scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Large troops and LNT
Rik Bergethon (rberg@RMI.NET
Sun Apr 09 2000 - 08:52:49 CDT
Greg and others with large troops:
The Boy Scouts of America has been accused by many conservationists of
being one of the main reasons that the Leave No Trace ethics started.
We tend to send a large number of people into the back woods, often, and
because of that, are one of the main contributors to the problem of
over-use and abuse. To that I say: BUNK! (or other words that begin
with that letter)
I got into a big argument with one of the LNT Masters, who was the
instructor at my LNT Trainers course, about Boy Scouts and the back
woods. I was arguing that we had an Outdoor Code long before anybody
even thought about LNT. What a way to start off a course, they are
putting on free for six Boy Scout leaders and six Girl Scout Leaders,
that I arranged for! That's like inviting someone over for supper and
arguing with them at the front door as they walk into your house.
We did agree on one thing. We take our scouts into the back woods more
times per year than any other group, and we do tend to take large
groups at one time. Greg, here are two possible solutions, which bring
up one big problem.
One of the LNT ethics is to travel in small groups, not exceeding 12
per group, and don't all the groups go to the same place. This scatters
out the use, and keeps the impact of people numbers low. Now the
problem: BSA policy of two deep leadership. With ten adults, that's five
groups, and 40 boys divided into five groups, that's 8 boys per group.
So two adults per 8 boys, that sounds really good, but is it workable?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no, I bet.
You say you want the older boys to assist the younger boys in camp.
Fine, but how much assistance do they need? Do you mean Scout skills or
Scout craft training? How about dividing the troop into patrols, and
each patrol go to a different location for the weekend? Did you know a
patrol could go on a patrol activity without adult leadership? If one
adult goes, two have to go. So it's none or two adults. Maybe the older
boys want to go somewhere more difficult to get to than the younger
boys. Maybe the younger boys want to go on a bike hike. Here in
Colorado, there are many trails that go in different directions from
similar starting points, so there is plenty of room. For example: our
senior scouts could take the Venebles Lake trail, a more difficult trail
about 5 miles long and 4,900 feet change in elevation. The middle group
of scouts could take the Commanche Loop trail about three miles long and
only 2,000 feet change in elevation, and the new scout patrol could take
a bike hike on the Rainbow Trail, just 200 feet change, out five miles
and back five miles and sleep at the campground where all three of these
trails depart from, the Alvarado Campground.
So divide the troop up and don't divide them up into smaller groups to
arrive at the same place, go different places. The boys will compare
notes and may want to switch next time.
Above all, remember, the LNT ethics are just plans for conservation.
One must do their best to follow them, as best he can. They are not
ten Commandments, written in stone.