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Boy Scout Troop 463
(Gardner, Illinois)
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Parent Guidelines for Camping with Troop 463

Over the course of your son’s experience with Troop 463 there will come several times where the Troop needs additional adults to participate in a weekend campout. The Troop has established that there will always be a minimum of one adult
 for every 10 boys, rounded up with a two adult minimum. If we have 21 boys we have to have at least 3 adults. And sometimes, depending on the activity, we may need a higher ratio of adults to youth. Depending on the availability of the Scoutmaster Corps we may sometimes need one or two additional parents to attend to meet that requirement.

While parents are always welcome at any event, Troop 463 has come up with the following guidelines to help parents/guardians understand both what their role on a campout is, as well as what is expected of them on the campout.

What an adult’s role on a campout is?
Troop 463 is a “Boy-led Troop.” This means that all meetings and campouts are run by the boys for the benefit of the boys, under the broad oversight of adult leaders. Boy Scouting is designed to enable boys to learn outdoor and lifelong skills, but especially to learn and experience leadership.

An adult’s job on a campout is to ensure that the Boys have the opportunity to develop that leadership. This is not always an easy thing to do; in fact at times it is downright difficult. It is a well known fact that some boys take to leadership more readily than others. Often times when a patrol of younger Scouts is working at building a campfire in wet weather, and having a few difficulties doing it, it is tough not to just step in and do it for them. Especially when the Scouts are cold, wet, hungry and grumpy, (and your son is one of them). Doing this may solve an immediate problem, but does no help in the long run. It deprives the youth leaders of the Troop an opportunity to both show and develop their leadership skills, as well as undermining their leadership status with the younger Scouts. The best solution in a case like this would be to get one of the youth leaders and ask them to check in on that patrol and to help out if necessary. That youth leader will hopefully use his experience to teach the younger Scouts how to build the fire in wet conditions.

The adult’s role on a campout is more of a supervisory role. Adults are there to provide the transportation to and from the event, to make sure that no one gets hurt, and in general to ensure that everyone has a good time. When it comes to actual leadership during campouts, that should be handled by the youth.

What is expected of adults on campouts?

Avoid speeding while driving – Remember, you are hauling other people’s kids around, drive like you want them to drive if your son is with them.

No firearms – We don’t care if you have a permit for it, leave it at home.

No alcohol – Alcohol is completely forbidden at any and all BSA related events.

If you must, please smoke away from youth – Kids smoke because they see adults doing it. Let’s not have Scouts learning to smoke on campouts. And please do not smoke in the vehicles while driving Scouts.

Avoid swearing – While it is sometimes difficult, and the boys will do everything they can to push your buttons sometimes, please try to avoid it.

Act like an adult – The boys will watch what you are doing and imitate you for good or ill. If they see you acting in a responsible fashion, then hopefully they will mimic that. If you are doing something you shouldn’t, you can be darn sure that they will see and imitate that.

Avoid disciplining your own son – This is often times a tough one for parents. Too often parents see their own son doing something that other boys are doing, and will only say something to him about it, neglecting to mention anything to the other boys. This leads to the Scout wishing that his parent wouldn’t come on campouts. Parents sometimes are embarrassed that their son is behaving in a way that they feel he shouldn’t be, even though the Scoutmasters are aware of it and don’t feel it is a problem. Please try to avoid singling your son out for any special criticism while you are along.

Because the BSA is supposed to be youth run if you see something happening that shouldn’t be happening, please report it first to the youth leaders, such as the Troop SPL. If that fails then please report it to one of the Scoutmasters. They will work with the youth leaders to solve the problem. However if there is imminent danger of a Scout being injured, please put a stop to the activity at once, and then inform a Scoutmaster.

You are responsible for all youth - Remember, while you are on a campout you are one of the staff and as such you are responsible for ALL of the Scouts, not just your son. Just as you expect other adults to be responsible for your son on a campout when you aren’t there, you have to be responsible for their son when you are there.

Let your son sleep in a tent with his buddies – Many times parents want to share the camping experience with their son on a Troop event by sleeping together in a tent with him. While that is a wonderful thought, the Troop would prefer that all youth sleep in a tent with other youth. This is their chance to bond with one another and to build lifelong friendships. We would encourage families that want to camp together to definitely do so.

Try to avoid your son’s camping area – This is especially true on your first couple campouts with the Troop. Often times if a Scout’s parent is in the immediate area a Scout will naturally defer to the parent. They will just expect the parent to do things for them like putting up tents, getting the fire going, getting the food cooked, wash the dishes, etc. One of the main goals of Scouting is for boys to learn independence, and having the parent hovering in their campsite discourages that.

These are just the basics. If you are ever on a campout with the Troop and have any questions about any of this, please feel free to contact one of the Scoutmasters.

How Parents can help their Scout advance:

How Parents can help their Scout advance:

Make sure your son knows what rank he is working on. Encourage your son to take his handbook to every meeting, campout, swim, and service project, or other activity where he might pass something. Familiarize yourself with the requirements, so you know what he should be working on. All rank requirements appear in the handbook: Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class, Star, Life and Eagle. A scout can be working on requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class all at the same time. For example, if your son hasn't completed Tenderfoot yet but there is an Orienteering Meet, he can still go and pass the First Class orienteering requirement. Also, make sure your son attends activities so he can pass the requirements. Some requirements, like tying a Square Knot, can be passed any time, but some, like service projects , swimming, completing an orienteering course, and cooking meals, are best done when we do those activities as a troop.

To help your son complete Merit Badges, you can help by encouraging him to:

  • Select a merit badge
  • Call a counselor
  • Follow through

Scouts tend to want to pass all of their merit badges with Troop leaders that they know. But the rules say a Scout should earn no more than 5 merit badges from any one counselor, and no more than 2 of the 11 specifically required for Eagle from any one counselor. It's especially hard for some Scouts to telephone an adult they don't know, but it's a useful thing to learn to do. Fortunately, most of these counselors are friendly and like kids and want to help them advance. Parents need to encourage their Scouts to do this as Troop33 does not have counselors for every merit badge.