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What is a Patrol? Part 3 – Get Active!

What is a patrol 3

One of my favorite parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy is the last half of the first movie after the Fellowship is formed. This is the part where the whole team is traveling together on the first stage of the quest. I love this part because it shows all the characters working together in small and large ways: Boromir teaches the hobbits sword fighting; the Fellowship decides how to navigate the mines of Moria; they learn more about each other and bond themselves together into a powerful force for good. Even when the Fellowship was broken, this bond still remained strong and influenced everything else that happened.

Wouldn’t it be great you could form the same kind of bond with your Patrol? You can! There are things you can start doing right now to build your Patrol into a solid team that you can be proud of!

In the second part of this series I wrote about the importance of being active, inspiring morale, and building a team of leaders.  Here’s some practical ideas of taking these  ideas and making them happen:

1. Meet-Ups
Meet up whenever you can, don’t limit yourself to the troop schedule, make time for getting your Scouts together and watch the spirit of the Patrol grow. Build your Patrol’s spirit and Scout skills with these ideas:

  • Disaster Drill – What would you do if there was a fire or traffic accident? Set up a scenario that would challenge your patrol to respond with the first aid and rescue skills they need to reach First Class.
  • Build It – Plan a project that calls on your pioneering and knotting skills. Can you bridge a gully or a creek? Can you build a catapult that throws a tennis ball a hundred yards? Can you use knots and teamwork to lift an object (log, rock, etc) three feet off the ground? How about something like this? Or this?
  • Find It – Can you use a map and compass to find your way to specific locations in your town or local park? Make it into a treasure or scavenger hunt by hiding objects at the locations, measuring the height or width of buildings, recording what is written on signs, or displayed in shop windows.
  • Cook It – What’s your favorite camping dish? Can you make a pineapple upside-down cake in a dutch oven? How about foil dinners or shish kabob? What would your patrol like to try?

2. Games!
There are ton’s of great games to play! Here’s a bunch of ideas -

Thurman Throw Ships in the Fog
Heaving Bar Kim’s Game
Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe The Thwacker of Death
Isotope Four Great Games
Alligator River

3. Inter-Patrol Challenges
Pit your Patrol in friendly competition. Challenge another patrol, agree on the rules, prepare your patrol, and have loads of fun! Any of the games listed above make fun inter-patrol challenges, here are some other ideas to spark your imagination:

  • Amazing Race – Get together with your fellow Patrol leaders and chart a course across a local park or through your town. Create challenges like finding objects you hide, or team events along the way.
  • Kon Tiki - Build a raft and spend the night on it? Take a look at this incredible competition South African Scouts enjoy, ask for some help from adult Scouters to be sure you can do it safely!
  • Scoutmaster’s Challenge - Take a look at this idea. You can adapt some of the individual challenges or hold a big event that features them all!

4. Service Projects
Scouts  make a big difference and make the world a better place through selfless service to others.  Remember that service isn’t just a project, it’s a way of life. You can always lend service to your community, don’t limit yourself to Eagle projects or the big nationwide initiatives. You don’t need elaborate plans nor do you have to do big things, keep it simple and fun for your Patrol. Get them busy serving and watch how each of you to use your strengths to the best advantage. Doing hard work alongside your friends is a great way to build spirit!

  • Park or neighborhood Clean-up – Get some gloves and trash bags and head out to tidy up the places you love. See which Scout can find the most litter, or challenge your patrol to do something more ambitious (paining, building or trail maintenance) by coordinating with local officials.
  • Mini- Food Drive – Charitable agencies that collect and distribute food get lot’s of attention during the holidays, but can always use help in other parts of the year. Get in touch with them and ask how you can help.
  • Light up someone’s day – Nursing homes may welcome your patrol to spend a little time playing a board game or visiting with their residents. Give them a call and see what your patrol can do to brighten someone’s day.
  • Lend a Hand – Most institutions (your church, school, service clubs, Habitat for Humanity, etc. ) usually have a long list of simple chores your patrol can help with for an hour or two; make some contacts and see what you can do to lend a hand.

These are just a few of the things  your Patrol can do. Tap the imagination and the resourcefulness of your patrol and soon you’ll be doing amazing things that I couldn’t even think of!

When a couple of the Scouts in my Patrol didn’t take anything very seriously I got discouraged and frustrated . As we did more and more things together they began to care more and more. As frustrated as I got sometimes, I never gave up. I knew we had great potential, and I was determined to build Patrol Spirit! Spirit grew slowly in little things like being more willing to help out, and being more eager to support the Patrol in competitions. I learned that, with time and effort, Patrol Spirit can transcend individual shortcomings!

Are you having a difficult time building Patrol Spirit? What challenges are you facing? On a scale of one to ten what do you think the level spirit is in your Patrol right now? Tell me in a comment below or on the GreenBar Life Forum.

Building up and being a part of a good Patrol is a life-changing thing! I’ve saw amazing things happen during my run as Patrol Leader! I know you will too!