>Besides, LW style can make backpacking a >lot more fun for 11 and 12 year old >Scouts.
Uh...not to be overly blunt, but this shows some lack of knowledge here. The BSA (for very good reason) does not encourage 11 to 12 year olds to go on BSA sponsored backpacking trips. The eleven to twelve year old range kid is just learning super duper basics...just making Scout and Tenderfoot rank, just joining, etc.
The general age limit listed on most BSA High Adventure program applications and ALL of the BSA sponsored 50 milers Ive been on...has been 14. That was usually waiverable down to 13 depending upon the boy and his capability and motivation.
If you attend a BSA 50 miler, you will see very few under 14 year olds, maybe a handful of 13 year olds (maybe). I dont ever recall seeing any 11 to 12 year olds on a BSA 50 miler, nor on any other BSA High Adventure backpacking trip I was on.
At Philmont, you will almost never see a boy under 14. You may see a few 13 year olds...but 11 and 12 year olds in the Philmont backcountry? FORGET ABOUT IT! The physically and mentally toughest program at Philmont, the Rayado Trek, has (or had) a fifteen year old minimum age. I am assuming this minimum age still stands.
Few 11 to 12 year olds are physically developed enough to handle 10 plus mile days, in the mountains, carrying a pack of any weight size. Ultra-light, lightweight, medium or heavy. Furthermore, as I already mentioned, that 11 to 12 year old range kid has got their hands filled with just learning the ultra basics...stationary camping, some day hiking, cooking in the outdoors, their first summer camp, making Scout and Tenderfoot rank, maybe making Second Class rank (maybe).
Just wanted to point that out. Scouting uses the crawl, walk, run method. "Crawling" is just joining up and going on your first overnighter, your first fall camporee, your first summer camp, making Tenderfoot rank. "Walking" is going on a couple day hikes in the mountains, perhaps a weekend long camping trip with day hikes as the main activity. "Walking" is mastering stationary camping and cooking skills, earning swimming merit badge at summer camp and making patrol leader.
"Running" is that first BSA sponsored 50 miler or that first council sponsored High Adventure trek. Followed by hopefully, that first Philmont trip. As I mentioned above, the "running" phase usually doesnt kick in til around age 14. Ironically, that is the age a lot of boys start dropping out of Scouts as they enter high school around that age and develop other interests, as well as start thinking about that drivers license they are going to get in ONLY TWO MORE YEARS!
I have always maintained the claim that BSA High Adventure can be one of the main things that can keep some older boys motivated to stay in the BSA past age 14 and probably make Eagle.