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This was actually a responce I posted to another post ( http://www.scouter.com/Forums/viewThread.asp?threadID=264530 ) but I posted it because this subject seems to be popping up alot in the last few weeks.


I also posted it here because it sems to transcend both Cub Scouting AND Boy Scouting - meaning it can affect boys at the Cub level and carry into Boy scouts or just by the time Cubs are ready to cross into Boy Scouts.


I'm starting to wonder, as this seems to be a re occuring theme: "What can we do this year?".(Pack Family Campouts)


Would it be wrong or against the program.....and I'm just talking about Pack Family Campouts here....not Distric,Council, or Jamborees.... to just say screw it! And just have a pointlessly fun Pack Family Campout?


Instead of any particular merit or achievement based activities, why not just go with something like a 3 legged race , or sack races? Maybe a race wehere you go around an obsticle course while wearing scuba flippers on your feet.


Maybe a batton relay where you spin with your head on the bat 20 times then hand off a nerf football to your team mate who is 30 foot away, who in turn wears a blind fold and has to navvigate an obsticle course only by listening to team memebr #3's voice!


Coolwhip pie eating contests. Womanless beaty pagents for the dads.


Talent contestswith strange catagories : ie: Biggest and loudest belch/burp, Dumbest trick, funniest joke


Hoseshoes contest.


I'd even mention egg tosses but that would be completely dependant on shower/bath facilities and LNT policies.


Want your Pack Family Campout to be fun? Why not just old time goofing off!


I mean, isn't this okay?


Kinda brings back the whole "Fun is the priority" and also keeps the scouts from being bored by doing the same thing they do at den meetings.


I mean, I love camping, and I have only gone once with the pack (so far), but I can see how doing the same thing for the next 2 1/2 years will get boring.


Basically, it sounds like alot of pack family camping is just a den meeting in a tent!

(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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I'm not exactly sure what you're asking here, but your campout sure sounds like a lot of fun! If your concerned that the activities on the campout need to focus on advancement activities, that is absolutely not the case. For that matter, den meetings don't even need to do so (Fast Tracks and the new 2010 program seem to encourage this, but that's a subject for another thread). Something like a family campout should focus on fun activities. We always try to have a mix of things that might relate to advancement as well, like a nature hike, but those are things that should be fun as well.


I think you're on the right track planning this. So it doesn't become stale, find a new location each time and always be on the lookout for new games and activities. I have a binder where I keep track of good ideas I hear or see.


Before someone else points it out, I think the only thing that raises a G2SS concern is the eating contest. I know water drinking contests are out, but I can't remember anything about food.

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No, its not against the rules just to have fun, in fact its encouraged!


My only suggestion would be not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Retain some formal elements, like an Opening with the Colors, Pledge of Allegiance, and Promise, and a Closing. A Family Campout makes a great venue for an awards ceremony or Crossover, especially by the campfire. These things have an appeal in their own right and help to make the event memorable.


And who says you cant have fun while learning something, like a treasure hunt where you have to use a compass to find the booty?


I would also encourage leaders to wear their uniforms, but thats just me.


These little touches help remind the boys that they are Scouts and that they need to keep the Promise and Law of the Pack in mind as they pursue the zany, crazy (but SAFE) fun you have planned.





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No, that isn't my pack camp out. Sigh.....!


It's just that I was noticing two seperate trends going on in the forums:

1) People needing fresh ideas for campouts.


2) Older and more experienced scouters stressing and re-stressing the Fun part of scouting.


Seems we over plan and try to account for every bit of the fun( while being educational and scoutlike) in every activity right down to the very smallest scouting moments.


Why not just be spontaneous and just have a campout based on completely non-educational and non-scouting-productive activities!


I keep reading about how packs have "Been there -done that" and everybody is just bored out of their minds over the same old camping experience. And the pack family campouts sound just like den meetings: everybody working on MB's and achievements. Sign off on this and sign off on that! Catch up on anything you missed.


