Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: New Scouts and Merit Badges (long)
Re: New Scouts and Merit Badges (long)
Mon, 15 Feb 1999 14:53:55 -0600
Hi Phil, et al!
Phil Hammons wrote:
>I think you just went out on a limb and sawed it off behind you. You
>left out a key variable. Is this his first summer camp? we have boys
>who joined the troop in December and January. This summer will be their
>first summer camp.
We take in our new scouts in late Feb. We run a "New Boy Campout" which is
in April and it has a set program for that that gets them up to speed real
fast in terms of many of the T-1st class requirements. We spend the May
campout doing the same. Most are Tenderfoot and well on the way to 2nd
Class by the time they get to summer camp.
Our summer camp is 10 days/9 nights. We recommend that they take Swimming,
one eight day nature MB, one 4-day MB of their choice and do both
Woodcarving and Leatherwork MBs in their spare time. In addition, we
recommend Mile Swim and Snorkeling.
>Of course we will encourage them to take the rank
>advancement program. There is no way that they can be through the rank
>advancement track by then.
We have found that we are MUCH better off if we run our own 2nd and 1st
Class work in our campsite. There are too many discipline problems and too
much "stuff we already did" that occurs in the camp-staff 1st Year Scout
Program. We make assignments from the ranks of the older boys and team them
up with leaders to cover each topic in the 2-1st class requirements. We
offer classes in the campsite at each "patrol time" (2 per day) and do an
extensive session (usually orienteering hike) at the tail-end of "parents
visitation day" which gets the new scout's minds off being
Additionally, you comment:
>On the up side, Swimming is a excellent primary choice for most of the
>boys but a must? Not Quite. Look at your Scouts with Disabilities
Yes, a must! Phil, I'm sure there are troops that might have a larger
population of scouts with disabilities, and if you happen to have a large
population of those disabled scouts then by all means, make those
accomodations in your summer camp programming, but our troop of 75
scouts/25 leaders has never had one scout with a disability that would not
let him take Swimming MB in the seven years that I've led summer camp.
Furthermore, to comment on the "but we have scouts that don't swim well or
are afraid of the water" thing, I hate to sound a little insensitive about
this (which of course, I will to some) but isn't that what Swimming MB is
all about? I mean if you're already confident in the water, know all four
strokes well and feel like you're close to ready to respond in an emergency
and save yourself, then why have the MB!? Swimming merit badge IS FOR
SCOUTS WHO DON'T HAVE THESE SKILLS! Our troop has NEVER given a "waiver" or
"substituted requirements" for the 1st Class Swimming test NOR have I seen
a scout fail to advance because of Swimming MB.....ever...and that would
include one heck of a bunch of scouts in seven years of summer camp.
And Phil, on another program note, at our Summer Camp.....H. Roe Bartle
Scout Rez (which actually consists of three camps) Lifesaving MB is
required before taking ANY waterfront MBs (Waterskiing, Rowing, Canoeing,
Small Craft Sailing, Motorboating) as well as Snorkeling, BSA Lifeguard,
etc......which means that unless you take Swimming MB the first year,
Lifesaving MB the second year, you're locked out of the lakefront until
your fourth year of camp. Doesn't seem prudent not to keep on the acquatic
That doesn't even take into account the fact that both Swimming and
Lifesaving MBs take a fair amount of time/effort. Many of our older (3rd
year and above scouts) are heavily involved in the honor camper
program.....Mic-O-Say in our case, OA in some cases. They need the
"freedom of time" to be able to pursue their "paint elevations" or other
honor camper org. responsibilities that just dont jive with the heavy
Our typical 1st year scout comes away from his first year at summer camp
being at least 2nd Class and with a good chunk of work on 1st Class AND has
Swimming MB and usually at least 3-4 other merit badges.
I know each troop/council is a bit different. I will, however, CONTINUE to
maintain that EVERY scout should take Swimming MB and should enroll his
first year at camp!
BLUE SKIES!, Any day above ground is a good day!
BS RT Comm, Pelathe Dist
Heart of America Council Eagle Class of 1963
ASM, T-55, Lawrence, Kansas Brotherhood, Tamegonit Lodge
email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mic-O-Say: HW "Shieldmaker"