Re: Patrol Competition & Patrol Spirit
Bob Myers (rmyers@ONE.NET)
Thu, 21 Mar 1996 12:26:59 -0500
Ben Alford wrote: "I would like some suggestions from folks who have
good patrol spirit and patrol competition."
This is an important and tough question. I think the answer will vary
widely depending on the particulars of the Scouts, the patrols, the
troop, etc. There are two things that seem to have worked for us
First, well planned and executed interpatrol competitions near the end
of most meetings are important. Two games that worked great for us
recently, generating enthusiastic competition between our 2 patrol, are
the Reactor Transport and Chariot Race (see Woods Wisdom). These were
done in a gym with fairly large patrols. The competition was intense
with no reward other than the thrill of winning.
Second, we had our best campout ever last month in terms of patrol
spirit. The primary event took place Friday night from 10pm-1am. It
consisted of a 2 mile night hike in a small, 200 acre county park.
There were 11 activity stations and the theme was Baden-Powells defense
of Mafeking (1899-1900).
Each patrol had to navigate the course in quitely using map and compass.
The patrols were space 15 minutes apart and 6-7 adults were used as
"advanced scouts" to run the events. Most adults covered 2 stations.
- team building: the patrol had to cross a 100 foot mud puddle (mine
field) carrying all their required gear by using two sets of 8 foot 2x4s
- trust event: the patrol split into pairs to tie bowlines around their
waist with 6 foot ropes, the their rope to their partner's, and lean
back to test the knots
- ladder building (see Scouting magazine from several months ago): using
their Scout staves and rope they brought with them to build a ladder to
get the entire patrol out of an actual 5 foot deep ravine
- silent observation: scout a circa 1820 pioneer village
- mapping: map the village based on the memories of the patrol
- observation: Kim's game
- first aid: treat two gunshot wound, build a stretcher (blanket was
part of required equipment), carry patient over rough terrain with and
egg under his head
- measurement: measure height, width, depth of wooden stage (old fort)
- silent march: although the entire event was to be done quietly, this
part of the trail was monitored for noise
- fire building: burn the string
- orienteering: small 12 point course and build north arrow without
compass using staves (stars were out)
Each event took no more than 15 minutes and the patrols were monitored
virtually the entire way by a silent "spy" that snuk (or was that
sneaked?) around and hung out in trees; observing all along the trail to
assure everyone's safety. We had hot soup and hot chocolate ready for
them when they got back to the cabin a little after 1:00am. They were
cold and tired, but were so pumped that no one went to sleep for more
than an hour. The next day they slept till 10am, had brunch, worked on
advancement, and prepared a huge banquet for Saturday supper.
Our "spy" , ASM Terry Eby, did a tremendous amount of creative
preparation for the Mafeking event, but it took very little preparation
work by the other adults. Terry prepared specific binders for each
adult with all the information for their event(s). Each patrol was
given an orienteering based course description, but were given their
"orders" for each station only when they arrived. These orders were
given only to the patrol leader who was then required to communicate
them to his patrol.
For me, standing out in the woods for more than an hour at night in
absolute darkness with 50 degree (F) temperatures and 30 MPH howling
winds was quite an experience. All the adults had just as much fun as
the Scouts. It was a great success and patrol spirit has never been
Bob Myers, SM Troop 575, Cincinnati, Ohio
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City