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By:    On: 2014-05-15
 

I am sure many of have had experiences with Summer Camp staff signing off advancement requirements without fully meeting everything they are suppose to. I know this is especially true with trail to first class, but also to a lesser degree with many merit badges. Of course how bad and wide spread the problem is depends on the council, camp, and year.

(below written by Bruce McCrea Scout-L)

Boy Scout summer camps often assign their most inexperienced staff members to "Trail to First Class" programs, and some of those staff members consider listening to a large group presentation on a topic enough to have a requirement signed off.

Even when Trail to First Class staff members have Scouts "do" a requirement, they sometimes don't have the Scouts complete the entire requirement. Earlier this summer, two of our Scouts completed a five mile hike as part of a summer camp "Trail to First Class" program. Second Class requirement 1 (b) states: "Using a compass and a map together, take a five-mile hike (or 10 miles by bike) approved by your adult leader and your parent or guardian." When they got back to our campsite, I asked them about the "using a compass and map together" part of the requirement. They said that they never saw a map or compass before, during, or after the hike. I am sure the camp staff member would have signed that requirement. We didn't want to tell our Scouts that their hike didn't count, so we worked with them on map and compass skills and had them demonstrate their ability to use a map and compass together on a hike, then signed the requirement.

Wahooker added

That is among the reasons why our troop's SM does not enroll any scouts in the first year summer camp program.

Finally gunpowder2012 says: Our summer camp gives you a spreadsheet with the requirements they completed checked off. The SM signs the corresponding box in the book.

Personally I like the spreadsheet method vs actually signing of the requirements off for the lower ranks. It helps the leaders know and track what was actually done, but also ask questions to ensure everything was up to par. I highly recommend if you are not happy with the quality of teachings at your summer camp you let the council know in writing. Lets not forget summer camp is a chunk of the councils monthly budget.

We would love to know what you think, how you deal with this issue, etc. Let us know on our facebook page.


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