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What do you boy scouts carry?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by mblackfu, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. mblackfu


    Jul 30, 2007
    I have always been interested in scouts and i am considering letting my son join them. What kind of information can you scouts and friends of scouts, tell me,show me and give me? thanks
  2. stingray4540


    Mar 26, 2007
    They always carry too much, and too heavy of stuff, lol.
    I've never been in the scouts, but it just seems every time I see them when we ae out backpacking, they look like they are all carrying 50 lb packs.
    I think a lot of it depends on your particular troop and troop leaders, as the stories I've heard have varried greatly from one persons experience to another.
  3. mneedham


    Jul 8, 2006
    M - Good to see you around. I'm a Cubmaster and I love scouting. The program varies depending on local leadership. But we hike, learn outdoor skills, camp, perform civic tasks, and have a great time. Lord Baden Powell (founder of scouting) called scouting "a game with a purpose". His intent was to use scouting to teach young man to become great leaders with an end goal of world peace. We are still working on the world peace part, but we do leave a legacy.....
  4. Raidium


    Apr 5, 2010
    IF you join a good troop that focuses on the knowledge transfer and earning ranks / badges it can be a fantastic experience. It helps to bring a father and son together, builds discipline and confidence across a range of life skills as well as offering a final rank that has long lasting rewards.

    Eagle Scout status offers real life benefits not just from the learning and service time required to earn it but many avenues open in politics, military service, educational services and business. Eagle scouts tend to look after each other. Its awesome on a resume.

    There are loads of other programs that you can go sign up for that will teach discipline (the martial arts) , or survival and you can volunteer all over the place to give back to society but the scouts wraps it all into one package. Teaching kids , heck even grown ups, how to respect the land, accomplish their goals, and carry themselves with pride is no small feat.

    I do think that getting into a great troop and having good leadership in the program are key. Its not about camping out every weekend. There is real community involvement and as a parent you are expected to help in some of the activities. That could be as simple as making a pinebox derby car, or spending a day in service at the soup kitchen.

    If you decide to get active there are roles you can take or even become a scoutmaster and lead or assist in leading a troop.

    Check out their website and go pickup a copy of the scout handbook. If yours still interested there should be info on the web for how to contact your local troop and take it for a test drive.

    One warning. If as a parent you are not looking for something that could also demand some time from you dont jump in.

    As to the carry too much... well thats probably a fault of the leaders / parents. My buddies troop just went on a 2 day hike and they got coffee cans for all their gear. Thats it. My troop when I was a kid didnt have alot of cash, we actually hiked in old WW2 shelter halves because the local Surplus store sponsored us. It was old school metal canteens, full frame backpacks, the whole works. I dont think any of our parents were even aware of the term ultralight camping.
  5. JCavSD


    Jun 27, 2007
    I was a boyscout way back in the day...and probably the laziest the world has ever seen. Had a great time as a cub scout.

    If you can get past the organizations social perspectives it's pretty good for kids.
  6. Don M

    Don M

    Apr 30, 2000
    Scouting can be a very good experience and a very good way to learn many skills. Also a good way for you to bond with your son as long as you are willing to put in some time to help the troop.

    Find a troop that actually gets out and does things. Camping, backpacking whatever. Talk with the parents of other boys of the troops you are considering. Every troop has a different personality.
  7. FwdHO

    FwdHO Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    My son is in scouts and it has been good for the both of us. We spend more time together and the scouts are tasked with running the show - teaches them more about responsibility and leadership. Also reinforces the things we are teaching him at home. We found out quickly that you only get out of it what you are willing to put in - the trick is to dive in and not sit on the sidelines and that makes it much more fun. Side note - knife carry is limited to 3" folders - no fixed blade knives. Axe yes, big survival blade no.
  8. sharpguytoo

    sharpguytoo Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 5, 2006
    I can say that I have had positive experiences since I was a child. If under 10, cub scouts is a "family" activity. The first year of boy scouts is spent learninf basic outdoor skills and the the next few years is really fun.Dads can be involved or not butwhy would you pass up an opertunity? Older boys up to 18 can become involved in either vocational areas thru explorers or higher adventure programs. Truely all troops are different, we teach ax and saw use and safety but then dont ever really use them. Smallish folders (by BF standards) are generally used and "camping" varies from backpacking 50 miles to "car"style lugging cast iron dutch ovens etc. Depends on the planned activities.We camp out once a month (some do more)while some troops go once a year.Reasearch several units and pick the one that fits...happy trails.
  9. savageknives


