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thriftyscout

300 feet

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I had never heard of the 300 foot concept before joining this forum a few weeks ago. Our Venture Patrol did the 300 foot concept this past weekend and the results were very promising. The Scouts loved it, the adults stayed out of their way, if they had any problems they worked them out themselves.

 

The younger Scouts were in awe and are now motivated to get their patrols ready for that kind of independence. The Venture Patrol not only took care of themselves but fed lunch to 14 Webelos/4 parents who accompanied the Troop for their Troop overnight. I can't think of a better marketing tool for those boys than seeing this group of teens in the woods with no visible adult supervison. (I did take several walks to their camp, the only problem I saw they had solved on their own before I could even comment.)

 

We have been working toward the ideal of boy led Patrol Method with mixed success for several years. 300 feet is just the concept we need to make the next step. Thank you to this forum for all the great ideas. I look forward to learning more from all of you.

 

YIS,

 

Chuck

 

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I've never heard of that before, but I think I figured out what it meant from your post -- the leaders never came within 300' of the boys? That's pretty neat. We'll have to try that ourselves.

 

Edit: Although 300' is a long ways away. Can boys even shout that far if something went stupidly wrong? We live in a pretty wooded environment and we might have trouble even seeing the boys from that distance. Perhaps we'll try 100'.(This message has been edited by BartHumphries)

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Our guys love it so much they get grumpy if can't camp 300' from nearest patrol when space is limited and it definitely drives our options for weekend campouts.

 

Two cautionary notes:

1. Keep patrols separate. If two or more patrols camp close together away from SPL/Adults, problems will often escalate.

2. Leaders should do some walking about. If we either observe or have reported some significant un-Scout-like activities in the remote camps (language is always first), the PL gets some immediate quality time with SPL (with SM observing) and that patrol may lose their privilege to camp remotely until they prove they are ready. They hate that.

their privelege

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"Although 300' is a long ways away. Can boys even shout that far if something went stupidly wrong? We live in a pretty wooded environment and we might have trouble even seeing the boys from that distance. Perhaps we'll try 100'."

 

Whistle is for emergencies, bugle is for communication. It might not be such a bad idea to have functional buglers. Maybe with everyone camping on top of each other, this is why buglers are becoming obsolete.

 

I'm thinking that if one had good buglers, one could actually camp 1/4 mile apart and still be in contact with each other.

 

For those who's mind went immediately to why not just use cell phones, one must always rely on the availability of service. A bugle doesn't rely on microwave towers to work, and you don't need a solar recharger either. :)

 

So, let me get this straight. A bugler calls attention and everyone looks to the camp where the bugle played. Hmmm... There's someone there with a necker on a walking stick using Meyer's or Morse code.... Ever wonder why all FC scouts of the past knew how this stuff all worked? I don't.

 

Stosh

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Not that whistles and bugles don't have service availability problems either. On windy days, if you're upwind you may not hear the call at all. Still carry a whistle, flashlight, and cellphone.

 

Back in the day, we communicated with other patrols using walkie-talkies. Pretty cool to act like Sgt. Saunders "Checkmate King 2, White Rook calling, over." New batteries Friday night came back as dead batteries Sunday afternoon. We had signal flags too, but we rarely were in line-of-sight.

 

300 feet or more as we adult leaders prepare them to solo.

My $0.02,

 

 

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Thrift,

Glad it worked out. But why isn't all of your patrols like that already? Unless you have a NSP, every single patrol should be capable of being independant, irregardless of the distance.

 

Bart,

IMHO 300' is not that far. I know that when I did some youth training, the the nearest patrol at one point a 1/2 mile away easy. Grant you you did have 2 staffers half way in between, but that is still 1/4 of a mile away.

 

As others have noted, whistles and buglers solve that problem. Grant you finding a bugler is getting harder and harder, but whistles are easy to find. As for the adults walking around, that should be the job of your SPL and older scouts.

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Our guys just walk, never heard a complaint, but bugles are not a bad idea. There was one time I did think 300 ft was to far, a scout came and found me in the middle of a very cold below zero night because his buddy got the stomach flu. There was no moon, lots of snow and lots of low tree branches. I tought I would never find his tent.

 

Kind of reminds me of story about the general rule of out-houses. In the day, out-houses were generally located 100 ft from the house. Most folks felt it was 100ft to close in the summer and 100ft to far in the winter.

