Troop/Family Camping Reply - long again
Cliff Golden (C60DJK1@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Tue, 21 Feb 1995 20:31:00 CST
Your reply on family camping was intended to contribute ideas to make
the experience a positive one for the boys, families, and leaders.
I appreciate your thoughts in regard to that.
My posting on family camping pertained to when a unit substitutes
family camping for patrol camping on a monthly basis.
I don't feel that a single outing with a family would be such a
terrible crime. The unit in my area was inviting family members
on ALL outings. It was essentially a FAMILY Scouting program rather
than a BOY Scouting program. I feel that hurts the program for boys.
I feel the boys were being pushed aside for service to the family.
Some adult leaders felt better with their families along. The boys
did not like this, they complained to their parents, those parents
in turn reported it to the council. The council reported it back to
me to deal with. If the boys had liked this situation, I would have
never heard about it. I feel we are here to serve the boys by
giving them the best program we can. If we shortchange their
program by serving their siblings and parents, I feel that is an
injustice to their Scouting program.
You suggest that these family outings are good to get to know the
parents, other siblings, and recruit leaders. I find there are many
opportunities to do these things at fundraisers, Courts of Honors,
parent meetings, and troop picnics. I don't feel it necessary to
go camping with families to recruit adults or get to know them.
You also suggest setting up temporary patrols for activities that
include boys and their families, with boys serving as patrol leader.
Again, if this is a once-per-year activity, then it would be a very
educational opportunity for parents to see Scouting in action. But
the situation I was describing was a monthly family campout. I'm
sorry to report the boys were not always the appointed leaders.
As a boy, my troop held an annual family picnic. The troop camped
the weekend, then on Sunday the families came out for a picnic of
roasted turkey or ham, cooked by Scouts. They saw our campsite and
Scouts put on demonstrations and led Scouting events for the family
to try out. It concluded with a Court of Honor ceremony. This was
very popular with everyone. Families saw first hand what we did on
campouts, we had a fine meal together, we were recognized for awards
we had earned. We camped as a troop of Scouts functioning by patrol.
The families just came out on Sunday for the picnic and activities.
If my troop had emphasized family camping, I would have dropped. My
parents didn't camp, I would have felt left out, an orphan on trips.
Many parents don't camp. I think we could lose potential leaders by
creating a situation where they feel pressured to camp, and alsod
lose boys by making them feel as outcasts without parents camping.
The boys want to go camping with their friends, not their friend's
families. It's about boys working together, that's the challenge.
There were no families on Brownsea Island. Scouting has certain
aims and methods. I don't see family camping as an intregal part
of achieving the aims of Scouting. I agree with Baden-Powell that
the best way to acheive the aims of Scouting is to allow boys to camp
and succeed by operating under patrol method, as a group of Scouts.
I believe that we must develop strong family support for the
Scouting program. I prefer families cheering their boys on from the
grandstands rather than out on the playing field getting in the way
of the game. Leave the camping to the boys and their leaders.
YIS, Cliff Golden, Dekalb, IL Scoutmaster Troop 33
Three Fires Council BSA Advisor Post 333
Kishwaukee District Commissioner
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City