With the array of events being offered by Districts, Regions and Branch it is easy to end up with a program that is so full of activity that you don’t have time for anything else. While attending all of these events makes an easy time of programming it is not meeting all of the needs of our Scouts. One of the best activities we can be promoting to our Scouts is the simple Patrol camp.
Now you may be thinking that whenever your Troop goes camping that the Patrols camp together but this is not what I mean by Patrol camping. For these “Troop camps” there are some elements of Patrol individuality but it is inevitable that for the sake of ease or economy of a lot of the planning, preparation and execution will happen on a Troop basis. By Patrol camping I am referring to a Patrol taking ownership of the entire process and undertaking the camp by themselves. Of course as Leaders we have a duty of care for the Patrol but there are many ways we can ensure their safety without having to camp with them for the entire weekend.
For a Patrol camp it is up to the Patrol Leader and the rest of the Patrol to work together to plan and organise the camp. This can be part of the weekly program leading up to the camp with all of the Patrol members participating at an appropriate level. There are plenty of opportunities along the way for involvement in the award scheme and sign off. When it comes to the camp itself it’s always amazing to see how well a Patrol will work together without the distractions of the rest of the Troop around them. In a very short time you will find the Patrol’s members form a very strong bond and sense of identity. Their confidence and self-reliance will skyrocket and there’ll be no holding them back.
A great location for the Patrol to camp is your nearest Scout campsite. A lot of these have weekend wardens which will help to ease your nerves and those of their parents. It has always disappointed me that whenever I go out to BP Park there aren’t Patrols dotted all over the place as I see this an ideal environment for a camp to begin with.
So if you haven’t tried Patrol camping yet then it may be time to suggest it at your next Troop Council. They can do it. Showing a little confidence in your Scouts will rewarded many fold.
Scouter Skills Day
Do you need a little help with all of the technical skills required to run a great Troop program? Do you have difficulty instructing skills to Scouts? Are you looking for different activities in which to practice a skill? If you answered yes to any of these questions then you need to make to make your way to the next Scouter Skills Day. The next one will be on Sunday the 5th of June ay Marsden Scout Den. Registration will be from 8:30am with activities kicking off at 9:00am. While aimed at the Scout Section, Leaders from any Section are welcome. Come prepared for a day in the outdoors. Don’t worry if you miss out on this one as there will be another on the 7th of August.
Applications are closing for SSS on the 10th of June so give your Scouts a prod to get organised if they haven’t done so already. In the past you would have forwarded an expression of interest which was filled in by a Patrol Leader and the application process would follow. This year we are using the Branch’s application management system which requires Scouts to individually apply online. Make sure the Scouts indicate what Patrol they will be in for SSS if it is different to their usual Patrol. Leader applications will also use the same online system. Detailed instructions of the application process are on the SSS website and have emailed out to all Scout Leaders in South East Qld. The application system will not accept late applications so don’t let it slide once applications are open. The number of Patrols will be capped at 140 as in past years.
“An invaluable step in character training is to put responsibility on the individual.”
Sir Robert Baden-Powell