By John Gailey
Feb 27, 2015

Scout Camp Adventure Tracks Unveiled!

jamboreeIn an earlier Blog article, we talked about some of the exciting changes coming to three of our
Scout camps this year – Tifie Scout CampScofield Scout Camp, and Thunder Ridge Scout Camp. We are now ready to unveil these exciting Scout Camp Adventure Tracks, and will be opening up registration for units to sign-up for the tracks on March 6.

As a quick summary, Adventure Tracks are rated similar to ski runs: Green, Blue, and Black Diamond (representing greater levels of adventure and challenge). Each track lasts for two days (unless otherwise specified) and provides an immersive, fun, and activity-based experience.

Green circleGreen tracks are focused towards younger Scouts and will provide plenty of merit badge content. These tracks incorporate merit badge content, allowing the young man to work on (normally) three merit badges during the two-day track.

Blue squareBlue tracks are unit-based activities where the entire Scouting unit (adults and youth) together experience an exciting adventure. These are targeted at more experienced Scouting units (including Varsity Teams and Venturing Crews) and may include one or more out-of-camp outpost campouts. These tracks may include some merit badge work but the focus is on the high adventure experience.

Black diamond

Black diamond tracks are also unit-based activities where the entire Scouting unit (adults and youth) experience a multi-day (sometimes week-long) high adventure. These tracks are for the highly experienced Scouting units and will provide significant challenges.

Green Tracks

  • Scouting Basics: This track is focused on younger Scouts who are working on the trail to the First Class rank and will assist them in completing many of the requirements needed to move through the Tenderfoot, Second-Class, and First-Class ranks. This is open to any youth, including 11-year-old Scouts and is always taught on the Monday-Tuesday track.
  • Above & Below: Focusing on Astronomy, Geology and Weather, this track is for those who are interested in the world around them.
  • Crawdads!: For anyone who has learned the secret of Scofield Reservoir, this track will provide an adventure you will remember the rest of your life! Merit Badge work includes Canoeing, Geocaching, and Basketry.
  • Critter Encounters: For those who love animals, this track will focus on learning more about Environmental Science, Insects, Mammals, and Birds.
  • Images: A fun adventure for those who love to capture the world around them, this track focuses in the areas of Art, Moviemaking, Photography.
  • Hunter & The Hunted: Learn all about animal behavior in this track while studying Bird Study, Shotgun, and Mammals.
  • Paddle: Straight & Arrow: Youth love fun combinations of activities, and this track aims to please! Includes work on Swimming, Archery, and Kayaking.
  • Paddlestroke: Love being on the water? Join us to work on Kayaking, Canoeing, and Rowboating.
  • Ranger: If you are an outdoor lover, join this track and work on Environmental Science, Forestry, and Fish & Wildlife.
  • Sharpshooter: Shooting sports is the focus of this track, and includes work on the Rifle, Shotgun, and Archery merit badges.
  • Search & Rescue: Learn what it takes to help others in need while working on Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, and Search & Rescue.
  • Survivor: This exciting adventure will challenge any youth and immerse them in learning about Wilderness Survival, Geocaching or Rifle, and Pioneering.
  • Waterlogged: Love water? Then this is the track for you! Merit badge work includes Swimming, Lifesaving and Snorkeling.

Blue Tracks

Blue tracks require that the entire unit (at least two-deep leadership and youth) sign up for the same track and experience the adventure together.

  • Sailing Academy: Come sail away at Scofield!
  • Thrillseeker: Love adrenaline rushes? Love to face your fears? This is the one for you! Incorporates climbing, rappelling and high ropes courses.
  • Ultimate Survivor: Take it to the next level and prove you know how to survive!
  • Varsity Vision: Take your Varsity Team to the next level! Learn how to organize your team through a combined learning experience and then design your own high adventure. After completing this week-long track, leaders will have completed their leader-specific training requirements.

Black Diamond Tracks

These tracks can be created and customized directly between Scout leaders and the camp staff. Call for more information.

Registration

Registration for tracks will open the sixth of March, so begin planning your summer adventure with us at camp! Not all tracks are taught at all of the camps, so make sure that you look at the camp page first! All three camps will also be offering open merit badge classes throughout the week, in addition to these tracks.

