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How often backpacking?
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James Tisdale
(Jameyt) - M

Locale: PaNW
Too many parents on 08/08/2012 14:31:07 MDT Print View

In reference to the last comment . . . why do you have parents there?

We invite families to 1 camping trip a year. We limit the amount of adult leaders that go on any outing as well.

Isn't there some way to (1) get the Scouts planning the outings and (2) not include a bunch of families in the mix?

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
backpacking thins out the parents on 08/08/2012 20:32:49 MDT Print View

We are going on a section hike of the JMT in August. We have 4 adults and 8 scouts. 2 of the adults are hiking buddies of mine, ex scouts but they don't kids in our troop. Our typical backpack has about 1/3 to 1/2 parents. They are welcome, and if they bring a younger sister, it works out fine. We need them for drivers also.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Too many parents on 08/09/2012 00:31:34 MDT Print View

With a lot of the controversial abuse scandals in the news, priests, school teachers, football coach, it makes sense that parents want to be near their kids. The downside is that they negatively influence activity decisions to the lowest common denominator. So it ends up being about the wilderness, weather, physical fitness and low tolerance threshold of the parents and single moms.

Any way, this is not a problem that can be fixed, basically would have to pick another troop that is more adventurous, and that's unlikely because the kids know each other.

Thank you for reading and commenting. It gives me an idea of what the norm is elsewhere, and that their opinion is flawed - that scouts backpacking is some Rambo survivalist death march.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
adult involvement on 08/09/2012 16:47:53 MDT Print View

If any adult wants to be involved, in any way, with BSA outings, they need to join BSA, submit to the background check, and complete Youth Protection training. Then they can attend.

Period.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: adult involvement on 08/09/2012 21:05:32 MDT Print View

Interesting. Good to know.
That rule is not enforced in my area.

Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Adult involvement on 08/10/2012 00:00:00 MDT Print View

AFAIK there are rules, policies and procedures at the national, council, and troop level.

Just to repeat what the Scouters on this site already know, at the national level, the minimum standard for an BSA outing is two deep leadership, meaning one registered adult Scouter who is (at least ) youth protection trained and one other adult. In our local council, the Tour Permit used to ask whether the second adult was youth protection trained. We now use a standard national tour permit whose wording escapes me.

In my local troop, the policy has been to require all parents to be registered and youth protection trained. The BSA enrollment form which the parent signs for the scout also informs the parent that "youth protection begins with you."

I think it is just good common sense to have all the adults who want to come on an outing to be trained to the same standard on the BSA safety principles from the use of chemical fuels, to car pools and caravanning (not!), to the prohibition of "one on one contact" between an adult and a scout. Otherwise, they should stay home. The youth protection training only takes 30 minutes on the internet.

Edited by btolley on 08/10/2012 00:01:41 MDT.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
YPT is a good start on 08/10/2012 08:06:24 MDT Print View

We try to get as many parents as possible to step up and become ASM's, if only for the ability to spread the load for events. On dayhikes, anyone can come along. We allow ASM's and YPT-carded, registered parents to attend high-adventure, car-camping and summer camp as adult leaders (preference to ASM's).

We don't have an issue with parents hovering over our Scouts, but rather the opposite: getting adults to drive/haul and hike along.

And on that note, I'm going to go start the truck and head upstate to begin our Troop's 2012 High Sierra Backpacking trip. Two other adult leaders, a case of wine and...wait, I meant 5 canisters of dehydrated food, two kites, four fishing rigs, and one bright orange poo trowel. Yippee Ki-yay!

Larry Schwartz
(larryschwartz) - F
Some ideas for Roger Dodger on 08/10/2012 13:34:02 MDT Print View

RD,

I feel for you and have seen this type of thing before, as have all of us most likely. Some thoughts on how to improve the situation...

First, since you are loosely affiliated with the troop, think about getting formally affiliated with it and bring your knowledge, experience, and PREFERENCES to it. See what the troop leadership would like to do, maybe they want what you do but don't see how to make it happen, or maybe they don't have your experience and would appreciate a "backcountry expert" to help them move forward.

