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EVALUATING THE


PROGRAMS When checking out a council’s first- year-camper program, ask these questions:


What is the program’s philosophy?


Which Tenderfoot through First Class requirements does the program cover?


Which merit badges, if any, do Scouts work on?


Does the program allow time for visiting other camp program areas?


What is the age and experience level of the staff members?


What is the ratio of staff members to campers?


What is the role of troop leaders in the program? Are troop leaders expected to review with Scouts the requirements earned during the program?


Should Scouts who are Tenderfoot or Second Class participate? If so, will they be able to focus on the specific requirements they need?


28 S COUT ING ¿ MARCH • AP R I L 2 0 1 1


that they have a place both here at camp with us and in Scouting,” program director Keck said. “Some of them are still strug- gling to figure that out.” Brownsea staffers devote mornings to


teaching Scoutcraft skills, while the aquat- ics staff teaches swimming. After lunch, Brownsea and nature staffers team up to teach the Nature merit badge. Then, the participants take part in a round robin of activities that includes CPR, archery, rifle shooting, and open boating. “If we introduce them to a lot of dif-


ferent activities, it can give them a little bit of direction,” Keck said. “Most of them walk off this property thinking, ‘I want to take these three or four merit badges next


year.’ That’s what we want. We want them thinking ahead, saying, ‘I want to be back here next year.’” Brownsea does that part of its job so


well that first-year campers comprise only about 20 percent of the camp popula- tion each week. Rather than give up on summer camp after their first year, Scouts get motivated to return again and again. Although Brownsea Scouts represent


just a small part of the camp population, they are by far the most important part. “When we do scheduling, we try to do Brownsea first so we can make sure that’s set,” Keck said. “We’ll move other things around.” Recently, in fact, staffers shifted a Mile Swim practice to create a second


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