NOTE: The council may continue to add tracks and adjust existing tracks, based on feedback and registration need.

John GaileyAuthor: John Gailey | Director of Support Services, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.

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13 thoughts on “Scout Camp Adventure Tracks Unveiled!

  1. Darren

    John, I’m so happy to see these! I am looking them over, and while I am liking what I see, I would like to get some clarifications.

    1) It looks like the only place where I see snorkeling is in the “Waterlogged” track. Does this mean that if a scout wishes to do snorkeling (get the award) he must also want to do Swimming and Lifesaving?
    2) I have 5 scouts last year that did Canoeing and Kayaking. Three of them have recently expressed desires to do the Rowboating merit badge. Again, is this possible to do?
    3) Maybe this question will answer the rest – you say that the camps will be offering open merit badge classes. Is there a way to get a list of what the boys have the opportunity to chose from?

    I am having a Parents Night next week, and I want to be able to present to the families all of the choices that they have – Adventure Tracks as well as other activities. I keep looking back at Scofield’s page for all of the details, but they don’t appear to be up yet. Registration opens on Friday – is this when the details will be made available? It would be nice to get the information before registration opens, so that we have a chance to look it over and make decisions ahead of time. (Be Prepared and all… 🙂 )

    Thanks again for your patience with me as I try to figure out how to get all of this planned and organized. My personality is such that I like having things organized well in advance, so this is why I sometimes get a bit of anxiety when the dates are coming up and I don’t yet have enough information to hand to my Scouts and families.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      Darren
      Our leader’s guides will post later today (4 MAR 15) and registration opens on the 6th, but to answer your questions:
      1) … I see snorkeling is in the “Waterlogged” track. Does this mean that if a scout wishes to do snorkeling (get the award) he must also want to do Swimming and Lifesaving?
      No, he can snorkel during free time for fun and work on the patch, or he take the track and work on all three awards or just enjoy the fun of swimming and lifesaving while earning the snorkeling patch. He can also help others in his troop with the badges.
      2) I have 5 scouts last year that did Canoeing and Kayaking. Three of them have recently expressed desires to do the Rowing merit badge. Again, is this possible to do?
      Sure, again he can work on rowing in any free time, he just needs to work closely with the water front staff. He could also work on it as part of the Water logged track, which includes canoeing and kayaking for fun, while working on the rowing merit badge.
      3) Maybe this question will answer the rest – you say that the camps will be offering open merit badge classes. Is there a way to get a list of what the boys have the opportunity to chose from?
      These will be published in the Leader’s Guides March 4th, later in the day .

      Reply
  2. Michael Lawson

    Hello,

    I am SM of Troop407 in Las Vegas. I have some questions as well. We are attending Camp Scofield this summer with 18 boys. Last year we attended Maple Dell and had a great time. The tracks are not a bad idea, but in order to plan accordingly more details are needed.

    First are leaders required to accompany the boys on the Green tracks. All boys are at different points in thier training and can’t see all of them agreeing too sign up for same thing. I have boys from first time summer camp to a couple who want to be challenged.If leaders are not required for green tracks, I would assume each boy can sign up for their wants without worrying about getting grouped with everyone else in our unit. So they each choose thier own.

    A few boys would like blue tracks so I understand that two-deep is required, and I understand that. But the whole unit won’t be going on the track because some are on the green track.

    The parents always want to know one thing when it comes too summer camp, that is “how many merit badges did my son earn”. You can explain to them it is about the experience and fun, but it always comes down to merit badges. I am finding it difficult to explain to them the system in place. More info is needed soon, I have parents that may pull their kids from camp if they are not pleased.

    I know that the Council is working hard at the new system. I like the idea of the tracks. I love the camps in your Council and we travel 5 to 6 hours to attend them. Please make some additional info available soon.

