Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Beyond Orange Juice
Beyond Orange Juice
Thu, 9 Sep 1999 07:27:04 -0500
Cheryl Singhal inquired how beverages such as orange juice and pop are
". . . accomodated on campouts." Mike Walton responded and suggested
that the young man in question should be required to ". . . bring his
own supply of juice and colas."
I disagree. The young man's Patrol provides for its members as a
group. If he wants colas or orange juice, he needs to convince his
Patrol accordingly. A Patrol should never have an "each man for
himself" mentality. The resolution of food and beverage disagreements
in a Patrol meeting or Patrol setting is a problem solving exercise
fundamental to Scouting. As long as its decisions are safe, arguably
equitable and nutritious, a Patrol fends for itself.
In a private post, I advised Cheryl that orange juice is a beverage that
should be strongly encouraged during Troop meetings, etc. It's the
prescription for one of the most common Scout maladies.
All caffeinated beverages should be discouraged in a camp setting.
These would include cocoa, coffee and most soda pop. They dehydrate
your body and thicken your blood. They make you colder in the winter
and hotter in the summer. Your body cannot function properly. In the
summer, warning signs of dehydration include, but are not limited to,
constipation, headaches, nausea,lethargy, muscle cramps, lack of
sweating, and overheating. In the winter, the symptoms are the same
except chills, cold limbs, tingly fingers, etc. may replace
overheating. In the winter, thick blood from a dehydrated body cannot
circulate efficiently to the limbs and keep them warm.
While I know of many Troops that prohibit the consumption of pop on
campouts, I do not believe this is necessary or prudent. I think Scouts
should be trained about nutrition and hydration. I think they should
then be trusted to "do the right thing" with their knowledge. Patrol
Leaders should understand that they are "in charge" and responsible for
their Patrol. If a Scout gets dehydrated, hot or cold, he is the Patrol
Scouts should be taught to always observe their "pee." My Patrol
Leaders teach the following ditty to every new Scout:
If it's clear, you're full of cheer.
If it's yellow, you're not mellow.
If it's brown, you're going down.
At Philmont, part of everyone's experience is the admonition: "clear and
When they're seeing a lot of yellow, Scouts'll switch to water. When
Scouts start drinking water only, they'll feel better all the time.
Pretty soon water will be their beverage of choice. It's the right
choice. A little bit of orange juice or other fruit juice in the
morning to get the bowels going and a lot of water during the day make
At this point, I am tempted to comment on coffee, cigarettes, etc. in
the adult campsite, but good sense and a little angel on my shoulder
I do want to comment on hot cocoa. Leave it at home. It does not "warm
up" Scouts. It does just the opposite. By dehydrating the body, it
makes them colder at night. Scouts should be trained to substitute
other hot beverages that taste great and will keep them warm. Hot water
is great. Chicken broth (chockful of wonderful chicken fat) is
awesome. Hot cider appeals to about everyone.
Scouts should also be taught that a candy bar (Milky Way, Three
Muskeeteers, M & M's, etc.) are great right before bed. A well hydrated
body will burn the fat from chicken broth and a candy bar all night.
It's a lot like throwing a well seasoned oak log on the fire.
In conclusion, let your Patrols be in charge of food and beverages as a
Patrol. Discourage the "every man for himself mentality." Train your
Scouts to be safe and then trust them to be safe. Train a bunch of
dedicated "pee" watchers so young men can learn about their own bodies.
Avoid rules and let the Oath and Law be your Scouts' guides.
I'll see ya round the tree when I go . .
Mud Dogs 54