In“The Hobbit” the company of Dwarves decides that they need a ‘burglar’. The burglar would be the company’s eyes and ears: scouting out locations along the way. At the recommendation of the wizard Gandalf the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins was chosen to be the burglar.
Just as the Dwarves depended on Bilbo to scout ahead of the company, a Patrol needs someone to go ahead of the Patrol, scout locations, research good places for hikes, camps, and different Patrol Activities. In the Scout Patrol, this position is traditionally called the Hikemaster.
Think of the Hikemaster as the “Adventure Officer”. He is responsible to promote and maintain the spirit of adventure in your Patrol. What exciting locations can he find for a camping trip or a hike? Places where your patrol can have grand adventures are just a few miles away! The Hikemaster searches out these locations and makes sure your Patrol has proper permission to use them from the owners of the location and your Troop administration. The Hikemaster investigates and learns the all about the location, how far away it is, how to get there, the resources available, and any costs associated with going there.
The Hikemaster helps the Patrol plan other activities too. Service Projects are a great way to build Patrol Spirit and Scout Spirit. The Hikemaster can search out service opportunities the Patrol can work on for a few hours on a weekend or after school. Most of the time all this takes is calling your local churches, service organizations or local government, you’ll find that there are plenty of opportunities to serve your community.
A really adventurous Patrol has its own special meeting place. The Hikemaster finds a good location and gets permission to set up a permanent Patrol “Den.”
When your Troop meets to plan camping trips the Hikemaster can help prepare a short report about the five best places he’s found and what the Scouts in your patrol want to do in the coming year.
The Hikemaster is always in charge of finding the perfect section of the campground for your Patrol to camp and cook together. He’ll want to learn about what make’s an ideal campsite so he can choose wisely.
Choose a Hikemaster who is patient and thorough in making choices, has an adventurous and ambitious spirit , but is mature and methodical. As always it is rare you will find a Scout that fits the bill perfectly. It’s your job as Patrol Leader to guide him to being the best Hikemaster he can be.
Can you think of any other ways a Hikemaster can help both the Patrol and Troop? Any ideas for special responsibilities? Leave a comment below or sign into the GreenBar Life Forum and let me know! I’d love to hear about them!