Re: Mom's at camp -outs
Grant O'Neil (poneilgdo@ALPHA2.CURTIN.EDU.AU)
Thu, 13 Jun 1996 23:19:15 -0700
Just my $0.02 on this topic.
As some others have pointed out, there are some pros and cons of parent
involvement in the camping environment, and it can depend on a number of
issues including the local scouting policies and which age group of
scouting are involved. I think it is great to have parents involved in
helping with camps (or for that matter, any scouting activity) and
generally the bigger problem is how to get them willing to be involved
instead of treating scouting as a baby-sitting service (in our group it
is a major effort to even get parents willing to help transport the boys
to camp, much less attend the camp themselves!)
However, an important guideline that I think must always be pointed out
to the parents before camp and must be adhered to during the camp, is
that the _scouter_ is in charge, and the parents are there to assist him;
i.e. their role is to help as required and requested, not to take over or
override the authority of the scouter. Of course, this may seem a little
harsh as with most people this is taken for granted and will never become
an issue; however there are unfortuately a few parents (every troop seems
to have at least one family...) where this is indeed necessary.
When I was doing my Scout woodbadge several years ago, one of my fellow
course members told of how his troop was preparing their equipment to
leave on a camp, and a father who was there helping took all their
freshly sharpened axes and blunted the edges on some concrete - so the
boys wouldn't hurt themselves with the sharp axes (?) It is just this
kind of well-intentioned meddling that can cause a scouter real headaches
with parents on camp, and this is why it is essential that they are aware
of how the scouting programme works (patrol system etc. - many parents
are horrified at the idea of little Johnnie camping without adequate
adult supervision. Even with my venturers (14-18 year olds) there are
certain parents who whenever we are camping will immediately want to know
what leaders are going!) and recognise that while in camp they should
effectively be assistant leaders to the scouter who is to be their "boss"
for the duration of camp.
On a more positive note, when parents are involved in a camp it gives
them a great opportunity to see scouting in action and what benefits
scouting is providing to their child. My perennial goal in scouting is to
"surprise the parents" - for the parents to see their child achieving
things they did not think him capable of or mature enough for. There is
no better environment than camping for this to happen.
Grant O'Neil _r| Ll\
Assistant Venturer Leader | |_|__\
2nd Ballajura Venturer Unit => \ |_|_ /
Swan Valley District ~~ `_'
Western Australia v
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City