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This topic contains 1 reply, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Jason 1 year, 10 months ago.

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  • #74150 Reply


    Recently, the troop my son is in decided to significantly change the make-up of their patrols. Normally, we have boys from various ranks and ages scattered through four different patrols. Now, they have all the older boys with higher ranks in one patrol and have left the younger, lower rank scouts in their existing patrols. This led to the dissolution of one patrol and the creation of another.

    My son, one of the older scouts, is really happy with this decision but I am having doubts. First, getting cooking time for rank advancement and the merit badge will be more difficult now since almost everyone in the younger patrols will be competing for time. Second, planning for campouts without more experienced campers may lead to some interesting, if not troublesome, camping experiences. I strongly encourage boy led troops, and I understand this was entirely their idea.

    Have any of you tried something similar and care to share insights to how this can succeed? Thanks.


  • #74587 Reply


    We’ve tried every configuration over the past two decades, and most all work out well.

    Those older scouts are what has been formally called a venture patrol. As long as they are giving back to the troop (maybe as JASMs, SPLs, Den Chiefs, or OA reps.), it works out quite well. They might be planning big-ticket scouting events, but they can model their skills in these boys’ presence. For example, ours would rendezvous after a 14 mile back-pack, set up camp instantly, have dinner, and chat with the young ones for the evening, finding out about their 6 mile trek. Next day, they’d snap to and break camp being gone before breakfast.

    Encourage the younger patrols to start planning campouts within reason (minimum travel time, maximum skills acquisition time). Really, there’s no reason a patrol of 11-13 year-olds can’t come up with a decent hike/camp plan. The writing won’t be as pretty, but the basics like departure times, insertion/extraction times, general activities, adult assistance requested, should pull together. Meals won’t be pretty, but some of those 13 year olds will get stare down their last can of franks and beans and start doing more balanced cooking.

    I wouldn’t worry about cooking MB. The way it’s designed, camp-out cooking is only a fraction of the activity. Most of it is supposed to be done outside of camp. Son #2 actually cooked for his patrol before/during meetings. They called for some pretty novel recipes, and he delivered. So, there’s plenty of room in the schedule of an active patrol to give every boy an opportunity to cook up eats both on the trail, at the scout-house, and at home.

    Lighten up about advancement. It will still happen. But, the boys who want it will have to be just a little more self-motivated. That’s a good thing.

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