As for the kids not doing anything but run around and play, the SM and troop leadership at every level should emphasize the policy that it is about the kids and by the kids, so the kids do the planning (with guidance where needed), and do the camp setup/teardown, cooking, etc. Get that point across to the parents right up front, especially when the kid joins the troop.

A couple of approaches to solving the car camping issue are to:

~ Have a dual activity weekend outing where they you set up a car camping campsite and also do a backpacking hike of some sort. The car camp will be a good place for the less experienced or younger scouts to do their activities while the more experienced scouts could shoulder their backpacks and hike .5 to 5 miles into the boonies and set up a camp at some nice destination, like a lake or someplace with a great view, then come back to the base camp in the morning. Heck, it doesn't even have to be an overnight, they could hike somewhere, have a meal, then come back in time for dinner or a campfire.

~ We all need to take into consideration what the scouts know or don't know and their skill levels. They could do some car camping events and also mix in some backpacking/hiking events so that they can ease into backpacking and more rigorous outdoor activities. One way to get away from car camping trips with the heavy, bulky gear is to frame every trip as a backpacking trip of some sort, even if it is just a quarter mile walk from the parking lot to the campsite. Even when I go car camping with friends I still pack everything I will use in a backpack and make just one trip from car to campsite.

~ Teach the troop, its leaders, and parents how Scouting does things by starting them off with basic outdoor skills and activities, then adding in hiking skills and activities, and then progress onto backpacking and high adventure stuff. Keep in mind, to be a fun and effective program does not mean that they have to hike five miles away with a 25 pound pack on their back every time they go somewhere as a troop.

Once you are involved you might find that you have a kindred spirit in one of the other parents who could help provide the "backwoods" adult leadership/supervision that seems to be missing in the current situation.

And last, since you see most of the parents as yuppies who don't know much about the outdoors and outdoor activities, maybe the troop should have a camping trip just for the adults to teach them how it's done. Maybe event frame it like one of those corporate team building weekends.

Roger Dodger
(RogerDodger) - F

Locale: Wess Siide
Re: Some ideas on 08/10/2012 15:01:52 MDT Print View

Larry,
Thank you for the feedback. I'll see how far I can get with the BSA suggestions.
I'm a substitute parent for the nephew the last two years, since his dad is very ill.

Stephen Everson
(mrevets) - F
Re: Some ideas for Roger Dodger on 08/13/2012 15:57:05 MDT Print View

We hvae started to move from car camping to backpacking with our trip to Philmont in 2013. We have included the boys NOT going to Philmont in on our shakedown hikes. I had the new scout work on planning/purchasing the meals for the trip, even though he is not going to Philmont. The best part of the trip was getting lost..at the very beginning. Instead of starting off the hike headed north, they started off headed south...they did not finally realize their mistake until 6 miles in. Us adults told them they our job is to make sure they do not get hurt and fix them up if they do (Wilderness First Aid training)....The leader had a map, compass, and trail description..so we ate lunch and hiked back out the same way, instead of making a loop on the trails...so it was a good learning experience for the boys...

Next month, we will try to take the route that we should have taken in the first place.

We end our trip by heading back to the church and camping out in the backyard of the church.. setting up our backpacking tents, etc... cooking our meals over the backpacking stoves...

So we are making the transition from car camping to backpacking... long over due

Thanks for posting

Brian Reyman
(breyman) - M

Locale: Rocky Mountains
That is AWESOME on 08/16/2012 20:59:56 MDT Print View

That is a great story. Talk about being able to let go of the reins. I feel that I've gone a long way in letting the scouts I work with make mistakes, but I'm not sure I would have let that one get that far off track. Good for you. I'll remember this story in the future and hopefully have the courage to let them make that kind of (safe, but not very common) mistake!


>> The best part of the trip was getting lost..at the very beginning. Instead of starting off the hike headed north, they started off headed south...they did not finally realize their mistake until 6 miles in. Us adults told them they our job is to make sure they do not get hurt and fix them up if they do (Wilderness First Aid training)....The leader had a map, compass, and trail description..so we ate lunch and hiked back out the same way, instead of making a loop on the trails...so it was a good learning experience for the boys...