Re: Camping Competitions for Sc
Jim Sleezer (JHS8@VM1.UCC.OKSTATE.EDU)
Thu, 27 Apr 1995 13:01:00 CST
On Wed, 26 Apr 1995 10:49:55 -0400 Carmela Storm said (some deletions):
>I am looking for detailed information about Camping Competition Weekends.
>I believe in Boy Scouts and in other countries these are called Camporees.
>Am I correct?
Camporee is fairly common terminology for a short-term campout of several
troops--sometimes at a developed camp but also at undeveloped sites. It
would usually be a distric or council event in BSA and last 2-3 days.
Although competitive events are common, I have attended camporees where there
was no competition.
>What types of competitions do you have? Who judges? How do you determine
>the judging (i.e. what different aspects are judged - skill, safety, speed
I have seen a full range of things. All those you listed and more.
My childhood memories are of camporees in our city park. The competitive
events were always Saturday afternoon. Patrols were lined up about 50 feet
away from THE line and about 10 feet apart. There were usually about 10
events. Scouts knew ahead of time what the events would be and how they
would be scored. They did not know which patrol members would compete in
a particular event. Patrol members were called forward by number (each
scout in patrol had a number from 1-8). The advanced to THE line and
on the go signal began the event. Points were usually awarded based on
performance of the skill and on time to completion. Behind the patrols
a team held up different color/design flags on a prearranged sequence. When
you finished, the judge looked up to see what flag was up. That told your
time score. The judge evaluated your skill. A master judge was available
for each event if there were questions. Score sheets were collected after
each event. Patrols also kept their own scores so they could check where
they stood. For these events, judges were adult leaders from the units in
attendance (didn't judge your own unit). Once competition started, adults
could not provide any coaching.
I have also seen similar situation with Senior Patrol Leaders, Junior Assistant
Scoutmasters doing the judging. Usually works very well if the judges are
all coached ahead of time on how to interpret the performance.
>What kind of materials do you send out ahead of time?
This is usually a weak link. I like to see lots of material sent out well in
advance. The best competitive camporee I attended was announced 10 months in
advance. Our troop built most of a year's program around preparation. It was
also the best attended. Every troop in the district was represented.
>Who provides what?
In the above situation, we had a full list of what we needed to supply and
what would be supplied by the camporee committee. It was wonderful.
>How do you schedule it?
We typically setup Friday night and had troop campfires. Saturday morning
was usually open house. Visit each other and see what other units were doing.
Our troop frequently demonstrated rope making during this time (we were known
for our wierd colored ropes). Competition usually began after lunch and ran
until about supper time. Saturday evening was usually a campwide campfire.
Sunday morning was church, sometimes a special demonstration like police dogs
or fire apparatus. Some units went home in the morning, others after lunch.
>What are the goals of the event?
For the above, the goals were to see what others did and compare ourselves to
them. I also remember camporees in the spring where the focus was on getting
ready for summer camp. That's also what I remember from the PL handbook that
I had as a boy.
>What are the priorities?
I don't understand this question but I always saw the event as an opportunity
to get some great ideas from other troops about what they were doing that
would make our program better.
>What about inexperienced groups?
Inexperienced groups often did not do as well in the competition but they
learned a lot from the experience. We gave three levels of ribbons (honor,
standard, and participation). If you accumulated x number of points in
the skill competition, campsite inspection, scout spirit, etc. then you
got the ribbon for that level. Competition was against a standard, not
against each other. A few times they named the top three patrols but that
was not very popular (except with the top three patrols). It was usually
easy to reach standard level, more difficult to reach honor. There were
always a few participation ribbons. Usually they were received with the
expectation that the patrol would return the next year and do a lot better
(now that they knew what was happening).
Back in those days, adult leaders were heavily involved in planning. More
recently, I have seen senior patrol leaders involved and think that is much
better. I also like the addition of some non scout skill events. My favorite
is blanket volley ball. The net is a blanket that extends to the ground so
you can't see the other team. You just hear them hit the ball. The court is
smaller than normal, no spiking. You really have to stay on your toes
since you only see the ball above the blanket as it is coming your way. We
played that you could not hit ball above the net to avoid direct shots. The
smaller court keeps things within reasonable range, i.e., no deep shots! I
have seen it go with several volleys. The point is usually lost by too many
people (or no one) converging on the ball.
For competitive events, I like to set the scene and end the instructions with
DO SOMETHING. I once had a patrol that decided they were not prepared to
handle the situation (first aid beyond their level). Their only action was
to comfort the injured and send two members to get help. The judge gave them
more points for working within their limits than he did for patrols who took
improper action. Another patrol heard about it and decided to try the same
thing only they didn't send for help. Score=0.
I also like to see the competitive events happen along a trail so the patrol
has to move from place to place. We usually stick in a scout spirit event
that is unannounced. i.e., someone along trail needs help. If patrol offers
help they are told something like, "thanks, we can do it." If they help
anyway, they get full points. If they offer but don't help, they get half
points. If they ignore, they get nothing but when the awards are announced
they remember that guy trying to load the canoe on his car!! (or put up a
tent, or something similar).
I recently heard a troop talk of going camping in a few weeks and having the
camporee on Saturday afternoon. Personally, I equate camporee with the whole
weekend and call the other competitive events.
In one council, patrols competed only in the events the wanted to. There were
several demos going on--arrow making, leather work, wood carving, police and
fire demos--at the same time. Pick and choose. Weekend was geared to
fellowship and learning from others. I also see camporees focused on one or
two merit badges. One council had a merit badge midway with counselors on
hand to introduce the merit badge and get people started. Rule was that you
could not sign off merit badges that weekend but could make appointments with
the counselor for a future session. Advancement increased significantly as
scouts found it much easier to approach the counselor in this situation.
A camporee can be whatever you want. BTW, we have had competitive events
on a saturday afternoon without camping out--usually focused on one type
event like pioneering or first aid.
Roundtable Commissioner, Pawnee Bill District, Will Rogers Council
JHS8 at OSUVM1.BITNET JHS8 at VM1.UCC.OKSTATE.EDU (Internet)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City