Backpacking has lost favor among Scouts and Parents for many reasons and starting or restarting a backpacking program is not easy for many Troops
Category: Scout Backpacking
Nothing annoys me more than a Scout who is constantly asking “how many miles until we get to camp?” It is the Venture Crew equivalent of “are we there yet?” which is a developmental stage that most children grow out of when they reach the age of 11 or so. Conscientious hikers should know approximately how long it is going to take them to reach camp before they even start hiking.
Its Spring – a time when every sturdy young Scout starts thinking about the backpacking season ahead. Across the country, young men are pulling packs out of the closet, cleaning out the leftover food from last year, and getting ready for practice hikes. Adults are enthusiastically stepping up to do the same. Many with the goal of completing their first 50 miler backpacking trip before the end of the summer.
This Spring, a Scout new to the Venture Crew was dealing with his fears and desperately trying to convince himself that he was “manly” enough to complete a 50 mile hike at age 13. As the youngest backpacker, a major concern was his older tent mate and whether they would be compatible. To deal with his anxieties, the apprehensive Scout wrote up the following “Rules of the Tent” contract. What do you think about these rules?
Philmont sits at the apex of the Scout backpacking experience. For skilled backpackers the Philmont routes are not difficult. However, most Scouts are not skilled backpackers and the challenge of being on the trail for two weeks makes a trip to Philmont incredibly worthwhile. In addition, the fun activities and camaraderie with Scouts from every state make it a “Scouting Disneyland.” However, not every trip to Philmont is a good one.
Many Scout families struggle with the concept of high adventure outings. Some parents believe that backpacking, snow camping, and cycling are just too dangerous for today’s youth. The parental and peer pressure that used to propel boys out of the living room and onto the trail is getting weaker and weaker. As a result, outings are becoming less adventurous and boys are challenged less and less. Read what the Free Range Kids website has to say about this trend.
Getting into camp every afternoon means achieving a brief sense of accomplishment which is followed by a flurry of activity. Backpacks have to be emptied of Troop equipment. Water has to be filtered. Bear bag trees need to be located. And most important for most, dinner has to be prepared and eaten. But how does it all get organized?
It’s difficult to determine how much Scout backpacking costs. The best we can do is calculate a replacement cost for all the things in a Scout’s backpack — regardless of whether they were actually borrowed, rented, purchased used, inherited, or given as gifts. You will, however, be surprised how much it’s all worth. The total cost to replace everything is staggering! (Please forward this to your friends who are interested in Scout backpacking.)
Snow camping is the most unforgettable of all outings. For many Scouts, their first night spent in a snow cave is a defining moment – and the tipping point between boyhood and manliness.
That’s why it is so distressing to think that snow camping for local Scouts may soon be a thing of the past.
The Meridian District has always been an “Alpha District” for delivering outstanding High Adventure programs to older Scouts. However, the number of backpacking outings dropped 25% in 2010! This makes you wonder if backpacking is too difficult for today’s Scouts.