Re: Camping Nights... what does your Troop count?
Mike Walton (blkeagle@DYNASTY.NET)
Wed, 2 Apr 1997 11:14:23 -0500
(last posting, Mikey...you've got to get some sleep!!)
Stan asked one of my FAVORITE questions!!
>In regrds to both the 15 nights required for OA and the 20
>nights required for the Eagle Required Camping merit badge What
>does your troop count... and more specifically.... does your
>troop count those nights that a Scout might camp with his family?
In all four Troops, two Explorer Posts, one Ship and one Team, we
Now, why do you suppose that we counted the family camping and
"buddy camping"??? *grinning*
Because it's IMPORTANT TO THE SCOUT!! No, we don't count it toward
Boy Scouting advancement *unless* the buds or his family was with
him (or her) when the unit went camping. But we DO count it toward
something that I've developed as a good "camping tool". I don't
lay claim to this, I just adapted it. Those of you here in
TAC...you guys need to get this out of them mothballs and back to
After a Scout or Explorer has experienced their first "Long Term
Camp" experience (earned the segment in TAC's case and the Long
Term Camper "patch" (which, like the old 50-Miler and Historic
Trails emblems, NOT DESIGNED for the uniform and had to be worn
on backpacks!!)), they can "go for the medal". The TAC Camping
Medal had the TAC shield in bronze, gold and silver suspended from
a standard BSA contest ribbon -- red and white for Scouts and
blue and gold for Explorers (of course, the blue/gold ribbon came
from the Cub Scout medals, but who cared!). When a Scout or
Explorer's leader certified that he or she has camped out 30 more
days and nights PERIOD, they got the bronze medal; 30 more days and
nights, the gold medal and 30 more days and nights, the silver
medal. The medals were also tied into where they were presented to
the Scout/Explorer: the bronze medals were ALWAYS presented during
the Troop or Post Court of Honor/Awards ceremony. The Gold medals
were ALWAYS presented as part of the District awards banquet and
the Silver ones ALWAYS presented during the Council annual meeting
The days and nights need not be consecutive, and NEED NOT BE AS
PART OF A BSA PROGRAM. This allowed those, for instance,
participating in JROTC overnights, family camping, or AYA (American
Youth Activities) events to "rack up days". But it HAD to be
camping, as defined as "overnight, for at least 24 hours straight,
under the stars using a tent, cabin, or lean-to for shelter."
(for today's youth protection reasons, I can see "organized
camping" but back then, even overnight "buddy camping" counted!)
In a "typical" 3-year tour overseas, a Scout would be able to earn
at least the Gold Medal, and depending upon his activity level,
many earned the Silver medal. I earned the Bronze medal because I
wasn't a Boy Scout here in Europe long enough to earn the 4 more
days and nights to get the Gold Medal, and when I returned, the
Council stopped the program.
Not enough participation, the Scout Exec said.
That's a problem of PROMOTION, as in CAMP PROMOTION, as in OA.
What made it really unique and something that I exported was the
simplicity of the thing....all the Scout had to do was get someone
to write a note to the Scoutmaster, explaining where they went,
how long, and what kind of camping. It was placed -- stapled -- to
a folder which explained the program and allowed the Scout to "keep
track". During my earlier tours, my Admin Assistant Scoutmasters
would keep the folders up to date, assisted by the Troop's
Committee Outdoors committeemember. Instead of the TAC medals, we
gave the standard BSA contest medals, but each was engraved on the
back "Troop 103" (or "Troop 225") "Camping Medal", the name of the
Scout and the year that he earned it. It becomes a keepsake.
For the lone Explorer Post that I did this for, the medallion was
suspended by a silver or gold chain that we got downtown at a
German discount store. Same engraving.
The idea is to recognize CAMPING, the core element of what we do
in Scouting. Let them get their camping any way they choose to:
with friends, with other clubs or groups, and of course, with their
families and us. But let them APPLY the stuff they learn from us
to their other situations (and they will), and they will bring more
than a new enthusiam for learning back...they will bring their
friends and family.....
The medals cost $2.60 the last time I saw a catalog. The camping
log sheet will be on my website when I get back home in the next
month. But it takes YOU and your fellow adults to promote this
among your unit members.
While we do have requirements for our various awards and honors,
Stan, there's not a reason in the world why we should ONLY
recognize "BSA camping" as the ONLY form of camping that can take
place. Remember why kids join Scouting....for the adventure of
camping....as well as other things. We in the BSA cannot be
everywhere, and nor do we want to be. But we can impart what we
know about the outdoors to our youth members and they can take it
Hope that helps out!!! Now, do you know why I enjoy talking about
this topic most of all??
Settummanque!@off to bed!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City