Stan’s EYO Scouting Blog #13: THE ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD SCOUT CAMPOREE

Stan Stolpe

Stan Stolpe

So far in my blogs, I have primarily addressed topics with a more direct focus and interest to the eleven-year-old (EYO) Scout leader. This blog is for stake and ward Primary presidents who want to host or sponsor an EYO Scout camporee during the summer. Now is a good time to plan, organize your program, and publish a leader’s guide. EYO camporees are relatively easy to put together and lots of fun for adults as well as Scouts. Camporees can greatly aid in the EYO Scout’s advancement (just like the merit badge program at a regular Scout camp) and provide an opportunity for new EYO Scout leaders to learn or refresh their First Class Scouting skills. With a little preplanning, an EYO camporee can also be a powerful spiritual experience.

In my area, three adjacent stakes pool their resources and annually sponsor an EYO camporee in late June or early July that includes one night of camping. Responsibility for sponsoring the EYO camporee rotates from stake to stake each year, although each stake is required to provide staffing and assist with logistics. An EYO camporee can easily be done on a ward or multi-ward basis.

The purpose of the EYO camporee is to provide an event where EYO Scouts can sign off many of their Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class Scout requirements and have an overnight campout (one of three allowed for an EYO Scout) while sharing Scouting with other Latter-day Saints in a spiritual setting.

We organize and staff a themed camp with multiple skill stations where EYO Scouts and their adult leaders rotate from station to station learning, practicing, and signing off (with approval of the EYO Scout leader) Scoutcraft skills. They can pass requirements such as campsite selection and setup, menu planning, first aid, knots and lashings, tree and animal identification, map and compass, woods tools, cooking, the buddy system, safe swim defense, safety afloat, safe hiking, duty to God, and a campfire that includes an elected official as a special guest .

Each skill station is staffed by an adult Scouter or older Scout (generally holding the rank of Life or Eagle). I really like having older Scouts teach skill stations. It is good for the older Scout, and the EYO Scouts look up to and associate with these young men of the priesthood. If I need additional help, I recruit from among other skilled Scouters in the stakes. Do not forget to arrange for a qualified EMT to man your first aid station for the entire camporee.

Care should be taken to calendar your event early and correlate it with Scout camp and high adventures of the Aaronic Priesthood youth in your area so you are not holding your EYO camporee while all your older Scouts and Scout leaders are unavailable to assist. This makes staffing your EYO camporee much easier. Our council has an LDS week the first week of Scout camp right after school lets out for the summer, so it is easier to calendar the EYO camporee and access to youth/adult leadership, which makes it easier to calendar the EYO camporee and gain access to youth and adult leadership.

The buddy system, safe swim defense, safety afloat, and safe hiking are not done as rotation skill stations, but rather are discussed by the EYO Scout patrols individually during their mealtimes. At each meal, one of these topics is assigned to an EYO Scout to lead the discussion from the Official Boy Scout Handbook. As the EYO Scouts enjoy their meals prepared in the outdoors, these topics can easily be presented by an EYO Scout and discussed. The EYO Scout leader is there to oversee the discussion and ensure it is covered to his satisfaction for credit toward advancement. I have found over the years that assigning mealtime topics such as an element of the Scout Oath, Law, motto, or slogan aids in promoting Scout spirit and understanding.

To assist in starting the camp off right, I allow units to set up their patrol sites on Thursday afternoon, maybe take a five-mile hike, and visit the grocery store to finish menu planning, price their menus, and purchase their food. They do not stay overnight but return early in the morning in time for the opening ceremony. This makes registration easier for those units that choose this early opportunity.

The camp theme I like to use is: “We are as an Army of Helaman” from Janice Kapp Perry’s song, “We’ll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman) .” To assist each EYO Scout in learning his duty to God, I use Donna Orme’s Helaman’s “Scouts” as a spiritual guide linking the character traits of Scouting to the Book of Mormon. I ask the station leaders to start each station with one of the comparisons of Scouts today with the sons of Helaman of 66 to 60 BC such as:

A Scout is trustworthy. A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promise. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can always depend on him. “. . . they were men who were true at all times in whatsoever things they were entrusted . . . they were men of truth . . .” (Alma 53:20-21).

The Friday evening campfire is conducted by the adults and the camporee staff. We do not have EYO Scouts perform skits as it is not in keeping with the serious nature of the special campfire presentation; they can do Scout skits next year at Scout camp. I invite an elected official to be our guest of honor. The purpose of having an elected official is to give Scouts an opportunity to ask an elected official about their duties and responsibilities as a citizen (new First Class requirement 9a, effective 1 Jan 2016). Each patrol is asked to develop and submit for approval (in advance) a question to ask our visitor. After making sure there are no duplicates, I return the questions to the units prior to the campfire. The campfire always has a patriotic theme, and includes an opening with patriotic songs and a visit from Captain Maroni and the title of liberty. We conclude the campfire by singing “We’ll Bring the World His Truth (Army of Helaman).”

