Parent Guidelines for Camping with Troop 33
Over the course of your son’s experience with Troop 33 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 33 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 33 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, 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 life long 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.
Pack separate bags You have your bag, your Scout has his. Scouts shouldn't be wandering into the adult's camping area saying "dad, I need my mess kit from your bag", or "Can I get my rain jacket from the bag?" All of these items should be in the bag HE is responsible for, not you.
Pre-Trip requirements apply to adults as well as youth. If we are doing a canoe check out before a June Trip where we are canoeing, all adults going on that Trip must attend it as well. While we'd love to take your word for it that you are experienced in a canoe, we'd still like you to come take a refresher on it.
Troop rules apply, not home rules Just as you expect people to comply with your rules when they are in your house, your Scout will be expected to comply with ours, even if they differ from yours, when on a campout with us. If your Scout's bedtime is 8:30pm, on a campout he will likely stay up later than that. If your Scout's bedtime is normally 1am on a Saturday night, he will likely be asked to quiet down and go to sleep long before that on a campout. Please support the Troop's rules while you are camping with us.
Health forms are required for adults as well as youth. Please be honest and up front with the Trip's leader and make sure that they are aware of any and all medical issues. 5 miles down the trail in the middle of nowhere is a bad time to find out about a medical condition.
Be a good example with electronics. While adults sometimes need to use electronics for the Trip, (checking weather, routes to get to the next place, etc), too often it's just out of habit to check sites that have nothing to do with the Trip. Since we ban electronics for use by the youth, adults should set the good example and not use them in front of the youth.
Assume your son will not be riding with you. While it MIGHT happen, don't assume it will, or be upset if it doesn't. The Senior Patrol Leader will divide up the Scouts at the start of a trip into different vehicles. He will focus on keeping a Patrol together, rather than keeping Scouts with their parents. The same as the tenting issue above, we'd rather have Scouts ride with their buddies than with their parents.
Youth Protection Training. While YPT is only required for registered leaders, all parents are encouraged to take the 30 minute training online. It is very good information for all parents, especially for any going on either a weekend campout or a week long June Trip. You can find out more at https://myscouting.org.
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.
Back to the Troop 33 Handbook