    Mike Lawson
    Troop 407
    Las Vegas NV

    Reply
    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder

      Most of your questions can be answered in our Leader’s Guides at Utah National Parks Summer Camps and High Adventure Bases at http://www.utahscouts.org/OpenRosters/View_Homepage.aspx?orgkey=290

      Leaders do not have to go on green tracks, but if you have leaders out of camp for blue or black tracks, at least one leader needs to be available in camp for the Scouts staying there. The issue of two deep leadership can usually be worked out with a neighboring troop or with camp staff.

      I am not sure what to do about parents who do not understand the full spectrum of methods in Scouting (see Aim and Methods in this blog), but in a study of summer camp outcomes, not a single parent stated that advancement was as important as getting their boys away from the hustle and bustle of the world. As you know, camp is type of “protected environment” that provides a significant opportunity for growth among young men. Time takes on a different meaning when the day is not filled with television, video games, and such.
      At camp, boys have time to consider and reflect on life. Strong personal values and character are shaped as young boys are encouraged to take a part in decisions that impact others, contemplate their relationship with God, reflect on personal values, and participate in patriotic activities regarding American citizenship.
      At camp, boys gain a positive sense of self-worth and usefulness through serving others. Majorities of boys serve their peers at camp through helping clean up campsites, helping clean up after meals, and serving food. A majority of boys at camp receive praise from others. Compliments are received from adult leaders and peers. Boys indicate that they “accomplished something worthwhile” during camp. Scout camp is a place where caring and nurturing relationships are developed and deepened. According to the study, most Scouts made a new friend or became better friends with someone while at camp. In this environment Scouts can grow in ways that working on merit badges alone cannot.

      Reply
  3. Ed Askew

    The person that designed these tracks should have read the camp program guide. No where in the program guide does it say that you must sign up on an upper track as a troop. Nor does it talk about 2 deep leadership. That leadership should come from the camp staff.
    I have first year kids that this will work for, I have 2nd year kids that might want to take say forestry and fish and wildlife but the last thing they want to do is sit through environmental science again. I have three third year kids that wanted the blue and black but now I have to find 2 more leaders, what wrong with staff. Blue: designed for older youth… more advanced activities, to include overnight camping, and higher ad-venture experiences (e.g., rappelling, mountain biking, backpacking, canoe camping). Not seeing anywhere that we need to sign up as a troop or have 2 deep leadership. For $219 a boy that should be provided. Wilderness survival has always never required leaders other than camp staff.

    The leader guides says “Scouts sign up for the track they wish to participate in, some are two day tracks, while others take the entire week. When participating in the chosen track Scouts may complete requirements for rank advancement, several merit badges, or BSA awards.” Says SCOUTS not TROOPs, Doesn’t say bring your own leaders.

    I think you need to read the sales program guide and provide us what we signed up for.

    Reply
  4. Bob Gowans

    I first began working at summer camp in 1973, 42 years ago and with just a few expectations have worked in one sort of camp or high adventure base ever since. In our rapidly changing world I have been very concerned that in all these years we are still doing scout camp the same way we did it in 1973 and I don’t know how long before that.
    Our young men are much different today than they were back in my first years. We need to adapt to better serve their needs. No longer can we expect to hold their attention by sitting them in a “class room” setting and lecture them about a merit badge. They need to be out on the trail experiencing first had and in person the concepts and requirements of the merit badges.
    Adventure Tracks will provide that experience.
    This is a monumental change, a change long overdue and greatly needed. Because of the enormity of this change it will take a year or two to get it all worked out. Patience and cooperation will be required as the logistics are all worked out. It will become the better way.
    I for one am greatly excited about this new system and as we continue to speak with Scoutmasters and other leaders in our sponsoring organizations, the enthusiasm is spreading.
    I invite everyone to get on board and learn about the changes.
    Please feel free to share your thoughts, ideas and concerns. We are all in this for the benefit of our scouts.
    Thanks everyone.

    Reply
    1. Darren

      Really my biggest concern is that right now it is Tuesday, signup begins on Friday, and I still do not have enough details to know if this program is going to fit all of my scouts. I know it will work for some, especially the younger ones, but for my SPL at least, and probably for several others, I worry that there will not be any adventure tracks that will work for them – that is, that will fit their interests and abilities, and where they don’t already have half of the merit badges.

      PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE release the full information as soon as you can. Like right now, if you have it. I will even understand if you tell me that it isn’t finalized and there may be changes – I would love to see what FORMAT this will take.

      Reply
  5. Natalie

    I agree with the others. There is not enough information about the program especially with signups being Friday. It would have been more helpful if the Tracks had been planned months in advanced and the Leaders were told more about it so they could decide if this would work for their troop. We have boys at different stages and abilities. We have parents that are concerned about their boys being able to work on required merit badges. Unfortunately the lack of information has made it almost impossible to tell parents what their boys can work on at Scout Camp. I am sure that this will be a great change once is place, but I am highly disappointed that this transition was not planned out well in advance

    Reply
  6. Darren

    I have now read the Program Guide for Scofield. I still have some very serious reservations about this program. I believe that understand what you are trying to do. I understand that advancement is only one of the methods of scouting. I really do. In fact, I have been working rather hard to get out of the boys’ way, giving them more and more responsibility using the Patrol Method. I have been backing WAY off on advancement, letting the boys decide what they want to do as a troop, attempting to gently guide from the sidelines.

    So I get what you are trying to do, or at least I believe that I do.

    However, the bottom line is that the program, as it exists in the current Scofield Program Guide DOES NOT FIT MY TROOP.

    I have 12 boys coming to camp this year. When examining the tracks, there are only two of my boys who can find two of the tracks where they have not already earned one or more of the merit badges. This is because they are not quite yet to First Class and have yet to start work on any Merit Badges. There are only three other boys who can find ONE track where they have not already earned badges.

    So seven out of the twelve boys that I am bringing cannot find a single track where they haven’t already done the work.

    I have seen responses telling those of us with worries that this is not all about advancement. This is absolutely right. If I am not mistaken, the idea is that you send them on adventures, and along the way they will pick up some merit badges while having fun and learning. This idea is AWESOME.

    But it is NOT about advancement when, as I have already stated, seven of my boys cannot find a single track that will fit them. By this I mean that no matter which track they choose, they will be doing activities that they have already done, learning skills that they have already learned. I know that we are trying to make camp more interesting. This doesn’t work when they are re-doing things. I can’t tell you how many times the boys have said “We’re doing that AGAIN?” Going over requirements that they have already done is stultifying. This is NOT the way to keep the boys’ interests.

    Add to that the fact that each of my boys has a very wide variety of interests. I have not yet shown this to the boys (because frankly I have been waiting for the official program to be complete, which it isn’t. (When reading the Scofield Program Guide, it lists the Other Merit Badge Opportunities as coming “soon.” This cannot be called complete.) I have also waited, because the version that we have was only released last night. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that each of the boys could find two tracks each full of merit badges that they have not yet completed. This doesn’t mean that they are interested in everything in that track. I get that Geocaching and Canoeing is fun, but what if the boy has absolutely no skill with his hands – and finds basketry to be immensely boring?

    You can’t take the Crawdads track without finding Geocaching, Canoeing, and Basketry all interesting? That means that you cannot do the Geocaching activities without also doing canoeing? Which with my understanding cannot be done without completing the BSA swimmer’s test…so if he can’t pass off the swimmer’s test, he cannot do Geocaching and Basketry?

    It is not about advancement at this point. It is about making sure that the boys are going to have a great time. Yet having all of their interests pigeon-holed into a VERY small set of tracks does not fit the interests of a wide range of youth. I really do understand that trying to create a program of Adventure Tracks that cater to every boy’s interests would be a logistical nightmare – a virtual impossibility. But while this may not be a possibility, does all of the flexibility have to be removed? The flexibility that the boys have had in years past to build their program around THEIR interests, not what someone else thought their interests should be?

    I am rather upset and anxious about this. I cannot see how this will fit my troop. If there IS a way, then it has not been communicated. Also distressing is the fact that this information has only now been partially supplied, AFTER March 1, when we were required to pay half of the camp fees. I agree completely with Natalie – with a change as radical as this one, this information should have been given with enough time to talk with our Patrol Leaders Council to decide if this is the kind of program that they want the troop to sign up for.

