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Camporee Scoring/Handicapping

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Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I like patrol competitions that have actual patrols, i.e. groups of 6-10 scouts that work together yearround together on outings, meetings, hikes, etc. than a group of 6-10 scouts who leave their normal patrol to create a patrol just for a weekend in order to win the compeition. I think it takes away from the regular patrols, and really distorts the patrol method.


Now if a group of older scouts got together and created a "Gung Ho Patrol," or in my case growing up the "Leadership Corps," that worked together year round and was a normal patrol in the troop then I have no problem whatsoever with them competing. They are not taking people away from their normal patrols, and are using the patrol method properly IMHO.


Competition is a good thing until misused.

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I'm of multiple minds and several thoughts about the ad-hoc patrol problem.


First, there's a difference between "ringer" groups and an 8-person ad-hoc patrol formed because only four Scouts from each patrol attend. That happened quite frequently in one of the troops from my youth - we were fairly small and often had attendance issues. So for camporees, we quite often merged two half-patrols into one just so we could compete. Should we have been penalized?


Second, to address the "ringer" problem head-on, make it known in advance that all patrols must be "natural" patrols, all members must have the same patrol emblem on their uniforms and they must carry their patrol flag with them to the events - and demonstrate their patrol cheer or yell, loudly, at each station.


Third, ranking boys by rank won't solve the problem. I've known quite a few First Class Scouts who could tie many an Eagle in knots. Under a "handicapping" system, though, that First Class Scout wouldn't "count" as much as an Eagle whose skills have become rusty because he's been bored out of his skull working on Citizenships.


Fourth, the best way to beat the hypothetical "Screaming Eagle Patrol" would be, as others have said, to study up and whup their butts next time around. Or how about doing an inter-troop patrol challenge, independently of any district event? Take them on, head-on, for bragging rights.


Fifth, if stacked, ad-hoc, ringer patrols really is a huge problem, and informal sit-downs with the SPL, PLs and SM, appealing to the "trustworthy" part of the Scout Law, haven't solved it, drop the competition! A camporee doesn't have to have points and stations and awards. It could just be a fun campout with lots of people all learning about the same thing and sharing an experience. A Wilderness Survival camporee, for example, where everyone prepares a shoebox survival kit and heads out into the woods to spend Saturday night in a shelter. Or a Waterfront camporee, where you rent a lake and spend the day paddling and sailing around, with fun races and skills demonstrations. Or a Pioneering camporee, where you build gateways and towers and bridges and just go around Saturday afternoon ooohing and aaahhhing at what others have done - no scoring system involved.

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