12 Patrol Competitions




Search  Inquiry Net

Back ] Home ] Up ] Next ]

1. Patrol System
02 The Patrol Leader And Second
03 How Can A Leader Lead?
04 When Should A Leader Lead?
05 Privileges Of A Patrol Leader
06 Court Of Honor
07 The Patrol Spirit
08 Patrol Discipline
09 Patrol Instruction In Second Class Work
10 Patrol Instruction In Proficiency Badges
11 Patrol In Council
12 Patrol Competitions
13 The Patrol At Play
14 Patrol Good Turns
15 Inter-Patrol Visiting
16. Patrol In Camp
17. Difficulties
How To Start A Troop On The Patrol System

Scout Books

Site Contents


The most helpful of all the methods of fostering the Patrol spirit is by having a continuous competition between the various Patrols. By "continuous" is meant that as soon as one competition is over the next one has begun. In most Troops it will be found best to arrange things in the nature of a six-monthly or even three-monthly contest rather than as a competition of a year's duration. If the period is too long, it is found that the Patrols which get far behind in their marks tend to lose interest and become slack. On the other hand, where the competition takes place twice or four times a year, the interest and excitement is always kept alive, and a Patrol which gets far behind will not have to wait many weeks before making a fresh start in a new struggle for supremacy.

The important question to be considered is what the competition is to be for. If a Scoutmaster decides this question by himself he will find that the Patrol Competition falls flat. It has already been pointed out that a Scoutmaster who is thinking what he wants and not what his boys want can hardly complain if he fails to find much scouting enthusiasm in his Troop. The question as to what the subjects for competition are to be is, therefore, one for the Court of Honor. In fact, where there is a Patrol Competition, a weekly meeting of the Court of Honor is almost indispensable.

The general principle of the Patrol Competition is that there should be points for every subject in which all the Patrols have an equal opportunity of competing, and points should be awarded in such a way that the youngest Patrol, or smallest physically, has as good a chance of winning as the oldest and biggest. It is certain that the Court of Honor will unanimously decide in favor of points for attendance. A good method is to give a maximum of 100 points for six months, and, perhaps, five points off for the non-attendance of any boy at a compulsory parade. If the Chief's Patrol Report Form be used, the competition can be fixed upon the percentage system. (The percentage of attendances is given on the back of the form for the purpose of comparing the merits of the respective Patrols.)

It has already been mentioned in a previous chapter how either the Scoutmaster or the Patrol Leader makes a note of all absences at a parade. The names of those absent in each Patrol are read out at the Court of Honor, and the Leader is asked whether he can give any reason for the absence of Scout Brown from his Patrol. If he has no adequate reason to give, five points will be taken off. If he gives a reason, it is for the Court of Honor to decide whether it is adequate, In any case an absent Scout should inform his Patrol Leader or Second beforehand that he cannot attend, and on the parade night the Leader will then be able to account for all his Patrol to the Scoutmaster. If a boy is found to have had a proper reason for being absent, but to have omitted to inform his Leader beforehand, the Court may decide that he is to lose two or three points instead of five.

In towns it will be found that much of the time of the Court of Honor is saved by making some general rules with regard to absence from a parade. For instance, in most London Troops it would be laid down that attendance at Evening Classes counts as a parade, provided that the Scout notifies the Court of Honor in advance.

The Court will probably also decide that there should be points for badges earned during the six months. They might give five points for each badge earned. Perhaps more for a First Class or King's Scout badge, and perhaps two points for a Tenderfoot. These are only suggestions, but it is often found that by giving a special mark for a certain badge the Court of Honor may encourage the Troop to work hardest for the badges which are the most important to get. Points may further be allotted for competitions in Knot-tying, Signaling, First Aid, Firelighting, Relay Racing, and any other badge work. A good method of running a Knot-tying competition is by presenting each boy with a piece of cord, by telling him to hold it behind his back, and then by giving the order that he should tie a bowline. At the end of a minute "time" is called. The Patrol that has tied seven Bowlines will have seven points and the Patrol that has tied two Bowlines will have only two. A Fire-lighting competition may he conducted by giving each Patrol a box of matches and a billy, and by awarding points for the Patrol which first produces a cup of boiling water. An examiner once decided upon an omelet as the final test instead of boiling water, but he found himself confronted by the unanswerable riddle as to "What is an omelet?" He found that the only answer was, "Something that cannot be mistaken either for a pancake or for scrambled eggs.

Some member of the Court of Honor is certain to suggest points for smartness, but the marks for smartness should certainly be fairly small, for it is rather an invidious and difficult thing for either the Scoutmaster or anybody else to decide fairly which is the smartest Patrol. Smartness in camp is easier to judge upon, and one may certainly have a competition for the best kept tent. It should be borne in mind, however, that a smart Patrol does not so much imply one that has got military polish but rather a Patrol that is always workmanlike and alert. A good Patrol for instance, carries out orders at the double.

In a Troop of fairly well-educated boys, it is an admirable thing to have a six-monthly examination on "Scouting for Boys." Each Patrol might select two of its members to compete. The paper would, perhaps, be set by the District Commissioner or District Scoutmaster. It might also be a good thing to have a competition for the best Essay on Scout Law, or for the best Diary, one Essay or Diary to be sent in from each Patrol.

