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Webelos backpacking?


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#1 Lenae

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 02:59 PM

Hello! I'm a regular reader around here, but I don't post often. I joined the forum when my son started as a Tiger, and now he's a Bear, soon to become a Webelos scout. My husband and I are co-den leaders, and we have another parent we consider an assistant den leader. We are backpackers, and we've tossed around the idea of backpacking with our Webelos den. Our assistant leader is keen on the idea, as well. I know that Webelos dens are allowed to camp on their own, not only with the pack, but I've been coming up empty on finding answers as to whether they can go backpacking. We'd obviously keep it age appropriate, a couple of miles of easy terrain at the very most, and make sure the boys weren't carrying too much weight. But I don't want to start any kind of planning until I find a definitive answer on whether it's allowed or not. So, does anyone know if it is in fact allowed, or can point me in the direction to find out for sure? I've put a call into my local council, but they gave me a bit of the run around last week, before telling me they'd have someone contact me when they had an answer. No call so far. 


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#2 Back Pack

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:35 PM

Hello! I'm a regular reader around here, but I don't post often. I joined the forum when my son started as a Tiger, and now he's a Bear, soon to become a Webelos scout. My husband and I are co-den leaders, and we have another parent we consider an assistant den leader. We are backpackers, and we've tossed around the idea of backpacking with our Webelos den. Our assistant leader is keen on the idea, as well. I know that Webelos dens are allowed to camp on their own, not only with the pack, but I've been coming up empty on finding answers as to whether they can go backpacking. We'd obviously keep it age appropriate, a couple of miles of easy terrain at the very most, and make sure the boys weren't carrying too much weight. But I don't want to start any kind of planning until I find a definitive answer on whether it's allowed or not. So, does anyone know if it is in fact allowed, or can point me in the direction to find out for sure? I've put a call into my local council, but they gave me a bit of the run around last week, before telling me they'd have someone contact me when they had an answer. No call so far.


For the day, yes. Overnight, no. This is a great guide to remind leaders who can do what.

http://www.scouting...._Insert_Web.pdf
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#3 Lenae

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 04:52 PM

Thank you for the infograph. I've never seen that before! Looking at it though, just brings more questions. Under the camping category, it says family camping is only allowed at council designated locations. Does that mean our pack summer campout has to be at a council owned property? Also, it says Webelos are allowed to go on den overnights, but not weekend overnights. Does that mean multiple night campouts are not allowed?For any age? I'm more confused now than I was before I started looking!


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#4 Stosh

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 07:35 PM

Wow, I'm confused too!

 

1) Den ovrenights are allowed, but not on the weekend.  That's strange, I did all my Webelos campouts on the weekend 25 years go.  Maybe it's changed.  I can't for the life of me figure out why the weekend would make a difference. 

 

2) It looks like the Webelo boys can backpack but not in back country.  They can day hike, but not two days in a row. 

 

Again, a chart to make it simple isn't that simple.

 

We are in the process of trying not to encourage plop camping yet, can't introduce the boys to back packing except on the weekdays and can hike in, but not out.

 

I guess as confused as I am, I'm not much help.


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#5 Back Pack

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 09:07 PM

Thank you for the infograph. I've never seen that before! Looking at it though, just brings more questions. Under the camping category, it says family camping is only allowed at council designated locations. Does that mean our pack summer campout has to be at a council owned property? Also, it says Webelos are allowed to go on den overnights, but not weekend overnights. Does that mean multiple night campouts are not allowed?For any age? I'm more confused now than I was before I started looking!


I'd rlike n the questions past the district camping chairman.
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#6 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:22 AM

Does anyone in your pack have B.A.L.O.O. Training?  That person should be able to answer all of your questions.  Also I would take either Outdoor Webelos Leader Training (or whatever it is called nowadays) and/or Introduction to Outdoor Leader Skills, the Boy Scout leader outdoor training course. Both can help you.

 

My answers are in red

 

 it says family camping is only allowed at council designated locations. Does that mean our pack summer campout has to be at a council owned property?

 

The council camping committee is SUPPOSED (emphasis, not shouting at you) to create a list of camps that meet certain criteria in the B.A.L.O.O. syllabus. However some councils still have folks who believe "Cubs don't need to camp" on their committee and have not created a list yet. When tour plans were required

 

 

Also, it says Webelos are allowed to go on den overnights, but not weekend overnights. Does that mean multiple night campouts are not allowed?For any age? I'm more confused now than I was before I started looking!

 

 

More Later


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:27 AM

First, hiking one's gear in a mile or two is what, growing up, we called "scout camping." Eight mile per day hikes through the farmland and byways in our county, that was "backpacking."  What is labeled "backpacking - overnight, backcountry" we called (and I continue to use the term) "forced marches in bear country" my Sons' scoutmaster called it "a walk in the big woods."

