Jump to content

What makes for a patrol oriented summer camp?

Recommended Posts

On another thread GKlose mentioned a summer camp that was "patrol oriented." I'm really curious. We've done patrol cooking but are there other activities that help patrol teamwork? Other than cooking we could be one giant mob and camp would provide nothing to encourage patrol teamwork.


I'm also tired of merit badge factory summer camps and would rather see scouts spend their afternoons hiking, climbing, shooting, etc. I think these issues are related.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No mess hall for a starter.


All camp competition by patrol, not troop.


Flags line up by patrols, not troops.


Etc. There is a definite pattern when you see it being done right.



Link to post
Share on other sites

It's "you're tired" not "your tired". Sorry, I spend a lot of time working with scouts on writing.


I'd say the boys want a change because pretty much after 2 or 3 years the scouts don't like going to summer camp because they'd rather do high adventure trips, they already have the merit badges, and to be honest a lot of merit badge classes are boring and taught by scouts that don't really know the material. I asked the scouts at the end of their last summer camp what they wanted and they said climbing, shooting, swimming, gps, canoeing, build a monkey bridge, fish, sleep in hammocks, etc. They got excited about that. Nobody said there should be more merit badges offered. While many of those activities are at camp in the form of merit badges they don't actually get to do much climbing or canoeing for example.


There are a few threads currently about developing leadership and the importance of teamwork and I'm wondering how summer camp can improve that and make camp more fun at the same time. What if, say, afternoons are set aside for patrol challenge events. The patrol could go canoeing for a few hours and just have fun with it. Or go climbing as a patrol, or make a signal tower. Every afternoon they could do something different. They could still do merit badges in the morning but a week of challenging patrol activities would do a lot for building camaraderie.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Matt -- what Stosh said. And then some.


I have no idea how unique this camp is, but the camp we go to includes a patrol-oriented program. Patrols sign up for activities, on a day by day basis (advancement in not emphasized, but it is still possible in this camp). For example, a little over a month ago, we had two patrols in camp, and they signed up for these daily activities:


Patrol A: water skiing and tubing; horsemanship; climbing barn; sailing; snorkeling and kayaking.


Patrol B: "Mountain Man" (tomahawks, action archery, black powder rifle), swimming, climbing barn, metalworking, and the "Extreme Obstacle Course".


The way this camp works is that you're in a program area an entire day, with a staff member or two, and you have lunch there with them (lunches are provided in the morning, and are carried to the program area.


At some program areas, the activity may lead to partial merit badge completion, if your patrol desires (examples: horsemanship, climbing barn, sailing, swimming).


In our case, the older patrol (A) mostly already had Climbing Merit Badge, so they were up and climbing after a brief safety refresher. The one Scout that needed to complete Climbing MB was easily able to do so. With Sailing MB, about half of them already had it, several others were able to get a good start.


With our younger patrol (B), most were able to easily pass the BSA swimmer's test, so they caught up on all the rank advancement swimming requirements, and then proceed on to Swimming MB requirements. I didn't think that they'd move so quickly, so I didn't have them bring clothing (long-sleeved shirt, long pants) for the floatation requirement. Otherwise, I think most of them might have completed the merit badge.


The younger patrol also did the "Extreme Obstacle Course" -- consider that kind of like a low COPE course, with team-building games, and then running the obstacle course a couple of times, as a group (things like scaling the wall needed group effort).


The camp pushes patrol "outposts", although our guys have not taken advantage of them yet. They also could have chosen days to go off and climb on real rock (if they do the climbing barn first), go on a remote hike, etc.


The "reservation" also offers a high adventure program (away from the camp) and also their "spokes" program (high adventure, but using the camp as a base camp, heading out to different places for hiking, backpacking, kayaking, canoeing).


But program isn't the only part -- they have patrol competitions all week, including wide games for evening program. They have an Older Scout Night, where older Scouts could go off to have a separate game, campfire and snackage with older Scouts from an adjacent camp. Our guys turned it down, because the entire patrol didn't meet the criteria.


In past years, they emphasized patrol-based training, and patrol leader training as well, in special programs. They didn't do that so much this year, I think because much of the staff had turned over.


So I'm a big proponent of this camp -- it is in central NH, just a little south of Alton (which is on Lake Winnipesaukee). Daniel Webster Council. If you go to nhscouting.org, choose the "camping" link for "Griswold Scout Reservation" and then "Camp Bell", and then "Forms", you can download their leader's guide. It fully describes the program. Like I said, I have no idea if this camp is unique, but it is my favorite camp out of the six I've visited.


Harkening back to Stosh's comments: out of the six I've visited, five of them have a dining hall. This one, Camp Bell, doesn't have one. :-)





Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...