Monday, September 10, 2007


Recently, as we are now between the birth of Scouting and the birth of the B.S.A., Scouters have been harking back to the beginnings a la Baden-Powell. In one of his 1909 writings, B.P. describes the preferred arrangement of campsites with patrols separated by a hundred yards or more.

When we have good, functioning patrols, they naturally pick out an area removed from the staff and the other patrols. But when the individual patrols are weak, they try to establish their area where it’s practically in the staff site or so close to another patrol that the tent ropes cross each other.

At other times we have been so small as to have only one patrol. Though we have tried numerous ways over the years to keep the single patrol motivated, it has never been viable for long.

The patrol in the picture had me fooled. I thought they were not only mentally asleep, but stupid. What I didn’t know is they had been meeting on their own and working on Scouting skills—which vaulted them to near the top in Camporee competition. Now I know that the less I see of a patrol hanging around the staff campsite, the better.

Do you camp by patrols, always?

1 comment:

Jerry said...

This is a great topic. The answer for my Troop is Yes.. We always camp as Patrols. Weather it is on a backpacking trek or Camporee, we set camp by Patrol, and the Adults typically are as far away as (Safely)possible.
What we find is the patrols that camp, eat, and play together are better.
BP once said (paraphrasing)that the Patrol method is not just one method it is the only method!
And it works!

Happy Scouting!
Jerry Schleining
Troop 664
Gresham, OR