Section VI

Outdoor Program

VI.1 The Outdoor Program

Scouting is effective whenever we take advantage of it's truth.  The place where Scouting works best is also the place boys want to be most: in the outdoors.  There are a number of good reasons why the outdoor program is so special, here are the four that are especially good:

VI.2 Our Outdoor Program

Troop 4673 has a very active outdoor program and all boys are encouraged to participate.  Our program includes monthly weekend camp-outs, annual long-term summer camp (1 week), hikes, and other outdoor activities (having problems deciding what get your Scout for a birthday or Christmas?  Camping gear is always a good idea!  Holidays and celebrations are a perfect time to buy backpacks, sleeping bags, new hiking boots, etc.).

VI.3 What to Bring on a Camp-Out

When your Scout is packing his backpack, watch him, and offer suggestions, but do not pack for him under any circumstance.  He needs to know where his rain gear is as it begins to rain while trying to set-up camp Friday night, not you.  Also, he needs to pack his own things up on Sunday to go home.  His Boy Scout Handbook has a superb checklist (p. 224) detailing what a Scout should bring.  Make certain he uses that list.  Below are a few recommended items:

VI.4 What NOT TO Bring on a Camp-Out

Below are a few items that will not be allowed without prior approval:

VI.5 Pre-Camp Procedures

When the Troop has a weekend camp-out/outing planned, there may be a shakedown inspection at the Troop meeting on the Wednesday before departure.  Packs, bags, and gear should be packed and brought that night.  Everything should be placed in plastic bags when appropriate to keep them dry, even rain gear!  Do not let your Scout put any food or beverages in his backpack, lest it be hacked away at by savage rodents.  Should your Scout have forgotten anything, he will be told.  If he brings any prohibited items, they will be sent home that night.  Make sure he does not pack his khaki scout shirt; he'll need to wear it when we depart.

A sequence of events precedes each camp-out.  Money and permission slips are collected two (2) weeks in advance.  Tent assignments, duty rosters, and menus will be determined by each Patrol and approved by the Scoutmaster one (1) week before departure.  Each camp-out one member of the Patrol will be assigned the duty of Grubmaster and will purchase the food for the weekend.  It is the responsibility of each Patrol Leader to ensure that food is purchased and properly stowed (non-perishable items in the Patrol food boxes and perishable items in a cooler on ice).  If your Scout decides to not attend an outing after the food has been purchased, he is still responsible for paying his portion of the cost.  Similarly, he may also still be liable for any and all camping fees associated with the outing.
NOTE: The Scoutmaster leading the encampment will determine the participant cost.  The cost will include site / participant fees and food costs, to include a two dollar fee assessed each Scout participating in a troop encampment to cover common patrol expenses such as charcoal, paper towels, foil, soap, cooking oil, and scrub pads.  The Grubmaster for each patrol will shop within the given budget.  Requests from the patrol Grubmaster for reimbursement will be made to the Troop Treasurer through the Scoutmaster leading the encampment.
NOTE: Consumable supplies used in preparing meals, such as special spices and seasonings, are provided by the patrol with the cost shared equally among patrol members.

On Friday, Scouts are to be at Church parking lot at 5:15 pm, fifteen minutes(15) ahead of our scheduled departure.  This helps to ensure adequate time to stow final gear.  Scouts will be in scout uniform and have already eaten (or have a brown bag dinner).  They will be lined-up, a head count taken, and vehicles assigned.  When departing for camp the scout uniform will be worn.  If a Scout arrives without his uniform, he will be sent home.  If he doesn't wear the uniform he will not attend the trip.

VI.6 Camp Procedures

When the Troop arrives at the campsite, Scouts line up by the vehicles and trailer begin unloading the supplies.  Personal gear is set aside while Troop supplies and Patrol gear are taken to the camping area(s).  Troop needs are tended to first and Patrol areas are set-up.  Tents follow.  To the extent possible, tents are set-up in a straight line and segregated by Patrol.  Patrols bunk together.  If there is an odd number of Scouts in a Patrol, the Patrol Leader sleeps by himself.  Personal gear is stowed last.  Camp games can be played so long as the Senior Patrol Leader and Scoutmaster believe all work is complete and the Troop worked well in setting up camp (weather and terrain permitting, of course).

