Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
smaster101

Caring for troop gear

Recommended Posts

Any suggestions for how to get scouts to properly take care of troop and patrol equipment? Lost tent pieces, broken propane stoves, missing stove parts, etc. after every trip are getting me very frustrated. Our QM doesn't seem to care or be effective, even though I've continously told him what his responsibility is. Many scouts don't even take care of their personal equipment like mess kits and clothing. Are they so used to mom picking up after them at home?

I see this as an opportunity for our scouts to learn responsibility for their own stuff as well as proper care of troop equipment, but I can't seem to get the point across. How have some of you other leaders delt with this effectively?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does your committee have an adult "equipment coordinator" designated to work with the quartermaster? Where is your stuff stored? Is stuff checked out to patrol leaders or other youth by the QM for each outing?

 

One thing I have found successful is to have a clean up event a couple of days after an outing, if it fits into the calendar. Every scout who enjoyed the use of the equipment gets to help clean it up. I have no suggestions for getting scouts to take care of their individual gear. That remains a parental problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

smaster101:

Troop and patrol equipment can be overwhelming to an adult QM much less a Scout. We had the same problem until getting a QM from each patrol to step forward. Their duty is to maintain the equipment their patrol uses. In our equipment shed each patrol has an equipment storage area and their equipment is marked with the patrol's name. The patrol QM maintains everything his patrol uses and works with an Assistant Scoutmaster who maintains the adult leader's camping equipment. Any equipment that needs to be replace or repaired then the patrol QM reports it to the Adult QM who assist the Scout in the proper way.Any work needing to be done to troop equipment (like waterproofing new tents) gets a group effort from the group of patrol QM's.We use propane in 20 gal containers and the adult QM helps with getting these filled. It's up to the patrol QM to say when his patrol needs more propane. Troop equipment such as backpacking tents, water filters, sil nylon tarps, back packing stoves needed for backpacking trips gets checked out as needed for the outing and then returned to Ass. Scoutmaster QM by the patrol QM. We still have Scouts that forget to take care of something before an outing but when we get in the woods and they have to use their resources to get by without a piece of equipment, learning takes place. I had one patrol leave all their cooking pots at home once but the other patrols came thru and helped them out. It was a good lesson for everyone. Hope this helps. YIS : L-Owl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is were Scout Leader training and especially Wood Badge training come into play.

 

Tell scouts what they should be doing and you become just another adult telling them what to do. You are no different from any other adult in his life. But scouting is unique, and using scout methods will make you unique.

 

Instead of telling, ask. Ask the new QM what he sees his job as. Ask him how he plans to do it. Ask what would help him be successful.

 

Rather than tell the scouts to pick up their gear, ask the Senior Patrol Leader how the patrol sites look. Let him tell you that there are clothes and gear laying around. Ask him what he thinks he should do. Wait for him to say that he should talk to the Patrol Leader(s). suggest that he ask the Patrol Leader(s) what they should do about it. The PLs should ask the boys to pick up their gear.

 

Teach the scouts that a pack is a bag of bags. That it should be filled of stuff sacks or Zip-locks. When a scout takes clean clothes out of the zip-lock he puts his dirty clothes into the bag. No dirty clothes smell in his tent. No mess. When you see a scout doing things right tell them what a good job their doing.

 

Be an adult that respects their input, That asks for their opinion instead of force feeding them yours. Let them know when they do things right and be patient while they learn. Be an adult unlike any other they know and they will respond to that difference.

 

We had our fall camporee this weekend. My son's troop had other troops camping on three sides of them. One troop was amazing. each morning the SM woke everyone up by either standing in the center of their site and hollering for everyone to get up and get breakfast started or by banging on a pot like a 5'10" human alarm clock. He even scared the geese off the lake we were on. After muttering about his paretage under my breath, I went back to sleep. when I got up about an hour later all I could hear was the leaders of that troop hollering at the boys about what to do next.

 

I didn't even hear my son or the other scouts of troop. When I packed my gear and got out of my tent all the patrols were up and either eating or preparing their food. No shouting, no adults telling them what to do. They even had water put on for the adults to fix coffee or hot chocolate.

When it came time to break camp the same scene took place. The othe troop jumped as the adults shouted at them from all directions. Our Scoutmaster walked up to the new 13-year old SPL and asked how long he thought it would take to break camp. He asked where the SPL thought he should start and what should be the last thing we should do before we go. Then the adults took down their own tents and sat down with our coffee to watch the boys do their thing. Scouts don't need to told what to do they need coaching not bosses.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good insight and approach to take. I think my first gut reaction would be to be a parent. Not that I would go to that extreme to wake the boys up. But I am guilty of telling the boys what to do and will take a step back and try this approach. Maybe this would be a good time for me to sign up for Wood Badge?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Maybe the problem is too much gear....why not scale back and use less, making every piece of gear do double or triple duty......

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

one of the things we are talking about trying in our troop - is to assign specific gear to a specific patrol - In addition to their patrol box, they get assigned certain tents and other equipment, and they use that same equipment next time - so if there is a broken zipper, missing stakes, or lost utensils - they have to "make do" until the committe approves replacements (which in our troop, could take years....)

