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Patrol vs. Troop Cooking

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The older boys are indeed backing off. They are getting a whiff of the fumes and their attentions are drifting elsewhere.

 

More than half of the troop are scouts who have been there one year or less. Looking at the next camping trip, there are 3 older scouts going and then 2 or 3 from each patrol. This is our biggest turn out for a camping trip ever and most of them are the ones who have just crossed over. 

 

Reading the comments, it seems like if there are 2 or more from each patrol, each patrol should do their own menus and do their own cooking. Is that right? Traditionally, we've been doing troop cooking but I think the task is getting to be too much. It's a different skill to cook for a group of 12 than to cook for 3. 

 

Nothing wrong with the boys learning to plan and budget 2-person meals. In fact, at this age, boys can be rather picky about what they'll eat. It's a lot easier to decide among 2 vs. among 8. The challenge, since these are young boys, is getting their cooking areas comfortably spaced apart. You want them to work independently, but safely. But you want them to be able to see what each group is cooking.

 

At the end of the day, you could set up one troop desert like a cobbler, or baked apples over the evening campfire. Give the boys a chance to unwind and brag about their exploits.

 

In this process, ask the boys what their moms' favorite recipes are. Over time, they'll get in their head that they can make any campout like a piece of home.

 

By the way, while all this is going on, it can free up some industrious adults to cook up a little shrimp scampi in Alfredo sauce.

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I prefer sweet and sour pork over fried rice done up in a mess kit myself.

 

50 years ago mess kit cooking was far more popular than Dutch oven cooking and what most people don't realize with their plastic mess kits is that the standard aluminum mess kit of today is a mini-Dutch oven,  Yes, one can do up a fantastic blueberry muffin the size of the inner pot inside of the mess kit. 

 

It's really unfortunate that kids today don't know how to do that style of camp cooking.

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We have 2 small patrols too.  One with 3 boys and the other with 5.   We make the adults a third patrol.  In an effort to not spend our entire camping time cooking, each patrol takes one meal and is responsible for it.  (We  have sandwiches for lunch.)  This requires us packing less as we only need 1 chuck box instead of 3, and the other 2 groups can be working on other things.  

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@@TWCub

 

:)  That system is going to make it difficult to keep your patrols 300' apart.

 

Instead of any combining, cooperating, sharing, facility process one might come up with, the patrol method needs extensive separation and independence from others.  The point is not to make it efficient, the point is to teach the boys independence ans self-sufficiency.  If the patrol consists of 2-4 scouts, one doesn't need a full chuck box, a small bin with a few items, cutting board, knife, spoon, spatula, a few spices, measuring cups,spoons, one ought to be able to get buy quite nicely.  Keep it in mind that there is no way one is going to haul 3 patrol boxes into the Denali back country, so one had better start learning how to do that or one will never get there.

 

One is focused on learning and experiencing.  If a patrol only gets to cook every other time, they are missing half their education!!!

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We have 2 small patrols too.  One with 3 boys and the other with 5.   We make the adults a third patrol.  In an effort to not spend our entire camping time cooking, each patrol takes one meal and is responsible for it.  (We  have sandwiches for lunch.)  This requires us packing less as we only need 1 chuck box instead of 3, and the other 2 groups can be working on other things.  

 

Up at 7am, cooking by 7:30, KP and done by 9am. Doable with such a small group. That leaves you most of the day for fun and frolic. Lunch on the go. Dinner at 5pm, cooking by 5:30 or 6pm (if coals needed), done and eating by 6:30, KP by 7pm. Then you have time for campfire, dessert and rest.

 

With small numbers this is very doable. If the kids cannot cook start small (foil dinners, easy recipes) and work up from there.

 

Remember, while cooking may not be one of the things the adults can stand (or have the patience for), the boys may LOVE IT!!

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We are a troop that has grown from about 5 scouts to about 30 in the last couple of years. Troop cooking has been the norm. On camping trips we normally get about 5-10 scouts and 2-3 adults. 

 

My question is where do you make the decision to go with patrol cooking vs. troop cooking when you might have only 1-2 scouts from a particular patrol attending? Would you still have the patrol purchase supplies for only 1-2 scouts or would you integrate them into another patrol for the trip?

 

Two Scouts isn't a Patrol. It also makes for a lot more work at meal times since there aren't several Scouts to share the load. For our Troop, if a Patrol doesn't have four or five Scouts, they become "guests" of another Patrol for the weekend.

 

One other thing, if you're getting only 5 Scouts to attend a camp-out from a Troop of 30 Scouts, you should probably looking at why your turn-out is so low.

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@@TWCub

 

:)  That system is going to make it difficult to keep your patrols 300' apart.

