after summer camp we have the older scouts work with the new guys and go over all the things the new guys learned during summer camp. Both of these Saturdays we have picnic lunch for the guys and some kind of game at the end. Our new leaders mentioned they really liked this day as they could watch closely how the older scouts work with the younger scouts.


The thing is, while we may not be doing any traditional camping in the summer, we do SOMETHING. September starts with our annual planning weekend campout and the traditional camping/backpacking/etc. year begins again.


Weekly meetings in the summer are a bit more laid back, sometimes just playing ultimate or freeze tag or capture the flag for the whole meeting. We know that families take vacations so it's good times for whomever shows up for the meetings. Maybe I'll walk everyone down to the gas station and buy everyone an ice cream. Another week, an adult will bring watermelon for the guys. The summer months are a great time for our new Scouts to really get to know the older guys. Also, for the older guys to learn things about the new scouts. All the games and just playing around creates a wonderful bond among our scouts. I am always surprised, but we have very good attendance during the summer.


Nice time for the adults to get together too. Sit outside and watch the boys for an hour or so on a nice summer evening once a week.


What's not to like?

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Actually, I know of a troop that shuts down from mid-December to the end of February. Why? 'Cause it's a small, isolated town of about 700 people and every scout in the troop is also on either their JV or varsity basketball team. Between homework, practices and games (a road game is a minimum 2 hours travel each way), there's no time (not my excuse, but theirs), for scouts during those three months. We're talking small town, small team. You might have one or two substitutes you can turn to during the game. Yes, that kind of basketball, the kind where hometown games literally have the entire town in the bleachers cheering for you.


This town is so isolated that you need to have a passport, cross the Canadian border and drive an additional 30 miles north of the border to go to the nearest MacDonald's for a Big Mac & Fries (er...Frites as we're talking Quebec Province with no guarantee that the person behind the counter will admit to understanding English).


Yes, I've pointed to Jackman, Maine before in other posts, but they make a great example on many fronts. And they must be doing something right despite shutting down for a good part of the winter 'cause nearly every scout-aged boy (all 12 or so of them) in that town is in the troop AND they've produced 10 Eagles in the past 6 years.


From what I've observed/experienced up here in the Maine wilderness, it's not leaders stopping summer scout programs. Many times it's parents. Back when I was a scoutmaster, I tried hard to encourage the PLC to have a summer program, but Mom & Dad always interfered in one way or another or with one excuse or another.


So, how do the rest of you who find ways to convince your PLC to have a summer program get Mom & Dad to buy into it?(This message has been edited by moxieman)

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We've got so many folks going in so many different directions during the summer, it's hard to drum up much support for high-end trips during the summer. Attendance at weekly troop activities is usually 50% or maybe a little less during the summer. We tried taking advantage of the long Labor Day weekend a year-and-a-half ago and went on a longer, out-of-state campout, but attendance was very disappointing.


June is a normal meeting month. School's not usually out until the 15th and we go to camp the last week of June, so we meet as normal to prepare for summer camp.


We go to a modified schedule in July and August, mainly because it's too dadgummed hot to hang out at the un-air conditioned hut. We do meet at the hut one night per month so guys who need to do so can catch up on admin stuff, advancement, boards of review, etc.


The rest of the weeks we're off doing stuff. Mountain biking at a local park, water skiing/tubing, swimming, volleyball tourneyment, one night we went fishing but that didn't work out too well. Honestly, the summer activities are in somewhat of a rut -- no one has had a new idea in a while. But I suppose the Scouts like what we're doing.


The weekend school starts we have our all-day, all-night troop junior leader training session. First campout of the fall is the first weekend after Labor Day.

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Like GWD, you're not at the designated meeting place.


"So What, Who Cares!!!???!!!"


Your kids are doing something. They're having FUN. They are playing the game with a purpose. That's completely different from shutting the place down for the summer. You're doing good Scouting.


moxie, I find it interesting an 11 year old, a 4th or 5th grader, would be on JV basketball. How does the Troop serve the Tenderfeet in this time?

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On our troop's calendar last summer, we had five one week trips: Chicago Boy Scout Camp, Detroil Boy Scout Camp, Florida Sea Base, Minn. Boundary Water, and Northern Ontario; and we had three four days trips: Lime Island in the Upper Penisula of Michigan, White Water Rafting in Penn., and a backpacking/cabin trip for the new scouts in upper Michigan. The only two troop meetings we had were for the scouts the week before they went to summer camp.


Summer is for camping, not troop's meeting.

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People shut down in the summer?


We faced this with a troop where everyone bridged together from Webelos. So the Cub Scout thing played a part as did the, "We all need a break" thing. We did not shut down and now, based on what I hear from the SM of that troop, theya re busier than ever in the summers! Scouts are available all day, the hard part should be keeping with them. Of course, Patrol hiking and camping and service projects can all be done without us.

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Everybody around here shuts down in summer. I guess, though, that the definition of "shut down" is debatable.


Most troops I'm aware of do a bunch of stuff, like:

summer camp


high adventure

community service


some youth training (NYLT, TLT)


during the summer months.


What they do NOT do, is hold weekly meetings or regular PLCs, or regular committee meetings.


Honestly, to some degree I like that approach better. The weekly meetings are usually the kids' least-favorite part of scouting. They want to be DOING, not sitting in the local middle school cafeteria talking and planning.



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