The EYO camporee should be a reflection of the “Faith in God” program of the Primary using Scouting as the media of presentation. An EYO camporee can be a long remembered spiritual Scouting experience as these young men prepare for receiving the Aaronic Priesthood. I hope the above ideas lend themselves to Primary organizations sponsoring well-planned camporees for their EYO Scout programs.

-Stan Stolpe has served in multiple Scouting positions at the unit, district, council, regional, and national levels in the U.S. and overseas. His current position is that of district Cub Scout training chairman. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, serving in the Mount Vernon Virginia Stake. The views and opinions expressed in this message are solely those of the author.

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  1. Frank Brady says:

    Stan,
    I have been involved with the EYO Scouting program for many years and have enjoyed working with the boys as they start their trail to Eagle. Most recently I have been involved in the planning and staffing our stake’s EYO overnight camp. Last year we combined with another stake for a very successful EYO camp. Your EYO camp sound fantastic and I would love to add some of your ideas to another camp. However, this year our stake presidency decided that in following the Scouting Handbook for Church Units, the stake would not longer sponsor an EYO overnight camp.
    The fifth paragraph under Item 6.2 of the latest LDS Scouting Handbook says the EYO’s can participate in 3 one-night camps. These camps are to be planned at the Ward level and may be held with the Ward Troop. The last sentence says “No other Scout-sponsored overnight camping should be planned for EYO Scouts.”
    I think the EYO camps are wonderful and a great opportunity to learn and apply the outdoor scouting skills. I will miss it this year. I would like to hear if you or anyone else have had any discussions about stake sponsored EYO Scout camps and how they relate to the LDS Scouting Handbook.

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing some feedback.

    1. Dave Johnson says:

      Hmmmm. I haven’t interpreted the 5th paragraph under 6.2 in that way before. I’ve interpreted the last sentence to mean “No other Scout-sponsored camping” in terms of a limit on the number and duration of overnight camps and not a limit on the scope of participation and planning. In fact I’ve taken recent re-writes of the whole of section 6.2 as a subtle expansion of scope as far as explicit permission for joining with the rest of the troop on occasion.

      Section 6.3 clearly authorizes Day Camps organized at either the ward or stake level, but that kind of misses the point.

      IMHO the ‘Green Handbook’ may be too sparse to insure a correct interpretation.

    2. Stanley Stolpe says:

      Frank,
      Thanks for your comment about EYO camporees. I apologize for taking so long to respond to your post. I was a little set back on the interpretation, so I took it directly to the LDS-BSA Relationships Director, Mark Francis to make sure my response was correct.

      The sentence, ““No other Scout-sponsored overnight camping should be planned for EYO Scouts.” only applies to the three nights of camping. It is a incorrect interpretation to interpret this sentence to stipulate that the LDS Church does not want stakes to sponsor EYO camporees. In fact, where resources warrant it, stakes should sponsor EYO camporees.

      While a boy is an EYO Scout, it is a wonderful time to prepare for the future when he will attend a Scout camp with his deacon’s quorum in the summer after they turn 12 where they will meet boys from other LDS troops. Hopefully, they will be boys they met the summer before at a stake sponsored LDS EYO camporee renewing old friendships.

      Now, if a ward can adequately put on a camporee, then they should. But where appropriate, stakes should assist with a camporee, by pooling resources to make execution of the camporee easier.

      This is not to imply that the the stake president cannot make a decision and give guidance to the stake Primary president that this should be done in their stake at the ward level; if such inspiration is felt. But it is not the policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for stakes not to sponsor such events.

      Hope this helps. Keep up the great work of bringing our youth to Christ through the Scouting program.

      Brother Stolpe

      1. Stanley Stolpe says:

        One more item, the Day Camp Guide for Eleven-Year-Old Scouts published by the church states the following about day camps, “STAKE PRIMARY PRESIDENT. The stake Primary president should see that every boy in the stake has an opportunity to attend day camp. Day camps may be planned by the stake or
        by the ward. Stake day camps should be organized under the direction of the stake Primary president. She may enlist the help of specialists, ward Primary presidents, leaders of the eleven-year-old Scouts, and the local BSA council.”

        I think this is clear that stakes may sponsor EYO Camporees.

        Stan

  2. Thanks for your comments about the EYO camporee. Camporees are great opportunities to let the EYO – and older Scouts too – learn and practice basic Scouting skills. It is a great to have Scouts compete against other Scouts to further cement their learning of the Scouting Skills in fun ways.

    I still remember the great times that my Scout troop buddies and I had at camporees several decades ago. It is exciting that the camporees of today are still fun and exciting. And having a theme for the events is a really great way to get Scouts and leaders engaged and having fun with the basic skills – practiced and done in new ways.

    I have shared some of my camporee memories in a blog entitled, “Camporees and Scout Cooking”. You can soon view this article on “The Voice of Scouting” at this link: https://voiceofscouting.org

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