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  • Patrol Competitions

    In the troop seperated into patrols thread, patrol competitions were briefly touched on. I think the topic is worthy of its own thread as a place for folks to share how their troop implements inter-patrol competitions.
    Does your troop have them? At troop meetings? On weekend campouts? At Summer Camp? Give some examples of inter-patrol competitions that you have used, both successful and unsuccessful.
    If your troop uses a new scout patrol, how do you include them in the competitions?

  • #2
    I'll start.

    When my son started with his troop many years ago, the patrol competition portion of the meeting was referred to by the boys as "game time". They typically chose up teams and rotated between football, dodge ball, capture the flag, and snatch the bacon.

    After becoming Scoutmaster I tried moving towards using scout skills during the interpatrol-competition portion of the meeting. I first tried asking patrol leaders to bring ideas to PLC's. They didn't, so eventually I proposed some that I modified from project adventure books or based on scout skills. Ones that I remember include:
    - Lashing three staves together to create a pole long enough to reach out and snap a mousetrap.
    - Lashing three staves together in a triangular pattern and then using this to transport scouts across a field.
    - Tieing lengths of ropes together with square knots and then heaving it to a scout sitting on the floor on the other side of the room. That scout then tied a bowline knot around himself and the rest of the patrol pulled him back to "safety".
    - Kim's game
    - Scout Jeopardy questions.
    - At summer camp, patrols were encouraged to shout their patrol cheer and say grace as loudly as possible to signify that their patrol was the first one (or not the last one) to complete cooking their meal and were now starting to eat.

    The benefit was that the scouts learned their scouting skills better, because they wanted to beat the other patrols. They also had a lot of fun. Even the losing patrol would continue on to the end.

    I didn't do anything special for the new scout patrol. They typically lost.

    One of my successors as SM included a competition at TLT. The SPL broke the boys up into two groups. The boys were told that there would be a group test at the end, and the winning group would get a pizza. He said that the boys were very attentive because they wanted to beat the other group.(This message has been edited by venividi)


    • #3
      we use patrol competitions both at troop meetings and on weekends to re-learn & practice for upcoming camporees & klondikes (sorry about your first aid station).
      new Scouts are paired with senior Scouts to act as judges at each station. The senior Scout may show the newbie how to do something 50 times while between patrols. It's OK; it's expected. The new Scout (under supervision) gives the instant feedback to each patrol after the senior marks their score.
      the only competition at summer camp are the wide games and the swimming races unless we go to council camp. Sometimes the Scouts play ultimate
      we sometimes split patrols in half - PL takes one half, APL the other - so we get more hands in, and less just nodding wisely


      • #4
        Patrol competition was serious business. We had a patrol of the year award, which did not have to be awarded. That competition was the following

        1) Weekly uniform inspection
        2) Weekly attendance
        3) Monthly trip attendance
        4) Summer camp/HA/Jambo attendance
        5) performance as service and program patrol during the year

        In addition to the above, we also did 90% of the activities as patrols during troop activities: game time during the meetings and on trips, camping, etc. 10% of the time we might divide up to equal out the patrols, not really fair to have the older scouts in one patrol cream everyone else

        We would have chariot races, cook offs, survival shelter competitions, first aid competitons, etc.

        But the big one was Patrol of the Year.


        • #5
          forgot to add we do a lot of orienteering races


          • #6
            In addition to the games competitions, we've also implemented a "Patrol Challenge". The last meeting night of each month the challenge is issued. Each month is a different challenge. The Patrols then have all of the following month to work on it.

            Challenges have included build collapsible camp stools for each member of the Patrol (must include Patrol logo), build a "window" display of the role Scouting has played in our community, stencil all Patrol gear with Patrol logo, select and build a "major" pioneering project at camp, find and make plaster casts of five different mammals' tracks, demonstrate Patrol Spirit at (Camporee, Scout Show, etc) by carrying Patrol flag, use of Patrol yell, etc.

            Some are quite challenging and others are more simple. It enables the Scoutmaster to hone what needs the most work or to prepare them for an upcoming event. Each Patrol that completes the challenge in the month receives something appropriate to hang from the Patrol flag. The Patrol that completes the challenge first, gets a fancier flag doodle and a piece of camping equipment or other gear (once we did free ice cream coupons donated by Dairy Queen). We have given a cooler, camp stove, cook set, a frisbee, etc as prizes.

            Some challenges are issued with idea resources - plans for stools were included, multiple pioneering projects were on the challenge sheet with web addresses, mostly enough to get their ideas going and to see that it could be done. This has worked in a few troops now and is pretty popular with the Scouts. The PLs like it because it gives them a chance to organize and lead projects, Scouts and adults like it because they can see the direct benefits to the Patrols.


            • #7
              Great idea, Ntrog8r. For a challenge like the camp stools - do scouts build them at troop meetings or outside of meetings? Are materials supplied in addition to plans, or is the PL responsible to make sure that someone in his patrol gets to Home Depot?


