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Kids, sticks,and the outdoors

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We stopped taking the boys camping altogether. Instead we hike around the outside of our meeting place six times (being sure to stay on the sidewalk). Then we have an overnighter in the basement with a parent in attendance for each boys. The boys have home made brocolli S'mores as they sit in front of a virtual campfire playing on a plasma TV. Then we tuck the boys in at 9:30.

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Well, since this thread has digressed to this point...


Cub Scouting has been a huge adjustment for me, having a daugter that has been in the Girl Scouts since kindergarten. The missus just happens to be a GS troop leader too.


Keeping in mind that Girl Scout troops are essentially like Dens, being organized by Grade:


-My daughter has been camping with her troop since she was in first grade. CS: no den camping allowed 'till grade 4.

-When my daughter went camping, they are required to have a 1:5 scout:adult ratio, that's it. No "adult partners."

-When my daughter goes tent camping, everyone piles into tents based on space constraints only. All the better when they go winter camping. (Can you point out the two things not allowed in CS in that statement?)

-My daughter has been cooking over the fire since who knows when. Cub Scouts: Outdoor cooking is not "age appropriate" for under Webelos (according to G2SS chart--of course, that's despite the fact that outdoor cooking is part of the Wolf and Bear badges).

-My daughter has been using various power tools to do various service projects. Her council suggested that the girls use two-hand bow saws at a council camp event (grades K-6).


And on and on. Oh, and the AOL can't hold a candle to the Girl Scout Bronze Award in terms of complexity and community service requirements.


I know "boys will be boys" is not a good operating philosophy but we've gone to the other extreme. It makes it rather difficult for the missus...not to mention my son...to understand why the CS can't do something when I start citing (one of the many) rule books, when compared to the level of responsbility the girls are allowed to assume.(This message has been edited by gotta run)

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I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take offense from ... I was aiming for extreme sarcasm, my point being that if you go outdoors, there are going to be sticks. Unless your kids are encased in bubble wrap, they're going to pick up said sticks and play with them. It's human nature for boys and girls alike (not to mention some non-uptight adults, even! ;) ).

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I kinda agree with gotta run here.


By the time I was old enough to join Boy Scouts I had more time in the woods than most of the boys exiting with Eagles. By the time I started Cub Scouts, I probably had more hours, but not necessarily the skills.


My very first Boy Scout activity was a 10 mile hike with building a fire, cooking a meal and hiking with a day pack. All of this I did without any assistance from anyone else. Been there, done that.


And yet I had a Webelos boy in my den that couldn't start his fire because he didn't know how a book of matches worked.


For all the PR focused on adventure, there surely seems to be quite a lack of it in most modern BSA programs.


Even today at age 60 I camp two to three times as much as my Troop does. I canoe/kayak 10 times as much, and I cook more meals over fire than any of them. Although I have never calculated the hours, I believe I spend more time outdoors than the whole troop combined.


When I was a WDL I bent every rule in the book to get my boys outdoors camping. By the time they entered Boy Scouts they probably had as much outdoor time as anyone still working on FC in the troop.


And my GS daughter? Well we have camped out as recently as within the past month. She's 26 and we still take our annual outing in October. Her husband doesn't camp. :)


The closest thing to "camping" today is an RV, ATV, six-pack and a campfire. I traveled from San Diego, to Calgary to Wisconsin in 4 weeks with a wife and 2-man pup tent. Didn't think anything of it at the time.


So with that back ground, why is it so hard to get the boys to a camporee?


If a kid wants to play with a stick, it's okay with me. At least he's out in the woods looking for them!



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gotta run: bless your missus. When your daughter's 14, can she join my crew? Most of my GS don't want to be out of reach of a curling iron. It's been the non-GS that have been willing to throw on the backpack to enjoy the trail. The blame falls squarely on the folks.


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qwazse - What can I say, the girls like to camp. So do the moms for that matter who have been known to come along when their girls could not due to scheduling conflicts.


In fact, last year they did camp T-shirts with the motto, "Camp Like a Girl."


Like everything else, it depends on who's in charge and what the kids/families push to do. However, I have been a bit surprised with the detail of the various CS rules--and the comments made in other threads here that essentially distill to "Cub Scouting is not Boy Scouting, there's no need to do a bunch of camping"--that really highlight the differences between the programs' structures, at least in my experience.


In my view, Cub Scouting competes against all manner of interesting activities for boys' attention. Camping is what we have to offer that no other program has. And when I ask the boys "Why did you want to join Cub Scouts?," no one says "To go to meetings" or "To work on badges." Camping is always the first thing that comes up.


So back to the OT, let boys fulfill their desire to pick up sticks and stones and be attracted to bugs and shiny objects, just draw the line at actions that would reasonably lead to injury. My 2 cents for what it's worth.

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Since it was brought up -


While the Girl Scout program is different from that of BSA, they do not have carte blanche to do whatever they want with girls of any age.


GSUSA utilizes the concept for progression in activities, as does BSA. They simply do it a bit differently.


Also, GSUSA, like BSA, has many rules regarding what leaders, and girls, can and cannot do.


