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Adult meals at campouts - Eat with the patrols?

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The troop I am now affiliated with (ASM) is a small troop. We have 1 patrol with 5 or 6 members, a PL, an ASPL and an SPL.


I've not camped with them yet (other than staff at district events) but I wouldn't be suprised to see it go either way.




My old troop (when I was a scout) had at least 3 patrols on every trip, and the adults always ate seperatly... There was also "extra" adult food for scouts with religious issues when the patrol failed to plan for them (Jewish scouts with pork products, etc).


The adults also would usually cook the evening snack/dessert (The SM made a mean peach cobbler) and, as was said, had coffee and hot water at hand almost any time of the day/night.


The adults were also VERY good at MAKING SURE that dishes got CLEANED correctly.



Also - if Webelos are along - the adults will often cook for the Webelos and parents.

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Well, I come from a large Troop (6 Patrols). We currently have around 60 "active" Scouts, and we are getting about 15 "Ex--Webelos ll" who just crossed over into our troop. I am one of two ASPL's we have for our troop. I've been with the troop for 6 years.


During this time our Adult Leaders have constantly done the same thing. Every patrol in our troop has a and the Adult Leaders have their own .


So, the adults do eat their own meals when we cook as patrols. However, at places like summer camp when we cook for the troop, everyone eats the same thing, together.


The adult leaders make cobbler on certain campouts and on others, a patrol volunteers to do it. So, you could say while the adult leaders fix their own meals and eat by themselves under their dining fly, they set an example for the rest.


When we get to a campout with the new scouts, they have already chosen which patrol they want to join, and the older scouts in the patrol get them involved through example how to do the cooking and clean up. Usually one older scout to one newer scout.


Richard W. Mienke

Life Scout

ASPL Troop 140, Hudson, WI



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  • 1 month later...

In my Scouting days of yore (early 80's), our patrols cooked their own food and an ASM/SM or SPL/ASPL ate with a patrol for every meal. A new Scout would usually be assisting an older Scout. When a Scout had a little experience cooking, like working on the cooking skill award (remember those?), he would start being the head cook for a meal. If the SM was coming to eat, it provided a little extra incentive to do things right. The adults did no cooking or cleanup for the patrols. We were a very stongly boy-led troop.

The troop my son crossed into is more adult led than I would like, but that's something I'm going to work on as a committee member. Our adults cook and eat separately from the boys. I think it would help the adult/boy dynamic because several of the boys are on the verge of being feral at campouts. Before I joined, the current leaders told me one patrol discovered ramen noodle required no cleanup, so that's what they ate 3 times a day. Another patrol wrapped EVERYTHING in foil to avoid doing dishes. Now I'm not advocating that our troop turn every kid into Wolfgang Puck or Emeril... Camping Life magazine always has 3-4 recipes for a camp meal that sound better than hot dogs. The recipes aren't that complicated and could probably be done in only a couple of pots/pans.

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Our adults set up and operate as a patrol. We have duty rosters, shopping trips (usually the same nights as the younger patrols) and our own camping area away from the older scouts (closer to the NSP).


The SPL checks and approves the menus (in advance) for all patrols...both to make sure the patrols are meeting the cooking objectives of the troop as well as those of the scouts in that patrol but also to be sure that the "cooking chores" do not interfer with the program (example- district camporees are usually "heavy" with timed/ rigid schedule program events where a large involved meal might result in a patrol missing "program"- so the SPL helps guard against the boys missing out because they didn't understand the time constraints.


Patrols get to see and smell adult cooking and on very rare occaisions even taste but the general rule is "Make 'em drool" and before long the patrols are asking to borrow my extra smoker or for copies of our recipies...or some of my sour dough starter...


The SPL and ASPL are pampered in our troop...they eat with the adults and they do not do K.P. nor do they pay for their meals. It's literally "on the adults" ...All of our SPLs admit that the worst thing about stepping down from being SPL is having to go back to eating with a scout patrol...(and kitchen duties).


All this encourages patrols to cook good food and demonstrates what team work during clean up "looks like". Adults generally have many more pots to clean (prep and numerous steps) but we are almost always cleaned and ready for inspection before the boys are halfway through dinner clean-up.


Patrols may invite the SM or an ASM to dinner (or even the SPL)accepting is up to the poor brave souls invited (;>)....) more likely to happen, however, is the patrols bringing samples by for all adults to try...that is... when what they are cooking 'turns out'....I recall a young man who brought a piece of dump cobbler over for his dad to try...unfortunately, he had gotten the directions a bit wrong and dumped the cake in first with the fruit on top...fruit was great! cake was like concrete!... Dad had a spoon of fruit...ummm good! Then went for a piece of the "crust"...young scout while holding the plate for his dad to sample from - deftly 'locked down the crust with his right thumb and said.."you don't want that" just a seriously and "as matter of factly" as can be imagined.

Aint this scouting stuff grand?! Hope it helps...


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It all depends on the situation I guess.


On a hike where we might only have a patrol's worth of scouts and adults combined we probably cook together and share duties.


At summer camp when we have two patrols of youth and four or five adults, the adults eat with the patrols on a rotation.


