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Preventing Scouts from leaving campouts early

In Scouter J.C.’s troop, parents often pick up their sons from weekend outings before the process of breaking camp begins. Here’s how to ensure your guys share and share alike.


Break camp first, everything but the cooking equipment, so that the boys who leave early can help. This might also convince some parents to stay for breakfast, letting you show off your camping program..

Assistant Scoutmaster K.E.V.
Batavia, N.Y.

Call parents in for a meeting. Explain the patrol method and why their sons need to contribute and not use Scouting as just playtime. You might also start camping farther from home and tell the parents you will return to the chartered organization at a specified time.

Assistant Scoutmaster P.N.
Nottingham, Md.

If parents plan to pick up their sons early, have them notify you before camp starts. That way Scouts who leave early can do more setup, while those who stay later can do more packing up. The Scouts who stay will think of the workload as more equitable.

Aurora, Ontario, Calif.

First, refocus on the patrol method so that each patrol is responsible for its own gear, food, clean-up, and transportation to and from camp. Second, have parents drop off their boys and pick them up at the troop meeting site instead of the campsite. This would require a few more vehicles to haul gear and boys to the camp-outs, but it would encourage more adult/leader involvement.

Assistant Scoutmaster J.R.
Hollister, Calif.

Ask that boys leaving early take home a tent for drying or a grub box for stocking and cleaning.
When my sons leave early to serve Mass, I make sure that they take home a tent.

Assistant Scoutmaster J.W.
Jessup, Md.

The solution depends on the patrol of the Scout who is leaving early. If it’s not a problem for his patrol leader and the rest of his patrol, it shouldn’t be a problem for the Scoutmaster and troop committee. If the patrol sees it as a problem, have the patrol leaders’ council discuss it. Remember: It’s the boys’ program.

Chartered Organization Representative W.W.
San Antonio, Tex.

Our family participates in religious services on Sunday mornings, so we pick up our Scouts early. But they do something extra to compensate at the start of the camp-out: shop for food, organize troop gear in the vehicles, etc. Or perhaps there could be two teams — one for setup and one for teardown — and the Scouts would commit to at least one of them.

Pittsford, N.Y.