There are rules on what training is required for what kind of camping. In order to take your girls camping there MUST be at least one camp trained adult who is trained in ALL camping modules up to and including the module for the type of camping you will be doing. There also MUST be at least one adult on the trip who is certified in first-aid and CPR.


"-My daughter has been camping with her troop since she was in first grade."


For a long while Daisy Girl Scouts (K-1st grade) were NOT able to overnight camp. They were restricted to day trips only. Then they were allowed to go on an overnight, but it was recommended that parents accompany them. Currently, Daisies can go on an "occasional" overnight camping trip, with proper adult to scout ratios. However they are not allowed to do extended, multi day travel trips. Daisy and Brownie (grd 2-3) Girl Scouts are also restricted on what types of outdoor activities they can do (no canoeing, archery, caving, etc).


"-When my daughter went camping, they are required to have a 1:5 scout:adult ratio, that's it. No "adult partners.""


Adult partners are only required for BSA Tiger Cubs. Cub Scouts is a family oriented program, Girl Scouts, at all levels, is not.


GSUSA does have minimum adult to scout ratios that vary depending on the activity, and the age of the girls. For Daisies (the equivalent of Tigers), in order to go on a Troop overnight there needs to be 2, non-related adults, one of which MUST be female, for the first 6 Daisies, plus 1 extra adult for each 4 additional girls. So to take 11 Daisies out you would need 4 adults.


Similar to BSA, the older the Scouts, the fewer adults are needed.


"-When my daughter goes tent camping, everyone piles into tents based on space constraints only. All the better when they go winter camping."


If adult females are sharing sleeping areas with the youth, there MUST always be at LEAST 2, unrelated female adults, per sleeping area, and adults and youth are never allowed to share a bed.


Males are NOT allowed to share sleeping, or toilet, facilities, with girls. Some councils will make exceptions for a girl, and her father.


"-My daughter has been cooking over the fire since who knows when."


Cooking, and fire building, like other GSUSA activities is progressive, and their abilities for their age/grade level should be taken into consideration. For instance GSUSA recommends that Daisies (K-1st grade) do not do "extensive outdoor cooking". They are only allowed to do easy things, like roasting marshmallows.


And keep in mind, that while the youngest Tiger Cub Scout can shoot BB's, and arrows, GSUSA does not allow girls under 12 years old to use any type of firearm, and girls must be in 4th grade to do archery.


Also, GSUSA wants ALL trip chaperons to be registered. No unregistered adults should be going on trips with the girls, unless it is a dad/daughter council event.


So, while GSUSA gives the girls more independence at an earlier age, it still has it's share of rules, and hoops to jump thru.(This message has been edited by Scoutnut)

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I did not explicitly state that when the GS tent together it is only female campers in the tent. I assumed that would be understood. You are of course correct on the various training modules, which are needed and verified in order to obtain insurance certificates from the GS council before each camping trip.


Regarding the rest, all I can say is that, in my experience, the girl scouts give the girls much more credit for capability and the leaders much more credit for common sense.(This message has been edited by gotta run)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Probably the most important thing I learned about raising kids, particularly in getting them to do what you want them to do, I learned from training dogs. Any good doog training guide will explain to you that you NEVER tell a dog what you DON'T want it to do. For example, "don't sit" just causes the dog to sit. I think kids are the same way, and most of the language I hear from parents to their kids is "no" or "don't do that" rather than just telling them what you want them to be doing. Cub Scout aged boys are actually very much like the dogs I trained, eager to please and do the things you want them to do. Give them a purpose or something fun to do, and they go for it with pleasure. Remember that embedded in "don't(or stop) play with sticks" are the words "PLAY WITH STICKS." Since I know they are going to want to play with sticks (they're boys right?), I just set up the "playing with sticks" game where everyone that wants to needs to have a stick, and there are rules to the game(no "don't" rules though): 1) limits on length of stick, 2) stick must stay at least arms length from any other person, 3) you must hit the ground, rocks, trees, and other acceptible things only, etc.


On a similar note, I remember being the only kid in my high school band that actually wanted my own dad(parent) as chaperone for band trips. An incident I remember at a deserted Wildwood< NJ boardwalk the evening before a band competition. Where most of the parent/chaperones favorite words were don't and no, keeping such a tight leash on these teenagers it was stifling, when my dad's group asked him if we could walk down the boardwalk and on the beach that evening he responded, "of course, just stay out of trouble, be back in your rooms by lights out, make sure I know where you are, and have fun." We were actually the only group that had any fun that evening. Almost like that 300' rule, he didn't pester us, and everyone wanted him as chaperone on future trips. If given the opportunity, kids will live up to what you expect.

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We just had our fall campout this past weekend and I don't recall having any stick issues. Now granted it rained most of the weekend, but we also had a lot of activities to keep them busy. Bikes, soccer balls, frisbees, and a leader vs. scout flag football "mud bowl". I have seen in the past issues with walking sticks being used in other than walking stick manners, but i politely ask the boys if they would like me to donate the stick back to the woods it came from.

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