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Camporee Scoring/Handicapping

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I am looking for a camporee scoring/handicapping system that would be used to classify patrols by make-up. What I am trying to do is make the playing field even for all patrols. What I am trying to avoid is the stacked patrol of all Eagle Scouts coming in and cleaning up against the patrol of all new Scouts.


Does anyone use this type of system? If so can you share it with me?

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Never heard of that before, but I can tell you this story. One year the district camporee committee allowed Venturing Crews to participate in the patrol competitions. One advisor told his folks that were also in troops to compete with them, leaving only 1 "patrol" of girls new to scouting. The entire crew worked together and practiced/learned the basic skills T-2-1 Skills prior to the camporee. When the camporee occurred, the young ladies competed against all the patrols in the district, including one Venture patrol that was comprised of older Lifes and Eagles that had been to Philmont, and does HA activities on a regular basis. The ladies annihilated them in the competition, winning everything.


After that camporee, Venturers are no longer allowed to compete.

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Can't help you, Scouts-a-lot with a straight "handicapping" system.


What we've done in the past is have an "older scout" competition (Star and above rank) and a "younger scout" competition (up to First Class Rank).


At our Klondike Derby, I operate a station with three "trivia" questions (based on advancement requirements) that a scout should be able to answer. Those Q's are based on what a scout should know at a specific rank. Rank used to determine which Q's are asked is based on highest rank in the patrol.


Confession: I usually ask the same Q's or similar no matter what the patrol, especially, if one keeps trumping the scouts...and guess who knows their stuff better? The younger scouts 'cause they learned it more recently.

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I've never seen a handicapping system used before but in my district, we give out a Top Troop Award in addition to individual Patrol awards - and it's a pretty coveted award. Because of the way it's set up, it doesn't pay to put all the older Scouts in one patrol to clean up if the other patrols won't do as well since a Troop could have three mixed ages patrols take 3rd, 5th and 8th and still have more points in the end than a Troop that takes 1st, 9th and 12th. There's also a camp inspection that takes place too, and a stealth visit by staff during lunch to see if the patrol method is being used - points are awarded. We did have to make one adjustment and that was to have Top Troop Awards based on size so that Troops with just 1 or 2 Patrols weren't competing for points against Troops with 3 or more patrols. That has seemed to work out well. There is no set point system - the camporee committee sets the point system they are going to use before each camporee.


Depending on the activity, sometimes the newer Scouts have an advantage - and sometimes its because they just don't know any better. I ran our districts first aid meet for 3 years after becoming an EMT. For the first two years, I followed the same pattern that we had always used. 5 scenarios, the first being a simple one, the next three being a bit more complicated but concentrating on a specific skill (one would be a series of burns - 1st, 2nd + 3rd, one would be a big cut, possibly requiring a tourniquet (yeah - the dark ages), one would be a couple of broken bones (arm and leg) with a possible ankle strain thrown in and requiring transport (which meant making a stretcher), then the 5th would be a complicated scenario that usually had 2 victims, multiple breaks, bruises, cuts, transport needed - the whole nine yards. Time limits for each scenario were given - the last one was generally a 20 minute time limit - the broken bones and transport was usually ten - the rest were between 5 and ten. The second year I added an extra event - we rigged up a phone booth with a phone connected to a phone in another room - it gave a dial tone and only connected if 911 was dialed. During the "break/reset periods), someone from each Patrol was pulled aside, sent to the phone booth, given a card, and had to make a 911 call based on the scenario on the card and giving proper information to the "operator". That was pretty successful. The third year I threw in a 6th scenario. We had the standard 5 scenarios, and finished with a final, complicated, multi-injury car crash scenario - with a 15 minute time limit (the 5th was dropped to a 15 minute limit as well). Troops were warned a few times well beforehand to make sure their Scouts really understood not only how to do first aid, but when to do first and aid and when not to do first aid. The 6th scenario was the most complicated scenario of the meet. Only one "Patrol" got 100% of the points - and that was a Webelos Den who was not competing for any ribbons but was competing because they had a good Webelos Den Leader who wanted to give his Webelos a taste of what they might do as Boy Scouts. This "Patrol" was so flustered by the scenario - so overwhelmed, that by accident, they did one of two things that would get you full points - nothing. The key part of the scenario was the statement that the car crash happened on a sububan street (not unlike the suburbs we lived in) and that 911 was called and the fire department and ambulance crew was 3 minutes away. Thanks to the advent of the professional paramedic services in the early 70's, by the early 80's we were teaching that not doing first aid when the professionals were just minutes away was the proper first aid because it kept the professionals from having to waste precious minutes undoing everything that was done so that they could make proper field diagnoses. One Patrol did get 80% of the points for keeping the patients calm and treating for shock (the second thing that would get you full points) (and would have gotten 100% if they hadn't moved one of the victims before hand). Most Patrols got 50 or less points - we did give points for doing the technical first aid correctly - but those points were pretty low so the maximum a Patrol could get for doing the technical first aid was 50 points. Surprisingly, only a couple of Scoutmasters were upset with me.

