Quartermaster/Catering

 

 

 

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Reference to the program will show that this Course is essentially active, and for this reason, if for no other, its success will depend to an unusual extent upon the efficiency, adaptability and (not least) the good humor of the Quartermaster (Q.M.). Great care should be taken to get the right man. He should be allowed to select his own assistants.

His chief responsibility will be to ensure that all necessary gear, down to the last hank of sisal, is assembled in advance of the Course and readily available whenever and wherever it is needed. No doubt a good deal of this will be lent by local Troops, but sufficient funds should be placed at the disposal of the Q.M. to enable him to cover all his needs, including the cost of transport if it arises.

It is important that all gear used on the Course, without being over elaborate, is of good quality and in good condition an object lesson in itself. In particular, where neglect and wastage are known to occur in many Troop Rooms, e.g. in the treatment of ropes, and cordage, the very highest standards should be maintained. Similarly, an efficient system for the issue and return of gear should be devised, so that the Patrol Leaders are impressed by the rule of good order in this department. The issue of a "Gear List" to each Patrol on which items are ticked off on issue and return is strongly recommended.

As much gear as possible should be issued on a Patrol basis.

Catering

There can be no doubt that good meals, well cooked and well served, are an important factor contributory to success of any course, especially where boys are concerned. Conversely, any deficiencies in the commissariat department will certainly be reflected in the Course itself. It is worth taking trouble to ensure a reasonable standard.

The actual cost to the boy must, of course, be considered carefully, and while it is sound policy that the individual should make some contribution, the principle should be that no boy who is qualified and anxious to attend should be prevented from so doing through lack of ready cash. 

Most Group Committees if the case is fairly presented to them by the G.S.M. or S.M. will be more than willing to grant aid their own boys, and a note to this effect might well be incorporated in the circular advertising the Course. The overhead cost of running the Course including such things as hire of premises, equipment, expendable stores, transport charges, etc. might reasonably be regarded as a charge on Local Association funds.

Catering may be done in a variety of ways, but whatever method is adopted the Scouter in charge will be well advised to appoint a Catering Officer who will relieve him of all detail work in this department.  A team of Rover Scouts or Scouters could be roped in.

The alternative methods of catering are:

1. All supplies are bought by the Catering Officer, meals are prepared and served by a Service Patrol of Rovers and/or Scouters, and costs are covered in whole or part by the Course Fee.

2. All supplies are bought by the Catering Officer, but Patrols do their own cooking (with the possible exception of tea each day) and costs are covered in whole or part by the Course Fee.

This method needs careful consideration before adopting it. By and large it is only possible at a permanent camping site with quasi permanent kitchens and eating shelters. On the other hand several Districts have run their courses this way with great success. It does not lead to any economies in Scouter man-power.

3. Detailed food lists are issued to candidates in advance, and meals are prepared as in (1) and (2) above. The advantage of this method is that it appears to be economical, so far as the boys themselves are, concerned, as they merely draw stores from the family larder. The actual Course Fee in this case would merely cover the cost of such things as milk, potatoes and bread, and would create the illusion of a "cheap" Course.

In practice this method has been found both attractive and efficient, provided the menu is carefully planned in advance and the instructions issued to the boys are clear as to both quantity and quality.

Points to Remember

1. The menu should be carefully balanced between protein, carbohydrate and fat, with due regard to the season of the year (i.e. in cold weather boys will consume twice as much bread as in the height of summer).

2. Hot drinks are essential, night and morning.

3. When meals are cooked and served centrally, the highest standards of cleanliness and punctuality must be maintained as an object lesson to the Course.

4. Whatever method is employed, the boys themselves should be expected to carry out basic chores, such as potato peeling, dish washing, wood and water collection, etc. (e.g. each boy should be required to peel his own spuds for the day between breakfast and Morning Inspection; and so on).

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.