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Getting scouts to be quiet at night

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As a SM, I beleive that I can say that this is a problem in a lot of troops. Try restricting food or sugar intake in the last hour or so before bedtime. Lots of hard work helps too, but then again boys will be boys. Usually friday nights on a weekend campout is the worse as they have been cooped up in school all day.


Another way that works for some of our boys is we allow headphones at night. I know I can hear the group saying "NO ELECTRONICS", but we don't allow them except in the tent a bedtime. With some of these boys thats how they sleep everyday.


Of copurse if all else fails, an electronic cattle prod works wonders(VBG)!

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HI All

You have to motivate scouts to do something, or not do something. We allow scout to talk so long as they don't disrupt other scouts. Once that happens, they get a warning. From there its a matter of creativity. The best thing that worked for me was a midnight hike. No one yells or gets upset, we just ask the scouts to get their shoes on and go for a hike. Along the way we talk about the stars, night critters and so on. Eventally at a quiet place far from camp (about a mile for me) we sit and spend a few minutes on Friendly, Curtious and Kind. And obediance. You know. Then we hike back to camp.


I never seem to have trouble with that group again. But if you do, then maybe up an hour eariler to collect fire wood or start the fire. Since they kept us up, it's only fair they allow us to sleep in.


If you have the patience, this works pretty good. Like I said no yelling, no getting up set, just a quiet way to motivate a change. Has worked most of the time. Usually I allow the SPL to give two three warnings, but after that, I get the boys up and tell them to "take a hike".


Scouting Cheers



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I agree with you Barry. Friday's are the worst of the two. They've had such an active Saturday, they "ask" to go to bed. Friday nights are busy for us, as setting up camp pushes the limits sometimes. Our older Scouts go to their tents first, but most of the younger Scouts are wound too tight, and very excited about the trip. It takes patience on my part (I'm the SM), but eventually I coax them to their tents and allow them to talk abit. They know that no matter how late they stay up, 7:00 AM comes no matter what. That tends to get them to quiet down (that and extra Troop chores and less play time).



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We do the night hike when the kids are still a bit rowdy and have even had to change of tent assignments once to get a rowdy tent to quiet down.


But we have also recieved complaints of the leaders beng to loud.

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I like the hike.

Sctmom is right on about the adults tho'. We do rob kids the experience of the sounds of nature at night with all the racket coming from the adults around a campfire. I find this happens alot at camporees and the first couple of nights at summer camp.

A suggestion I use to quiet the "loud" boys down is to get them outside the tents and around either the fire ring or entrance to camp and ask them quietly to listen to the sounds of the night. After a few minutes, the noise inevitably starts up again, as boys are boys and then I ask them to identify the sounds, Is it a squirrel, raccoon, etc? Then I direct them to be as quiet as they can and see if they can see what animals are around the campsite at night.

So far, they have spotted: skunk, raccoon, chipmunk, snake, etc. I was glad they fell asleep in their tents before the bear showed up!!! They never would have quieted down again if they saw that. Suprised the smell of that critter didn't wake them up... It's nice to be an owl, ruler of the night.

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Sometimes these discussions make me think we've got the worst Troop that ever donned uniforms. Other times I wonder how it could be that someone else is experiencing a problem because we've just never seen it. This one is in the latter category.


Not that we plan things this way to prevent rowdiness, but I think what helps us that first of all, every boy has a very specific assignement in addition to setting up his tent when we get to the campsite of Friday night. That helps burn off some energy. Then, snacks are always either Mexican Madness, a taco salad - like conconction, or hard pretzels, depending on how long it took to get to camp. Either way, it's not high in sugar.


Lastly, the older guys get the priveledge of staying up and B.S.ing around the fire while it burns itself out, while the younger guys go to bed. The SPL always makes a point of congratulating whichever of the Patrols were quietest while he was still up, and to some degree, that's one of the criteria for being invited to stay up "with the older guys". Act maturely and keep quiet, get to stay up a little later. Horse around, and it seems like it takes an extra couple of cycles of campouts to get the "invitation". Somehow, we never seem to have a problem.



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Good point on adults keeping the kids up! If you've got lanterns cranked up and folks moving around and lots of conversation it's even more difficult for the boys to get settled down... Think I might make a special mention of asking the older Scouts to 'stay up a bit and review the program for the next day' to take some of the older/younger sting out of it.

Like that night hike idea as well

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It's scoman not SctMom.


anyway what we have done is to move the adult tents away from the boys and let the boys have their own campsite close by but away from the fire ring. That way the adults can stay up and talk as well as go over the program for the next day.

