Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: parental camping
Thu, 5 Aug 1999 08:19:16 -0400
When we require registration and training before we allow parental
participation, we limit participation to those who are willing to jump
into the scouting "pond" all at once. There is no room for those who
want to walk around the perimeter of the pond for a while, or soak their
feet in the water while they decide whether to swim with the fishes.
And, as Cheryl said, there will be the suspicion that we're trying to
hide something from those who would like to occasionally participate.
Some parents want to just drop their boys off and pick them up after
meetings. Others may be familiar with the Cub Scout method of parent &
son working together on projects, or Webelos camping with the parents
doing all of the work. Parents come in all shapes & sizes & other time
commitments and desires for personal involvement with the troop. It is
the wise troop committee chairman, I think, who will be able to harness
these varying parents in order to get the help s/he needs to support the
That being said, some orientation by the adult leadership may be useful
for a parent who wants to camp with his/her son's troop. I think that
the orientation can be accomplished in about 30 seconds, and should
include phrases as "Your son will be working with his peers on solving
problems, and the more you do for him, the less he and his peers will
learn from the experience. (Keep your hands in your pockets and let him
pitch his own tent and cook his own food.)" "when asked a question, the
best response is usually 'What does your patrol leader say?' or 'What do
you think?'" You might even assign a specific task to a parent who is a
loss as to what s/he is to do while camping with the troop, other than
to "observe" the scouts in action.
I'm not anti-training. I've been to plenty of courses. But I think we
need to meet the parents where they are, rather than expect them to come
up to "our level" before they can go afield with the troop.