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Mike F

Solo patrol camping locations

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Please - PLEASE - If you want to argue, please stay away this thread.

Let's keep this one for folks to get ideas on places for patrols to camp and the things they considered when granting the approval. We want to hear about real places that real SMs have approved - not theoretical discussions. We also don't need to hear about places they can't go - that list is too long and all of us can think up plenty of those.



1. Where have you allowed patrols to camp without adult supervision? (Please describe.)

2. What were your biggest considerations in approving this location?


Again - the question is posed to those who have actually done some solo patrol camping without adults.


Thanks in advance for your consideration and support.

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Our patrols campout on private property. Most of the time it's at one of two places. My family ranch or a friend of the troop's ranch.


Everything must be in order before they even go solo as a patrol. The patrol must have the following:


2 First Class Scouts and/or above.

parent permission forms for each member.

Cooking menu.

Duty roster.

Camp Program.

First Aid Kit.

and then my approval.


As leaders, we look for accessiblity and safety.


Some of my older Scouts in the Venture Patrol also go spearfishing on their own. as long as they follow the troop guidelines.


It was hard at first but once the patrols started doing more campng on their own and becoming more independent from the troop, I knew I can fully trust them with the skills they have.


We try to stress that our patrols campout once a month aside from the troop monthly outing.




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What you have described, to me, is good old fashioned Scouting and I think we need more of it.


When I was a patrol leader -- many moons ago -- we did the patrol meetings on our own with no adults, but never went on any patrol camp outs.


I did, however, as a 13-17 year old go camping with some of my similarly aged fellow scouts (friends from different troops, but all Scouts) on a piece of land behind our sub-division that we didn't know who owned.


No one bothered us, policed us, or otherwise stopped us from camping. One night, and one night only, my buddy Mark from a neighboring troop who was sharing my tent with me, woke up to hear an older man's voice say, "They shouldn't be camping on my land, but what the hell -- they're Boy Scouts."


He knew we were Boy Scouts because we'd left out cook kits outside and had a three stop dishwashing area all set up. Typical, for the time, Boy Scout fire layout, and canvas Voyageur tents -- three of them.


We never did get to meet the man who's land we were camping on. But we appreciated his understanding.


As to what we did on those overnights -- generally hiked to the mall (using Scout Pace -- can anyone explain what that is/was?) to the mall where a Scouter ran the movies. He let us watch the movies at the movie plex through the little window into the theatre next to the camera.


Wonderful memories. And none of us died or had anyone sue our parents or the land-owner.



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That's the way it should be. More Patrols going out doing their thing without adults.


Most of our Troop Campouts are for the FYFC Scouts to get them going to be active as our other patrols. Out on their own. Once you get them to that level, there is no stopping them.

I have level headed trained leaders and most of the patrols are mature and skilled for their age.


I had one patrol during the summer campout by themselves for a month since we didn't have any District/Council Summercamps. They camped at one of the member's family ranch. They helped with the ranch chores, went to movies, spearfished at my family's beach, and did other things on their own.


It was hard at first to let the patrols go own their own but I learned to trust that I trained each of my leaders properly. Like others on this forum, my parents were against it but now they want their boys out of the house.


I'm all for patrol campouts and patrol activities. As long as its properly planned, the parents agree, and I know I have responsible junior leaders, the scouts can go camping.


It's been awhile but I think "Scouts Pace" is a 7 or 8 minute mile alternately running and walking. It sounds right, Now I may have to break out my "old" Scout notes to find out.



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I received the following in a personal note from Bob White because he thought it might be too long for the forum. His insights, experience and recommendations for how to approach it are very good. Note that the general approach applies to a host of other patrol activities as they build teamwork and confidence. With his permission, I'm posting -- no apology for length.



---- Note from Bob White ------


The Troops I have worked with have always used Patrol activities. Here are the things I have required (no this was not a PLC decision. The adult leaders are responsible for safety and for delivering the scouting program).


Items with a * are required by the BSA, the others are how we determined if the activity was valid.


Ground rules for patrol Activities

* Have the permission of the Scoutmaster.

* Have the permission of the parents showing their knowledge that there will be no adults present.

*The scoutmaster has the option of requiring two adults to camp nearby.


A plan must be presented in writing to the Senior Patrol Leader for the SM's approval and it must include...

> All members of the patrol must be First Class rank or higher (even if they are not going)

> Who is going?

> Where are you going?

> When are you leaving and returning? (be specific)

> Why are you going?

> How are you getting there and back?

> What service will be performed?

> What troop equipment will be used?

> Remember that you are representing your troop, our Charter Organization, your family, and most importantly your own character.


I never had a scout injured in 20 years on a patrol activity. They usually have camped on private property such as farmland, but they also have camped in scouts backyard after spending the day helping an elderly neighbor clean a garage and do landscaping and gardening. They have gone swimming at the public pool, bowling, biking, roller-skating, sledding, skiing, visited an air show, cleaned-up a neighborhood park.


Patrols that do these things as a patrol rarely lose members, don't fight

over chores, set up camp and take them down faster than I can parallel park.


Here is the most important thing for this to work... Don't let them go just to prove the quality of your leadership. Don't send them if they are not ready. Have two adults camp nearby if needed. The more support you think they need the closer you have the two adults camp. Do not let them interact with the scouts unless they are asked or they perceive a danger.


Hope this helps,

Bob White


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