Re: Camping MB
Paul H. Brown (phbrown@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 07:37:38 -0400
On Thu, 25 Jul 1996, Robert Morley wrote:
> This is requirement #9 from the Camping Merit Badge.
> 9. Show experience in camping by doing the following: |
> a) Camp out a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights.
> Sleep each night under the sky or under a tent you
> have pitched. (You may use a week of summer camp as
> part of the 20 days and 20 nights.)
> I have a few concerns with allowing scouts to use non-scouting camping trips
> for this requirement.
> 1. How many are you willing to allow of the non-BSA type. If the scout
> camped out with his family for a week, or two will you accept this? Did the
> scouts really pitch the tent or is Mom or Dad saying he did so that the scout
> may earn the MB.
Do you dare ask the scout? Can we assume the scouts are trustworthy, or
do we assume the opposite? Perhaps some probing - asking the scout to
describe each camping nite (where it was, what he did, what kind of tent
he pitched, what the weather was like) - can satisfy the MB counselor
that the camping took place.
> 2. How far back are you willing to go. Are you willing to count the
> Father/Son campouts as cub scouts and webelos. The requirement does not
> specifically state the that scout need be a scout to complete the
> requirements. Can you interpret this to mean that all camping trips in tents
> that this scout attend since he was 8 years old are acceptable. We need to
> draw the line somewhere.
I think the line is "as a scout," i.e., since joining the troop. I don't
have any problem with this.
> 3. Are you learning the same type of skills by camping in your back yard as
> you are, if you are in the woods, away from home.
There is nothing in the requirement about "in the woods, away from
home." Any skill development requirement is independent of the 20 nites
sleeping out requirement.
> 4. I hate to even mention it and I know I will receive a lot of hassle from
> it, but if you allow one parent to OK a few nights camping, then you MUST
> accept any parent that says their son did ANY number of nights camping,
> without question. You must treat all parents equally.
Why involve the parents? Ask the scouts. Tell them they need to keep a
log of their camping experiences. Most of their camping will be with the
troop, but not necessarily all of it. Let them tell the troop about
their camping experiences outside of the troop.
> We have had problems in the past where a parent would see fit to "Alter" the
> requirements for their son, and "fib" a little, so that their son could earn
> the award as quickly as possible. This does not help the scout, and really
> irritates the other scouts as well.
A scout is trustworthy. Perhaps this needs some emphasis in your troop?
Parents aren't necessarily trustworthy. They haven't always been trained
so to be. Many of them view scouting's requirements as trivial and
> One last point, if I remember correctly, when begining a merit badge, the
> scout must get the name and phone number from the scoutmaster, when the SM
> signs the blue card. It is also the counselor's responsibility to determine
> whether the scout completed the requirements for the award.
Yes, this is the counselor's responsibility.
I am the MB
> counselor for Camping, and I don't sign off ANY requirement unless I was
I suggest that you make this clear to the scouts in your unit. I presume
that the Backpacking MB counselor is also willing to participate in all
of the backpacking required for the MB? That the Home Repairs counselor
is willing to be present for all of the home repairs? IMO, you are being
If I am not present I ask one of the other ASM to sign it stating
> that they were present when the scout completed the requirement. This
> removes any question as to whether the scout actually completed the
> requirement or not.
It does have this effect, yes. It also removes any incentive to take
some initiative and camp on one's own, or with friends or family. I
don't think that the MB program is as effective when the counselor
carefully leads each scout by the hand through the MB requirements as
when scouts do things ON THEIR OWN. I recognize that reasonable minds
can differ on this point.
> An active troop should have no problem completing these requirements within
> 18 months. I don't see a need to rush it any further. The first 12 months
> should be spent concentrating on rank advancement, with MB as a side item.
Do you count all camping with the troop, or do the three nites for First
Class have to be done before the 20 nites start?
Paul H. Brown, UC, George Washington Dist, National Capital Area Council, BSA
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City