Author Avatar

Issue 123 – January 22, 2008

Wow, do I have a bunch of sharp-eyed readers! The other day, when I had a “brain hiccup” and told a fellow Scouter that Camping merit badge doesn’t require that the 20 days and nights be Scouting activity- or event-related, I was flat-out WRONG! You all wrote instantly! Thank you! Here’s a sampling…

Dear Andy,

I love your column and look forward to it every month. I do have one comment regarding your last column regarding the Camping merit badge. The BSA revised the requirements in 2007 to state:

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

a. Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

Brian Chassells, Scoutmaster, South Texas Council

Dear Andy,

In reference to Bob Zink’s question (1/10/08) and your answer concerning the Camping merit badge and the counting of the 20 days/nights camping, you said, “Since requirement 9(a) doesn’t stipulate that these nights must be done in a Scouting ‘environment,’ anyone insisting on this would be in violation of BSA policy, because this would constitute an addition to the requirement.” Your answer is incorrect: The requirements for the Camping merit badge were revised effective 1/1/2007.

The following sentence was added to requirement 9(a): “The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event.”

I greatly enjoy reading your columns. Thanks!

Victor Stephenson, ASM, National Capital Area Council, VA

Dear Andy,

Quick! Read the requirements for this badge… It does say that the 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event. The requirements were changed in 2007 to eliminate the family camping option.

Martha Parks

Dear Andy,

I understand that Camping merit badge’s requirement 9a was changed for 2007 to read in part: “Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event…”


John Shepard, Scoutmaster, Sioux Council, MN

Hi Andy,

As a Camping Merit Badge Counselor, I’m writing to inform you that the 9a camping requirement has been changed. The old requirement read simply: “Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement.” As of January 1, 2007, that requirement now says: “Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event. You may use a week of long-term camp toward this requirement.”

This used to be a big discussion not only in my troop but in other troops as well. I think that’s why they clarified the requirement.

Angela DeThomas, MBC, Greater Pittsburgh Council, PA

Dear Andy,

I continue to see many readers write to you asking clarification on the Camping merit badge requirement concerning the number of days camped and what qualifies as a camping trip. You said that requirement 9a doesn’t stipulate that the camping be done in a “Scouting environment.” But a look at the Camping merit badge requirements listed on the National Council website states:

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

a. Camp a total of at least 20 days and 20 nights. The 20 days and 20 nights must be at a designated Scouting activity or event.

I’d interpret this as that all camping for the merit badge must be Scout-related. I’m not sure if this is a recent correction or revision to the merit badge, but the wording in its present form should end any further debate on the subject.

John Walston, Unit Commissioner, Central NC Council

So I’ll take my twenty lashes with a wet lanyard—I sure deserve them!

But this raises another fundamental question that one might be inclined to ask, and it’s this: “By insisting on camping only within a Scouting context, isn’t Scouting discouraging boys from camping on their own, or with their families? This seems wrong!” To this argument, I’d suggest that, by making this further camping stipulation, Scouting is in no way discouraging boys from camping, but is teaching, in fact, a larger life-lesson: You don’t get a badge for everything you do.

Too often, I’ve seen zealot-Scoutmasters tell Scouts, “Show up to help out our sponsor and you’ll get service hour credit,” or “Go on this camping trip and you’ll get credit for First Class requirement such-and-such,” or “Tie these knots and I’ll sign you off…” Scoutmasters don’t hold exclusive rights on this: I’ve equally seen Den Leaders charge through Cub Scout rank requirements in den meetings, which is equally misguided.

Here’s the point: We do our duty to our God and our country, we help others, we are trustworthy, loyal, courteous, kind, clean, reverent, and prepared not to “get a badge” but, much more importantly, because we’ve come to adopt the foundational principles of Scouting as a daily way of life. This is what Scouting’s truly all about.

Happy Scouting!

Andy

Have a question? Idea? Suggestion? Thought? Something that works? Just write to me at AskAndyBSA@yahoo.com. (Please include your COUNCIL or your TOWN & STATE)

 

(January 22, 2008 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2008)

avatar

About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

Read Andy's full biography

Comments are closed.