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Patrol Camping. Adults needed?

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We have a patrol which wants to camp without adult leadership, at a local state park. Can the patrol camp without adult leaders? What are the guidelines. I've searched G2SS and did not see anything on it. I was told that with Scoutmaster approval and parents permission slips signed, it is possible for the patrol to camp without adult supervision.


Common sense tells me adult leadership of some sort should be present, suggestions/advice is greatly appreciated.



Thank You



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One also has to remember that if the patrol is made up of older scouts, which is usually the case with independent patrol activities, many of them are over 16 and drive themselves to the event. Kinda

patrol camping without adults is indeed allowed and, hopefully, encouraged.


From the G2SS: [note sentence on patrol activities]

Two-deep leadership:

Two registered adult leaders, or one registered leader and a parent of a participating Scout or other adult, one of whom must be at least 21 years of age or older, are required for all trips or outings. There are a few instances, such as patrol activities, when no adult leadership is required. Coed overnight activities require male and female adult leaders, both of whom must be 21 years of age or older, and one of whom must be a registered member of the BSA.


Our guys just finished their annual planning weekend and have a couple of trips designed for the older scouts to go on their own without adults. We are a very small troop (8 guys right now) so we are essentially one patrol. We do have a couple of younger scouts that help make up that one patrol, but we (and especially the older scouts) do not feel they are ready to go on the "older boys" trip. Mostly because of behavioral/maturity issues that the older guys just don't feel up to dealing with, but also because they do not yet possess the skills necessary for the trips they are planning.


If your common sense is telling you that adult leadership is needed with your guys, maybe they are not yet ready to handle things on their own. Then again, it could be the usual over-protectiveness we have as parents that is so difficult to let go. Please don't take that as a criticism. Yours is not an uncommon sentiment. I don't know of any other troop in my area that encourages the guys to go out on their own.

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the little lady is correct, dead on and otherwise right


A patrol needs only the Scoutmaster's permission to have a patrol campout, no adults required. Remember the movie "Stand by Me"? Those codes were essentially a patrol and they were alone.


Let them do it


PS: if the State Park requires an adult to be with minors, of course the rules have to be followed(This message has been edited by oldgreyeagle)

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I've thought about this before, how many camps, state parks or otherwise, will allow a group of youth to camp without a leader-in-charge? and how do you deal with tour permits? Will council approve one without a LIC & 2nd adult? (one more acronym!)

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From the Scoutmaster Handbook Chapter 4 The Boy Led Patrol


Patrol Activities


Most Patrol activities take place within the framework of the troop. However, patrols may also set out on day hikes, service projects and overnighters independent of the troop and free of adult leadership as long as they follow two rules:


The Scoutmaster approves of the patrol activity

The patrol activity does not interfere with any troop function.


A patrol activity without adult supervision should be allowed only when it has been thoroughly planned well within the patrol members levels of training and responsibility. If the Scoutmaster has any doubts, he should encourage the patrol to reconsider its plans, or should assign adults to accompany the patrol during the activity in question.


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OldGreyEagle writes:


Remember the movie "Stand by Me"?


Whitey takes his Patrol on an adult-free outing in "Follow Me, Boys!" as well.


ursus snorous roarus writes:


I've thought about this before, how many camps, state parks or otherwise, will allow a group of youth to camp without a leader-in-charge?


The undeveloped areas of National Forests and State Parks generally do not have such rules, or at least they are never posted at the trailheads. Likewise some semi-developed campgrounds ("Each site contains a picnic table, fire ring, and tent pad. Vault toilets and hand-pumped water are available") are paid for by dropping the camping fee in a slot rather than with a live individual. Typical rules for these venues can be found at:




Fully developed "Cub Scout" campsites with flush toilets and electricity might be a different matter, although some Scoutmasters report that such rules are not enforced unless Scouts call attention to themselves through their behaviour.


ursus snorous roarus writes:


and how do you deal with tour permits?


My Scouts always rode bicycles or hiked along old railroad right-of-ways.


I have never seen any specific BSA rules regarding Patrol Camping and public transportation. If parents are involved in driving the Patrol to its destination, and/or if the destination is a Scout Camp I would just pick up the phone and call the most enlightened professional at your local Council (probably not your DE).


Most of the successful Patrol Camping I have seen is similar to when I was a Scout, the Patrols are mixed groups of Scouts and boys who are not in Scouting. I have been out of the loop when some of these mixed Patrols asked their parents, just as I never thought of asking my Scoutmaster for "permission" to go camping even when the destination was the Adirondack High Peaks Region hundreds of miles away.






(This message has been edited by kudu)

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No adults is the ultimate aim of the Patrol system the world over.


Not all Patrols are ready all of the time. If your Troop is not separating Patrols and allowing them to operate completely independantly then you are not helping to prepare them for no adult Patrol camps.


Even if you are doing all that some Scouts....! Oh - they'll always be a worry. I have spied on one such Patrol who did a three day paddle down a local river. The SM (me) and one dad checked them out a few times each day, which they did not know. I knew where they were as they were sending a text message with a grid ref hourly while moving. And the only thing that I saw that worried me was swearing - I think they were testing the freedom out in that regard.