 

Barry

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Yah, thriftyscout, thanks for your report on steppin' up to Patrol Method. Sometime soon maybe you'll have a patrol hike and camp for a weekend on their own, so that they can use all of their T-2-1 knowledge like navigation and site selection and such. Then if you're really wicked, yeh can plant a first aid scenario somewhere along their trail and really give 'em a workout ;).

 

I think if somethin' goes stupidly wrong in a patrol site, that's why we teach outdoor skills and first aid. Dealing with "bad" things, improvising gear repairs, managing people is all a part of the experience we want boys to have in Scouting. We don't want 'em to be like other naive civilians who are unprepared and just rely on a cell phone (or a whistle, or a bugle, or...) to summon help for their clogged stove or da fact they missed the last trail junction.

 

And if somethin' goes really wrong, yeh send two scouts for assistance, and the most skilled scout stays as "buddy" of the victim. Easy. Sneakernet works great. :)

 

Beavah

 

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Kudu's either smiling or he had a heart attack and fell out of his chair. If the latter, I hope he was using the buddy system when he read this thread. :)

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I did something many years ago. We had a Webelos visit our troop. Well, I had my two older patrols camp in the next site - much more than 300 ft, more like 1 to 1.5 miles away. Out of sight and out of sound for the most part. Myself and an SA just "happened" to walk by to say hello around 8:00 AM and also around 11:00 PM. During the day, we did a joint activity.

 

The response from the boys was great. The only drawback, the Scout camp insisted on charging us double because we camped like we were two different troops (their words, not mine).

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Thanks for the additional tips. As to why aren't all of our patrols doing this? Like I said in my OP, I had never heard of this concept before reading about it here in these forums. My own Scout career didn't go much past AOL so I don't have much Scout background to draw from.

 

I became an ASM when my son bridged into the Troop. After about a year the SM left and I was asked to take the position. I first read about the Patrol Method in an older SM handbook. I went to all the position specific training which discussed the Patrol Method but IMHO doesn't really provide the tools to make it work. We have been working to implement it over the last few years. We have made progress but we are not yet where I would like to see it. I think 300 feet is the next step to get us there.

 

I can see alot of where Kudu is coming from. I don't think the SM training lends itself to really establishing the Patrol Method. I don't think many Scout camps are set up for Patrol vs. Troop camping. I know it will be difficult to pull this off at our next scheduled campout because of the facilities.

 

I would have been happy to try this with our other non-NSP but they did not have enough attending (2) and were blended in with a NSP for this campout. (Ad Hoc patrols are another major challenge for PM) It would have been difficult to have them 300 feet from our Troop site of tents and cabin and 300 feet from the Venture Patrol.

 

As usual, the more I learn, the more I learn how much there is to learn. 300 feet is a great tool and I look forward to using it more in the future.

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Thrift,

 

1) read the old stuff on PM, esp 3rd ed SM handbook. that will tell you how to do it, and even gives a lesson plan to train your leader. May need to make some slight modification, mostly for tech advancements since then, but it is a great foundation on PM for your scouts.

 

2) what I will say will be sacrilege to Kudu, but I got say it anyway. The patrol method works IF THE LEADERS ARE WILLING TO STAY OUT OF THE WAY (caps for emphasis) even if patrols are only 10 FEET AWAY FROM EACH OTHER ( caps for emphasis).

 

The key to this is A) make sure each patrol understands that they are on their own, i.e. no getting help (except emergencies of course), no borrowing equipment, no sharing supplies etc and B) THE ADULTS ASSUME THE "AL BUNDY POSITION" i.e. sitting around a campfire with a cup of coffee in their hand saying "ask your PL" ( or SPL as the case may be), and generally staying out of the way of the scouts.

 

I need to amend that only patrol that should "rove around" are your older scout patrol (leadership Corps in my day, now Venture Patrol) working with your younger scouts. And then they need the PL's permission to enter, and should be assigned by he SPL to work with the patrols they are visiting.

 

Good luck Thrift and keep it up!

 

 

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Thrift,

 

One thing I forgot to add, DO NOT USE AD HOC PATROLS (caps for emphasis) I have found that it puts peer pressure on the patrol members for everyone to attend if patrols suffer the consequences of not showing up to events. If a patrol can't compete b/c folks said they were going to show don't, it puts pressure on those who didn't. Trust me on that one. We only had 2 folks show up to a camporee. They let us go through the events, but we couldn't get points b/c we didn't have the minimum.

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