Patrol Cooking at Summer Camp
Scott Begin (0005555440@MCIMAIL.COM)
Fri, 4 Jun 1993 03:00:00 GMT
The summer camp I attended as a youth was Wrights Lake Scout Reservation. It
is operated by the Wolverine Council (Ann Arbor, MI) near Evert, MI (about 3
hrs north of the council, between Claire, MI & Big Rapids, MI). This camp has
no dining hall and cooking is done patrol style (3 burner propane stoves with
20 bulk tanks).
For young scouts, it is a great learning experience, giving them cooking
experience. Compared to a dining hall camp, there was probably and additional
3-5 hours spent each day in the preparation of meals, although program time is
the same as where you had a dining hall.
Even though our troop was experienced at camping, patrol cooking at summer
camp gave you lots of experience cooking (especially when you only had 5
scouts at camp). The meals were well planned and not all that complex (most
times, they were open can, heat, & eat) About the only non convenience food
issued during the week was the grilled cheese, pancake batter, or eggs for
scrambling and french toast (unlike the frozen hash whites^H^H^H^H^Hbrowns
issued at the 1985 Jamboree). Each meal included a detailed instruction sheet
(listing ingredients, utensils needed, and instructions from "read
instructions twice BEFORE starting" to "say grace before eating."
The biggest cooking challenge during the week was the cake (dutch oven &
charcoal provided). One year, after burning our first attempt, we purchased a
case of cake mixes (last week of camp, they were selling off excess supplies)
and got pretty good at baking them.
One thing I discovered as a Patrol leader at the 1985 jambo was how few scouts
were experienced at preparing meals as a patrol for an extened period of time
(longer than a weekend).
I have heard many leaders (particularly since moving to the Calumet council)
who were very opposed to patrol style cooking at camp. Most times they cite
the ammount of time used cooking meals. Having attended both types of camps
(dining hall & patrol style), I will say this is not true. True the scouts do
not have as much time for their merit badge homework, but with advance
preparation, you can aleviate that problem.
When I worked at a dining hall camp, I saw many scouts (young ones especially)
who didn't seem much different than at home, showing up at specified times to
be fed, complaining about the food, not wanting to jump tables, etc... If the
jumpers didn't show up, you probably still got fed.
When we cooked patrol style, I don't ever remember complaints about the
quality of food (hard to do when you cooked it). If you didn't get up and get
your food, no one else would do it for you. You probably wouldn't go hungry,
but breakfast would be late. Yes, I remember it happening on more than one
occasion. The cooperation and planning you learned is something you can't get
in a merit badge class.
I'd like to convince our troop to go to this type of camp, but I doubt I'd get
Yours in Scouting,
Scott A. Begin ASM, T-348 & T-352, Oak Forest, IL
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City