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fox709

Who owns the tents?

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Our troop is still in the process of transitioning from being adult-led to being a boy-led, adult-supported unit. Our tents are starting to wear out and the Scouts, through the PLC, have come to the Committee requesting new tents.

 

The Scouts have taken a real liking to backpacking and canoe treks over the past year and/or to at least carrying their gear into a camp area in their backpacks. The tents we have are rather heavy, all things considered, So, the Scouts have requested that we purchase new tents, and they would like to get 2-man backpacking tents rather than more of the heavier, traditional 3-man Scout tents -- they have selected a pretty sturdy make and model that is a lightweight modified dome.

 

The one concern to the Committee, SM, and ASMs is that the Scouts have not demonstrated very good maintenance habits with the tents they currently have. Despite a lot of training and cajoling by the QMs many of the Scouts just plain show little respect for their tents when cleaning and stowing them after each campout. So, this begs the question: Should a troop purchase tents for it''s patrols OR should Scouts be required to purchase their own tents, all of the same agreed-upon make/model? I''ve recently heard that several troops are taking the latter route to encourage ownership and insure that if a tent is damaged through misuse, abuse, or poor cleaning and stowing habits then it is the Scout''s problem rather than the troop''s problem.

 

I''m very interested in hearing pros and cons on this. If you are using this latter method does it interfere with the development of a strong patrol by encouring a mine mentality rather than an ours, patrol-based mentality? How do you handle a situation where a Scout can''t afford the troop-specified tent? Which Scout''s tent is used for each campout -- who decides? How do you handle Scout A being paired up by his PL with Scout B, a guy he doesn''t care for, who then damages Scout A''s tent to the point it (or some part) has to be replaced?

 

My question isn''t tied to a particular kind of tent, the real problem is poor supplies maintentance habits. With little success so far modifiying the Scout''s attitudes on this should we have them buy their own tents? Will pride in ownership actually rear it''s head? What''s your experience with this?

 

Thanks for the insights!

 

Dave

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Nephew''s troop owns a number of tents (some Eurekas, some Bean) that most boys use on campouts. After a camp out one of each pair is expected to take said tent home to dry. We have one hanging in the garage right now.

 

On the other hand, some boys prefer to use their own tents. This, however, brings with it the problem of "I don''t have to share MY tent". Yes, I know - not very Scouting, but very teen.

 

The boys all seem to take reasonably good care of the tents, whether troop or their own. An upside to using Troop tents is that everybody knows how to set them up.

 

You can suggest XYZ tent, but for many parents telling them that their son must have a "troop specified" tent will be met with resistance....its all in the wording. "Our troop recommends XYZ tent for its affordability & durable, as well as ease of use" will be received by a parent far better than "If Johnny wants to camp with us he has to have XYZ tent".

 

YMMV, IMHO

YiS

Michelle(This message has been edited by msnowman)

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Scouts are rough on tents. They, for the most part, don''t take responsiblity for equipment because we, the adults, don''t expect them to. As adults what our scouts will do is based on our expectations and limitations.

 

Our troop owns the tents and most of the equipment that is used during campouts. We do have a few scouts that do take responsiblity (these are usually people who have either served as Quartermaster or Senior Patrol Leader). We used to send the tents home with scouts after each campout so that they could dried and cleaned correctly.

 

That didn''t work. We would get back Sunday afternoon and the Scouts would have a meeting Monday night. There was little time to get the tents up and dried, especially if it would rain.

 

Therefore, we now air tents out Sunday morning. Scouts get up, pack up their personal gear they won''t need Sunday morning, and start airing their tents out. The tents then get packed dried and cleaned. Any tents that aren''t correct aren''t packed until they are correct (so scouts quickly learn what we expect). If tents are missing parts the scout Quartermaster is expected to correct that problem. In our troop we have an evaulation process that scouts must pass to continue serving in their position of responsiblity so the Quartermaster actually completes his assignments.

 

At our Monday night meeting following the campouts we go through the trailer and patrol boxes and make sure that everything is where it is suppose to be, is maintained, and is clean. This is run by our Quartermaster and Patrol Leaders (Patrol Boxes), Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (tents), and Senior Patrol Leader (trailer). Patrols will be split to accomplish each task.

 

In response to your questions about requiring scouts to buy their own tents, I''m not sure that this is fair to the scouts. The first problem would be that they would have to share their tent with other scouts. If a problem happens with a scout that shares a tent the owner of the tent is out of luck. Another problem would be cost. I know that the Eureaks that many troops use usually run near $200. Many family''s would have an issue with this. On the other side you have inexpensive Coleman''s that can run closer to $75 (end of season sales), but will wear out a lot quicker.

 

I do know that as our scouts get older they enjoy buying or receiving (as gifts) equipment. However, when they buy their own tents it fits the type of camping they enjoy. If they enjoy hiking they will buy smaller, lighter, tents. If they enjoy winter camping a different tent must be purchased. It needs to be left up to the scout and his family so that the correct tent is purchased.