 

Second, the autumn before crossing over, another dad and I took our boys camping at a wonderful location about a mile or two in from the trail head. I'm not so sure that the entire den would have been prepared for it. My son need help carrying his sleeping bag. These two boys (at the time) were particularly sanguine -- easy to work with. They also were terrible at starting fires, so we didn't have to worry about them burning the State Forest down. The weekend was calm -- unusual for camping with me -- and the boys had been through much worse at resident camp.

 

So, given your description, unlike the others, I'll give you "yes, but ..."

 

Things to consider:

- How close are you to emergency services, should you need them?

- How well have the boys behaved on previous campouts?

- It takes a lot of attention to detail, picking up after yourself, not lighting a fire every whip-stich, knowing where you're going, how to get back, how to get help, etc .... Are your boys the type who will listen to you and work with the adults in a friendly manner?

- There are a lot of locations where adults are going to get away from noisy kids, is your destination sufficiently isolate, or your boys sufficiently calm?

- It's not just your boys. Have you ask yourselves the same about the parents? One mom/dad who always resorts to yelling can make an entire campground regret your presence.

- Do you have a den chief? If not, this might be the time to ask a local troop or crew to recommend one.


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#8 deanofmac

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:31 AM

Backpack to a remote site that isn't too far. Camp one night. Arrange for transportation out. It's not an out-and-return backpack trip, but it's a start.


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#9 Cleveland Rocks

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:47 AM

Thank you for the infograph. I've never seen that before! Looking at it though, just brings more questions. Under the camping category, it says family camping is only allowed at council designated locations. Does that mean our pack summer campout has to be at a council owned property? Also, it says Webelos are allowed to go on den overnights, but not weekend overnights. Does that mean multiple night campouts are not allowed?For any age? I'm more confused now than I was before I started looking!

 

Family camping is allowed at Council-designated locations.  That means that it has to be at Council-owned property, as you suggest, or at another property that has been approved by your council.  They likely already have a list of places they have previously approved for Cub units.  When you get someone in your Pack BALOO-trained (a requirement before going on any outdoor activity), they'll learn about the process of getting properties approved.  There's a checklist of things that are looked for such as restroom facilities, adequate drinking water, potential hazards, etc.  This is all covered in BALOO training.  Packs are required to have a BALOO-trained person present on all pack overnight campouts.  Many council camps require that you list who the BALOO-trained person is on the paperwork that you submit when you check-in at the campground.

"Weekend Overnights" as defined in the infograph you're referring to are Boy Scout-style overnight campouts, where parents are not present.  You'll see the "Parent/Son overnights" ends after Webelos and "Weekend overnights" begins with Boy Scouts.

There is no restriction on how many nights a Cub Pack/Den may camp, although there are some councils that restrict, so make sure you check with your council as to what they permit.  My council, for example, prohibits Cub Scouts from tent camping if the temperature is predicted to go below 32 at any point during their time on the outing.


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#10 DuctTape

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:06 AM

thread drift... I SMH when I see restriction like no camping under 32 deg. Below freezing with snow is much safer than 40s and rain. Those who make rules like that typically have little experience. While safety is of primary concern, restrictions like temp threshold give adults false impressions of safety. Knowledge, skill and experience are necessary, not artificial temperature restrictions. /drift.
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#11 blw2

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:00 AM

ok, the way I read it is this

they can hike

they cannot overnight backcountry

they can do den overnights

 

so backpack between "front country" campsites and all is good in the world!


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#12 Stosh

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:16 AM

ok, the way I read it is this

they can hike

they cannot overnight backcountry

they can do den overnights

 

so backpack between "front country" campsites and all is good in the world!

Yes, but they can't hike two days in a row.  :)

 

Our council camp has a Daniel Boone area of primitive camping that is about a mile hike in from the parking lot.  It's on council property and help is no further away than any other council supported activity.

 

Check with your council camp to see if they have such an area. most do.  Of course for a bit of adventure for the boys, one doesn't need to take the direct route from the parking lot to the Daniel Boone area either and still stay on council property. 

 

When it comes to "packing it in" most of my boys rely on the troop trailer to get their plop equipment into summer camp site.  Kinda defeats the purpose of a real adventure.

 

I was an experienced scouter (ASM) when I took my Webelo boys on an outing to a primitive campout just before crossing over.  It was a 10 minute paddle from the landing to an island.  Each boy had a father with them.  This canoe outing was the "war story" they carried with them until they got to go to BWCA and Philmont in Boy Scouts.  A 10 minute paddle and digging latrine was more adventure than most troops out there that rely on plop camping and flush toilets.

 

I would say that backpack prep, loading up the boys for a 15 minute hike into the woods and relying only on what they could carry would be an excellent adventure for Webelo boys.  Hot dogs on a stick over the fire beat boiled dogs on a propane stove any day.