    Can anyone specifically answer the issues? For ease of answering, I will re-enumerate them below:

    1) What does a Scout do who is not interested in ANY of the tracks as listed?
    2) What does a Scout do who actually IS interested in advancement, but cannot find tracks that will fit?
    3) Is there any sort of flexibility within these tracks where they could go on the adventures, but be able to work on other badges?
    4) This one is hard for me to say – is there a way to get a refund on the camp fees, in the event that my PLC decides that this program is not for them?

    My boys went to Scofield last year. Even with the mix-ups with the switching of the program LAST year, they loved the camp. They had a fantastic time. Yes, they went to merit badge classes, but they also swam on the lake, played in the fort, went to the Trading Post, sat in their tents while the wind almost blew them over, went FISHING all week long (one of their favorite activities), played camp games, sat around a “campfire” in our camp nightly as we talked to the boys about what it means to be a Scout…

    They have HAD an amazing camp experience. They DID learn a ton. The DID come home with their heads and hearts full.

    Can someone please allay my fears here?

    Reply
    1. Scott MajorScott Major

      Darren,
      I have helped to create the program at Scofield and I will try to answer some of your questions. Let me start off by reminding you about the EDGE method of teaching. The steps are Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, and Enable. If your boys have already earned one of the merit badges that a track offers, they will no longer be in the first two steps of Explain or Demonstrate but they will be in the last two steps of Guide and Enable. That is to say that they could help other boys understand principals from the merit badges that they have already learned about. They could help others by Guiding them and Enabling them. Working together as a group, great things will be accomplished.
      I get frustrated by the measure of Merit Badges being the only thing of value. Would it not be of value for a young man to learn how to Guide and/or Enable other young men? Would it not be of value for a young man to stretch himself beyond what he thought he could do? One young man may come away from doing a track with a great experience and 3 merit badges. Another young man may come away a better teacher, a better example, with more confidence and ability to stand up in front of a group, better communication and 2 merit badges. Frankly I would almost prefer the second scenario.

      All that being said, let me try to answer some of your questions:
      “1) What does a Scout do who is not interested in ANY of the tracks as listed?”
      There are plenty of free time activities that all Scouts can participate in. It would surprise me if you couldn’t find something to do. If you read the Program Guide you have seen a tentative schedule– there is LOTS of free time where no “green track” will be in progress.

      “2) What does a Scout do who actually IS interested in advancement, but cannot find tracks that will fit?”
      The green tracks that you have seen are pretty set in stone as far as merit badges. But like you said, there is going to be awesome activities along with the merit badges. It is a whole lot more focused on fun and activity than it is advancement. IF A SCOUT IS MOTIVATED then he will be able to choose several other advancement opportunities during free time. If he wants to spend that time catching crawdads or fishing — perfect! That is what camp is for: an extended outdoor experience!

      “3) Is there any sort of flexibility within these tracks where they could go on the adventures, but be able to work on other badges?”
      The green tracks are all set but there is wayyyyy more free time built into this years schedule than last year. This will allow boys to shoot gun, bows, go fishing, do the mile swim, play on the inflatables in the water, play chess on our giant boards, go to the trading post, take a nap, try their hand at stand up paddleboarding, throw hawks and knives, and YES work on a selected list of merit badges.

      “4) This one is hard for me to say – is there a way to get a refund on the camp fees, in the event that my PLC decides that this program is not for them?”
      I can’t speak to this one, sorry! But please tell me that your other option is still going SOMEWHERE. Camp is such an important part of a unit and a boys experience.

      I hope you find this helpful. I am excited about the opportunities at Camp Scofield this year and I know it will be a great summer!

      Reply
      1. Darren

        Scott,

        Thank you for your reply. Please believe me when I tell you that I am truly trying to come at this with an understanding of how this will work for my troop. I have been a Scoutmaster for 6 years, and while that’s relatively new – I am still learning more and more – I think that I am doing the best that I can to implement the scouting program as it should be run.

        I understand the Edge method. In fact, last night I was having some of the older boys use that very method to teach our newest scout the First Class requirement 7a – I had one teaching the Timber hitch, one teaching the Clove hitch, one teaching the Square lashing, and one teaching the Diagonal lashing. While it was not their favorite thing to do, they did a bang-up job, and our youngest scout was able to completely pass that requirement off. Next campout, he is going to make a tripod to pass off 7b.

