From The Patrol System Published by Scouts Canada in 1960.
Not a new idea, but a good one none-the-less. What would happen if you put this information in the hands of your patrol leaders?
You want your gang to become a real Patrol—and only a hiking Patrol is a real one.
We can break Patrol hikes generally into two classes. One—where you don’t want to be tied down by fire making and cooking. This may be because you have other specific training to do such as signaling, tracking, nature lore or pioneering and want to use every minute of your time for that purpose or maybe your hike will take you through territory where fire building isn’t permitted. Or you may have another good reason for making short work of the eating business.
Anyway, on this type of a hike you bring along prepared food that can be eaten quite quickly and requires little clean up afterwards. This hike is planned for simple, quick meals.
The other type of hike is where fire building and cooking have a prominent place in the program. It is easy to see that fire increases your responsibility as a Leader, and that cooking means more planning and preparation before you set out. On the first few hikes of this variety let your boys prepare their meals individually. This will train them for their Second Class cooking requirement. Later, your Patrol will want to go in for real Patrol cookery to prepare for camping, with the boys taking turns in cooking the meals for the entire Patrol.
Planning The Hike
Let’s go through the necessary planning for a Patrol Hike. What do we want to do? For every hike you need to have a definite objective. Check on your advancement on your Progress Chart and see where weaknesses in the Patrol lie. Then set about growing your hike around that weakness. Where?—If your Patrol organization is working already, you’ll turn to your Hikemaster for recommendations as to where to go. If you don’t have a Hikemaster, put the same question to all the boys in the Patrol, then weigh the suggestions and decide on the route and place that will best fit the object of the hike.
Here are a few general hints:
If your Patrol is new, make a hike short. Two or three miles out and the same distance back will be enough. If there is bus service available you may decide to go by bus to a certain place from which a short hike will bring you to a suitable spot.
Later on, increase the amount of walking. It’s all a matter of training.
A good rule to follow is this: Keep away from main highways. They are dangerous, they have few beauty spots and hiking on a concrete surface is tiring.
When? In most cases the answer to this question is Saturday or some holiday. You can start out early in the morning and need not return before night. There’s no school homework waiting for you. Everybody’s mind is free—everyone’s ready for adventure and a good time.
For a half day hike, Friday afternoon after school, is good.
Then there is Sunday, if the boys can’t make it on a weekday. In the matter of Sunday hikes you need to know and follow the policy on Sunday activities. If your boys have fulfilled their religious obligations and if your Scoutmaster and your boy’s parents approve, you may undertake a Sunday afternoon hike.
How ? This gets you into the actual preparation for the hike. You have to find out about transportation, decide on equipment and figure out expenses.
You must inform the parents and your Scoutmaster of Patrol hikes — Where you are going and when you expect to return.
If you intend to start your hike well out of town you need to check on bus, street car or even railroad transportation. If you have the real cooperation of the parents, you may be able to line up a couple of family cars to take the Patrols to an appropriate starting point.
If your Patrol den is conveniently located, you will want to start your hike from there. If not, the home of one of the Scouts may prove to be the best place for assembling. If you are going by bus or train, the smartest trick may be to meet at bus stop or railroad station.
Transportation costs money. So, before the gang decides on any extensive hike that involves cost of transportation, he had better make sure that all the boys can afford the trip.
For your first hikes, each Scout brings his own food from home.
The hike has been discussed. The whole gang has been in on the decision. Now it’s up to you as a Patrol Leader to sum up what has been agreed upon and get the last few details straightened out.
Be sure that all your boys have everything down pat—when to meet, where to meet, what to bring. No, they won’t remember it all, unless they write it down. Insist that they jot down the details on a slip of paper or in their notebooks.
Just one more thing and you’re all set: before starting out, get together with your Second and make up a short program for the day. That will help you get the greatest possible results out of your hike.