    May 11, 2009
    i made eagle last year. from what my father tells me about what it was like when he was in (im a 3rd gen eagle scout) its much different now. i know that now, for the most part it is mostly geared towards achievement, not experience. two very different concepts. i was never very jazzed about it, we camped every month but we never learned much. survival skills wise, we didnt learn jack. its only through my personal fascination with all this business that ive learned anything that i know. we were never allowed to carry a fixed blade knife or a hatchet, something that was absurd to my dad who carried both of those things when he was in. the scouts are handled with kid gloves. we were never allowed to go run around in the words, which is the one thing a kid wants to do when they are camping. we had to sit around and talk about government and crap like that. stuff that not only does a small kid not care anything about, most grown people dont care anything about. i wish it i could say it were different from troop to troop but that isnt the case. at least not in the districts and lodges around here. it seems that most parents just want their kid to have "eagle scout" on their resume. unless it changes dramatically, my kids wont be put through all that mess. i can teach them those things when that time comes. i hope you can find a troop that fits your criteria though.
  10. dougo83


    Feb 28, 2008
    The Boy Scout troops very WIDELY across the country. I learned very little when I was in. That is not a slight against the BSA...my dad always took us out in the woods, taught us how to shoot, fish, whittle, cook, scout, track, navigate and even sew when prompted. Needless to say, the BSA was not much more than a social activity for me. Despite my issues with some of their policies now, I think it is a great organization. In fact, I am trying to get information on being a Scout Master once I am done with college. I think it can be a great experience if the leadership is focused on teaching experience and teaching responsibility rather than practicing avoidance (I am thinking specifically of their knife policy in some troops.)

    As far as any gear is concerned, I look at the older Scout manuals. I am 26, so mine are all outdated. However, they tend to lean a little more towards relying on skill rather than equipment. If your son gets into it and makes a comittment to stay, I would drop some more serious coin on gear like a compass, knife, pack and tent/bivy. I would not shop on the BSA website unless you plan to use their merchandise to commemorate a special occassion, such as the receipt of the Totin' Chip. When I was in, everyone wanted this: http://neveryetmelted.com/wp-images/BoyScoutKnife.jpg
  11. grunt soldier

    grunt soldier

    Dec 4, 2009
    i agree with the above poster. it all depends on the troop and leader. i was a cub scout who worked my way up ect. its fun and will bring you closer to your child imo but you have to be proactive. don't just settle for a group that wants to sit inside a gym all day and make bs. get with one who goes out at least 1-2 times a month and actually camps and teaches skills. its definitely worth while and fun if you find the right set up
  12. fatcat55


    Jan 1, 2010
    I was in scouts in the 60's and my son is about to become a Life scout(one rank below Eagle). The troop camps out monthly and attend summer and winter camps. They also learn other outdoor skills but work on leadership, communications, ethics, responsibility, service etc.as well.

    It is a balance.

    Like any other group there are those who are interested in achievement and those who are just along for the ride. You get out of scouting what you want to.

    It has been great for my son (building skills and confidence without dad looking over his shoulder) and also has been good for me as I have accompanied them on several camp outs and had a blast. It has increased his interest in the outdoors which is something he and I can share and build on.

    His involvement in scouting has helped with his interest in knives since every time I order me a knife/knives, we also order him one or more too. Then we have fun with our new "toys" doing some things he learned from scouting and some I learned from here. To be truthful, he has taught me several things about knife safety that we didn't learn when I was in scouting-and they are definitely good practices to follow.

    I don't think you will regret getting your son (and yourself) involved in BSA.
  13. s12.aaxtell


    Apr 9, 2009
    Like everyone has said, troops vary. Some don't get out in the woods much and others do. Some only concentrate on getting eagle, while others don't really bother. Find a few local troops, and sample them all. I hope you and your son find one you like because I know it has been one of the best experiences I have been apart of.

