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From Jamboree Troop D424, a lesson in efficient campsite setup

“OK, Spartan patrol and Unicorn patrol: You guys start setting up tents,” says Chris Schwartz, senior patrol leader of jamboree Troop D424 out of the West Tennessee Area Council.

“Phoenix patrol and Cougars: cots and kitchen stuff,” he continues. “And leadership corps, you fill in where needed.”

Just like that, three dozen Scouts spring into action. Over here, Scouts unfold and assemble cots with robot-like precision. Over there, tents take shape in no time. Nobody cares which tent or cot will be theirs, only that every tent, cot and dining area gets assembled before anyone unpacks their personal gear.

Troop D424 represents another impressive example of a boy-led troop getting things done without intervention from adults. But there’s more that caught my eye: Troop D424 is comprised of 12 different troops back home, meaning most of these Scouts met for the first time at pre-jamboree meetings.

That’s why SPL Chris wanted to split up tasks by patrol.

“It will force them to work together, and they’ll bond more,” he says. As expected, Chris gets called away by a Scout before we have time to finish chatting.

But the troop’s Scoutmaster and assistant Scoutmasters had plenty of time to talk — as should be the case in any boy-led troop.

“That’s called the patrol method,” Scoutmaster Mike Snyder says. “That’s the way Scouting is supposed to be run. And it’s the way the troop has been for years. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails miserably.”

But it’s Baden-Powell’s vision, and Snyder doesn’t dare tamper with it. What it means is that adults step in only when absolutely necessary. And the rest of the time?

“Patch trading,” jokes assistant Scoutmaster John Vanhoose.

A few campsites down from D424, Scouts relax on dining tables in a half-setup campsite. Some sip water while others play cards. Camp setup will happen later for this troop, and that’s fine. Two troops, two different philosophies about the order of things upon arrival at camp.

Those Scouts look cool and comfortable, but Chris knows that there will be time for his troop to relax once the campsite is complete. Until then, what’s his task?

“A little bit of everything,” he says, smiling. “It comes with the job, I guess.”

More photos of D424:

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9 thoughts on “From Jamboree Troop D424, a lesson in efficient campsite setup

  1. My son is in the Troop D424, Him and 2 other scouts from Troop 4031. Glad to see all the hard work they do shows. Great Job to all the West Tennessee boys.

  2. I had Chris and some other West Tennessee Council scouts in my Middle Tennessee Council Troop in 2010. What an outstanding group of young men! I would expect nothing less from Chris or any other scout from that program.

  3. I am proud of our young men from Tennessee. I worked with Chris at summer camp this year and it was my honor. I know a few of the boys were on staff for NYLT less th
    an two weeks ago. They are not shy of hard work. What a great group of young men!!!!!! Keep up the good work!

  4. West Tennessee is well represented by these great young men and leaders. Proud to be a D424 parent, and wife to the patch trading Assistant Scoutmaster, John VanHoose.

  5. There are 8 scouts there from troop 68 ( now D424) that have been together since they were Tigers. These scouts have grown up together and work together very well and “play” together. I am proud of my son, Zach, who happens to be part of this wonderful program. Those Tennessee boys will make us proud!! A BIG thankyou you goes out to all the leaders for making our boys into great Men!!!

  6. Reading this makes the One Hour a week worthwhile. West Tennessee Scoutmaster who has 5 Scouts in D424

  7. The boys in this troop are from only 12 different troops at home?

    I was ASM in 2010, and our troop (942) had 34 boys who were from at least 6 different councils. The 17 boys from Utah were from 12 different troops (2 boys from one troop in a neighboring council). We met the cousins from CA and TX on the day we left Utah. We met the patrol from ID (8 boys from at least 3 (maybe 6) different troops) when the buses met outside the Jambo site. We met the patrol from Barbados (6 boys from 2 Barbados councils – probably 6 different troops) several hours after we arrived. The patrol leader of one patrol was a cousin from TX who had never met 5 of the boys in his patrol.

    A well planned patrol method, and well trained youth leaders were able to quickly combine these boys that had mostly not known each-other before into a great troop.

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