One Troop has a competition for the best record of Patrol good turns. It might be thought at first that this would tend to make the boys priggish, but as a matter of fact it has been found to have just the opposite effect. At any rate it does a great deal to remind the boys to do their kind actions every day.

There is no reason at all why the subjects for competition should always remain the same. The Patrol Competition should be elastic, and its object should be to encourage the Patrols in their scouting work and to keep alive their keenness and enthusiasm. Boys like competing against one another, and one can hardly have too many subjects for competition. Some of the best Troops find that the winning Patrol usually gets anything from 500 to 1,000 points by the end of the six months.

It will now be asked what is to be the reward for the winning Patrol. Some Scoutmasters arrange that the Scouts of the best Patrol wear special medals or decorations. This is contrary to the spirit of the Headquarters rules, and should, as far as possible, be avoided. There are plenty of official decorations for boys who are ready to work for them, and a multiplicity of unofficial badges is to be discouraged. When the boys are free to decorate the walls of their own headquarters it is an admirable thing to have an Honors Board. The name of the winning Patrol for every six months should be put upon this board, and perhaps the name of the Patrol Leader in brackets underneath. In some cases it may be a good thing to have a Patrol Cup or Patrol Shield. Excellent shields are sold by Headquarters for this purpose. The winning Patrol Leader might be entitled to have this shield at his home for a fortnight, and other members of his Patrol for a week, and for the remaining weeks it would be kept at the Troop Headquarters. Another thoroughly practicable way of rewarding a Patrol is by allowing it the privilege of carrying the Troop colors until another Patrol defeats it. The Chief is also having a scheme of "totems" made out for Patrol championships-as an incentive to Patrol efficiency.

If a Patrol Leader is not keen that his Patrol should win the competition, there is something The Scouting Spirit of one of them wants wrong either with him or with his Scoutmaster. doctoring.

(N.B.-It will have been noticed in the above chapter that the word "points" has been used rather than the word "marks." To some boys the term "marks" is unpleasing as being rather too reminiscent of school.)







Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
1. Patrol System ] 02 The Patrol Leader And Second ] 03 How Can A Leader Lead? ] 04 When Should A Leader Lead? ] 05 Privileges Of A Patrol Leader ] 06 Court Of Honor ] 07 The Patrol Spirit ] 08 Patrol Discipline ] 09 Patrol Instruction In Second Class Work ] 10 Patrol Instruction In Proficiency Badges ] 11 Patrol In Council ] [ 12 Patrol Competitions ] 13 The Patrol At Play ] 14 Patrol Good Turns ] 15 Inter-Patrol Visiting ] 16. Patrol In Camp ] 17. Difficulties ] How To Start A Troop On The Patrol System ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Object of Camping ] Patrol Camping ] Patrol Hikes ] Gilcraft Patrol System ] The Patrol System ] Court of Honor (PLC) ] Gilwell PL Training ] Philipps' Patrol System ] Golden Arrow PL Training ] Patrol Leader's Creed ] PL's Promise Ceremony ] Patrol Competition Awards ] Informal Scout Signals ] Ten Essentials ] Story Telling ] JLT Skits: Leadership ] Master & Commander ] Patrol Activities ] Patrol Motivation ] Troop Meeting Hints ] Troop Meetings ] Patrol Leader Training ] Essays ] Patrol Flags ] Training Patrol Leaders ] Troop Brainstorming ] Menus ]

The Inquiry Net Main Topic Links:
 [Outdoor Skills]  [Patrol Method [Old-School]  [Adults [Advancement]  [Ideals]  [Leadership]  [Uniforms]

Search This Site:

Search Amazon.Com:

When you place an order with Amazon.Com using the search box below, a small referral fee is returned to The Inquiry Net to help defer the expense of keeping us online.  Thank you for your consideration!



Amazon Logo



Scout Books Trading Post

Dead Bugs, Blow Guns, Sharp Knives, & Snakes:
What More Could A Boy Want?

Old School Scouting:
What to Do, and How to Do It!

To Email me, replace "(at)" below with "@"

If you have questions about one of my 2,000 pages here, you must send me the "URL" of the page!
This "URL" is sometimes called the "Address" and it is usually found in a little box near the top of your screen.  Most URLs start with the letters "http://"

The Kudu Net is a backup "mirror" of The Inquiry Net.  

2003, 2011 The Inquiry Net, http://inquiry.net  In addition to any Copyright still held by the original authors, the Scans, Optical Character Recognition, extensive Editing,  and HTML Coding on this Website are the property of the Webmaster.   My work may be used by individuals for non-commercial, non-web-based activities, such as Scouting, research, teaching, and personal use so long as this copyright statement and a URL to my material is included in the text
The purpose of this Website is to provide access  to hard to find, out-of-print documents.  Much of the content has been edited to be of practical use in today's world and is not intended as historical preservation.   I will be happy to provide scans of specific short passages in the original documents for people involved in academic research.  


Last modified: October 15, 2016.