Patrol camps all the way! - it is their proving ground for themselves, their parents and family and thier SM. Honestly - they grow 8 inches each night they safely and happily camp without adults.

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First let me say I'm all for the Patrol Method. I'm also for doing it within the bounds of G2SS. That said, I'm wondering how Ozemu can square what his unit did with the G2SS and with the "agreement" that they've made with the "program" to run it within the prescribed guidelines.


Example: Ozemu states: ".... I have spied on one such Patrol who did a three day paddle down a local river. The SM (me) and one dad checked them out a few times each day, which they did not know. I knew where they were as they were sending a text message with a grid ref hourly while moving. And the only thing that I saw that worried me was swearing - I think they were testing the freedom out in that regard."



While it may seem great to let the boys spread their wings, how did you reconcile your "intermitent supervision" from a distance with the Safety Afloat requirements from the G2SS????


Safety Afloat states: "All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the well-being and safety of the children in his or her care, who is experienced and qualified in the particular watercraft skills and equipment involved in the activity, and who is committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat. One such supervisor is required for each 10 people, with a minimum of two adults for any one group. At least one supervisor must be age 21 or older, and the remaining supervisors must be age 18 or older. All supervisors must complete BSA Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training and rescue training for the type of watercraft to be used in the activity, and at least one must be trained in CPR. It is strongly recommended that all units have at least one adult or older youth member currently trained as a BSA Lifeguard to assist in the planning and conducting of all activity afloat."


I believe the supervision required during an "afloat trip" requires direct and constant supervision by an adult as directed by the G2SS. That said, adult supervision doesn't mean that a patrol can't plan and exercise the event as a boy led (Patrol Method) event. The adults should be wise enough to remain in constant direct visual contact but allow enough distance and enough patience to allow them to run their event. The G2SS expects the adult supervisor to be able to conduct CPR and perform rescue training for the type of watercraft involved.



NEVER MIND!!!!!!! Your from Austrailia!!!!!! G'Day Mate!!!!!

(This message has been edited by Eagletrek)

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Agreed patrols can go camping with SM approval, but in practice that applies only to non-BSA properties and non BSA activities which seems somewhat odd to me.


Some examples:

1. A patrol cannot go to Philmont without adults. Yes, adults should handle transportation to and from ranch. When I did Philmont in the 60's, only one adult was required then and frankly we would have done fine without him on the trail.


2. A patrol cannot go to camporees in my council w/o adults.

(Our troop was not going to the camporee but one older patrol was interested but still needed two adults).


3. A patrol cannot go to scout camp, even a "patrol method" scout camp, without adults. They could go provisional but then the camp provides the "adults".


(This message has been edited by RememberSchiff)

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I would be delighted to hear that I am wrong, that a patrol (or crew) can go on a Philmont adventure without adults. Here at my council, Philmont is managed through Council with a near constant adult presence.


As to my council, no adultless patrol camping at camporees or summer camp. At least two adults must be present. This info is in the camporee flyers and summer camp adult leader handbook. Sorry no links, I prefer to remain anonymous. If other councils are different, I'd like to hear about that too.







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Loud Snoring Bear asked: "and how do you deal with tour permits?"

I checked with our council program director. It was a subject that the council had not considered. Here was his advice until the Council Fun Prevention Risk Management Committee could discuss it:


File a tour permit for all patrol activities away from their normal meeting location.

Note on the permit that it is a patrol activity.

Put the Patrol Leader information in the Tour Leader information blanks.

Make sure the Unit Leader or Scoutmaster signs the form.

Vehicle information must be given if transportation is provided to the activity location.

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Thank you jet, you've come closest to anyone really telling me that it's been actually done under current conditions. Please let us know if that tour permit ever gets approved!


Now, I'm not usually a cynic, but this sounds pretty hokey to me. May have worked back in the day when we used to have access to open space, but with all the rules and regulations on YP, proper trained supervision, G2SS, you mean this can be allowed? Unless someone in the unit or a friend of the unit has some acreage, this aint gonna happen. Heres why:

1.) Who is going to get them there? Need a tour permit.

2.) What kind of ranger/owner/manager is going to let a group of minors come onto their property for any length of time without any adult supervision? Cripe, most campgrounds in my area want a damage deposit and thats WITH adult supervision.

3.) Who is going to answer to M&D when little Johnny shows up with a wedgie mark up his back and demanding answers from the SM that approved it? Or much worse


Now, Ive been around this Scouting game for a few years, and while it all sounds so glamorous and sentimental when quoting BP, but Id like to see how it is done TODAY: not when we were kids, not outside of the USA, not back when BP himself was camping. And done without violating one of the BSA commandments we as adults have sworn on our first born to follow. I want someone to tell me a tour permit was filled out and approved by their council for this. I really hope one of you proves me wrong - because I'd love to run this by my committee, but with what vagueness I've read here so far, no way. I'd get laughed out of the committee meeting.


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