If we have too many adults to just place them in youth patrols we might make an adult mess patrol. When we place adults in youth patrols for meals at summer camp for some reason it is tradition that adults don't do any dishes or cooking. On a smaller campout with a higher percentage of adults to youth that would be unfair to the youth, so the adults eat together.


The adults usually eat together on camp-o-rees, or when we want to instill some competition in the youth so they raise the bar on their cooking and meal planning.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Our troops adults have their own patrol and cook for themselves. Once a year the troop have a cooking campout/competiton and the adults eat with the patrols. As a pay back the adults will cook for all the boys during their Spring camporee. The boys are always bringing us "treats" from thier cooking endevors. The adults will usually "guide the first year patrol the frst time then the guides take over.

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We do what MikeF and EagleinKY do - eat as an adult patrol with the SPL and ASPL eating with the adults. Formally, the SPL and ASPL are not members of a patrol (there is really no such thing as a "senior patrol"). Again, this gives me, the SM, a time to interface with the youth leaders. Also, let's say you are the Patrol Leader of the Scorpions and the current SPL came out of your patrol. If the SPL came to eat/cook/clean-up with your patrol, who do you think the boys would look to as their leader, the SPL or PL? Keeping the SPL (and ASPL) eating with the adults helps the PLs.


Having an adult patrol eat together (and having a SA who really does a bang up job as grubmaster and master chef!) lets boys see how their patrols could operate if they had full cooperation, creativity, etc.


It has worked well for us.

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Most times each patrol cooks their own food. This included the adult patrol. But this year it has been tough. We have been under a burn ban almost since November. So most cooking has had to be done on coleman stoves. So most of the time we have split the adults and had them eat with patrols.



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  • 4 weeks later...

I appear to have a different view on this than most here.


In the troop that I serve the adults, SPL and ASPL are guests of the patrols. Each patrol is told how many guests to plan for when they are making their menu and purchasing food.


Adults always eat with patrols. Scouts seem to put more effort into their meals when they know that guests will be eating with them.


Adult patrol advisors have a vested interest in observing the menu planning and food preparation if they are going to be eating that food.


We had a campout several years ago (which I was not able to attend) where the adults ate separate from the patrols. The adults had all kinds of gourmet food and reassured each other that they were setting an example for the patrols to emulate. No one paid much attention to the patrols as they cooked. As it turns out one patrol had undercooked pork chops for dinner. Three scouts threw-up during the night.


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  • 1 month later...

4 years ago we started a troop and since then i always pushed that the adults should eat whatever the patrols make. although we dont seem to eat as well, the boys in our troop see the need to do there best to satisfy the leaders. myself being very close to their age(only 21) i find the boys always trying to make the best food possible to get me to eat with them. (believe me they do everything in their power). personally i like when the adults eat with the scouts. it gets us involved with there learning. everytime i eat with them i tell them where they could improve. however, i must say, when i tell them they should do something better. the next time i eat with them its usually quite a bit better.


when i was a scout i remember having the ASM's eat on their own. i both liked it and didnt. i wanted to show them that i could do it and how good i was. but i also wanted them to leave me alone. so it can work both ways.

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I sincerely hope that Cheffie gets in on this thread.

As for this unit it depends:

On how many boys go,

On which adults go,

On whether or not it is a backpack trip,

On the season,

On where the campground is.

Some of the time, if just a few boys go, the troop will cook as a unit, adults included. If backpacking, we cook using the buddy system. This is when cooking competition excels - each buddy team tries to outdo the others with the quality of the cuisine...and they do a great job too.

When patrols are feasible, they cook as patrols and the adults usually (but not always, depending on which adults) cook for themselves. The reason for adults cooking for themselves are many...a cultivated dislike of poptarts for breakfast, or the oft repeated admonition, "...weeeeeellllll the eggs might be a little too done but you sure did a great job of burning off all that teflon coating, got any poptarts?"

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We are going on our whitewater trip in a couple of weeks.


Tonight, the scouts were finalizing the menus when two more Scouts decided they were going on the trip too. One of those scouts is our SPL who said he felt he hadn't been on enough outings and really should go on this trip so he cancelled his other plans. (Amazing!)


Now we have 9 Scouts and 5 adults (2 of whom are Eagles from our Troop). Our biggest trip in years!


The Scouts had actually planned their menu the week before for only 6 Scouts (the 7th is the SPL and he will eat with the adults).


So tonight they were talking about actually making two patrols for the campout. They decided that since the menu was already made up they would just do it as one big patrol and add to the grocery list. Their decision, their plan.


Adults planned our own menu (plus the SPL).


Awesome. Even a few of the older Scouts mentioned that it was a great meeting, decisions were made (by the Scouts) and isn't it wonderful that almost the whole troop is going on the rafting trip.


Feeling well tonight - sure do love this Scouting stuff.


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Our adults always eat with the patrols. That way, we get to know the boys better and provide feeback on the quality of the meals.


The only exception is that some adults have special diets and have to prepare low fat/salt/whatever meals for themselves.


Whenever I see adults cooking at an event under a carport using big chuck boxes, it makes me wonder what purpose they are serving in scouting.

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