Advancement at Camp Olmsted
One of the major concerns of most units is Scout Advancement, and rightly so. A strong advancement program is a pillar of Scouting and sets our program apart from any other organization. The Scout Advancement program is what makes Boy Scouting unique.
Our philosophy in camp follows the National Policy guidelines of the Boy Scouts of America. Scout badges and awards are earned as a result of a Scout's personal achievement in skills and completion of requirements. The majority of the awards and merit badges we offer at camp are specifically geared to the summer camp environment. When a Scout participates in our programs, he will become eligible to receive many different types of awards.
The Scout Leader in camp can have a profound effect on the advancement efforts of every Scout in the Troop. When the leader creates the proper atmosphere of Scouting, the Scouts will want to achieve the goals they've set for themselves. Emphasis should be placed on the excellence it takes to achieve the necessary skills rather than on the number of badges received. No one really wants a boy to receive a badge for which he is not truly qualified. We want every boy to be recognized and we want that recognition to truly reflect a job well done.
When the advancement of individual Scouts is carefully planned with the counseling of the Unit Leader, the Scout is not only able to meet his objectives in camp, but he also serves his unit well as a junior leader. Disappointments are avoided and achievement is more deeply appreciated because a planned program has been realized.
NEW SCOUT PROGRAM (1st year campers)
- New Scouts and their leaders should meet with our New Scout Coordinator on Sunday.
- They will be given a schedule of days, times, and places to be in order to complete their Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class requirements.
- Scout Leaders should familiarize themselves with the schedules of their new Scouts to ensure they get to their scheduled meetings and should accompany their Scouts throughout the week to ensure proper notation of achievement and to assist in their instruction.
- We recommend that the new Scouts not take more than one (1) or two (2) of the less difficult Merit Badges and concentrate most of their efforts on rank advancement and fun. There is nothing wrong with allowing Scouts to have some free time to venture out. This a part of what camp is all about.
- This year the camp will be offering Swimming and First Aid Merit Badge Sessions in the afternoon for the first year campers to work on. These sessions will not conflict with the Trail Blazer Program.
- Unit (camp) leaders are responsible for reviewing and signing-off any requirements that the Scout may work on while attending the Trail Blazer Program. It is not the responsibility of the staff to sign-off requirements in the Scout's handbook.
- Summer camp is designed so that the Scout has a good time and will want to come back. A first time Scout is very impressionable. If he does no have a good time his first year, he will not return.
- With this in mind, please
encourage the New Scouts to enjoy camp and not worry about Merit Badges
their first year.
Merit Badge Program Areas
IMPORTANT NOTE: Scouts should have their own current copy of each Merit Badge pamphlet for the badges they're taking during summer camp. If they don't come to camp with them, they can be purchased at the Trading Post. Scouts who have at least read the pamphlet before starting classes on Monday, learn more quickly and have less difficulty successfully completing the requirements for the Merit Badge. This allows more time for the application of skills rather than remedial training during class, and open program areas later during the day.
Merit Badge Sign-up
- Merit Badge sign-up should be completed prior to coming to camp. Camp Leaders should sign-up with the Betts Service Center.
- Camp Olmsted may be the greatest place on earth to earn Merit Badges, but it is also the greatest place on earth to learn to climb and rappel, explore the Allegheny Reservoir, take a hike in the woods, or just lay on your back, stare at the sky, and watch the clouds go by.
- Encourage all Scouts to try and complete as many of the pre-requirements (see Merit Badge Pre-requirements list in the Camp Olmsted Leader's Guide) before coming to camp. It is not much fun to spend hours under the patrol fly, day and night, working on reports and requirements for Merit Badges.
- Once again this year, we ask that each Scout plan to work on three (3) merit badges during his week at camp.
If any Scout registers for more that three merit badges, he may encounter scheduling conflicts and come away from camp with even less than three Merit Badges.
It is extremely difficult for an advanced Scout to complete more than three (3) Merit Badges in camp without extensive pre-camp preparation on specific requirements. Disappointment may be avoided here by realistic counseling on the part of the leader. However, all Scouts can earn at least one (1) Merit Badge during the week. Unit leaders should examine specific Merit Badge requirements with the Scout to determine which requirements can be completed before attending camp.
Merit Badge Applications
- Camp Olmsted will be using the "blue card" (Application for Merit Badge #34124A) method for tracking progress on merit badges.
- Prior to camp, the Scoutmaster should sign the blue card(s) as permission for the Scout to participate in each badge. At this time the Scoutmaster should discuss any pre-requirements that should be completed prior to camp.
- It is the responsibility of the Scoutmaster to have the blue cards filled out completely prior to coming to camp. This includes ALL THREE (3) SECTIONS.
- Merit badge counselors will collect the blue card at the beginning of the week.
Merit badge Schedule
- The Merit Badge Schedule will change each week depending on what merit badges are requested.
- The Merit Badge Schedules will be available and posted on Monday morning at breakfast.
- If any scheduling conflicts arise, the conflicts should be discussed with the Area Directors.
- There will be a session of First Aid Merit Badge and Swimming Merit Badge offered in the afternoon for the first year campers to participate in. These sessions should not interfere in the "Trail-Blazer Program".
- Our Camp Staff takes pride in the fact that all Merit Badges at Camp Olmsted are earned. It is not the policy of our camp to waive any requirements that can not be finished at camp.
- Because of this policy, there are some Merit Badges that simply can not be completed in a week at camp.
- Many requirements such as written reports are no fun to do at camp. There are other requirements such as long term record keeping that simply can not be completed in one week.
- Unit leaders should take the time to review the Merit Badges that the Scout wants to work on and review with him what requirements should be completed before he gets to camp.
- It would be far better for the Scout to come to camp really prepared to work for and earn the badge than to leave camp with a partial because he was not prepared.