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"Come, Watson! The Games A-Foot!"

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As the RoundTable Commisher,  I try to run the RTs as a small Troop meeting.

We have an opening, and announcements (groan) and then a program presentation or two.  The RT Guidelines talk about "Big Rocks" and "Break Out Sessions" and sometimes do we will split into "Interest Groups", (Patrols?), but mostly we are one big group of 20 to 30 folks each night.  I feel I have succeeded when an old Scouter comes up and tells me he had a "good time, for a change".

For closure, I try to have  a "ScoutMaster's Minute" (Commisher's Minute, really) with which to send folks out into the night and therefor go to many references for inspiration.  Sometimes I read a passage from an old "Scoutmaster's Handbook" I bought at a second hand book shop., circa 1970, or another I have, circa 1950.

This has led me to read the WHOLE book.  In the back are listings of games and competitions, to help teach Skills. Knots, cooking, pioneering, axmanship... 


Anyone out there still use Patrol Competition to help teach skills, encourage group loyalty, cooperation?  I can't remember the last time I saw, on a Troop level (sure, camporees...) Patrol competitions.


"Axmanship.   (Active. Outdoor)  "equipment:  for each patrol:  1 hatchet, 1 board 12" long and at least 6" wide, 1 chopping block     "Patrols in relay formation, opposite equipment. On signal #1 runs up and splits one piece off board, runs back and touches off next player, and so on. The idea is to find out which patrol can split the greatest number of full lengthpieces from the board."


Wow, the ideas in these sections for activities....


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Shhhh....BSA might put out a press release banning Axmanship to be done only at district or council events. ;)

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While at campouts I generally have access to if not wearing a belt ax, depending on what I'm doing.  It is never used in an ax yard, it is honed way beyond the edge of any other ax out there, it will slice tomatoes, and it creates mounds and mounds of julienne fries and can create a pile of tinder so fine it will beat out dryer lint for starting fires.  The stroke of the ax is anywhere from 2" to 6" and It has been demonstrated to many classes I teach it will easily split a pencil into quarters after it has sharpened it.


The BSA snaps on the sheath and matching sheath knife combo, allow me to carry official BSA equipment on BSA property.  After demonstrating what the setup can do, everyone wants one.


It's going to be difficult for National to ban official BSA equipment from it's own program.  :)  And the minute I say that, it'll come true in this day and age.


I used to carry a heavy bladed hunting knife and small saw when deer hunting.  How I just carry the belt ax.  I took a class on tanning hides last fall and the skinning knife the instructor was using had a rather curved blade.... Just about the same curve as the end of an ax.  I just may try and skin out my deer next fall with the belt ax.  :D

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Here's something I think would be an interesting experiment.


Run a couple of Kim's Game.  Lay out a table with about 12 or 15 items on it and cover it with a sheet - Remove the cover for 30 seconds and then cover it up and have the Scouts list all of the items they could identify. 


Here's how to make it interesting.  Do it with two sets of objects.  For the first one, include modern gadgets you know the Scouts will be able to identify like cell phones, ear buds, a remote control, a CD (or DVD), a thumb (or flash) drive, etc. 


For the second set, include things that may be outdated - a non-electric soldering iron, a transistor radio, a slide rule, etc.


Then compare the scores.


We do still run Kim's games as patrol competitions - we recommend they be tied to upcoming or recently past activities.  If working on knots, the table might contain tied examples of knots that need to be identified.  It might contain examples of tree leaves, or first aid gear, etc. 

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Boy, for a group as "old Fashioned" as this bunch usually sounds (Boy Led, 300feet,  BP was right, GBBill is not forgotten,  where's my SMCoffee? )

 I was expecting some ideas, some experiences, some .... games, competitions.  The older books I have been perusing have PAGES of different skill games.  


As it happens, our DCamporee is coming up, and when the PTB asked for a Troop/Leader to organize it some months ago,  we were surprised when the fella (call him "Bob")   came back with a Troop of Scouts that wanted some Patrol Competitions.  So that's what we have coming up.  Scouts must sign up as Patrols, of 6 to 8, NOT by Troop.  They will go thru the Skills competitions by Patrol. They camp in separate campsites by Patrol.  Adults escorting the Scouts may NOT camp in the same site.  Each Troop has so many assigned sites for each Patrol, and ONE for adults. 


Maybe not so surprisingly, sign up has been rather low.  But, as Bob  said at last RT, "it is an experiment".   We have a full set of Saturday competitions, everything from No Match Fire building, to Cooking Tasting, to  Pioneering Tower construction (only one level), to BIG US flag folding (it will take a Patrol to handle it). 


We shall see.....

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