  14. wyattT


    Oct 28, 2009
    troops vary, shop around if you can.

    from my perspective as an Eagle, looking at what kind of camping skill and woodsman stuff your kid will learn, exclusively, is the worst mistake you could possibly make. scouting uses outdoor activity, sometime for extended periods of time, to teach leadership skills and responsibility. and it does it better than team sports, without a doubt (ive done both).

    there is almost no value in a troop where your son will learn all the wood skills in the world an an adult is teaching them the whole time, or leading all the meetings, or creating and "optimal" packing list for the weekend hike.

    there are plenty of countryboys who know how to do this stuff that still end up in jail or unable to hold down a job. what you should be looking for in a troop is one that does outdoor activities (unless your inner city) but is almost exclusively led by the boys.

    pay attention to this, it may look like chaos at first, or at best, inefficient, but its just a picture of leadership skills developing. those 50 pound packs with crap all over them, as long as they arent all like that, its just the process of learning.

    scouts isnt paramilitary kids, marine kids or whatever they call it. look to see if the troop leaders have the respect of the troop because of the scoutmaster in the corner, or because they believed he earned it.

    thats how you find a good troop.

  15. efahl


    Jan 16, 2010
    That's either your Council or Troop rule, National has no such restrictions. Although various documents might give the impression that fixed blades are frowned upon (probably depends on who wrote the docs and how pro/anti knife they are), there's no rule against them.
  16. efahl


    Jan 16, 2010
    I absolutely agree that this is the best and most important thing about Scouts. Take Wyatt's advice and shop for a troop that emphasizes this above all else and you won't be disappointed.
  17. FwdHO

    FwdHO Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Thank you - this is really good to know. The way it got presented to me was as if it were a national requirement.
  18. sqirrely


    Mar 19, 2010
    I went through cub scouts and am now nearly first class , troops vary , and troops change. my troop(troop 192 Ohio) use to be a great troop , we went to high adventure places(before i was in) but recently our old scout master , an outstanding man who had 14 eagle scouts under his belt had a stroke in his late 80's not too long ago, he led the troop till the stroke. , almost instantly everything went to hell . We now have Itineraries :barf: during campouts(one nighters :barf:) and get absolutely nothing done learning wise.
    Parents are in charge now , and really the SPL (senior patrol leader) should be planning campouts and assigning duties, our current SPL is just blowing through the ranks to get eagle and could give a flying fart in space about the troop. we used to be able to run through the woods , fish , track animals , hike in pairs without adults .(the troop veterans-me and 2 others still do)but the yunger scouts are hopelessly babied.

    sorry for the rant :rolleyes:

    i dont mean to disuade you from scouting , it is great to get kids away from the exbox or ipod for a minute or 2. and a wonderful expierience , it builds character and independance.

    Just be shure you find a good troop and if things go haywire dont be afraid to get things back on track.

    I think it may change kid to spend the wee hours of the morning sitting by himself( or maybe with a friend or 2) in the cool dark by a smoldering fire as the sun rises and the forest comes alive , there are few better expieriences in life as far as I know, it is these memories that i go back to went things seem to be going bad.

    That all beeing sed , get your kid in scouting , you wont regret it.

    By the way I have an agreement with my current scoutmaster that I can have fixed blades , as long as they arn't too large , which I guess is reasonable.although you neve know when you'll need that 12in bowie for cutting rope;)
  19. mrgreen


    Dec 26, 2009
    To the OP, it seems that there is no set rule re; fixed or folding blades. In the NYC area it has been made clear that fixed blades are inappropriate. My son is in cubs/weblo, they camp about 4 or 5 times a season plus an extended trip in summer. I go on each one, at that age a parent is expected to go. My son learns social skills camping with the scouts, and wilderness skills camping with me in the summer. About the knives, I hate to leave my Koster Bushcrafter at home, but the style of camping they do at the BSA facilities around here is pretty mild. Besides, this gives me an excuse to shop for new folders. I think your son should definitely join, as previously said make sure it's the right pack for you, when he joins-you do too, it's not a "drop off-pick you up later" type of thing. Have fun.
  20. hillst1


    Oct 12, 2006
    There are no National rules for fixed blades. The Troop may set guidelines.
    From the Guide to Safe Scouting:
    A sharp pocketknife with a can opener on it is an invaluable backcountry tool. Keep it clean, sharp, and handy. Avoid large sheath knives. They are heavy and awkward to carry, and unnecessary for most camp chores except for cleaning fish. Since its inception, Boy Scouting has relied heavily on an outdoor program to achieve its objectives. This program meets more of the purposes of Scouting than any other single feature. We believe we have a duty to instill in our members, youth and adult, the knowledge of how to use, handle, and store legally owned knives with the highest concern for safety and responsibility.
    Remember—knives are not allowed on school premises, nor can they be taken aboard commercial aircraft.

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