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I am having the same problem with troop owned tents. The scouts do not treat them with respect. The boys, especially the younger ones, abuse them - one actually dragged one in it''s bag and tore a large hole through the fabric. Many end up with missing parts. These are $200 Eureka three man "A" frames I am talking about - with aluminum poles.

 

I''m at the point of asking why we have troop owned tents. Do we have them for the boys that can''t afford one? Or is if for unifomity? We actually have a policy that all crossed-over boys must use the troop tents for one year. The thinking behind this is that the new boys have no idea what kind or brand of tent to buy and that it prevents them from going out and wasting their money on a Kmart special.

 

I would like to suggest a policy that the boys put a deposit down if they use a troop tent. If the tent is returned %100 OK then they get the deposit back. They could still be affordable then. I just need something to motivate them to taking better care of the troop tents.

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To try and answer Dave''s question the first answer is the troop currently and you have experience with what that got you. In this particular case where the troop is choosing to backpack and canoe I would put the ball back in their court. My discussion with the PLC would be along the order of well the troop has provided you with tents that while not in perfect condition have some life left in them do you guys want to put together a troop fund raiser to buy new troop tents or would you each like to buy your own tent.

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When our troop started getting a little bigger, many of the parents started complaining about kids leaving their cars trashed out. So we started going to a carwash before we got home from campouts so the scouts could clean the cars with their own money to the satisfaction of the driver. After a few months we quick doing that (except for summer camp) because all of a sudden the problem went away.

 

Use this as an opportunity to teach trust, loyalty, courtesy, and kind. Teach the scouts a new habit of behavior to help develop their character. Don''t yell, jump up and down or get angry, just think like a boy and find the right motivation to give the boy a will to change.

 

Good Luck.

 

Barry

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We too own tents as a troop and have run into some of the same problems. When we did invidiual tents, we did have the problems of scouts not wanting to share their tents, or wanting a scout from a different patrol in their tent (It''s MY Tent!). I agree it''s not scoutlike, but it''s often what we are dealing with.

 

We''ve had the problems of lost tents, lost parts, etc. We now put the tents in the hands of the PATROL quartermaster. If that patrol doesn''t show up to a campout with their tents, then they have to make due with what they have. This has drastically cut down on the number of problems, although we still have a few.

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Oh man did you hit a nerve with the car thing.

Ok, It was a dark and stormy night.....

Ok, not so much.

But, we were heading to the Grand Canyon to hike down to Havasu Falls on the Supai reservation. I got 4 scouts and me in my pickup (quad cab), pulling the troop trailer. Its morning, they are having a grand old time. We hit the rim and unload the backpacks after I park the truck and trailer in the parking lot. We lock it up and head down into the canyon for a few days. Well, upon return, remember this is Arizona, I get back to the truck, pop the locks and open the door. WHOA Nelly! What died! Seems one of the scouts was enjoying a banana on the trip to the rim and lost most of it on the floor boards. Well it got smashed, mashed into the carpet and seat rails and seat belt and everything else, then baked for three or four days. Well, needless to say I wasn''t too happy. Note to self, in my next life, get a truck with rubber floor mats. Still can''t get that rotten banana smell out of it.

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The Troop I work with, along with all the Troops I have been in as a youth owned their own tents ... The Troop I am with now as an adult leader has 2 man colman dome tents, these work great both for car camping and backpacking...

 

When picking out a tent make site you take into account where you will be using. The weather, temperature, how much moisture, etc could play a role in what you need...

 

Scott Robertson

http://insanescouter.org

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Our COR owns the tents.

Our Scouts take pretty good care of them. We use Eureka Timberlines.

I haven''t seen abuse yet but conspicuously carry a $9.99 tube tent for the first tent abuser/s I see or is reported.(And yes I paid too much for the tube tent and everyone knows what it is for.)

We have occasionally lost a few tent stakes - but only after the entire troop was assembled and walked down the area the where the tent in question was pitched, and when I say a few I mean maybe two or three since march this year.

Component bag(Stake bags/Pole bags) tears are reported promptly - usually a failed seam which is quickly repaired. The tents themselves are holding up nicely.

 

We also stock some backpacking tents but allow individual backpacking tents to be used at the PL''s discretion.

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Think Gunny2862 has it about right.

 

Our troop has timberline XT 2''s and 4''s (fours are definitely less than perfect back packers but the two-mans, split between two scouts results in each scout having about 4 pounds or less to carry in the way of tentage)

 

Damage occurrs, these are KIDs after all, but most is horse play or bags tearing...not willful misuse. We loose the occasional stake or tarp line but it is now a rare occurance. We instituted troop dues a few years back and one of the componants of those dues was repairs and replacement costs of equipment. Its just good planning. So repairs are now in the budget.