SCREW THAT! Let's just go camp, have fun and just do stuff that is fun just for the sake of it doesn't matter for anything!


But DYB-Mike has a point: Open with and close with colors and some sort of ceremony!

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The reason for trying to mix things up is to prevent stagnation. YOU WANT TO HAVE FUN!!!!! (caps for emphasis) But if you are doing the same activities over and over again it can be dull.


I'll give you an example. I worked CSDC this past summer, and one of the complaints I was told by the older guys was that they are bored with the activities as they keep repeating over and over.Grant you there are a few activities that if I did away with or limited, there would be a mutiny, i.e. BB Guns, Archery, and Fishing, but some folks are tired of the genius kits. They are tired of the same clown showing up year after year.


So that's why you want some spice and pizzazz sometimes but remember KEEP IT FUN 9 or for CS Keep It Simple Make It Fun.

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BP called Scouting a game with a purpose. Frankly, if the point of your campout is "pointless fun" I don't particularly care to invest my volunteer time toward that end. Sounds like babysitting. I'm sure everyone will have a good time, but Scouting is more than that.


The key to good programming is finding activities which are fun AND support the underlying values of Scouting. This is what separates Scouting from a day of grab-ass at the park. At camp school, we stress the 12 core values of Cub Scouting and teach camp directors to develop fun programs around those values. Does a three-legged race support those values? Absolutely! Health & fitness and cooperation are two of the values. Pie eating and transgender beauty contests I'm not so sure about.


While I really appreciate and encourage your enthusiasm, Scoutfish, you really need a solid grounding in the program basics. I know you're signed up for training, which is great. Until then, focus on the BSA literature, especially the leader and Scout handbooks. USScouts has a lot of old program material, like old POW WOW books posted on line. Look for Baloo's Bugle there. I have a lot of the old CS leader how-to books which are great, timeless resources. The activities there are fun AND developed with the purpose of Scouting in mind.

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Seems we over plan and try to account for every bit of the fun (while being educational and scout-like) in every activity right down to the very smallest scouting moments.


Scoutfish, while this may seem like micromanagement, over planning is actually essential to the success of everything from a den meeting to a jamboree. Without it you many find yourself with the situation you hoped to avoid BOREDOM as the boys stand around waiting for the leaders to decide what comes next, how the rules should work, or go searching for props. I can remember pack meetings where everything went too well too quickly and we leaders were left staring at each other silently asking what next? Situations like this can lead to chaos boys running off in all directions which is not safe and not fun. A well-organized event makes you look good to the parents as well an effective leader who knows what he or she is doing.


The trick is to be flexible. If something is going well and the boys are having a blast then put the next scheduled activity in your back pocket. Who knows, maybe what finally comes next will be a dud and then youll be glad you have that activity tucked away.


While I dont think that every activity has to be a learning experience and that theres room for silliness, I do believe that ALL activities should be tasteful (not in a prissy way, just inoffensive) and safe. The boys should be expected to conduct themselves in a scout-like manner, showing honesty, humility (I personally think that a scout is humble should be added to the Scout Law), helpfulness, and good sportsmanship.





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What Mike said!


Overplanning is part of the plan. That includes planning in free, or family, time. Better to have to much to do,than not enough.


The activities you do with Cub Scouts do not necessarily have to be achievement oriented. They certainly should not be the same, exact things, year, after year, after year. Yes, they most definitely should be fun. However, they should also be planned with the values and purposes of Cub Scouting in mind. That is, after all, what we, and they, are here for.


Nothing wrong with a Scout saying - WOW, I didn't know I learned/did that! What is just a goofy, fun activity for the Scout, is a planned Scouting learning experience for the leaders involved.






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Twocub, DYB


Now,I get the scouting program. I understand it. But you missed my point:

I'm talking Pack FAMILY campouts. They are campouts and not den meetings.

My first point was what I and you see in here alot the past few weeks: people asking "What can I do this yar at FAMILY camp because everybody is tired of our usual program.