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Having patrol campsites without them on top of each other helps us. We've had to camp in "compact" sites where we're lined up like in a refugee camp, and it's horrible -- one body sound just after lights out and then every dog in the neighborhood's barking.


Also, our tents are large enough for just two Scouts and their gear, so the "divide and conquer" principle applies, too.


A little realism helps; we set lights-out times consistent with the next day's activities and their maturity/responsibility, too -- green bars can stay up a little later. We don't object to conversation in the tents after lights-out, as long as it's not disturbing anyone else.


We've tried variations on all the other techniques as well. But only up to a point -- they're always going to have difficulty falling asleep on order, the first night of a campout. In my SM conferences, all my Scouts have consistently told me that camping is their favorite part of the program -- it's what keeps them coming to meetings. They're so happy and excited to be there rather than in school or looking at their little sisters, or trying on new clothes, that their excitement overwhelms them. I grew up in a city, and when I was a Scout, camping to me meant getting away from that, and being manly, too. We swung axes, lit fires, stalked critters, cooked stuff we could eat with our fingers, and so on. I could barely contain myself on the way to camp, and often didn't that first night. Fortunately, my Scoutmaster and our other leaders understood this then, and I appreciate it now.


It's funny, I've heard and often followed the "no sugar before lights-out" approach. Except when we cold-weather camp; at Klondike in January, they thought I was kidding when we added extra Hershey bars to their food lists. But, right before they crawl in their sacks, PLs are passing them out and telling their Scouts to eat, the whole thing, right now, no questions asked. A step closer to Heaven, they were.



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we use two man tents. that helps alot. it REALLY does.


With the younger boys, who tend to leave stuff out all over - we do a walk-thru the campsite and have them put stuff away at about 10 pm - often they dissapear into their tents, putting stuff away and are too tired to come back! (or they don't come back fearing other 'job' assignments -LOL!)


Most of our boys get up at an unGodly early hour - 6am or even earlier! they get the message early on that it doesn't pay to stay up - crabbiness is not allowed, either!


our boys ARE allowed to stay up as long as they wish - if there are things they miss out on in the morning, like breakfast - too bad. it seldom happens. if the troop is leaving for an activity - say a bike ride or wall climbing - the other boys literally pull him out of the tent if we can't just 'leave' him. We've only had one boy who persisted in his late-nite late-morning habits - and he has since gone to another troop.


I am a night owl - and NOT a morning person. On our last campout I stayed up til 1:30 AM, visiting with the boys - especially as we lost one of our adult leaders to cancer last week. We were having a great time sharing stories about him, laughter, and a few tears. It was a priceless time I would not have traded for anything - and the best "memorial" Scot could have ever wanted.


sometime we have to remind the boys - especially those whose voices are changing - that their voices carry and especially at the campsite we were at last weekend - there were alot of families around us with young children. but the SPL and older boys do a good job of monitoring the younger ones.


the boys STILL got up at around 5:30. - not my problem as the adults do their own cooking - we got up and around about 6:30. the troop had an appointment to do some wall climbing at 9 AM.


the hot afternoon found me napping in my hammock from a nearby tree - making up for lost hours the night before.


this BOY lead stuff is GREAT!

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Whether at Summer Camp or a weekend outing, I let the Scouts know in advance that I am going to bed at a certain time. The rule of the troop is that when the Scoutmaster goes to sleep, things have to quiet down. You don't have to go to sleep, just be quiet. If they keep me up and extra hour, I wake them up an hour eariler. Haven't had to do this in quite a few years


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On dark, moonless nights, just as the last flames flicker into embers, the story is told of the old Scoutmaster in our troop who had to warn to troop about quiet down one time too many. At midnight, he ordered camp to be struck. Tents were packed, gear was loaded and the Scouts hike about an hour before setting up a new site.


Several hours later, as the groggy Scout climbed out of their sacks, they realizided the new camp was in the same spot they camped in originally.

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2cubdad - that SM has a wicked sense of humor - I LIKE it! LOL!



Dancin fox - your method would work, too - only thing is - who is getting punished? the SM that has to get up early to get the boys up early? or the boys?


Hmmm - thinking it over - I'm against anything that punishes the adults in having US meet out consequences to the over-active boys. We're just starting to be boy lead and really getting it to work - but I'm certainly going to pass these two ideas on to our SPL. and I will back the 'consequences' he decides to use .... from the comfort of my sleeping bag! LOL!





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