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The Unrushed, Peaceful Morning Coffee at Mess Hall


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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 06:34 AM

Had a meeting last night to recruit parents for summer camp and heard these laments from parents. To politely paraphase:

 

What is the problem with having a peaceful cup of coffee in the morning? 

 

Why not sit all adults together and let them hang around (or not) after scout dismissal to have a peaceful cup of joe. No singing, no jumping up and down, no announcements, no sign-ups, no classes. Relax and drink their coffee while scouts are off to program.

 

Their second comment jogged my memory. I do recall occasions when troop adults were seated separately and each scout table had a camp counselor or two seated. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 28 June 2016 - 06:38 AM.

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#2 SSScout

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 06:53 AM

Unless you are at an LDS camp... :)

 

Yes, I remember some camps that specifically ask adult leaders NOT sit with their units.   The camp staff rotates around to the various tables, or a staffer sits with the table the whole week, with "guests" on occasion. Maybe another staffer or another adult from a different part of the country.  Or from a different country!  

Now, this requires sufficient planning so there is enough sitting space at each table for , say, 8 Scouts and a staffer and a guest.     Maybe 6 Scouts is enough.  Depends on the geometry of the dining hall.

 

I like that idea.  Even if the unit camps and cooks "in camp" (Patrol cooking?)   , it should be expected they might have a staff guest each night.   They do this at the Jamboree, I know. 


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#3 qwazse

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 07:47 AM

Ah, the beauties of patrol cooking.

Even when camp was crowded ... the adults' table was at least 50' from the boys.

Beverages any way you want it. The poor SM has to slog to leader's meeting.

Staff were always welcome guests.


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#4 perdidochas

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 08:20 AM

Had a meeting last night to recruit parents for summer camp and heard these laments from parents. To politely paraphase:

 

What is the problem with having a peaceful cup of coffee in the morning? 

 

Why not sit all adults together and let them hang around (or not) after scout dismissal to have a peaceful cup of joe. No singing, no jumping up and down, no announcements, no sign-ups, no classes. Relax and drink their coffee while scouts are off to program.

 

Their second comment jogged my memory. I do recall occasions when troop adults were seated separately and each scout table had a camp counselor or two seated. The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.

Well, I agree with part of that--there should be a peaceful morning coffee time after breakfast for adults. That said, I do think that as troop leaders, that you should be eating with the scouts.  It's part of adult association.  It's also part of the scout safety. You can tell a lot about what's going on with the boys when you eat with them.


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#5 Lurking...

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 09:14 AM

I haven't eaten with the boys for any outings now for about 10 years.  I seldom even sit down to eat.  I like to wander the woods and enjoy my coffee and meals as far away from the cacophony of the boys as possible but still be available.

 

"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt - One can't trust them if they have to constantly hover over their shoulder.


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#6 resqman

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 10:40 AM

Well I do trust them all day while they are off running around the camp and taking classes.  Sharing a meal you get a chance to ask them about their experience with the camp, staff, and their week.  I eat with a different group of scouts every meal to get a general pulse.  You see which kids are not eating and understand why they are sluggish, grumpy, etc.  You get to hear stories about staff and if they are providing a valid program.  Once meal time is over, then you can enjoy your cuppa joe if you must.  20 minutes three times a day is not asking much. 

 

Our troop rotates through about 5-6 camps so it is the first time for most of the scouts to attend this particular camp.  There are always specific concerns at each camp that they have not experienced before.  Some of the concerns need to be addressed at the adult level.  Most of the scouts enjoy a chance to tell stories about their day to someone who will listen.  Reminiscent of the old family meal. 


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#7 RememberSchiff

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 11:06 AM

Well I do trust them all day while they are off running around the camp and taking classes.  Sharing a meal you get a chance to ask them about their experience with the camp, staff, and their week.  I eat with a different group of scouts every meal to get a general pulse.  You see which kids are not eating and understand why they are sluggish, grumpy, etc.  You get to hear stories about staff and if they are providing a valid program.  Once meal time is over, then you can enjoy your cuppa joe if you must.  20 minutes three times a day is not asking much. 

