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Camping merit badge question

9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

a. Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

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9. Show experience in camping by doing the following:

a. Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights may be applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

Camping in cabins would not count for purposes of Camping merit badge requirement #9. However, those nights of camping might count for other awards (for example: the National Outdoor Award Badge for Camping requirement 4).

Scouting Magazine: Ask the Expert: What is (and what isn’t) a camping night for the Camping MB?
June 24, 2015

So just what is (and what isn’t) a camping night? Let’s ask the expert.

The expert’s response

This comes from Michael LoVecchio of the BSA’s program team.

“The intent of the requirement is to camp overnight in a tent or under the stars,” LoVecchio says. “This means sleeping overnight in building/structure does not meet the intent of the requirement.”

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You did not answer question. If a council/camp places kids does it count?

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No, it does not matter who assigns the Scout to a building. If the Scout sleeps in a building/structure, the night does not count towards the Camping Merit Badge requirement 9a.

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If the Scout sleeps in a cabin, then it does not count for purposes of the Camping merit badge.

In many cases, the Scout can (with permission) choose to set up a tent if he or she wants it to count towards the Camping merit badge. At a recent summer camp, some of our Scouts slept in cabins, and some slept in tents. The Scouts who slept in cabins cannot count those nights towards the Camping merit badge. The Scouts who slept in tents can count those nights.

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Sounds like I need to call the council and complain then.

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I do not understand. Why would you call and complain?

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Because we were told that this would count towards there nights. Now your telling me it does not.

The standard for Cub Scouts is that they do their best, but In Scouts BSA, requirements must be passed as written.

Camping merit badge

  1. Show experience in camping by doing the following:
    (a) Camp a total of at least 20 nights at designated Scouting activities or events. One long-term camping experience of up to six consecutive nights maybe applied toward this requirement. Sleep each night under the sky or in a tent you have pitched. If the camp provides a tent that has already been pitched, you need not pitch your own tent.

We have had Scouts go to summer camp and decide to pitch a tent while most of the other Scouts sleep in cabins. They do this so that they can count those nights as part of the camping merit badge.

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Jennifer you’re not listening. I get section 9a. What I am saying is we have a paid council employee giving out the wrong information to attract kids to camp!!!

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As a volunteer leader, my approach would be to verify exactly what was said, and point out to out the council camping director or whomever exactly how that information conflicts with the plain language of the requirements. The best I would hope for is that the Council changes the description to be more clear.

This is one of the reasons that I always refer my youth to their merit badge counselor to verify what does and does not satisfy the requirements. Most people who don’t counsel a given badge usually don’t know the details of the requirements. At the end if the day, it’s down to whether or not the MBC will sign off on a given activity as satisfying a given requirement.

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@JeffreyBouffard, if the camp sets up canvas tents for them to stay in, then it can count. If they have wooden cabins for them, it would not. Our son has attended two different places. One had canvas tents that counted, while the other had cabins. That one also allowed you to setup your own tent in the campsite to sleep in for the week to get those nights.

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I would count it because it was a BSA function. Is camping in a hammock any different? No. Count it.

That explicitly contradicts the BSA’s explanation of the intent of the requirements:

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@ScottBaum reread the requirement the requirement says TENT not cabin or structure. BSA function or not you cannot add or subtract from a requirement because you want to.

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No, a hammock is different, because it’s under the stars.

The requirements are clear. It should not be counted in a cabin.

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Camping merit badge requirement 9(a) says:

Camping in a tent would count. Camping in a tent already pitched by the camp would count. Camping in a hammock could count as sleeping “under the sky”.

Sleeping overnight in a building / structure (cabin) would not count for purposes of the camping merit badge requirement #9, because it is not sleeping “under the sky or in a tent you have pitched” and also because the BSA’s advancement and program teams have specifically said that it does not meet the intent of the requirement. However, sleeping overnight in a cabin or other building / structure could count for other BSA requirements, such as the National Outdoor Badge for Camping requirement #4.

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I am sorry that a council employee is giving out incorrect information. It was not clear to me who was telling you that camping in a cabin counts for camping merit badge 9a. until your post #14. I would assume good intent and that the employee probably made a mistake or an incorrect assumption without verifying the requirements. Like @CharleyHamilton recommends, I would verify what was said, and then go to the council camping director and person in charge of the event.

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@JeffreyBouffard, I would tend to follow @CharleyHamilton’s approach. Are you a merit badge counselor? If so, I would write a letter to your council scout executive and council advancement chair and let them know that a staffer informed one of the scouts who you are counseling wrongly. If you are a parent or scout, this is a discussion between a scout and his counselor.

If you are a parent, or scout … this is a discussion between the scout and his counselor.

The counselor may let the scout count the night. I would not want a counselor in my district to do that. And as you can tell, most of the folks who have already replied would not approve of that counselor.
Scoutmasters are in theory supposed to inform their district advancement chair if boys are being credited a badge without earning it. And this is one of those cases where, I might have our district advancement chair have a sit-down with the counselor.

Regarding one camp staff communicating wrongly. It’s not every staffer’s responsibility to know advancement requirements. In fact the responsibility rests clearly on two people 1) the scout and 2) his/her counselor.

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