        So I get what you are saying about the Edge method. I am going to go back to the scouts this weekend, and explain this to them. I even promise to do my best to show it in the best possible light. So – and this is a very heartfelt question – what do I do when several of my scouts tell me that they are not interested in spending their time re-doing requirements and teaching them to others? I know the boys in my troop. I work with them week in and week out. While my SPL, and probably both Patrol Leaders will be OK with this scenario, and in fact probably thrive, I have several boys as well who are not yet at the point in their growth where they are able to think about others. This is not because they are bad kids, or that they won’t get there – but they are struggling with medical/psychological issues that will prohibit this. (I cannot go into details here, as it is not an appropriate venue – but can you accept that this might be the case?) In this case, then, what do these boys do?

        And what do I do when I have parents coming back to me, telling me that they are not going to be spending over $100 to send their boy to camp, when he does not want to go? Or to spend that much money when they won’t come home with anything to show for it? Yes, I am making assumptions here, but I know of at least one where this will be the case. And yes, I do my best to educate parents about what the true Aims and Methods of scouting are. That doesn’t mean that they internalize it.

        I get frustrated when my valid concerns about the Adventure Tracks are dismissed so easily as “Merit Badges being the only thing of value.” I know my boys and the families that they belong to. While this may or may not be correct, we ARE asked about Merit Badges. And as for me, it has nothing to do with Merit Badges – in the end. It has everything to do with getting them to camp, and then OUT of camp participating in the activities that the camp has planned, and then getting them back to camp at night for those teaching moments that are rarely found anywhere else. For some of my boys – not all, but some – the idea of going to the tracks where they have already earned the badges, will cause them to stay home from camp. Right or wrong – this is what will happen. And if that happens, then they are NOT at camp, sitting around a campfire with myself and the Assistant Scoutmasters where we are able to talk about life, about how a man should act. They are not at camp playing with the other boys, building the relationships that they need, learning to act as a patrol. They are absent, and so NONE of the Aims or Methods of Scouting are being taught.

        Thank you for your honest answers to my questions. This is why I am being honest in my responses. I really do think that I get what you are doing. I also think that while these ideas are good in theory, in practice, I don’t know if they will keep all of my boys coming to camp, which is where I want them.

        1)”What does a Scout do who is not interested in ANY of the tracks as listed?
        There are plenty of free time activities that all Scouts can participate in. It would surprise me if you couldn’t find something to do. If you read the Program Guide you have seen a tentative schedule– there is LOTS of free time where no “green track” will be in progress.”

        Thank you for your response to this. You are right – there is always a way to find something to do. For a motivated scout, it is easy. For those less motivated, but who I want to come and experience things, it is significantly harder. Having done this before, I know that it is WAY easier to get a kid out of camp when there is a specifically planned activity for him that he has signed up for and committed to.

        “2) What does a Scout do who actually IS interested in advancement, but cannot find tracks that will fit?”
        The green tracks that you have seen are pretty set in stone as far as merit badges. But like you said, there is going to be awesome activities along with the merit badges. It is a whole lot more focused on fun and activity than it is advancement. IF A SCOUT IS MOTIVATED then he will be able to choose several other advancement opportunities during free time. If he wants to spend that time catching crawdads or fishing — perfect! That is what camp is for: an extended outdoor experience!”

        Great! I love this idea! Having said that, I still do not know what other advancement activities there are. And without this information – that is, a list of what other merit badges will be listed outside of the tracks, I have no way to have a boy help plan his experience. Certainly not when I am supposed to be signing up tomorrow.

        “3) Is there any sort of flexibility within these tracks where they could go on the adventures, but be able to work on other badges?
        The green tracks are all set but there is wayyyyy more free time built into this years schedule than last year. This will allow boys to shoot gun, bows, go fishing, do the mile swim, play on the inflatables in the water, play chess on our giant boards, go to the trading post, take a nap, try their hand at stand up paddleboarding, throw hawks and knives, and YES work on a selected list of merit badges.”

