Re: Scout camps
Ian Ford (ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Sat, 19 Jun 1993 18:28:20 +0100
There seems to be some confusion over what constitutes " professional
staff " - probably my fault. Here in the UK professional staff is taken
to include <all> paid employees who have a managerial / training /
leadership function, and would include everyone from the Chief Executive
Commissioner to an Assistant Warden or a clerk in Headquarters. The only
other staff would be a few paid groundsmen or cleaners, mainly at Gilwell
and Baden-Powell House Hostel.
A large (in UK terms) County (= council) camp would have one paid Warden.
During the summer a few counties may hire one or two instructors or other
helpers. There would not be a " Camp Director " or other program staff -
it would be up to each unit to run its own program using the facilities on
On my first visit to USA I was amazed to discover a dining hall, staffed
program areas, medical area with a nurse, etc. ... up until then I had
only been to UK camps which were little more than fields with toilets, a
headquarters building, and a Warden's house at the most basic.
I have often wondered why kids go to camp to learn basketry or metalwork
... skills which could be as easily taught indoors on a winter evening.
Here in UK many counties offer specialist courses, e.g. forestry,
conservation, etc. over one or two weekends, but these are relatively rare.
A few specialist courses are run, e.g. technology courses at Gilwell,
water activities at Longridge, etc. ... these are organised on a national
or county basis, and typically only one or two kids from a particular
troop would attend. The aim is to provide advanced specialist instruction,
not to meet ordinary " advancement " .
Working with the BSA program I can see that a program which is geared
around gaining MBs needs to provide an opportunity to meet those
requirements, and that the " summer school " approach is a good way of
getting the maximum advancement for large numbers of kids. However, I am
also aware that a lot of the badges offered on Summer Camp are those which
we can offer within the troop, e.g. Citizenships, First Aid, Swimming,
Archery, Emergency Prep., Camping, etc. are part of our normal troop program.
This year most of our kids have opted to go to Camp Bayern for the BSA
High Adventure Program rather than go to Camp Baden-Powell which offers a
standard MB-oriented program.
I wish that BSA regulations would permit T401 kids from taking up some of
the opportunities available from UK Scouting, e.g. paragliding, karting,
flying etc. - unfortunately the insurance / litigation situation is such
that these activities are " off limits " to BSA Scouts. I wonder if it
would help to retain older kids if some of these really challenging
pursuits could be permitted?
I fully understand the problems, which stem from differences in the
Scouting programs of the two nations, and in the attitude of parents.
Here in the UK older Scouts (14+) routinely go on expeditions without
direct adult supervision - in fact one award - The Chief Scout's Challenge
- requires a group od four to six Scouts to undertake an expedition over a
period of four days, un unfamiliar territory (perhaps overseas). This
would clearly be unacceptable to BSA's insurers.
I suspect that if the UK follows the litigious practices of the US then
the UK Scout Association will also have to take a more defensive position.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City