 

Our troop rotates through about 5-6 camps so it is the first time for most of the scouts to attend this particular camp.  There are always specific concerns at each camp that they have not experienced before.  Some of the concerns need to be addressed at the adult level.  Most of the scouts enjoy a chance to tell stories about their day to someone who will listen.  Reminiscent of the old family meal. 

 

Too noisy in the mess hall to hear any table stories. Can't agree that it is reminiscent of any of my old family meals where no one would speak while eating, only one person spoke at a time, no elbows were on table, and all exhibited table manners or were quickly corrected. It is more reminiscent of a school cafeteria meal assuming adults would sit a school cafeteria table with students.

 

I think a quiet cup of coffee is not asking much for adults who are giving up a vacation week.


Edited by RememberSchiff, 28 June 2016 - 11:08 AM.

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#8 Lurking...

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 11:58 AM

A lot of what I would call adult intervention is normally handled by my PL/APL teams in the patrols.  If there is a concern about one of the boys that needs to get kicked up to the adult level (we haven't had a SPL for many years) then that is addressed with a PL/SM conference.  If the PL can't handle it, the SM is invited to address the issue.

 

Much of the "How'd your day go." conversations are done around evening campfire, both patrol and multiple patrol fires.

 

If I have multiple patrols, one PL goes to the SPL meeting and the other PL's gather with SM for any concerns going on that the SM needs to know about.  The NSP needs extra attention but then they have a TG to run with problems there.  They generally go to the First Year program and thus don't need to run all over the place looking for their next MB area/class.  The older boys don't need to be escorted around to find their place.  The PL's generally keep an eye on the one or two that need the attention, but it is all handled on the boy level.

 

The adults, with coffee in hand, are free to roam the different classes to check on the validity of the instruction, evaluate the staff, etc. first hand before getting evening feedback from the boys.  "The staff doing the wood carving MB wasn't any good."  "How's that, I was over there this morning and he had a big bunch of boys, but it all looked like everyone was having a good time.  What was it that made it not good for you?".... :)  One has their bases covered, and they didn't interfere with the work of the PL/APL teams.

 

As Remember said, the mess halls are way too noisy for me.  I have enough hearing loss that I find it difficult to hear normal conversations with any background noise, like an A/C running, a fan or in a vehicle.  I just smile nicely and nod occasionally, but hear nothing.  It's a relief to get out of those places and if I can get a place outside where it's quieter, I'm all for it.


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#9 desertrat77

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Posted 28 June 2016 - 12:35 PM

Agreed, the scouts can eat by themselves.   The PL can ride herd and correct boisterous behavior.   If the PL isn't taking care of business, the SPL can initiate a quick mentorship moment to get things back on track. 

 

Some camps have a scout leader lounge for that quiet cup of coffee.   The mess hall may work, but only before and after meal time.    The acoustics are usually horrible.    Even during a "calm" meal.


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#10 Hedgehog

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 05:32 AM

My best cup of coffee at summer camp is before most of the scouts wake up.  There are a couple of early risers among the scouts who sometimes join me occasionally having a cup of hot chocolate.

 

I find every possible opportunity to check in with individual scouts.  Walking to and from meals and events.  At meals.  In the morning.  Around the campfire.  I'm teaching the boy leaders to do the same.


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#11 Lurking...

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 06:58 AM

as·so·ci·ate

verb

verb: associate; 3rd person present: associates; past tense: associated; past participle: associated; gerund or present participle: associating

əˈsōsēˌāt,əˈsōSHēˌāt/

1.  connect (someone or something) with something else in one's mind.

"I associated wealth with freedom"

synonyms: link, connect, relate, identify, equate, bracket, set side by side

"the colors that we associate with fire"

  • connect (something) with something else because they occur together or one produces another.

"the environmental problems associated with nuclear waste"

  • allow oneself to be connected with or seen to be supportive of.

"I cannot associate myself with some of the language used"

synonyms: affiliate, align, connect, join, attach, team up, be in league, ally; More

merge, integrate, confederate

"the firm is associated with a local charity"

  • be involved with.

