Re: Scout camps
Settummanque, the blackeagle (WALTOML@WKUVX1.BITNET)
Sat, 19 Jun 1993 23:32:33 CDT
Ian Ford <ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK> writes:
>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
This is the way that our camps are run for the most part in the
periods other than during summer camps...we have the equal to your
Wardens called Rangers and their families live on the property
year-round. Units may camp at the camp anytime with a valid camp
permit or local tour permit (depending on local Council) but they do
so without the benefit of any staff members at all. This is how my old
Explorer Post did their trip to Florida, staying at a BSA camp for the
week...with no staff other than the Ranger, a really great guy that
invited us back next year (and the next and the next....)
>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.
Glad that you were impressed!! There are many parents that upon coming
to camp, seeing the facilities, turn to me and ask "Is it all??
Where's my $100 going toward?? There's got to be *more* to this than
what I see here!!" When I tell them that this is all funded by their
monies and the monies of other campers, they look at me and ask "and
you don't get any of this money?? And all he gets is a teeshirt, a
baseball cap and a couple of patches?? There's something wrong here!"
( and in some cases, they're right...in most cases, what you see is
what you pay for...and its money well spent! )
>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.
Because there are few resource materials available to the "average
Troop" here to do those things as part of a Troop meeting. Most units
have a large problem just coming up with monies for campouts during
the winter time! The other thing, it takes a counselor to teach these
things even to the entire Troop....and while at summer camp a 16 year
old boy can serve as instructor and merit badge counselor, BSA policy
says that a 21 or older person must serve as a merit badge counselor
at all other times.
>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 " .
The BSA offers these courses in some areas (for example, the Atlanta
and Northeast Georgia Councils offer a conservation workshop for
Explorers, older Scouts and teachers during the fall...and there are
several Councils in New Jersey that use the old Schiff Scout
Reservation for similar programs in their areas) but most of those
programs are not well-attended by Scouts since "advancement drives the
train" and since there's no advancement associated with those events,
few Scouts will attend. There's also a large cost factor associated
with events like this...even at $10 a person for the weekend, it's
still really high for most kids to attend.
>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.
While it's true that many of the badges can be "earned at home", many
Scouts like the "school-like" atmosphere that camp offers to earn them
there. At home, you have to find a counselor, find another kid and go
and meet with him or her several times over a span of a month or two.
At camp, you don't have to look for the counselor, you spend a greater
period of contretrated time over five days to earn either the badge or
a major part of the badge.
Other Scouts like the variety of badges that can be earned at
camp...try finding a counselor in your community for merit badges like
Bird Study, or Mammals, or Reptile Study or Rabbit Raising or
Waterskiing....to name a few?? (yeah, if you live out here in
Greenwood, where there's lots of farmland, you probably could find a
counselor for Rabbit Raising or Mammals...but we're talking about in
>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?
It would for a few until an "accident" happens which will scare the
BSA into going back to their previous role. The recent fiasco with
Aviation Exploring is one really great example.
Way back when, it was really popular--and the BSA even encouraged
it--for youth to participate in flight-related programs. Many Aviation
Explorer Posts span up and there was a national fly-set up and
regional fly-in (aviation conferences) also were arranged in three of
the six old regions over the years. It was looking up...the Federal
Aviation Adminstration even funded part of the ground school, the US
Air Force and several private aircraft companies (Beechcraft,
Grummand, and Piper for a few) even chipped in and gave the BSA monies
to hire a former Air Force officer to serve as National Aviation
Exploring Director (since the BSA had no executive with a flight
Then, in 1978, the bottom fell out of the entire program when on a
flight from Texas to Florida for a regional fly-in, a two seater plane
fell out of the sky and the lawyers started in on the BSA, the
chartered partner and even the aircraft company, all because the youth
in their excitement, failed to do the simple task of filing a flight
plan. So when the dust cleared three years later (and the BSA settled
out of court with the families, for "undisclosed and unrevealable
amounts"...where have we heard that before???), the Aviation program
for Explorers was dismantled and local Councils told to SELL their
aircraft and NOT to charter aviation programs which feature flight
programs as part of the Post or Ship program.
There are now only seventeen Aviation Explorer Posts, most of them
specialize in flights of radio-controlled or R/C aircraft while
individual members may pursue flight school on their own. There are
another 33 Explorer Posts nationally chartered to local Civil Air
Patrols which, while may involve flying, the flying is under the
auspices of the Air Force and NOT the BSA (talk about passing the
At the height, there were over 300 aviation-related Explorer Posts and
Ships chartered to 100 different chartered partners, all which
assisted the Exploring program to raise more corporate monies than any
other grouping in the program (the second place people were the
current first place people, the Law Enforcement community).
>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.
But this is clearly something that would be very appealing to a lot of
our Explorer-aged youth (male and female)!
>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.
Thanks for letting me and everyone know about the differences...we all
think that everything is set up similar to our program, and (at least
I do) we forget that while our program "seems" more progressive, that
there are other countries' programs that see the neccesity for
allowing Scouts to do Scouting without so much "red tape" and
Mike L. Walton
( Settummanque, the blackeagle... ) )
( (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (among other "endearing" names) ( )
( AIS/MR Recreation/Leisure Specialist, Lifeskills Inc. ___)_ )
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