Now this is family, meaning that brothers AND sisters who are not Cub will be there too. Do they need to work on merit badge activities? Is the pack gonna give them a badge too?


And overplanning every little detail was completely about the campout too, not the rest of the scouting program. See, there is a big difference between a 1 hr den meeting vs a full day or even weekend of "fun" activities.


It's one thing to plan for an hour, but what if a kid gets tired of "Structured fun"?

Do you tell him "Scouts with true scout spirit pretend like they are having fun"?


Come on....this is a family campout by a group of folks who happen to be in the same den. They happen to be scouts.


But having said that, "POINTLESS FUN" doesn't mean vandalism or commiting a crime. Matter ofvfact, the first copule examples of "pointless fun" showed team work, the ability to laugh at yourself , speak/perform in front of crowds and physical activity.


Now I bet you could find a way that the core values fit into that without even breaking a sweat!


No as for overplannimng...I saw some overplanning at our last campot. The parents and leaders even planned exactly how the cubs would react and how much fun they should have. but guess what...Nobody told the cubs they were supposed to have X amount of fun and react in X amount of enthusiasm.


Some kids went fishing, some played flag football. Some read their scout books. That's what they did in their down time. And they had fun in their down time.


Again, I just want to point out that this isn't a den meeting, it's a pack FAMILY campout.


Or let me say it this way: I saw several responces in another blog about how Scouting was supposed to be the exact polar opposite of school. Yet, it sounds like some people are trying to make the campouts school - but just in the woods.


Look, all I'm saying is this: Not every function has to be within certain parameters. And the Core Vaules should be applied to anything and everything in life, not just scheduled scout activities.


The only Core Values that may not be observed during my examples of a campout are Citizenship and Honesty. But I really don't see them practiced in whittling, fishing, archery, BB gun shooting, hiking or many other activities.


But then again, CITIZENSHIP is showed at an opening and closing ceremony such as colors ceremonies and flag raisings.


And HONESTY sounds like something that would be practiced 24/7 no matter if its a campout, den/pack meeting , at home, or school.


So what's the problem concerning the 12 core values?(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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DANG! Don't you just hate when what your thinking doesn't quite come out right when you type it?

"Overplanning" : I mean determining before hand what activities you will do based on what you think certain scouts might need. For example :Even though activity A is more fun to the Cubs and they always seem to enjoy it more...you plan activity B and C because they can get new badges = or pins they don't have. But it will be tight and close. If we cut lunch and free time back by an hour, then we will have just enough time to get activities B and C in.


That's what I mean by overplanning.


At least, in my head! LOL! Maybe you understand what I mean!

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Our Pack holds an annual Family Campout that includes scouts, parents, siblings, and whoever else wants to tag along. We also do an ice cream social at a local park with the same type attendees. In all cases we have an agenda with planned activities. Everybody has a good time, even the siblings. Believe it or not the parents expect the scheduling and organization.


No offense, but I think its you who are missing the point. You can have a lot of fun at a Cub Scout function, whether its a pack meeting or family camp out. You can have sack races which are just plain fun and you can have nature walks where you can learn something, but you really need some kind of structure to hold the event together. Heck you could even factor in free time where folks can do what they want, as long as theyre back in time for dinner or the campfire.


As the old misquoted Baden Powell saying goes Scouting is a game with a purpose. Games are fun, but whether blatant or subtle, the aims of Scouting should be worked in. Thats the purpose.


If you want a do your own thing event call up your best buds and have your own family camp out, but if you do it under the aegis of Scouting, then you have a certain obligation to the Program.


Just my opinion.







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We may actually be arguing the same point here, but with different words


Toe may toe.....tah mah toe


No doubt you have to plan something, I do not mean just show up and do whatever strikes you first.


Okay,I was vague on one thing: "Let's just go camp, have fun and just do stuff that is fun just for the sake of it doesn't matter for anything!"

On that part, I meant it wasn't purposely and specifically aimed at getting a badge, Arrow Point etc..