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I've seen it tried once, but I don't remember how successful it was, just how much work it was for the one doing it. The ASM in charge of the camporee created a spreadsheet and assigned weighting factors for various things. I sat there and watched him slave away at his laptop in the campsite until the battery ran out and then he went home and worked on it for another couple of hours to finish it. As was related earlier in this thread there is no real way to figure out how one group will do over another. You can handicap a patrol of Eagles and then watch them get smoked by a group of Tenderfoots that would have beat them regardless because the T-Foot's had prepared and the Eagles were resting on their past achievements.

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As pointed out by others, weighing the scores would put undue pressure on the older boys. Once they get the "requirement" out of the way, they promptly forget it. I know a lot of Life scouts that haven't the foggiest idea how to tie knots or start fires. Maybe there should be a calculated stupid factor that is added in for these older boys, then maybe it would work.


I do have a serious problem with the ad hoc patrols that many troops come to camporees with to insure winning trophies. After a competition at a camporee I congratulated a scout for his patrol's win and he informed me he was with another patrol for the weekend. That "other" patrol cleaned up most of the other trophies. Kinda sad if you think about it.



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I found a couple of methods and combined them into something I think myself and the committee likes:



PATROL CLASSIFICATION would look something like this:


Patrols are classified by the ranks of their members. All Patrols compete against every other patrol.




Scout Rank Rating

New Scout and Scout 1

Tenderfoot 2

Second Class 3

First Class 5

Star 7

Life 10

Eagle 12


Each Scout is rated according to his rank. The total is then divided by the number of Scouts in the Patrol to give an average rating. A patrol can be made up of any number of boys.





Rating Average Classification

1.00 thru 3.49 New Scout

3.50 thru 4.79 Regular Scout

4.80 and higher Older Scout


The event would be run something like this:


Burn a String(Timed)

Scouts will demonstrate their ability to build a fire and burn a string 24 above the ground. Only natural materials found at camp may be used to build a fire no more than 12 above the ground.

Two matches will be provided for this event. Patrols will be penalized for using extra matches. New patrols may use extra materials to keep the fire going, if needed, at no penalty. Extra credit will be given for using Flint and Steel to light the fire. Time starts when the patrol is ready to light the match or has flame ready from Flint & Steel.


SCORING 60 pts.

Time starts when the patrol is ready to light the fire and ends when the top string breaks.


Regular/Older Scout Patrols

60 pts. String burns in 30 seconds or less.

- 5 pts. Each additional 10 seconds.

- 5 pts. Added for each additional match or reuse of Flint & Steel.

+ 5 pts. Use Flint & Steel to light fire.


New Scout Patrols

60 pts. String burns in 90 seconds or less.

- 5 pts. Each additional 10 seconds.

