Maintaining a written log is one of the requirements of the Standard Patrol Award at our summer camp. A few years ago we expanded on the idea and now a Patrol Logbook is kept year-round.
Every night at camp ends with the Patrols gathering to record their thoughts in the Patrol Log. Patrol Leaders then bring the log to a Patrol Leader’s Council Meeting and review them with the Senior Patrol Leader. This exchange often reveals information that may otherwise go unnoticed.
One evening at camp last week our youngest Patrol leader was sharing his log with the PLC; ‘Andrew is concerned about the snake under his tent.’ I asked if anyone had actually seen the snake and several of the Scouts said they had.
“What color was it?” I asked
“Sort of tan” they answered
“Did it have any markings?”
“Yeah, it had some brown stripes or something?”
“Kind of like an hourglass pattern?”
‘Yeah, that’s right.”
Reading the other Patrol Logs continued and when they were done and the SPL dismissed the meeting I took a flashlight and an ASM to see if there was, indeed, a snake under the tent platform. We found him pretty quickly. I had a pretty good idea of what kind of snake it was from the Scout’s description. We summoned the nature director and he confirmed our identification.
We captured the snake with the aid of a couple of very long poles made for the purpose and relocated it deep in an unfrequented area of the camp were it was unlikely to draw any further attention. Copperheads are not usually lethally venomous but we’d just as soon as give them a wide berth.
I was gratified that information from a Patrol Log was genuinely valuable and wondered if we would have heard about the snake otherwise.