Scouts-L Mail Archive for November of 1998: Tent Management vs Troop Stemware
Tent Management vs Troop Stemware
Wed, 18 Nov 1998 15:23:54 -0500
Jim Fitzgerald writes:
> As a treat, I would have campouts were the boys could bring
> their own tents. I do not understand why they liked sleeping
> in their own tents even if they were in bad shape, but it seemed
> to be worth it to them.
My point exactly, most Scouts would rather sleep in their own tent
rather than a Troop tent, no matter how expensive the Troop tent.
The solution here is so obvious that I'm surprised that no one has
mentioned it: Let the Patrols worry about the tents, but force
them to drink from fine crystal! As a treat you could have
campouts where the boys could bring plastic cups.
Fine crystal has all the advantages of tents and it doesn't get
moldy. In the first place, fine crystal is prone to breaking so we
don't have to worry about the Troop Quartermaster's job being too
easy (this seems to be important). More importantly, it allows the
adults to continue to impose their own agendas on the Scouts.
Scouters can continue to make pious observations about the
importance of group property in character building and learning the
tough lessons of life. They can shake their heads when they hear
the inevitable tinkle of broken glass, and come up with all sorts
of bylaws to punish boys who "just don't get it."
Obsessive compulsive adults can spend long hours at night gluing
together broken glass only to have their efforts undone at the next
outing. Who knows, someone in the group here might find a
manufacturer that supplies glass glue for free!
A close look at most Troops with neat rows of identical tents will
reveal a not-so-hidden agenda of adult aims and values and maybe
even a limited appetite for roughing it. These Outdoor Programs
should be arranged to best show off "the glass". What Camporee
visitor won't be impressed by a Troop drinking from fine lead ware?
Most importantly, think of the parents who don't like camping
because of the crude cups they associate with camping in their
youth? Think of the talent that goes unused! Of course you
wouldn't want to clean crystal for a boy who should be cleaning
crystal for himself, but what adult is not more of an authority at
removing spots on glass than the average teenager? Think of the
cherished memories you could be making! They may not appreciate it
now, but later in life they will come to understand how important
the right glassware can be.
Finally, Joseph Alessi brings up a good point about Uniforms.
Troop crystal guarantees that everyone drinks the same, regardless
of his family's income. And I'm sure that Joseph would agree that
fine crystal is a more useful tool in the woods than the Official
In our Troop the richest boys don't use tents at all. They try to
outdo each other by showing off their ability to be the most
comfortable sleeper in the most extreme weather using only a tarp
and cord. They practice between campouts in their backyards when
the weather is bad. Troop tents eliminate this sort of elitist
expert camping nonsense, and keeps camping skills under the control
of average adults where it belongs.
Buffalo NY and a Beaver too!