Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: badge-less summer camps in other countries
badge-less summer camps in other countries
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 15:50:01 -0400
We had the opportunity on our Troop 180 trip to Europe this summer to
participate in two different summer camp experiences that involved no badge work
The first was a troop-run summer camp in Slovakia. We camped for 5 days in the
Tatra Mountains as part of the summer camp of the 17th Bratislava Scout Group.
They had secured the place to camp and build up their own camp. Food ws either
purchased at the local store or brought from home. (We could definitely see the
results of home canning by Scout families.) There were Scoutcraft, hiking,
friendship, and fellowship activities, but no badge work. This was only part of
the several weeks that the 17th Bratislava spends in summer camp. It was
exciting to experience Scouting in a place where both the independence of the
country and the rebirth of Scouting are so recent. The leaders of the 17th
Bratislava are doing a great job of running a Scouting program and having fun
while they are doing it.
The second was the 10 day Blue Summer National Camp of Det Danske Spejderkorps
(The Danish Guide and Scout Association) This national camp, with 22,000
Scouts and leaders participating, was similar in size to a national jamboree.
The difference was that there were not provisional units like at our U.S.
national jamborees. Every troop in their Scout association was invited to come
as a troop. Since members of their association all wear blue uniforms, it was a
"Blue Summer." I was amazed that, in our host group in Kliplev, Denmark, there
were only two members of their Scout age troop (two sisters who were away on
family vacation) who did not participate in Blue Summer. I have trouble getting
that good attendance to anything, let alone a ten day camp.
For the Blue Summer camp, we integrated our Troop 180 Scouts into the patrols of
the Kliplev group. Each of the 3 patrols contained 6 Danish Scout and 4
American Scouts. We were very pleased with how well they worked together.
These patrols, like other patrols throughout the camp, build patrol fireplace
areas, lashed together patrol tables, and cooked all their meals for the 10 days
of Blue Summer on wood fires. The patrol method was really put into practice.
The amount and variety of pioneering projects built by the dirfferent Scout
groups throughout the camp was truly amazing. It seemed like there was an
unlimited supply of rope and spars. There were more activities than anyone
could do without even thinking about working on a badge. (You can see the DDS
photo archive of Blue Summer at http://www.blaasommer.dk/billed/index.html It
takes a while to load.)
Just as some troops emphasize badge work more than others, the Scout
associations in some countries emphasize badge work more than others. This is
not a situation in which one is right and the other is wrong. There are many
ways to achieve Scouting's aims of building character, citizenship, and fitness.
Scoutmaster, Troop 180,
Chief Okemos Council, Michigan