The Patrol Leader will post the duty roster for all to see, as well as post the menu.  The roster is a rotating schedule.  This gives each Scout an equal chance to participate in Patrol duties.

When meals are prepared we keep in mind the basic food groups and make sure that the food will provide each Scout with the necessary energy they need for the challenges of camping.  Unless a Scout has a medical aversion to food being served, he will be expected to eat what is on the Patrol menu.

On Saturday, all Scouts must participate fully in what has been planned for the camp-out by the Patrol Leaders Council.  All Scouts are expected to follow the Scout Law, Motto, Slogan, Oath, and Outdoor Code.  Any problems that arise will be taken care of quickly and fairly.  If a Scout becomes uncontrollable, it is the parent's responsibility to come to camp and take their son home.  A typically day might be as follows:

Time Activity
0630 Reveille
0630-0730 Breakfast
0730-0800 Cleanup
0800 Flag Ceremony
0800-1130 Activity
1130-1230 Lunch
1230-1300 Clean-up
1300-1700 Activity
1700 Retreat
1700-1800 Dinner
1800-1830 Clean-up
1830-2200 Free Time
2200 Lights Out

Sunday is pack-up day.  It is a Troop effort.  If a Scout has finished all his jobs he helps another Scout finish his.  Please, try and refrain from picking up your son early from a camping trip; all Scouts are needed to help tear-down camp quickly, efficiently, and safely.  Remember, Troop outings begin and end at the Church parking lot.

VI.7 Post-Camp Procedures

Return times will vary depending on our departure time from camp and road conditions, but generally we return to the Church parking lot between 1000-1200.  Once we return we will get into formation and unload all personal gear and excess Patrol gear.  We will then conclude any final business.  Afterward, Scouts will be dismissed to retrieve their personal gear and depart for home.

VI.8 What Adults Do

By now you're probably thinking, "So what do adults do on camp outs?"  Boy Scouting is a bit different from Cub Scouting.  While parents are encouraged to accompany the Scouts on camp outs, your son will camp with his Patrol and not a parent.  Scouts tent with their Patrol in a patrol site separate from the adults.  The Patrols plan their own menus, and cook and eat together as a Patrol.  Adults tent with the Adult Patrol.  We too plan our own menu, and cook and eat together as a Patrol.

BSA youth protection policies forbid an adult and a boy to share the same tent.  While that certainly does not apply to a father and son, it is disruptive to the integrity of the Patrol when it occurs and the Scout will lose out on opportunities to exercise his independence and make decisions on his own.

Generally, adults do not step in with counsel or assistance to the Patrol unless asked to do so by a youth leader.  This applies even when you observe errors or mistakes being made (we all learn best from our mistakes).  Step in only if it is a matter of safety or cost (time, energy, or resources).  We try to discourage the young men from turning to a parents for help and to use the Patrol method and elevate issue and question through the youth leadership.  Seek to not do anything for a Scout that he or his Patrol mates can do for themselves.  Boy Scout camping activities center on the Patrol, where boys develop teamwork and leadership skills, and learn independence and sound decision-making.  It is important adults not be overly present in Patrol activities such as site selection and set up, meal preparation, and anything else where boys get to exercise decision-making.

By now too, you should be beginning to grasp a key difference between Boy Scouting and Cub Scouting programs; who lead.  In Cub Scouting, the adult Den Leader runs the program.  In Boy Scouting, the youth run the program.  This isn't token leadership; a Patrol Leader, for example, has real authority and genuine responsibilities and much of the success, safety, and happiness of six to ten other boys in his Patrol depends directly on him.  Boy Scouting teaches leadership and boys learn leadership through hands-on practice and not by being led by adult lead.

So what do we adults do now that we've surrendered so much direct authority to boys?  Enjoy good food and camaraderie (of course), provide an example the boy patrols can follow (without our telling them what to do), and enjoy watching your son take progressively more mature and significant responsibilities as he moves toward adulthood!  We allow boys to grow by developing their leadership skills and by learning from their mistakes.  While Scout skills are an important part of the program, what ultimately matters is whether or not they can live by a code that centers on honest, honorable, and ethical behavior and are able to offer leadership to others in tough, difficult situations.

It probably does not need to be mentioned, but adults who must smoke or chew, are asked to do so discretely and well out of sight of the Scouts.  Drivers should not smoke while Scouts are in the car.  Alcohol is never permitted under any circumstance.