Re: Troop hiking
Norman J. MacLeod (gaelwolf@MARLIN.SSNET.COM)
Sun, 9 Apr 1995 10:33:37 EDT
I had to miss out on this particular camp, since I had to work this weekend.
(You may have seen a few of us out there with our Canadian uniforms, though...)
You said -
>It was at Gettysburg, PA, and the only activity for the camporee was a
>hike through the battlefield and seeing period-style folk shoot weapons of
>various calibers and demonstrate 1863 camp life. Much whining about lack
>of merit badge clinic.
I hope you are not saying that there was not enough to do at the Camporee.
After all, you had a ten-mile hike (goes into Camping Merit Badge, eh?), got
to see a lot of historical re-enactment that your guys probably do NOT get
to see in their school classes, and learned a lot about the differences
between camping then and now. The weather wasn't too bad either, although
there wre some rain showers last night in the area.
I don't necessarily think that merit badge clinics are a good thing to have
on every Camporee. There are very few merit badges that can be adequately
taught to the point where a Scout can really say he has fulfilled all of the
badge's requirements. At best, most merit badges can only be introduced,
with often considerable amounts of work to be completed afterward in order
to really met the requirements adequately enough to have legitimately earned
But, let's look at this a minute. During the weekend you could have
structured yourselves for at least partial completion of -
Hiking Merit Badge
Backpacking Merit Badge
Cooking Merit Badge
Camping Merit Badge
Historical Trails Award
Your Scouts also earned one night toward the camping nights required to
become qualified for election into the Order of the Arrow. You had the
opportunity and the setting for Scouts to pass several Tenderfoot, Second
Class, and First Class requirements. All in all, not a bad collection of
badgework, I should think.
>Kept troop together by insisting that the slowest scout lead. Much
>whining from the troop leadership. When he was tired, we rested. Nobody
>offered to take his pack, though. After 10 miles, we were still together.
> If the older/faster scouts had led, I'm sure we'd have been five miles
>apart by the end of the trail. Slowest first is sure easier on the adult
I hope you utilised this teamwork and leadership training opportunity to its
maximum. Your youth leadership team appears to have some why to go before
they are actually providing adequate leadership to the other Scouts.
Ideally, you should be able to allow the junior leaders the hands-on
planning leadership of all of your activities. You and the rest of the adult
leadership team should be able to hover quietly in the background without
having to become actively involved in leading the Scouts unless the junior
leaders make a mistake of such magnitude that they cannot recover control
over the programme.
The fact that none of the junior leaders or other Scouts offered to help
lighten your slowest Scout's load and encourage him onward in kindness and
helpfulness indicates that the teamwork ideal is not quite there yet, either.
We had something similar one weekend not too long ago along the Appalchian
Trail, where one of the smaller Scouts was having some difficulty. We adults
grtitted our teeth and hung back, well out of direct intervention range of
the situation. Wonder of wonders, our older Scouts have made the conversion
to quality leadership! They lightened his load and re-distributed the items
fairly amongst everyone else. No adverse comments were made - they simply
That may be where you want to be. It takes time and effort on the adult
leadership team's part to bring the junior leaders and their folowers to the
point where you can enjoy your weekends with them without having to stand
over them every step of the way, but it sure is worth that effort when the
day comes that you realise that they CAN do it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City