Re: BAck yards
Donald E. Culberson (dculbers@JAGUAR1.USOUTHAL.EDU)
Wed, 14 Sep 1994 11:39:05 -0500
Let me introduce myself:
Scoutmaster, Troop 39, Mobile Area Council, Mobile AL
OA, Vigil, Lodge Camp Promotion Comm. Advisor
Woodbadge, Bobwhite, SE-550, Staff SE-612 and soon SR-101
I've been active as a scouter for about the last 7-8 years after a 20
year absence that I still can't figure out why I took!
On this backyard camping thing...
Truly a troop that does this as a frequent, regular , month to month
event, is not thinking out its program well enough in advance, at least
in most cases. However, we have used it much to our advantage on a
special basis for the last three years. We are a vaery active troop,
we're out on the trail, in the swamps of lower alabama, etc. every month
and I think this is an important consideration in what I'm about to say.
We also really push the summer camp experience, where our boys work AND
play really hard, then come home dead tired but highly satisfied. What I
noticed was that the next month's outing never seemed to go as well as
usual; scouts who normally share well in their patrol's workload,
suddenly don't want to cook or wash dishes, instructional time is met
with a lower then normal level of enthusiasm, etc. I decided to try
"giving them a break", more or less the month after summer camp. I also
discovered I could kill several birds with the same stone to everyone's
There is a member of our sponsoring organization who is not able to
contribute to scouts timewise, but who has still beeen a benefactor of
our program for a number of years, helping less fortunate scouts go to
camp, and such. He has a beautiful house on Mobile Bay with a swimming
pool, a long pier, gill nets, etc, and always wanted us to come use his
facility. I instituted the Troop 39 "Leisure Camp", usually in August,
but the month after Summer Camp in any case. Here's the deal:
The scouts are responsible for pitching their own tents.
Its a family camp, so if their parents come they have to help them get
set up... otherwise, they're there to relax... no other responsibilities
(well troop leaders, SPL, etc have to plan and set up the evening campfire)
We have a fish fry that evening provided by the adults, cleanup, too.
We have troop elections
At the campfire we hav e a big court of honor to hand out all those
awards that arose from work done or started at summer camp and install
the new leaders.
We invite all the last years Webelos who were a little too timid to join
with their comrades back in Feb-March. Its a very nonthreatening way to
get these guys into tent with the troop... we've picked up a BUNCH of new
scouts this way!
The boys swim, fish, sit around and stare into space, or whatever.
Everyone relaxes, has fun and we start the new troop year in Sept.
refreshed and ready to go, usually with several new scouts and often with
an adult or two I had the liesure to sit down and chat with at the
Thats how Troop 39 uses a more or less backyard campout once a year only
to relax from an otherwise pretty intense program, attract new scouts,
recognize accomplishments, meet parents, recruit new adult leaders, and
wrap up a hopefully successful year. So I think that while an unfocused
program of backyard camping due to, frankly, laziness on the part of the
leaders, is a bad sign, the environment, if approached with several
specific goals, can have a beneficial effect. It does in our scouts cases!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City