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Patrol Leaders decided that the camping gear needs to be checked and cleaned at the first meeting after each camp until the gear is cleaned AT camp. This was because they went to camp with dirty pots and pans. Thankfully no tentage was rotten etc.

 

I let things go as far as possible. I was content to wait from one camp to the next for the clean up lesson to come home to roost. Mind you if this had been the canvas the story would have been different. However consequences for actions are inevitable and much more natural than inspections, adult checks etc.

 

Patrols sholud 'own' their equipment as Laura suggests - providing you have the resources available. That way the lessons cannot escape them. Next camp will remind them of previous 'shortcuts'. Bob's method is pretty much the same. The Scouts should work out their own problems and solutions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patrol equipment is marked, and patrol QM's sign for the gear from the Troop QM prior to use. When we return from a campout, the entire troop stays at the hut to help clean (although the person that dirties gear is the primary cleaner, a Scout is helpful). The QM (a scout) inspects all equipment before he accepts it for storage. The SPL is responsible for quality control of the QM - he will conduct a spot-check, and the QM is responsible for cleaning anything the SPL finds dirty. SM conducts spot-checks after everything is turned in. If anything is still dirty, the SPL cleans it. This keeps gear clean, serviceable, and teaches the boys responsibility. There is also a consequence (SPL washes!) for cutting corners. We also have an adult equipment coordinator that accepts orders for mantles, globes, propane stove parts, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We stress to the scouts to properly clean and store equipment as soon as they are done using it. I see unpacking to clean equipment so that it can be re-packed as a huge waste of time. If they don't have time to do it right at camp then they don't have time to redo it when we get home.

 

Try this method (I learned 22 years ago in Wood Badge) at home for a month and let me know the results.

 

Instead of telling you child to clean their room ask them how their room looks. Then ask them what they think they could do to make it look cleaner. Take the first thing they suggest and tell them that is a good idea. Ask how long they think it would take. Lets say they answer 10-minutes. Tell them to go ahead and do it, then tell them that soon as its done you will play catch or UNO or nintendo or whatever, with them for 15 minutes. After your done playing ask them what else they thinkj would make their room look better, wait for an answer and then tell them what a good idea that is, ask how long it will take.....you get the idea. Continue until the room is clean.

 

After awhile you just stick your head in the doorway and they say "I know, I should clean my room. When I get done will you play a game with me?"

 

You can do the same with the patrol campsite. Have the SPL wander in and sya to the PL "what do you think you can do to improve your camp?" after awhile the SPL will just walk in and the PL will say "let's get this place cleaned up".

 

Bob White

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I see unpacking to clean equipment so that it can be re-packed as a huge waste of time."

 

Glad somebody else agrees with me! It's taken a few of us a long time to convince the rest of the troop what a monumental bore / chore it was to waste a whole monday meeting after a campout (and sometimes more!) to clean out the bus and equipment!

 

Besides, often some of the boys on the campout didn't make the monday meeting / cleanings - and some boys who didn't make the campout got stuck cleaning the bus and equipment!

 

Why did they always do that? "because we've ALWAYS done it that way" AAARRRGGGHHH I HATE that phrase!

 

Now the rule is that no boy may leave with parents or ride until the bus is clean and equipment stored. Equipment that needs cleaning /airing are assigned to go home with the boys / patrols that used them.

 

We still have some room for improvement - but the changes ARE making the boys happier!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your point on unpacking to clean is well-taken. There are some items, though, that need a final cleaning at home station - i.e., we sometimes need to put up the EZ-ups to dry (this IS Washington), tents need to be dried and cleaned (tough to clean off mud in the rain), etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks to everyone, especially Bob White, for yout insight.

 

Anyone against some positive reinforcement to motivate the guys? During a recent camout I had to leave at night for a family event, but came back the next morning around the time everyone should have been packing up. The SPL was having a hard time getting everyone moving. I had brought several dozen doughnuts back with me and of course the guys all wanted one. I told them they were for after everyone was packed. A couple of kids tried the "well, I'm packed" line, but this didn't fly. So after all the gear was packed and the site was in order everone got one. Sounds simple, but I think it got everone focused on getting the whole job done as a team.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"I see unpacking to clean equipment so that it can be re-packed as a huge waste of time."

 

I don't agree with this statement. If the gear packed isn't clean then it needs cleaned before it is put away. Therefore it needs unpacked, cleaned & re-packed.

 

"If they don't have time to do it right at camp then they don't have time to redo it when we get home."

 

This makes no sense! Why wouldn't they have time when they get home?

 

We have Patrol QM's & they are responsible for the Patrol gear. Before we break camp they assign out stoves, etc. that need a better cleaning. They are due back at our next Troop meeting. If they aren't cleaned properly, it is up to the QM to either clean them or getthem cleaned.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

evmori: "Before we break camp they assign out stoves, etc. that need a better cleaning. They are due back at our next Troop meeting."

 

We tend to use this approach. However, when the patrol Quartermasters dole out the equipment to various boys in their patrol, there have been problems in getting all the stuff back-- and no one remembers who took what.

 

Of course, it would be the best if the patrol always left the campsite with clean pots and pans, but that doesn't happen.

 

How do your patrol and troop Quartermasters handle this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×