              • #8
                Occasionally our troop holds a long-term patrol competition. We hide a totem in our troop's home town at some public place of business, then the patrols compete in weekly scout skill games for the chance to pull clues from a bag. When a patrol thinks it knows where the totem is, the patrol leader and at least 50% of the patrol go to the location, identify themselves as scouts, and ask if the totem is there. The business owner is instructed to play dumb if only one or two scouts show up. If the patrol figured things out correctly, they get the totem and bring it back to the next troop meeting where they are recognized with a patch for their patrol members and a streamer for their patrol flag. If they're at the wrong place, well, they can keep trying. The scouts' concern about not wanting to get embarrassed at asking in the wrong place keeps them from just wandering all around town trying to find the totem.

                The clues get progressively more detailed as the contest goes on, so even a patrol that doesn't get all the clues (aka a new scout patrol) has *some* shot at finding the totem even late in the competition. For a while, the totem was Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live, who'd get kidnapped by his nemeses Mr. and Mrs. Sluggo, so this shows you how far back the game goes for us. We try to keep the competition to go no longer than 8 weeks, but we make the first two weeks' set of clues vague enough to have the competition last at least 4 weeks.


                • #9
                  Some projects were done at the Patrol meetings - others turned into Saturday or after school projects. The Patrols decide when and where. We (the troop) did not provide any supplies; the Patrols decide what their finished project will like and what supplies they need.

                  So for the stools - on the challenge sheet I included pictures of types of stools and one set of plans (plywood that fits together for a stool and pulls apart for flat storage). One patrol decided to make folding stools with canvas seats, one Patrol used the plans provided, and another Patrol found their own plans.

                  I often end up meeting Scouts at the hardware store to help them with buying lumber and hardware. They've never really needed me except to make sure they're not getting blown off by an employee though. Most folks are pretty happy to help them once they realize what's going on.

                  I forgot to mention in my previous post, for the traditional games competitions we include the SPL and ASPL in the "New Scout Patrol" (when we've had one). This provides 3 experienced Scouts in their ranks - we use a Patrol Guide - during Scout Skills competitions.


                  • #10
                    To me, patrol competition is paramount to the patrol method. We have patrol competitions at our meetings, whenever possible. We also have a Patrol of the Month ribbon, which is displayed on the patrol flags; this is based upon a combination of attendance, uniforming, advancement & merit badges earned, monthly campout campsite inspection, patrol duties, and patrol spirit; it is structured, but run by the SPL. At campouts we also have a "flashlight war," which is a cross between capture the flag and flashlight tag. We currently have 3 patrols, so we compete with 3 teams (fun!).


                    • #11
                      Any more detail on the flashlight war? Just enough detail for someone to take back and propose to their PLC?


                      • #12
                        Sure, and it is simple, if a little crazy. Start with standard capture the flag, but throw out the boundaries. We have actual flags that we use: Target $.99 dish towels with each a red, green or blue stripe on a carved stick/pole 2.5' long. Instead of actually tagging someone from another team, you must "shoot" them with your flashlight and call out by name. Let the scouts make the rest of the rules.

                        We used to do this on every campout I was on as a scout 30+ years ago. It was the most fun you could have imagined, and we did it on EVERY campout! It was what every scout looked forward to doing most! No adults ever got involved, and I keep our adults out of it with the troop also. The scouts actually reconoiter the area in daylight and decide where they want to play; decide on "out of bounds" and such.

                        Oh yea, and don't forget, using 3 teams really makes it extra special, and a little more exciting.(This message has been edited by Buffalo Skipper)


                        • jblake47
                          jblake47 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          OMG are you suggesting a skirt-around-the-rules pertaining to laser tag??????

                      • #13

                        Until last week, we weren't doing any type of patrol competitions, I'm trying to show the boys what kinds of things they can do; last week was the first one, I put together a bearing/distance course where they found a small container of Reese's cups at the end (so fun!). I plan to have the scouts take over the planning of these in a month or so when they get the idea.

                        "- Lashing three staves together to create a pole long enough to reach out and snap a mousetrap." I'm going to do this one tonight. My question is, what sort of 'award' should the winning patrol get? I'm guessing something to hang on their patrol flag, I'm looking for a few ideas (something I can throw together this afternoon, preferably!). I am so looking forward to seeing their faces when they get to hang something on that flag, and have some bragging rights!



                        • #14
                          Our kids love competitions. They seem to give a little more effort. We try to do scout skills stuff to keep up their skills that most forget within a few days of getting it signed off.

                          Adults do not participate in patrol competitions. However we do sometimes get in on the kickball, whiffleball or football game. Adults mix in with the patrols but the focus is on the boys. (the football gets thrown to boys not adults) I think doing this sometimes, brings down some barriers that may exist between an adult and a kid. In addition to the boys thinking of us as mentors and/or leaders, I want them to think of me and the asm's as their friends as well, someone they can come to talk to about anything.


                          • #15
                            Shepo-the mousetrap device!