 

Instead of any combining, cooperating, sharing, facility process one might come up with, the patrol method needs extensive separation and independence from others.  The point is not to make it efficient, the point is to teach the boys independence ans self-sufficiency.  If the patrol consists of 2-4 scouts, one doesn't need a full chuck box, a small bin with a few items, cutting board, knife, spoon, spatula, a few spices, measuring cups,spoons, one ought to be able to get buy quite nicely.  Keep it in mind that there is no way one is going to haul 3 patrol boxes into the Denali back country, so one had better start learning how to do that or one will never get there.

 

One is focused on learning and experiencing.  If a patrol only gets to cook every other time, they are missing half their education!!!

 

Okay completely busted here!  300' apart doesn't happen.  We are working on it, but for now, the adults typically start pitching our own tents first while the patrols seek out the best spots.  Then for some reason they come back and set up close to the adults.  It's a work in progress.  We do have a big push this year to move to more boy-led.  I'll keep taking down notes and reading.  Thanks!

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Okay completely busted here!  300' apart doesn't happen.  We are working on it, but for now, the adults typically start pitching our own tents first while the patrols seek out the best spots.  Then for some reason they come back and set up close to the adults.  It's a work in progress.  We do have a big push this year to move to more boy-led.  I'll keep taking down notes and reading.  Thanks!

 

Not to worry, it's a never ending progression towards boy-led.  You'll do better tomorrow and even better yet the day after.

 

There are conversations going both ways here on the small  patrols.  Bigger patrols = more shared workload, but I find that two or three guys can knock out a pretty extensive meal and be out and about faster than a group of seven or eight.  By myself (and cooking for one other would be no big deal, usually takes me about the same time as when the boys put the big pot of water on and bring it to a boil.  Generally I'm all done by the time they get done horsing around burning dinner. 

 

The boys will get better with things as time progresses and even the bigger patrols will become more efficient.  I always thought that the no-mess hall camps were faster with the in-site cooking, but one doesn't need send people early, then stand in line for a half hour, eat food, clean up the table and then someone still has to do the dish washing.  Heck my boys got the fixin's for grilled cheese sandwiches and were done in about 10 minutes start to finish.  Cheese sandwiches are just as nurishing as grilled cheese maybe a bit healthier, too.  :)

 

Be patient, give it time, they'll figure it out.

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Older boys being affected by fumes?  This is another myth in Scouting.  They are not being lured away by the excitement of the various fumes, they are leaving because of the redundant boredom of a poorly run program.  It's time to let these boys be 16-17 year old boys at the top of their scouting game and let them put those skills into their adventures.  THEY DON'T WANT TO TEACH SQUARE KNOTS TO THE NSP!  If I were given the choice between teaching square knots or going kayaking.  I'd be out of there in a heartbeat!  Why would a 16 year old young adult not feel the same way?   .

To expand on stosh's comment, older scouts don't mind working with younger scouts, they just get tired of doing the same-old-thing. The same-old-thing being doing advancement and scout skills activities repeatedly instead of adventure.

 

The instinct of older scouts is emulating what they learned while they were a younger scouts. If a scout learned to "take care of your boys" while they were younger scouts, they don't stop that habit when they are older. If an older scout isn't taking care of the younger scouts, then they never learned it. That is a SM problem.

 

So if a scout who learned to take care of his boys young is bored, then the program has not matured enough to challenge the his older scout maturity. 

 

And stosh is right that older scouts want adventure, but so do the younger scouts. In fact this likely could be the problem. If older scouts are needing adventure to stay interested, then likely the younger scout program (whole program) is boring due to lack of adventure. The older scouts are bored because they don't have enough responsibility of the troop to keep them challenged. Desire to continue a program comes from the satisfaction of conquering previous challenges.

 

All that to say that scouts need adventure to practice their scout skills and decision making skills. As I said, cooking in of itself is challenging, but the scouts will master that fairly quickly. Add some quick hikes, fishing, biking and canoeing. Most of that can be done at you local scout camp. Be creative, stop a mile before you get to camp next time and hike the troop to the campsite. Or hike out the last day. Add a simulated car wreck along the way where the older scouts are using makeup to simulate injuries. Adventure.

 

Like stosh says, older scouts are adults. They need adult stimulation that challenges them to grow. 

 

I look forward to watching you grow. 

 

Barry

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I'm late jumping in here....

but the earlier discussions about checking in with the older scouts to re-energize them

I'm reminded of the story in Clarke Green's book So Far So Good, where he let the scouts choose what they wanted to do...gave them the responsibility AND the authority to make it happen.  Could it be that they are drifting just because they have outgrown the adult planned stuff?  Maybe they would be more interested in it if they could truly run the program.

And if they are good scouts, they would probably consider the younger scouts too and help them along.  Win Win

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To get back to the original question in my experience in eating around at various Troops (turning into a big fat turtle) I note that where I see Troop cooking over Patrol cooking there is a higher incidence of adult led activity...  

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