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#13 blw2

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:53 PM

 

 

I would say that backpack prep, loading up the boys for a 15 minute hike into the woods and relying only on what they could carry would be an excellent adventure for Webelo boys.  Hot dogs on a stick over the fire beat boiled dogs on a propane stove any day.

agreed stosh

It doesn't have to be about the distance

 

I would add that i see no reason it would have to be on council property either.  Plenty of state parks have group camp areas with an established latrine and running water...so that it could be considered "front country"

 

I wish our scout troop would do this sort of thing...


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#14 numbersnerd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:58 PM

That pdf says 'guideline', not rules. Common sense should win over 'guidelines' drafted by some unknowm committee.

 

My take: if you want to hike a mile or two to a campsite one day, camp overnight or two, then pack it back out, go for it.

The excitement and bragging rights (or complaining about it!) will give them far more than the effort involved.

This IS supposed to be fun, right? You're trying to make it just that, fun. Good on you.


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 01:26 PM

That pdf says 'guideline', not rules. Common sense should win over 'guidelines' drafted by some unknowm committee.

 

So we hear this a lot, especially from the lawyers on this forum. Can anyone who supports this definition of "guidelines" versus "rules" point to where BSA says "guidelines" = "suggestions"?

 

I'm of the opinion that, regardless of whether the title of some says "guidelines" or not, it is the CONTENT that should be taken as allowed or not. For example, just because the PDF title has "guidelines" in the title does not mean Webelos can carry and shoot crossbows or shotguns.


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#16 blw2

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:12 PM

I think the thing to take away from the guideline term in this case is that this file is the graphic pullout in the guide to safe scouting, meant I think as a summary to the accompanying rules in that book that go into the detail


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#17 numbersnerd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:14 PM

So we hear this a lot, especially from the lawyers on this forum. Can anyone who supports this definition of "guidelines" versus "rules" point to where BSA says "guidelines" = "suggestions"?

 

I'm of the opinion that, regardless of whether the title of some says "guidelines" or not, it is the CONTENT that should be taken as allowed or not. For example, just because the PDF title has "guidelines" in the title does not mean Webelos can carry and shoot crossbows or shotguns.

 

Can we point to where the BSA has limited their definition of "guidelines" to "absolute rules"?

 

Winter camping is also against these guidelines yet there are councils award badges for camping in winter conditions. To Cub Scouts. Are they in violation?

 

So let's take the content of the original question into consideration. Can you seriously argue against Webelos doing some light backpacking in conjunction with an overnighter?

What is the objection other than it's not allowed by these guidelines? 

 

Like I previously said, apply some common sense to the situation and don't take the document as the final arbiter of aloowable activities.


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#18 Col. Flagg

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 02:59 PM

So let's take the content of the original question into consideration. Can you seriously argue against Webelos doing some light backpacking in conjunction with an overnighter?

What is the objection other than it's not allowed by these guidelines? 

 

Like I previously said, apply some common sense to the situation and don't take the document as the final arbiter of aloowable activities.

 

If it's in the back country, you can't. If you are hiking in to a camp site (or out of) that would be okay. But again, that's hiking, not backpacking.

 

I would not use the term "common sense" when describing how various people interpret BSA rules and guidelines.


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#19 RichardB

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:13 PM

The Cub Scout program by design has limits.  Example, Cubs camp at council approved locations (for Pack Overnighters) or at council run programs, day hikes okay, but not treking, paddles on calm water but not float trips.  It's a pretty consistent message.     

 

The guide document is a reflection of the PROGRAM of the BSA.   So, what book are you in?  What page are you on? are two good questions to ask if you want to find out if you are really running the program of the BSA.   

 

So, to the OP, Can you find it in a Webelos Adventure?   If not, why not start there for some other alternatives.   


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#20 numbersnerd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 03:37 PM

 

I would not use the term "common sense" when describing how various people interpret BSA rules and guidelines.

 

OK, you got me on that one!

 

 

So, if the OP's intent is to have their Webelos pack their camping gear a mile or two to their campsite in a non-backcountry location, is it OK?

Personally, I would have no problem with it. With my group. Other leaders with other groups? Who knows. Use common sense to assess whether they're ready for it.

I'm fairly certain the OP is confident in their group being up to the task, they are only asking if it's taboo by the rules.

 

If the goal of Webelos is to prepare boys for Scouts, is it unreasonable to assume that an activity such as this is allowable?

I'm not advocating every camping event be like this, but I'm thinking an intro like this would be useful and fun.

I'll say that by Webelos, even though hiking can be fun, it starts to be much of the same ol same ol unless you keep it growing.

If the only new experience included is packing your gear in and out, that can be used as a teaching opportunity.

 

We don't stop where the book ends, do we? Or should we not teach sheepshanks, figure-eights, and clove hitches because those knots aren't required for Webelos or AOL? 


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