Cub Scout Camping: Why do we do it?

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Why should Cub Scouts camp frequently?

Simply put, true scouting is in the “outing.”

Since about the 1972 revisions of the Cub Scout program, I am led to believe, Cub Scouting had de-emphasized outings, specifically camping. This was part of a larger misadventure to make “scouting more relevant to the modern era” by making scouting more urban.

different-manuals-1972-1990
An excerpt from http://www.historyofscouting.com

In Boy Scouts, this led to an immediate membership collapse and a re-introduction of outdoor programming a mere five years later.

Cub Scouts didn’t revise as quickly. Their revision re-introducing outings came only in the last 24 months.

Yet, when we give Boy Talks at the elementary schools each fall, the most successful speakers are the ones who emphasize the outdoor programming. They bring backpacks or tents and talk about simple outings. They talk about campfires and marsh mellows.

I have written before about my time as Cubmaster. We would hold three pack camp outings each year: October, May, and Summer Camp at Belzer.

More than any other activity, the boys would ask me, “When is our next campout?” An answer longer than “next month” was met with universal disappointment.

Yes, we camp with Cub Scouts because they find it fun.

But there is so much more. It is part of their personal growth as I have written about before. They adapt over time. It is part of their lessons in figuring out how they fit in the larger world.

The Cub Scout needs to learn at his own speed through new stresses as part of a larger community.

We camp because the basic of society and community are all present. The comforts of home are removed. He learns about himself without realizing lessons are being taught. He just sees fun.

We camp because it builds character, faster than any other method. That fulfills our mission as scouters.

 

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