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RedFlyer

Membership Question

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Sorry my brain goes 100 miles a minute at times. of course he woudl need to join ASAP and do all the prep work and prep trips prior togoing: Attend meetings, go on practice trips etc. Automaticallly assumed that.

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if the boy in question is of Scouting age, I believe he will be covered by the BSA insurance policy.

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I think you're asking the wrong question. Who cares about the insurance? That's a petty non-issue. The questions you should be asking are:

 

What will I do when this new scout gets a half mile down the trail and decides he wants to go home? (For any of a multitude of reasons.)

 

What will I do when this new scout of unknown ability is crippled with blisters (or some such thing)?

 

What will I do when we discover this new scout doesn't get along with others or doesn't bring the right gear or brings something he shouldn't or wanders from the group or etc., etc., etc.

 

Maybe I'm being too dramatic but here's what I see: On one hand you have a group that is ready for this trip and it will be a great trip with them. On the other hand you have this new person of unknown ability who thinks he would like to go. Yes he's older but he's still just a new scout. Would you take a brand new scout on this type of trip?

 

The big question is: Should you take a chance on wrecking this trip for the group by including him?

 

I say no. Tell him he can join and earn his way into being included in these types of things because that's the way it's done. If it's too late because of his age that's a shame, but it's the right thing to do for the group.

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I think there are a lot of things the boy can do to be ready for such a trip. The learning curve is less steep for a typical 17 year old, than for a typical 11 year old. By all means, require that the boy do what is needed to be physically and mentally prepared for the trip. Beyond that, telling him he hasn't had enough bench time to be worthy of a spot is a way to ensure that you never recruit any older boys into the troop.

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I have to disagree with the thought that this young man can engage in some sort of get-ready-quick-program that would make him unquestionably ready for a trip of this magnitude. There are aspects of hiking, camping, and working together as a group that nothing but lots of experience can teach you. The safety aspect alone would be enough to scare me away from bringing him.

Telling this young man that the group has worked very hard to make sure they are prepared for this special trip and that he is welcome to join and work hard to be prepared for the next one is the right thing to do both for him and the group.

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Mikeb, your concerns are legitimate, and I had raised pretty much the same concerns earlier. BUT I think the proper approach is to (as I said earlier) ASK THE QUESTIONS designed to determine whether he is ready. None of us here (other than possibly the original poster) know whether this particular young man is ready. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. And if he is almost ready (which may also be the case with some of the the other boys going on the trip), maybe he can become ready, and maybe he can't. But it's an open question. I disagree with your (Mikeb) assumption that the answer is "No."

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mikeb, "What will I do when this new scout gets a half mile down the trail and decides he wants to go home? (For any of a multitude of reasons.)

 

What will I do when this new scout of unknown ability is crippled with blisters (or some such thing)?

 

What will I do when we discover this new scout doesn't get along with others or doesn't bring the right gear or brings something he shouldn't or wanders from the group or etc., etc., etc."

 

The same thing I would do with any other Scout. With the help of all the others on the trek we would help them work through the issues/problems.

 

This just maybe what this boy needs in life, and who knows what kind of impact it may have on him.

 

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What do your kids think? Most venture patrol lads see this sort of trek as the result of years of their sweat equity, eh? That's not something to take lightly.

 

Yah, I've seen and heard of LOTS of high adventure trips wrecked by having one youth or adult participant who really wasn't ready for that sort of thing who was allowed to participate by some "kind hearted soul". There's nothing like trying to console a kid for the loss of his father to a heart attack on the trail, or to trying to save da reputation of a youth who "ruined the big trip for everyone" to disabuse yeh of the kind hearted nonsense. Every year it seems we kill at least one boy in da western states who is a "guest" of some unit on an adventure trek, but because he didn't know the adults and troop well misbehaves, or doesn't pay attention, or...

 

Adventurous trips in remote areas are marvelous learning experiences. They're the right "next step" for boys who have learned all they can from weekend, local, and front-country outings. They're not da place to take beginners, eh? Unless yeh want to run it as an adult-led guided beginners trip with a lot of outfitter support, in which case it won't be any fun or lead to any growth for da rest of the boys. Age has nothing to do with it, either.

 

So I'd say yeh exercise extreme skepticism. Almost all of da times I've seen this done people have not been happy with the outcome in one way or another. There are all kinds of professional guide outfits that cater to kids like this. They just cost a lot more. That's because yeh need a lot more resources and experience to take unknown and inexperienced teens into da backcountry safely than we have in a volunteer program.

 

Now it could be the lad completed Outward Bound two years ago and did a NOLS semester this summer and is willing to camp every outing with da troop to get to know and work with the youth and adults and learn your systems and expectations. In that case, no worries! There are always exceptions, eh?

 

But doin' this should not be da rule.