+ 5 pts. Use Flint & Steel to light fire.




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@Stosh - That is what I am trying to combat because I have seen it in the past. In fact the patrol that cleaned up evvery year was a patrol from the Troop the Camporee Chairman was from. It really bothered me so I am trying to stop it before it is an issue.

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One thing that may help elimnate ad hoc patrols is uniform inspections. Everyone must have the same PM on their shoulder, and no patrol has 2 folks with PL patches on. EDITED: a group of folks with 2 or more PMs amongst them and 2 folks with different PMs and wearing PL patches. Unfortunately I've seen that.(This message has been edited by eagle92)

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The solution in part depends on your district size - my district is urban, with smaller troops - we just merged the whole city into one district, and still aren't expecting more than 15-20 troops at the Fall Camporee. Many troops only have 1 patrol (including mine until last year), a good number have 2, and I think maybe 1 has 3 patrols. Since I've been involved with the camporees here vs. growing up in NJ, I haven't seen a "stacked" patrol as an issue. (Side note - I'm a guilty participant of this from my younger days).


There's a couple solutions.


1. Make it a troop award. If there's only one patrol, chances are it' not going to be a patrol of high-performing Star and Life scouts anyway. You could still award 1st, 2nd, 3rd place to each patrol for each station.


2. Create a Jr and Sr division. On the registration form, have each patrol members rank listed. If there's more than 1 Star/Life/Eagle in the patrol, make them a Sr. patrol (or some other criteria - if they're all 1st Class, obviously a Sr. patrol). Depending on the size of your camporee, you can even wait until you get all the registrations in hand before determining the cut-off (for my district, I could wait until the morning of the events, but if you have 300+ scouts arriving, this probably needs to be done earlier).


I realize both these options were already listed - hopefully the additional scenarios are of use to you.





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These insane scoring systems are one reason we don't participate in these sorts of camporee. They're invariably screwed up. The judging in inherently subjective, but someone always thinks they can calculate the results to three decimal places. In our district's Scout Derby, the winning patrol will have something in excess of 600 points. The top ten patrols will all be within 20 points of each other. You're telling me the resolution of this scoring system is within .3% accuracy? Sure.


Do this: Award blue ribbons to all patrols which greatly exceed expectations for the events, red ribbons to the patrols which exceed expectations for the events, yellow ribbons to the patrols which meet expectations and white ribbons to patrols which fall below expectations.


What are the expectations? I don't know. The people who design the stations should have some sort of matrix for what they are looking for. Each station and each scorer has their own ideas of what they're looking for. Rendering that to a precise score is unimportant. To handicap a system like this, give the scorers the ages, ranks and years in Scouting of the boys and let them decide how that changes what the expectations for the event.


Now before you all decide that this is some sort of commie, everyone-gets-a-trophy system, note that in our troops we don't total the "points" at the end of the year and award Eagle to the first place Scouts, Life to the second place Scouts, Star to third place, etc. Everyone who meets the expectations (requirements) for an award earns it. Same for the ribbons.

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The "problem" is not making an even playing field, nor handicaping "patrols". The problem is shuffling boys around like playing pieces into event "patrols". The problem is cause by misguided adults that don't understand what a real patrol is. Boys in a real patrol would not tolerate such false manipulations.


Read up on the patrol method.

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Yah, FScouter, I agree, but that's what poor district fellows are saddled with everywhere. Plus even with real patrol method yeh have some troops with age based patrols including high school, all Eagle Venture Patrols, new scout patrols, and small troops or traditional troops with mixed age patrols.


I'm with TwoCubDad. There are way too many permutations to try to turn this into some spreadsheet calculation. Much as I respect da many engineers we have in scouting, I've never seen it work well. Best is to have some loose guidelines for da activity stations, and let them design their own expectations (or different challenges) based on da patrol that shows up, and whether one person does all da work or whether there's good delegation and teamwork.



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