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"Training, Guidance, and Approval" for Patrol Outings

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As you all know, "[t]here are instances, such as patrol activities, when the presence of adult leaders is not required and adult leadership may be limited to patrol leadership training and guidance.  With proper training, guidance, and approval by troop leaders, the patrol can conduct day hikes and service projects."

 

In your units, what "training, guidance, and approval" do you require for no-adult patrol activities?

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It depends on the activity.

 

In general though, that they understand the patrol method and that they are capable of working as a team, but again activity specific.

 

It is a different bar for getting together to play games or create a patrol flag than it would be for a 5 mike hike or 10 mike bike outing.

 

For a hike, for example, do they know how to use compass and map, first aid, do they have the 10 essentials, do they know what to do if they get lost etc.

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It depends on the activity.

 

Fair point.  I'm especially interested in criteria for day hikes in the 5-10 mile range.  Thanks!

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It’s a judgement call on the maturity level. Only you know if they are likely to take it seriously enough to not clown around and put themselves in danger. Being in the wilderness is fun but understanding dangers that exist there.

 

They should know how to read a map and compass and have them.

They should have the 10 essentials and know why they are important.

They should know basic first aid.

They should know about and use the buddy system.

They should know enough about likely emergency procedures (Johnny gets separated and lost, Jimmy has heat stroke or breaks a leg)

Know, understand and use basic hiking procedures (file a plan with 2 adults, what’s the expected weather and potential for rapid change, where and how to find the Rangers/Police)

They have shown they can work as a team.

 

Bottom line is maturity and basic skills for being in the environment they are going into.

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Fair point.  I'm especially interested in criteria for day hikes in the 5-10 mile range.  Thanks!

I review a lot of these.

Most important to me is how well the average boy in the patrol navigates. Moderate skills (i.e., a little beyond the 1st class requirement) give me the confidence that if they need to improvise, they will do so successfully. I've never had to adjust the plan of boys with moderate skills.

 

When they present me with a hike plan, I also like to hear what their plan 'B' will be. (E.g. what if that bridge is out? What if that field is grown up and you get delayed?)

I expect insertion, extraction, and rendezvous points. And estimated times of arrival. This includes lunch stops, or time exploring points of interest.

I expect them to be able to tell me the landmarks that they will be looking for, starting with insertion, extraction, and waypoints in-between.

 

This sounds intense, but with older boys, review usually can be done the morning of the hike in familiar terrain -- maybe in the time it takes to sip down one cup of coffee. With younger boys (or older boys in unfamiliar terrain) they must have plans A, B, and sometimes C mapped out in advance. They should arrange for me to review their plan at insertion, where they should be able to point out any visible landmarks and their initial direction of travel, and show how they are marked on the map.

 

The younger the boys, the more I expect to watch their equipment shake-down -- and the more likely I will insist on a trained chaperon. Trained chaperons are adults who will not to interfere with any of the boys' decisions until they have walked a mile out of their way, or safety becomes an issue. We try to do a lot of hikes as a troop, so that I know how adults behave when boys miss a landmark. (Most of my time hiking with scouts is actually spent training adults.)

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If all the parents give their sons permission, they can go and do anything for as long as they want.

 

If one were to classify it as a scout patrol activity fine, if not, that's fine too.  Parental permission trumps BSA.  The adults aren't going along, so they can't be held liable.

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Pl has completed Basic Training for his position (ILST) (Wrongly named and insufficient Patrol Method content.)

PL files written plan with SM and SPL

Permission/equipment forms completed

PL has designated second present if APL will not be there

Activity complies with BSA policy

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I'm really not so concerned with policy as I am with mentoring boys to achieve their full potential.

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Concern, while important, may be less important than behavior, given the power of example, and behavior is not limited to a dichotomy between attempting to mentor boys to achieve their full potential and engaging in a "prohibited activity" with all that means.  

 

It is supposed necessity to reach the goals of Scouting that was cited to me for allowing an indoor video "lock-in" to count as a "weekend campout" for purposes of Journey to Mediocrity.

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Fair point.  I'm especially interested in criteria for day hikes in the 5-10 mile range.  Thanks!

 

Depends on where it is. If it is what could be considered "back country" then a whole set of new requirements pop up. If it is in a city park or state park, that might not require anything more than stated above (10 essentials, hiking plan, mode of communication, emergency plan, etc.). The GTSS outlines some of this, the rest is common sense, though I hate that phrase. What is "common" to some may not be to others.

 

In our unit any water activities cannot be done without adult supervision and following Safe Swim/Safety Afloat guidelines. Hiking or cycling can be done without adult supervision under the right conditions. I live in North Texas and there are a ton of bike and hiking trails around. State parks nearby have great trails and are almost like a municipal park, so we approve such treks. On camp outs we approve patrols "exploring" as long as they take the above precautions.

 

Back country? Whole different ball game. That's trained adults AND Scouts. Think: WRFA.

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Col, any pig issues in your area?

 

Pig issues? Wild hogs? Oh yeah. BUT those areas are pretty well known and we wouldn't let anyone go there. They are mostly in East and South Texas. I've gone on a few hunting trips to cull a few dozen from the population. Scary suckers and their hide is thick. Need "boar busters" to really drop the big ones.

 

Back on topic, our guys know how to steer clear of them but we don't see them often. Bobcats and coyotes more than boars.

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In California, part of the evaluation for approval of a patrol outing was the location of drug farms - locus of another type of pig.  That WAS part of the topic, as well as avoiding the "camp" up Santiago Canyon where the drug-addicts, primarily alcoholics, "lived rough" in the California climate.  Very local issues.  Around here, now, the back of the shooting ranges would be considered vis-a-vis the route.

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Over time the adults work their way farther and farther away from the entire process (planning and execution) to a place where the boy leaders are doing it all. Like teaching a young child to ride a bike. Start by holding on to the seat and walking with them, every once in a while remove your hand to see if they have it. Eventually you are walking next to them without touching the seat at all, then you stop walking beside them and they are now ready to ride on their own.

 

While planning and implementing an outing is more complex, the basic idea remains the same. Incrementally let go as they demonstrate competence at each level.

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