Thursday, March 21, 2013

Camping Guidance for 11YO Scout Patrols

Excerpt from a note I sent out today:

Beginning in April, we'll start digging into camping skills that just happen to match up with the camping/cooking and outdoors requirements, so that everyone has some practice before the real deal. Please remember that for camping, Church instructions state that "Fathers are invited and encouraged [NOTE: it does not say required] to participate in the overnight camping experiences with their sons and with boys whose fathers cannot attend" (Scouting Handbook §6.2, ¶6). I will not tell a boy "no camp for you" because of circumstances outside of his control; that would be patently unfair and we'll find a way to make it work. But dads, please review the dates below and where possible, please make arrangements to help us comply with Church guidance.

This brings up another point. The Church's Scouting Handbook also has this to say about 11-year-olds and camping:
"Eleven-year-old Scouts [registered in an LDS-sponsored Troop] may participate in three one-night camps a year, which meets the camping requirements for advancement to First Class rank. As desired, these overnight camp experiences may be held with the ward’s Boy Scout troop...No other Scout-sponsored overnight camping should be planned for [LDS-sponsored] eleven-year-old Scouts." (Scouting Handbook §6.2, ¶5)
I understand that an invitation has been extended for them to go on the Uintas/Flaming Gorge outing later this summer with the rest of the Troop, and I can't say anyone can't go - that's a personal decision. However, I will not be attending, and this will not be an "11YO camp." It is still a Troop activity, per 2Class Req. 3a/1Class Req 3. I will say that this gives me a moral dilemma, as a Scout is obedient; he follows the rules. I have long felt that we can't expect a boy, just because he's turned 18, to suddenly follow all the rules (be 'flech' in the lingo from my mission) if he has not been shown, by example, (and been expected) to do so. Even the ones that suck.

A mission is full of rules, not the least of which are contained in the Missionary Handbook, the so-called "White Bible" that many of you are familiar with. Obedience is a key of missionary work and just plain living the Gospel, but it has to be taught early, and continuously reinforced, yea, even outside the walls of the chapel, school and home. Again, I can't say someone should not attend the Jul/Aug camp, but I want to make sure everyone is on the same page as far as knowing what "Big Church" has said about it. If I had my druthers, this would not be a problem, but the Church adds quite a few stipulations which I personally feel are detrimental to effective Scout Training, but which we have to comply with nonetheless. C'est la vie.

Finally, the Father/Son camp in May is NOT a Scout Camp - it's a Stake camp, and as such will not count against the 3-camp quota.

*"Flech" refers to "flecha," which is Spanish for arrow, as in, straight as an arrow.

Prepared. | For Life.™

1 comment:

Fishgutts said...

Very tactful email.