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I'm very glad to see the majority of you feeling the way I feel. When I took over the troop about 5 months ago, and we had our first campout (the troops first actual, real, honest to goodness PATROL campout too BTW).

I declared at the end of a troop meeting while parents were waitinf to pick up their boys, that:

"parents are strongly discouraged from camping out. Not prohibited, but strongly discouraged. This is not family camping this is BOY SCOUT camping as patrols! If you parents MUST camp out, you will of course be allowed. BUT! You will camp out as a member of "the Old Goats" patrol, in your own tent, and will not be camping in your son's tent with him in his patrol campsite."


I actually got the "cheers!" sign from a couple parents, smiles from the rest. Those other parents would be myself (scoutmaster) and my ASM's that were going to campout anyway as part of the Old Goat Patrol.


Thank you all for your feedback. Sounds like I'm on the right path.


Mike B

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"They routinely send 10-15 adults to summer camp (and about 25-30 boys). The Venture Patrol usually has a 1:1 or sometimes more than 1:1 ratio of adults: boys. Mind you, nearly all of these adults are registered as either ASMs or committee members, so it isn't a case of just "stray parents." This doesn't stop these registered adults from butting in to the scouts' territory, though. In fact it appears to give them license. One result is that the committee sometimes acts as though THEY have more ownership of the troop, than the boys do."

Fortunately these are problems that my troop does not have to deal with:  Too many adults and babysitting the scouts.  This sounds more like family camps than it does a functioning Scout Troop. 

How is your troop addressing it?

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Jeffrey: They aren't doing anything. In fact it is a selling point for many parents. I don't particularly like this approach myself, but my views are also not widely held by others in this group.


Exibar: This troop has an adult patrol too (and there have been a couple of good threads about adult patrols on this forum in the last couple of years, btw). While the existence of an adult patrol can get the adults physically out of the youth patrol tent areas, there are many other ways for adults to hijack youth roles and responsibilities. Well-meaning committees who want to micromanage the PLC and "World's Oldest SPLs and PLs" who want to do the youth jobs for them are good examples.


Avoiding this mentality is more than just a matter of physical separation of tent areas (though that's a good thing). It also requires that you seriously train your youth to do the jobs themselves, give them space to try things out, and maintain a regular feedback loop for what's working and what's not, or else some adults will use the youths' lack of training and expertise as excuses for adults to take over what should be youth roles.



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I am going to agree to disagree on this one and as usual I will give some classic analagies to make my point.


You son is on a baseball team but the coach tells you since you are not a trained coach that you are not allowed to attend. Nope, we don't want you watching you son learning a sport you never played and by god, don't think about giving him any advise.


Or your daughter wants to be on a dance team. You never danced as a youth so don't even think you come to a recital. Are you crazy, we are learning how to dance and you can not be a part of your childs learning experience.


I guess my next question is how did any of you get to go on the first camp out with your son if it is strongly discouraged for parents to attend camp outs. Wait, let me guess. You wanted to be involved with your son while he experiences this beautiful program.


Our troop has many parents who have never scouted. We love them to come along and learn with the boy about the program and it is beautiful watching them grow together. We also have parents not get involved at all in the camping part and most times they don't help on the committee side either.


I will stick with the way our troop operates. We have great participation from the boys and parents. We do year round camping and have a large group. We also do a lot of things in our community each month.


It does sort of become a large family as we all watch our boys grow up and mature.

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I have no issue with extra parents on campouts. They are simply told that once they arrive at the campout, they are not longer a parent but are instead a Scouter. Their role is to support the Troop in its activities, and if their son has a question - their son should follow the following flow chart:


Do you already know the answer?

Is the answer in your Handbook?

Did you ask your Patrol Leader?

Did you ask one of the Guides?

Did you ask your Senior Patrol Leader?

Did you ask one of the Venture Crew Scouts?

NOW you can check with the Scoutmaster.


Now, we don't allow parents on campouts until they have registered and passed YPT, plus they are heavily encouraged to get some of the online training done as well. This helps ensure that they have a basic understanding of Scouting.


We don't do the Adult patrol, but we DO camp in a separate adult compound and not with the Patrols. We don't have Kudu's 300 feet (difficult in Southern California given the size of my Troop), but I do insist on Patrol separation as much as possible.


I might do an adult patrol setup for a future campout to help teach the new parents - that could be fun!


The GREAT thing about having extra adults along is holding BORs. For example, when the Troop is at Summer Camp we will have enough members of the Committee to hold BORs in the evening for those Scouts who have hit Advancement points during the camp. Nothing beats an SMC at camp, followed by a BOR and instant recognition. This is possible thanks to having enough adults along. The extra adults also lets us get all Scouts and gear to camp without parents going back and forth.


Extra bodies means a little more work for the Scoutmaster the first time, but it turns into a great benefit over time. I find myself having to be a little firm on a parent's first campout, reminding them that their son needs to learn to turn to his fellow Scouts first - but once over that hurdle they start to see the benefits of the program.

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I can see where the OP is coming from, but I generally do disagree with the statement. One of the things I love best about being a scout, was some of the time I spent with my father. Not as his son, but as his scout. He was very good at keeping distance and letting all of the scouts do their part in camp. I can't think of one time, that I felt like he was hovering over me.


I think the problem is not parents in general, but a parent in specific. One of the SM's most important roles is to teach parents how to take part in the program, without compromising their son's experience.


I honestly think a lot of who I am today, comes from watching him be a scouter. While I surely had some good reactions with other SM/ASM through my scout career, there was something special about observing him in action. I would hate to exclude today's scouts from experiencing the same thing.



I would also like to add, sometimes the adults that came camping with us did do an adult patrol and tend to themselves. But some trips it was not possible for us to have an adult patrol, so instead they were guests at each meal. They worked out a rotating schedule and took turns being a "party guest" at each patrol for meals. This was a lot of fun at summer camp, because it added a bit of competition between the patrols to improve their camp cooking skills to impress their guests. Especially when the adults would remark to each other across the site about how great the food was at their new dining place.



So don't go putting all the parents in the same box. While it is most important for the program to be scout-focused, there is an important role these parents can play. If they are up to the challenge...

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