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  • Camping by patrol

    A patrol in our troop has indicated that they would like to do a Patrol campout independent of the troop. This Patrol has picked a camp area and would like to plan a hike starting from the camp area (part of their hiking MB). They also want to plan and cook all of their own meals with little adult intervention.

    We would have 2 adults attending, possibly in a different campsite, still to be determined.

    We have never had a Patrol request this before, here is my question. Does your troop: Allow this, forbid this, discourage this or encourage this?

    The Patrol is made up of 3rd year Scouts with ranks ranging from 2nd class to Life.

    Thanks for your input,

  • #2
    Support them......

    That is a heck yes......their request is reasonable, they manned up and had the courage to ask, sounds like they have a plan and program.....

    I see absolutely no grounds to deny their request.


    • #3
      Our troop request the patrols do at least two patrol campouts a year. They could do more if they wanted. I think the backpacking theme is really cool.



      • #4
        Double yes! And definately have the adult leadership in an different campsite.. Up until about 6 months ago a patrol could go camping without adult leadership.. Still can for a day trip.

        Encourage this type of activity in your troop. It will invigorate your troop, and keep the older boys interested in staying in.

        I kind of worry about this statement though.. They also want to plan and cook all of their own meals with little adult intervention.

        If this is not the norm in your troop for every outing then it should be.. Each patrol should be responsible for their own meals..


        • #5
          Great idea.

          50 years ago this was the norm for a lot of troops that used the patrol method. However, now it is forbidden unless adults go along.

          My SM discouraged it for whatever reason, but we went anyway. We played the parent trump card and left the uniforms at home.

          The minor hesitancy in your initial comment was the scouts were 2C -> Life. I would prefer to have all the boys fully trained at FC. And I mean fully trained, not book "check marked".



          • #6
            Yes Yes Yes - this is how Scouting is supposed to work.

            The latest BSA guidelines, unfortunately, require that adults be present at overnight patrol activities. But I'd definitely recommend that the adults stay far, far away from the youth. Just check in with them a 2 or 3 times over the course of the weekend.


            • #7
              Have them present their hike plan in writing, give them the tour plan to fill out. (One of the scouts might be willing to do this on his computer, so give them a paper copy and send them the link to the pdf in an E-mail.) This will help them make sure the adults are trained, transportation is accounted for, etc ...

              If the plan is solid, support it. Judge the plan based on what you've seen of the boys' abilities. (E.g., if it involves stopping at a water hole for a swim, and the 2nd class scouts have never swim tested, and neither of the adults is qualified to supervise aquatics, send the boys back to the drawing board.)

              Also, if the boys plan to have the adults as guests for dinner, you might want to give the adults a hint to pack their own stash of jerky or whatever. If the patrol has not demonstrated a lot of skill cooking, supper might come on a little late -- especially after a full day of hiking!


              • #8
                Yah, SN95GT50, welcome to da real world of Scoutin'. I don't think yeh really have a Boy Scout troop until your patrols are doin' this sort of thing.

                Absolutely, support 'em! Sounds like a good, strong group. Have the adults camp separately quite a ways away, with an understanding that they can come to you if needed but the adults will NOT go visit or otherwise bother them.

                Da hardest thing will be keepin' the adults in line.



                • #9
                  Totally agree. We only have a couple Patrols ready to do this. This is an excellent sign and I would work to make it happen!


                  • #10
                    to reiterate what everyone else said:

                    OH HECK YEAH, LET THEM DO IT!


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the support...

                      The comment about the second class scout, he has a problem passing the swimming test. He is very close, after that only the time requirements will slow him down. He already has all of his Star MB complete except one Eagle Req.

                      Now to convince the SM, I liked the parent trump card idea.

                      Thanks again,


                      • #12

                        Our older Scouts conduct Patrol Campouts with no adult supervision during the day. The younger Scouts hike a shorter route with the adults in the same general area. Everybody meets up in the afternoon, where the older Scouts make camp about 1/4 mile away from the adults.

                        Some vids of our Patrols setting off on such Patrol Outings might help demonstrate to your SM that it is common practice:


                        As for Second Class Scouts, back when American Scouting was based more on Baden-Powell's Scoutcraft program than "leadership" theory, ALL Second Class Scouts were REQUIRED to conduct a two-day 14 mile backpacking trip called the "First Class Journey," before they could qualify as First Class Scouts.

                        You might find the adult how-to guide useful:


                        Note that the amount of adult-preparation for the First Class Journey far exceeds what your Troop needs for a whole Patrol of third-year Scouts with adults in the general area. Back in the day, the First Class Journey was undertaken by only two (2) Second-Class Scouts at a time, with NO adult supervision what-so-ever!

                        To help prepare your Troop for Patrol Campouts in the future, consider camping your mature Patrols Baden-Powell's minimum distance of 300 feet apart when you camp as a whole Troop.

                        The fact that your Scoutmaster is not already on board does not bode well. You might remind him that a single Patrol outing with no adult supervision (Staffers) is still part of Wood Badge.

                        Yours at 300 feet,