        See my response to #2 above – it would be nice to know what the merit badge opportunities are.

        As well – I do know that if you give boys the option to either go find a merit badge to do or to take a nap, which one are the boys going to choose? Yes, some will choose the merit badge. But in my experience, most will sit around camp fooling around. This is when my boys have gotten into trouble, when they have had idle time, rather than planned activities. I would like to have specific times when they are supposed to be at certain activities. I give them the choice of what to do during those times, but they do need to go to those activities.

        “4) This one is hard for me to say – is there a way to get a refund on the camp fees, in the event that my PLC decides that this program is not for them?
        I can’t speak to this one, sorry! But please tell me that your other option is still going SOMEWHERE. Camp is such an important part of a unit and a boys experience.”

        Yes, don’t worry, there is a camp in our summer. Whether or not it is at a camp with Adventure Tracks is for my PLC to decide.

        I would like to disagree with a point that you make, however. It is this:

        “That is what camp is for: an extended outdoor experience!” I am sorry but while I truly believe that it is not just about merit badges, it is also not just about an extended outdoor experience. If this is all it was, I could plan a week-long river rafting trip for the same amount of money. I can’t imagine a single boy not wanting to go on that trip instead. Or we could plan a week in the outdoors together, away from any official camp, and spend 1/3 of the money. My COR would be ecstatic to hear that.

        I agree that in years past, maybe too much emphasis is placed on merit badges. I know that 4-5 years ago, one of the boys in our troop came home with something like 15 badges. But while this is excessive, I still do think that Merit Badges are an important part of camp.

        Maybe this is where the disconnect is. I am hearing from you that you feel that all I care about is merit badges. This is 100% false. What I care about is giving my boys a wonderful experience – the kind we had last year. After we left camp last year, every single boy, without exception, came to me over the next month asking if we could return to Scofield. We had several very religious discussions about life, and what kind of person they want to be in the future. They were there, at that camp, because they were excited about the programs that they put together for themselves – usually an eclectic mix of waterfront activities as well as some Scoutcraft, with some Required badges thrown in.

        No, it is not exactly the merit badges that I am worried about. It is just that I use the merit badges to get the boys to the camp, to keep them busy, to keep them learning, to keep them growing, to keep them at camp so that we as scoutmasters can teach them. What I am worried about is that the program – while it will fit some of my boys, and others will come even if it does NOT fit – will cause some of my scouts to drop out of coming to camp.

        And that, to me is the crux of the entire issue.

        Reply
  7. Leo Wright

    I have registered my boys for Thunder Ridge Scout camp. I actually really like the adventure tracks idea and in our last Patrol Leader’s Council I told the boys about them and they got really excited. However, from the email I got I misunderstood. I thought they could each sign up for 3 adventure tracks, but when I went to register them for specific tracks I saw I was wrong.
    I just have a simple question. What’s going on on Friday and Saturday now that I see there aren’t any adventure track options. (keep in mind I’m a brand new scoutmaster and I’ve never been to an official scout camp before)

    Also, my boys 12-13 years old want to do one of the Blue tracks (either thrill seeker or ultimate survivor) and honestly I think that would be an awesome thing for them to do. I just want to make sure they will be able to handle it all since some of them are less experienced in those types of things. Is there any reason for me to think I shouldn’t sign them up for 1 or both of these options? If there’s no problem we’ll definitely do one of those 2 along with one of the green tracks.

    Thanks in advance for your help,

    Leo Wright
    Troop 355

    Reply
    1. John GaileyJohn Gailey Post author

      Great question. Friday is an ‘open program’ day, allowing your unit to do anything from finishing up a few merit badges, to going on a unit-led hike or activity, or just participating in the various program areas such as shooting sports, etc.

      There is no problem with your Boy Scouts doing a Blue Track, as long as you all go together and you and your committee are comfortable with their abilities. The Thrill Seeker could easily be a good fit. I personally would want to make sure that my unit had good backpacking and primitive camping knowledge and experience before taking them on the Ultimate Survivor.

      As for Saturday, unit are packing up and heading out in the morning, so no program areas are open.

      Reply

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