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msnowman

Camp out question

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Nephew's Troop is actually planning a camping trip for the last weekend of January. This is a big step for them because in the recent past they have only gone camping as part of a Council-wide or District-wide Camporee. Now camping in January in Maine will probably be a wee bit chilly, but they are using it as a practice for Chillout and Klondike.

 

But, one thing they are doing that I'm not sure I understand is breaking the boys into pairs. Each pair will function as a patrol - cooking, eating, sleeping together. I want to understand, so I'll ask here...is there a bigger benefit to camping this way as opposed to using the standard patrols? Perhaps its a size thing? The Troop has 2 small patrols and there is never 100% participation on camp outs, with usually only 6-10 boys participating in any given event.

 

Have you done the pair camping thing? Were there added benefits for your boys or was it simply a convenience thing? Is it better to have several 2 Scout patrols than 1 10 Scout or 2 5 Scout patrols?

 

(and no, this isn't a Cub Leader re-education issue....its simple an adult re-education issue....I want to understand).

 

YiS

Michelle

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Were there added benefits for your boys or was it simply a convenience thing?

 

Poorly trained Scout leaders usually sacrifice the Patrol Method to convenience.

 

But there is nothing wrong with using a buddy system within existing Patrols. Do you have anything from the Troop in writing? It is possible that they are using a brand of dehydrated food that serves two people.

 

Kudu

 

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I would suggest the two patrols of 4 or 5 boys each. Given the camp duties of cooking, clean-up, fire, etc., it will be a more efficient division of labor. Even if duties have to be doubled up, such as fire with cooking and water with clean-up, you have a patrol using the patrol method. buying for a small group is easier than bying for two. There is less waste unless your boys are a very hungry bunch. Two patrols troops are a lot more common than you would think.

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My son's troop is doing a campout in a couple of weeks and due to lower than usual attendance from several "regular" patrols, they will be splitting into two small "campout" patrols of 5-6 boys each. However, they do tent in pairs and there was some talk of doing some cooking in pairs. This is because several of the younger scouts want to work on the cooking reqs for 2nd and 1st class and they thought it would be easier to do in pairs (ex: backpack stoves - not everyone has them so they're pairing up with boys who already have one).

 

Lisa'bob

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The Pairs thing is just for this campout...on previous camp outs they have done Patrols (or at least 1 Patrol). Each pair of boys is responsible for their own menu making, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc....Now I may be missing something, but to me that sounds less like using the Buddy System and more like 2 Scout patrols...

 

Thanks for the info give thus far.

 

Michelle

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Dismantling patrols is never good for any reason. Why have a "patrol" if the adults break it up to suit their personal ideas of "Scouting"?

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Since the troop normally uses the patrol system, I wonder if there is a purpose behind it that you don't understand. For example, I know of troops doing "survival" campouts this style. The boys have to act as though they are on their own (with their buddy) and build a shelter and feed themselves for the night. So, before we convict the Scoutmaster of doing something wrong, why don't we try and find out if there is more to the story.

 

Also, if the troop is run correctly, this was a PLC decision, not the SM. Maybe the SM is letting them do it, so they'll see why we use the Patrol System. Remember, some of our best lessons come from our mistakes. We try to allow them boys to make mistakes in a controled environment.

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Eagle - that's why I asked here. I'm sorry if I made it sound like the SM was a horrible person. That was entirely not my intent. I was looking for an understanding that I didn't have and that Nephew is unable to share...when asked why they are doing it this way he said "I dunno". Pretty typical for his 12 years stil, unfortunatly.

 

If the intent is a "survival" type campout I think that would be pretty cool (no pun intended). I'm fairly certain the idea came from the PLC itself as this Troop is almost fanatical in being "boy run".

 

Michelle

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"I'm fairly certain the idea came from the PLC itself as this Troop is almost fanatical in being 'boy run'. "

 

If the troop is run according to Scouting, the PLC would not empowered to make decisions contrary to Scouting methods. "Boy run" means they operate within the Scouting program. Whatever decisions they make should be supported in their Patrol Leader Handbook, SPL Handbook, and SM Handbook.

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My guess is that they are using dehydrated food and it comes in 2 person servings.

 

I did not say rather this is a good idea or not, but that is the only thing I could think of. When going to Philmont lunches and breakfast are packed for 2.

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The way msnowman says "this Troop is almost fanatical in being "boy run"" rings an alarm bell for me. I would characterize my troop the same way - until you use your own eyes. Then you see that although they talk the talk, they don't walk the walk. Just saying it don't make it so. As an example, see my "Ketchup" thread to see how automatic it is for some adults to dictate things that should be left to the patrols.

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I stand by my "fanatical" comment, though it isn't always a bad thing. The SM and ASMs and CC stand by and watch Troop meetings frequently (though this is improving) dissolve into chaos...or the other end of the spectrum - the boys sitting around a table in their own little cliques that have nothing to do w/ their patrols comparing video games, girls, etc. That part of it was tough to swallow coming from Cub Scouts but I held my tongue and kept my own council because I know the boys are learning to lead and when they get bored enough with chaos or chit-chatting change will come from within. When other adults question XYZ activity they are soundly met with "its boy run, they decide what they want to do".

 

The SPL presents his ideas at the Troop committee meetings. The usual amount of adult input is along the lines of "Have you made sure you have 2 adults who will go?" "Sorry, Council bans all camp outs during November except (insert hunting free island here)" "Have you secured permission to use X property"....in short, logistics that as a young man he may not have thought of.

 

Fanatical isn't always a bad word....sorta like rabidly...:)

 

Michelle

 

 

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The SM and assistants are not doing their jobs if they stand by and let the "boy led" meeting degenerate into chaos. "Boy led" does not mean boy-led-into-the-ground.

 

It is not the SPL's job to present his ideas to the adult committee. He should not even be there. The PLC, led by the SPL makes the plans for their activity. The SM is there to counsel. The SM takes the PLC plan to the adult committee for their support. Support includes securing the permission, recruiting the adult leaders, drivers, etc. and anything else needed to support the PLC plan. The committee is wrong to expect the SPL to do their jobs.

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OK, I'll bite . . . I'll be the contrarian. If this is a change-up from the typical way of doing things (full patrols), a "let's try it this way for once", or if there is indeed an underlying reason, why not? As a scout (dinosaur ages) and in the troop(s) I serve, there have been opportunities for full patrol (mostly), small(er) group, pair, and individual experiences. Each brings its own ways, methods, and learning experiences.

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Being from a cold weather area like msnowman, when we have winter camped in the snow like this we have scrapped patrols and worked as 2 man scout teams. If you are building snow shelters to live in and cook in, it works much better. In fact during our Klondike Derby, we run an older scout event that is done in pairs after the normal derby is over. They campout in a winter shelter they build, must eat and sleep and function outdoors without going inside to warm up. Older scouts have a blast with it.

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