John T. Peeples (john.peeples@STJUDE.ORG)
Mon, 5 May 1997 10:46:31 -0500
I've been lurking on the list for a few months now and usually enjoy the
postings; however, here (as in most places) we tend to spend a lot of time
on the negatives. Well, I just returned from a GREAT Spring Camporee that
has proven to me that the BP's Patrol Methods are alive and well. This
was one of those (rare) weekend outings where both the boys and adults
walked away feeling great and really loving Scouts!
Troop 231 is in the Crittenden District of the Chickasaw Council, the
district only has three 'active' Troops; therefore, district camporees are
usually very small. For several years we have been invited to join the
Nashoba Districts Camporee on average they will have 10 - 12 Troops and
between 150 - 200 Scouts; this makes for more fun for the boys. The guys
in Nashoba make our Troop feel like one of their own and welcome us to
participate fully in their camporee; over the years our Scouts and
Scouters have developed a great scouting fellowship.
This particular camporee was a Klondike Derby - we don't have snow here so
the boys built sleds to be pulled on the grass - these young Scouts really
worked hard. Due to a storm on Friday we got off to a late start
Saturday, we sent two patrols on the course, gave each PL a 2-way radio
and the adults stayed back in camp. It was fun to listen to the PLs
talking on the radios - checking up on each others progress, asking for
help... As fate would have it the Panther Patrol's sled (aka "Fred") fell
apart early in the day, but instead of calling me, the PL packed the
supplies in their backpack, called the other patrol to assist with items
too large to carry and *then* called me to help retrieve the remains.
Later we were asked to come up with a campfire skit, as we discussed many
old skits searching for something new, one Scout was heard to say "It's
too bad Fred the sled is dead" Bingo! In a matter of minutes the boys
(with very little adult help) wrote a memorial service for Fred, 3 Scouts
would say a few words about Fred's short time with us, then as our SPL
blew Taps on his trumpet off in the distance, the entire Troop would come
forward with Fred's "body" on a stretcher covered with a blanket and
quietly lay his broken body on the campfire. I was asked to introduce the
skit, asking for a moment of silence for our friend Fred, the boys kept a
very serious look about them, never letting on that Fred was our sled.
Some Scouter friends of mine told me later that several people at the
campfire didn't figure out the skit until they saw the wooden "body" as we
placed it in the fire.
For several years our patrol methods seemed to fall short of the goal.
This weekend was one of those moments that renewed my Scouting spirit and
assured me that the Patrol Methods do work! It was great to look and
listen as these boys worked out their problems and turned a negative event
(the broken down sled) into a very positive event (a new skit). In
addition, the Flaming Arrow Patrol received second place in the sled
contest for their sled Ned (Fred's cousin), the Panther Patrol won second
place in pioneering (an area we have not covered well with this new patrol)
and both tied for third place in the patrol flag contest.
I worked hard to let the boys know that we were very pleased with the
weekend and we (myself and 2 assistants) took time to let each parent know
about the positive weekend - too often they only hear what went wrong.
There's still a long road ahead before I get out the Scoutmaster's rocking
chair, our young Scouts do need adult help; but the boy leadership is
I hope each of you have similar positive events soon, we can never have
John T. Peeples, Scoutmaster Troop 231
First Presbyterian Church, West Memphis Arkansas
ps: Thanks to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for access to Scouts-L
through my PC here in the office.
No, I can't write, type or spell, but I do my best; that's all I ask of
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City