"she has been associated with the project from the first"

synonyms: mix, keep company, mingle, socialize, go around, rub shoulders, rub elbows, fraternize, consort, have dealings; More

informalhobnob, hang out/around

"I was forced to associate with them"

  • meet or have dealings with someone commonly regarded with disapproval.

"they are at risk of associating with criminals"

noun

noun: associate; plural noun: associates

əˈsōSHēət/

1.  a partner or colleague in business or at work.

"he arranged for a close associate to take control of the institute"

synonyms: partner, colleague, coworker, workmate, comrade, ally, affiliate, confederate; More

connection, contact, acquaintance;

collaborator;

informa crony;

informal peeps

"his business associate"

  • a companion or friend.

"his old friend and hearty associate"

2.  a person with limited or subordinate membership in an organization.

  • a person who holds an academic degree conferred by a junior college (only in titles or set expressions).

"an associate's degree in science"

3.  Psychology

a concept connected with another.

adjective

adjective: associate

əˈsōSHēət/

1.  joined or connected with an organization or business.

"an associate company"

  • denoting shared function or membership but with a lesser status.

"the associate director of the academy"

Origin

late Middle English (as a verb in the sense ‘join with in a common purpose’; as an adjective in the sense ‘allied’): from Latin associat- ‘joined,’ from the verb associare, from ad- ‘to’ + socius ‘sharing, allied.’

 

Associating with Adults does not imply them having to control, mentor, direct, or manage anything.  I think in the modern vernacular it means to "hang out" with the boys.  It would seem that a lot of the Scouting methods need a better clarification from the distortion they seem to have evolved into.  Grab a cup of coffee and hang out with the boys.  Anything beyond that implies taking leadership opportunities away from the boys.  Go to camp, have a great time and let the boys do their thing.


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#12 eagle90

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 08:49 AM

One of the many advantages of a patrol method camp - you can enjoy your meal and coffee out in the woods, not cooped up in a noisy dining hall.  DUring our weekend campout our adults cook and eat separately, but at summer camp we eat with the patrols on a rotation basis.  As resqman says its a great time to share a laugh, a concern, see who is a little homesick,etc.  A great way to bond with the scouts. 


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#13 Lurking...

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 09:05 AM

One of the many advantages of a patrol method camp - you can enjoy your meal and coffee out in the woods, not cooped up in a noisy dining hall.  DUring our weekend campout our adults cook and eat separately, but at summer camp we eat with the patrols on a rotation basis.  As resqman says its a great time to share a laugh, a concern, see who is a little homesick,etc.  A great way to bond with the scouts. 

:)  When we do the patrol method camp, which is usually the case, the adults always like to cook their own food, but generally for the evening dinner, the PL's sometimes rotate out to the adult site for the meal.  When I had enough boys for 4-5 patrols, that's one evening each for the PL to visit with the adults.  With mess hall this year, new scouts, and newbie PL's the adults will have the PL's over a couple of times for a cracker barrel with the adults. Campfire popcorn and Koolaid usually covers the expectations.

 

As far as bonding with the scouts in general, walking to the various parts of the camp, helping carry a heavy water jug, etc. are all good ways of scoring brownie points with the boys.  Those things can happen any time, any place and don't need a meal to facilitate.


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#14 T2Eagle

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 11:23 AM

 

Why not sit all adults together and let them hang around (or not) after scout dismissal to have a peaceful cup of joe. No singing, no jumping up and down, no announcements, no sign-ups, no classes. Relax and drink their coffee while scouts are off to program.

 

 

This is pretty much what we do.  We usually have 3-4 adults in camp any given morning; we generally sit together sometimes near or with our scouts but not necessarily.  Thank goodness our camp does no singing, jumping up etc. that early in the morn.  I do check in with our scouts, especially the younger ones, at breakfast to gauge how they're faring.  Everyone goes to morning flags and then the scouts are off to program and we are free to relax and/or amuse ourselves until lunch.

 

My ability to stubbornly ignore what others want me to do that I think is silly is usually greater than my opposition's.


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#15 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 01 July 2016 - 01:04 PM

The 2 other adults and I ate most of our meals outside the dinning hall as the table we got could only fit the 15 scouts and 2 staffers, BARELY.  It was not planned, but it was nice.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt





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