As far as learning:


3 legged races - would be both physical exercise, and learning teamwork and coordination.


Telling jokes - a talent or even biggest nastiest burp with teach you (or at least give you experience) standing up in front of people and crowds. Kinda shows you to perservere even when you are pretty nervous.


Blindfolded and listening to team mate #3 to guide you: again team work, but also trust.


Horseshoe contest: well it's pretty much simple competition, but you also use hand-eye coordination, physical skill, honing you aim, and also is a great place to show good sportsmanship.


When I said you might not understand, I meant that I wasn't saying to ditch planning, learning, or scoutlike behavior but saying that planning, learning, and scoutlike behavior do not have to include or revolve around merit badges, pins, belt loops, or anything that might be done in a den meeting!


My view of life is that anything can be a learning experience it you let it!(This message has been edited by scoutfish)

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I wouldnt say your example is over-planning, but sounds more like cramming.


Over-planning to me is having an excess of activities (and the necessary equipment) on hand so that if something turns out to be boring, unpopular, or just moves faster than anticipated, you have something else to offer aside from dead air.


So activity A, though popular, has been done before. Why not activity B and C? Theyre fresh and maybe theyll be just as popular. You could offer activity B and C and put A in your back pocket. If B and C are going nowhere or finish up quick, then pull out A and do it up to free time, then you dont have to cut anything. Thats over-planning, not the cramming you described.




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Scoutfish, just a point to avoid confusion - MERIT BADGES are NOT part of the CUB Scout program. They have NOTHING to do with Cub Scouting, Pack Family Camping, or anything else Cub Scout related. To keep using them as if they were interchangeable with Cub Awards is misleading at best.


Just because folks are looking for new ideas does not mean that "everybody is just bored out of their minds over the same old camping experience". It means, quite simply, we are doing advance planning, and looking for ideas. New, fun, ideas for Scouting activities can come from anywhere.


However, while the idea of - "Why not just be spontaneous and just have a campout based on completely non-educational and non-scouting-productive activities!" - might be fine for a group of buds going out for a good time, it is not the Scouting program, and we, as Cub Scout leaders, get paid the big bucks to deliver the SCOUTING PROGRAM, even at a PACK FAMILY Campout.


A Pack campout is not simply a "den meeting in a tent". It is also not a weekend of belching jokes with your buddies.


A Cub Scout Pack Family campout is also NOT "a family campout by a group of folks who happen to be in the same den. They happen to be scouts." That is a Group of Friends Family Campout, not Scouting.


A Cub Scout Pack Family campout is part of the Cub Scout program, and should be planned as such. Cub Scouts is ALL ABOUT FAMILY, so yes, there can very well be non-scouting brothers and sisters there. Part of the Cub Scout Outdoor Program is to provide age appropriate activities for them as well. And yes, sometimes we DO give them patches! We gave a little sister an award for catching the tiniest fish (about 1") at one of our Pack Family campouts.


I think your example of - "Even though activity A is more fun to the Cubs and they always seem to enjoy it more...you plan activity B and C because they can get new badges = or pins they don't have. But it will be tight and close. If we cut lunch and free time back by an hour, then we will have just enough time to get activities B and C in." is exaggerated and unrealistic.


If the boys have already done activity A numerous times, why repeat it yet again? You were complaining about boring camping trips. Why not try something different? If they have not done activities B and C before, they might just have more fun than with activity A, and as a plus they can earn a new award by doing them, so what's the problem? You start with B, see how that goes, and add C if there is time. Or you do both B and C and let the kids choose which one they want to do. Cutting out lunch is simply irresponsible, and no leader worth his/her position patch would even consider it. Cutting back on free time would be entirely up to the individual families. I have had families having so much fun doing an activity that they choose to continue doing it during their free time. No problem. That is why it is called FREE time.


While advancement and awards should not be the focus of the campout, they should be included as part of the program, and in many instances will happen quite naturally as part of the FUN.



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