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1019A couple of notes about last night's meeting and this weekend's campout

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  • Bill Sherman
    Apr 1, 2014

    A few scouts came to last night's meeting disappointed that they could not go on the campout because they didn't have permission slips and/or medical forms.  We attempted to let scouts "call home" during the meeting to remedy the situation and a few were able to, but not all of them.  The message for parents is three-fold:  
    1) even though we discuss events and opportunities during the meetings with the scouts, the "fail-safe" communication to the scout families is through email.  Please make sure that you have an email which you read regularly on our yahoogroups mailing alias.  If you are having trouble with that, just ask the leaders for help by emailing to t-104-leaders@yahoogroups.com.  
    2) Second, we have a pretty firm deadline that the permission slip and the fees (in cash; checks are not really good unless they are well in advance of the trip) are due no later than the Monday before a campout.  This is very important, as described below.  The scouts themselves will make their own menus and be paired up to shop for the food for their patrols.  Every scout will be shopping for his patrol's food several times a year, but not on every campout.  The patrols need to know who is going and how many they are shopping for at the Monday meeting.  While we as adults can handle ambiguity, these guys learn better with a crisp clear number that they hear at the start of the meeting and that they will remember.  So, at the meeting, if there are 5 guys from the Atomic Panda patrol going camping, then those 5 guys work out their own menu, those 5 guys choose the 2 guys who will shop together, and the shoppers will remember that they are buying for 5. It is important that the scouts bring their fees in cash (and not check) because this money will be doled out to the shoppers to buy the patrol's food.  For this weekend's trip, we are not charging the scouts any camping fees for the site, so the whole $10 per scout goes to food.  A patrol of 5 will get 5x$10=$50 to shop for the food.  There were many checks brought last night, so I believe only 1 patrol (purple) got their money; I hope that the other 2 shoppers can have their parents front it and they'll be reimbursed on Saturday.  Ask a leader if this poses a problem.
    3) Last but not least, forms.  There really should be no forms missing at this point, but there are.  Medical forms, for example, are an absolute non-starter -- no form = no camping. This is a legal and insurance mandate, as I'm sure you can understand.  It pains the adult leaders (and the scout) to have to tell Johnny that he cannot go camping because his forms are not turned in.  Please help prevent this by getting all forms turned in.  We will very shortly begin signing up for summer camp, and the form management for that is even more strict because you must fill out part C and have a physician's signature to stay at camp over 72 hours.

    Also, I wish to apologize that we kept the scouts there later than any of us wanted last night.  While the "scout-led unit" is important for learning and experience of all (including the senior scouts!), there are occasions where the adult leaders need to intervene and make adjustments.  Last night was such an occasion, where we reworked the division of scouts for Saturday's trip a little bit, because the scouts had lost the patrol structure.  In scouting, everything is done in patrols, and much of the learning stems from the scalability of this technique.  For several reasons, we have an abundance of more seasoned scouts that are busy this coming weekend, and those that are going had suggested just dividing the troop attendees into two large groups.  We have fallen on this "crutch" in the past, but have made a commitment to never do it again.  The "patrol method" actually scales remarkably -- we just need to trust it.  I took the time to re-partition out the 3 new scout patrols last night, but didn't get as far as separating the Dragons and Sharks because I didn't want to keep them there any longer while we re-worked shoppers and menus (if we had time I would have).  We will do better next time -- promise!

    Anyway, the results as merged were for Yellow, Blue and Green patrols for this trip.  The attached roster (password 1984) contains a color-coded key of the scouts attending in the 3 "color patrols".

    YELLOW: James' patrol --  shopping count is 9. James (and Nolan?) are shopping.

    PURPLE: Scott was sick last night. Tyler is shopping for Scott's patrol, and his count will be 7.  Tyler will go to the store with Robbie and Matthew, and will "clone" their menu (the purple and green patrols will buy the same foods)

    GREEN: Robbie and Matthew are shopping for the 3rd patrol, and their count should be 7.

    Total scout count 23.

    In terms of "what to bring" -- this one should be easy since it is a one-nighter, and it is relatively warm.  Packing lists for our trips are on our website here:  http://t104.us/taxonomy/term/1047

    In particular, a copy of the weekend list is attached and covers more than your scout should need for the trip.  They should get used to assembling pretty much the same compliment of gear for most weekend trips -- just tune it down a bit for one night instead of two.  Most of the scouts OVERPACK their first time out.  While none of the scouts will be hiking to get to their tent site this weekend, the rule of thumb you should remember is that they should always be prepared for a hike.  If they have a backpack and an extra bag for sleeping bag and pillow and something additional to carry... then they are overpacked and would be miserable hiking even a half mile.  

    I'm sure that we will have more communications on the trip over the course of this week, but hopefully this will answer a lot of your questions.

    Bill Sherman
    Troop 104