 

As to da rest, I'd be careful about letting lads "cherry pick" outings like this without being fully engaged with the rest of da program. Once yeh set that expectation, it's a hard thing to un-do. Yeh will get more and more of your boys who only want to come on "da fun stuff" while avoiding the commitment required to actually succeed in teaching character. And then parents who only want to pay or fundraise for what their boy does, etc.

 

Beavah

(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I realize this is kind of crazy-talk given the usual pattern of things in this forum, but we could all give the adults in RedFlyer's troop the benefit of the doubt rather than assuming they are complete idiots. Actually, most of us have given them the benefit of the doubt. Only a couple of people seem to be assuming they are complete idiots.

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Yeah, NJ, but in all fairness, RedFlyer did say "... I would appreciate any opinions."

 

I imagine RedFlyer is just like most of us: Thought hard and long about it without just making a thoutless decision.

 

But like most of the rest of us , RedFlyer is only human and values another opinion based on the fact that..no matter how much we think we might have every angle and scenerio covered, somebody, somewhere might just think of something we didn't. Somebody might bring us some little tiny detail that completely changes the way we look at something.

 

 

RedFlyer wanted opinions.

 

RedFlyer got them.

 

There is no contract or legal obligation to follow them.

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Scoutfish, some of the recent "opinions" (not yours) have had a "tone" to them which I believe is unhelpful. Of course, that's just my opinion. :)

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Yah, email is just text, eh? It doesn't convey any "tone.". The "tone" that we read is always somethin' we add from inside our own head.

 

So when we agree with someone, or have in da past, we perceive a positive "tone". And vice versa.

 

Trick is just to remember that almost all of us here are scouters and scouting supporters who love kids and do our best to help 'em grow through scouting. That's da only tone I read anywhere in this thread.

 

Back on topic, I agree with mikeb. I don't think yeh can rely on asking questions to determine a lad's readiness for a backcountry adventure trek, eh? Any more than you can ask questions to determine readiness for a water sports activity. Yeh have to actually see the performance, do the swim check.

 

Beavah(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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A few thoughts.

 

Invite the youth to join the troop, just as you would any other boy. Then I would sit down with the Venture Patrol and guide them in some detailed planning for the upcoming trip, including fund-raising needs, whether uniforms are appropriate for the trip, what type and number of shakedown trips are needed, how often the Venture Patrol needs to meet for additional planning, and what are the responsibilities of each member of the Patrol. In other words, guide them in planning as they should for ANY boy run event.

 

If the Patrol decides that certain first aid rank requirements must be met in order for a youth to participate, then all members of the Patrol must meet the requirement. The same would be true for swimming requirements, cooking requirements, or any other requirements for that matter.

 

I'm not suggesting that you single out the new youth and add requirements for his participation. I'm merely suggesting that he prove to himself and to the other members of the Patrol that he is willing to invest the time and energy to be a full member of the Patrol. He is not just coming on the trip, he must a contributing member of the team (the Patrol) taking the trip.

 

 

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*sigh* I suppose I'm the guy with the "tone." Truthfully I am as big a softy as anyone else here. I have taken my fair share of scouts on trips when I knew they really shouldn't go. The difference though is when I make those choices it's only when I am certain it won't negatively impact the other scouts experience. Generally this involves having the backup of extra leaders who can attend to the issue or the ability to call the parents to come and help. I would never allow an unprepared scout on this type of trip.

And so we have this outing. These scouts have worked hard to be ready for this special trip and to take an absolute newbie remains in my mind an unacceptable risk. A badly sliced finger while learning the skill of pocketknife use, a boiling pot knocked over on himself or another scout while learning to use his new backpacking stove, having to be carried out because of dehydration or any other new guy medical issue, wandering away and getting lost or hurt, etc., etc., etc. These are things not exclusive to younger scouts, these are things that new scouts do. Any of these things could end the trip immediately. These and so many more. Let the boy join and enjoy the regular trips, don't chance ruining the special trip.

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I, too, have experienced similar negatives. It's amplified in venturing where -- even if a boy has tons of camping/hiking experience -- how to behave in the company of young women comes into play. But, co-ed or not, your contingent has to be a performing team long before it's time to ship out.

 

Optimally, if the trip involves much backpacking, the venture patrol should turn into the hike-a-month club. By the time you take the trip, each boy should have attended 5 weekend conditioning hikes. Which practically means you should have at least 8 weekends scheduled.

 

(This can overlap with weekends with the rest of the troop, where the venture patrol hikes into the site from a longer trail while the adults not chaperoning the high adventure maintain a base camp. It makes a big impression on the younger kids to see a group of guys arriving from who-knows-where and disappearing at the crack of dawn to cover another few miles before heading home.)

 

If the new boy is willing to sign on to troop life, and the training schedule, I would wager he won't be a problem. If not, I'll bet his buddies will come to you on day 3 of the high adventure and ask you why you let them bring him along.

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