 

The QM is very good at checking in tents. He has a form for everything...pretty anal! If weather is appropriate we let the tents dry at the camp site Sunday AM (troop/patrol protocol is to have all personal gear packed and sitting beside your tent when you exit Sunday morning for services and breakfast...Tents are opened up to start airing out. Before the tent is bagged the QM visits each pair of scouts and physically inspects that all poles, lines, pins and parts bags are present and only then will he approve packing the tent away. If there is a problem it is noted on a tag and if not a "quick fix Item" he deals with it later. If Sunday weather is wet....Scouts are sent home with the tent and it is expected back Monday night...

 

After campouts, the QM makes an anouncement to the parents picking up their scouts, (yes, we require scouts to "check out" before they leave -so the SPL can check them off his list) that "all tents are to be cleaned and "arranged for dry-out"" before the scouts be allowed to get their showers that night...Don''t know if it really works, but we have only one "wet tent" issue in the last four years...

 

If for some reason a scout does not return a tent or tarp on MOnday night he will return it no later than the following Thursday...so it is ready for use (if needed) by patrols on Friday. If a scout can not have it dry and ready to inspect Monday he must physically deliver it to the QM (at the QMs home) for inspection Thursday night. The QM will make a call on Tuesday (to Check on his missing tents)... to the scout(and SM will make a call to parents if necessary) to be sure the tent is not being left in a dark corner to get smelly.

 

Boys who are felt to "need a lesson" in the proper handling and care of gear get "detailed" to the QM and the Adult QM mentor (me) where he will spend a day, maybe more, patching tent bags, cutting, whipping tarp lines, cleaning/repairing canoes, sorting stakes, repairing or re-bungie cording poles, cleaning stoves, washing/inspecting tents -whatever lessons he might need help with...between the QM, the Patrol QMs and the grumpy old guy these lesson usually "take".

 

Like all boy led efforts...equipment "troop/scout" ownership issues take way more work than the alternatives...Teaching them to be responcible is much more time consuming that just letting the parents deal with juniors wet tent. And face it most boys who own a nice tent usually are willing to "leave it" to dad to take care of...at least until dad tires of the game...And now days we see a lot of dads...still picking up after junior long after he started high school. Finding and training QMs is a whole ''nother bag o worms...

 

Troop tents can lead to unit pride, (particularly with new/ younger boys), can help the troop offer high quality outdoor experiences, and even provide a "level" playing field for boys coming from families unable or just unwilling to invest in good equipment. I think they make good sense. That said, I have seen troops with heavy troop tents (poly floors, etc) that can not backpack with troop gear...so it is always wise to investigate, hash out what you are doing, what you want to be doing in the future and then make the best judgement you can in order to get the best bang for your buck...

 

AvidSM...boy dragging tent...HE should spend several afternoons or even meeting nights patching bags and repairing gear...until he gets it!

 

Like all things respect for equipment has to be taught and re-taught! Your scouts have to be inculcated with the knowledge that they are borrowing tents from past and future scouts...if they don''t take care of the gear- future scouts pay the price...(and of course, being stupid does have a price...they get to work with grumpy people instead of playing video games). We now have 15 Eurekas that are 7 years old! and 6 more that are 5 years old. Repaired lots of bags, patched a few tent flys and doors, even replaced a few poles and bags but the gear is still good looking and in great working order. This is with 12 or more multi-night camps each year, at least 7 week-long canoe trips (annual event) and many, many small patrol camps...but it is a lot of work....a lot of nagging, and a lot of coffee!

 

It can work...

Anarchist

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Gern, I have a 2007 model Chrysler that smells like Onions, would you like to trade? On the topic, the troop of my youth still had some old floorless canvass wall tents. Talk about heavy. Never backpacked with them of course, but they did hold up well. I think they are still available and would be a good lesson for Scouts to use when car camping. They can buy their own backpacking tents for that activity. Fox, what facilities are available for your unit? My old troop had an old firehouse for a meeting place and we hung tents in the basement (horse stalls) on Sunday after trips and put away after Monday night meeting ended.

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You can still get those cnavas tents thru the military surplus section at the Sportsmans guide. I was around long enough ago to have been issued a shelter half, used it many times.

[sportsmansGuideSpecials@sportsmansguide.com] then search.

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Just a quick note that Gunny2862 has it right: your unit doesn''t own anything. All troop gear, the troop checkbook, even your troop number are all OWNED by your chartered organization.

 

Scouting is franchised much like McDonald''s or several other fast food restaurants. BSA National gives a charter (franchise license) the the sponsoring organization (aka chartered organization) to deliver the scouting program in their area.

 

 

Anyway back on topic: This particular topic on which way to go on tents--troop (Chartered Organization) owned or scout owned has been discussed many times on this forum. Just look back a bit and you''ll find similar named topics on this.

 

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Moxieman: I looked at the list of current threads before I started this one and didn''t see anything on this topic. I''ll go look again and be a bit more tenacious. Thanks for the suggestion!

 

To the rest of you (you, too, Moxieman), thanks for sharing your experiences and recommendations. I''ve invited my fellow ASMs and our QMs to all take a look at your comments. Great food for thought -- THANKS!

 

Dave

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