Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Camping Merit Badge
Re: Camping Merit Badge
Anthony J. Mako
Sat, 13 Feb 1999 00:27:11 -0500
<Marcel Chevilet wrote>
Summer Camp is death of a thousand cuts.(vis a vis patrol method
scouting) First it fractures you patrol structure (each boy for himself
at summer camp) Second it cheats the scout from the basic opportunities
of scouting like pitching his own tent.
Troop leaders bear some responsibility in how our Scouts approach summer
camp. It is possible to attend a council summer camp program without
"fracturing the patrol structure" or "cheating the Scouts from the basic
opportunities" of Scouting. The structure of the troop can be maintained
in a summer camp setting simply by allowing patrol leaders and other
junior leaders the opportunity to do their jobs. There may not be a
campsite to assemble, meals to cook, or program to run, but there are
plenty of other things that need to be done. Patrol leaders can look
after their patrol members, making sure each is taking every opportunity
to earn a badge or have fun. The Senior Patrol Leader has the
responsibility of making sure the campsite remains clean and safe.
Much justification and wringing of hands can be offered by the summer
camp staff for these confusions but the effect is the same. A scout
finishes summer camp with his merit badges(earned mostly on his own) and
kept council with nature for 6 days with most services and needs met by
others.(pre-pitched tents on platforms, homestyle cooking and military
style feeding, commercialization of scouting memorabilia (whatever
happened to woodcarved totems) and excellent lessons on finishing camp
with piles of soiled laundry for mom to clean.
Having been a member of a camp staff, and having experienced summer camp
at four different camps as both a youth and adult, I can tell you that
the camp staff is not concerned with justifying any part of the camp
program. The camp staff has one function -- to provide an exciting, safe
and useful program for every Scout or Scouter who attends. It is the
troop leadership's responsibility to maintain Scouting concepts in camp.
Other than merit badges, what seperates BS camps from other summer
camps? Not much except the price at most council camps is one heck of a
How about a common purpose? Boy Scout camps do not only offer merit
badges. Summer Camp is a place to learn valuable Scouting skills, have a
heck of a lot of fun, and (very subtly) a place where the three aims of
Scouting and eight methods of Scouting receive some practical
application. It is a place where Scouts can meet new friends and learn
new lessons, just like any other summer camp. The thing that sets Scout
camps apart is the Scouting program itself.
Personally, if you think Scout camps are nothing more than an outdoor
merit badge school, perhaps you are attending the wrong camp. Perhaps
you should look for a camp that offers patrol cooking, or a wilderness
camp where you have to build your own shelter. There are thousands of
camps all over the States and Canada, each with its own unique
atmosphere and program. If you don't like the way one camp is run,
nothing is stopping you from going to another.
Anthony J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org ,Scoutmaster, Troop 381
http://members.aol.com/Scouts381/ "Home of the Unofficial Boy Scout
Great Trail Council - Akron, Ohio
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"