Tag Archives: boy scout patrol challenges

Scout Meeting Challenge: Crossing the Alligator Pit

The real challenge built into this activity comes into play after the lashing is finished. The patrol is simply building a very well-lashed A-frame. As with all pioneering endeavors, teamwork is essential. With this interpatrol challenge, it’s absolutely necessary! Cossing the Alligator Pit affords a superlative team building opportunity. Read about and view one patrol’s very impressive accomplishment!

Patrols pull together to assemble their A-frame
Alligator Pit

Materials for each patrol:

  • two 8-foot x 4-inch spars to serve as A-frame shear legs
  • one 6-foot x 3-inch spar to serve as a ledger at the base (crossbar)
  • three 15-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes
  • six 20-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes  (for guylines)

Method: The “Alligator Pits” are marked on the ground, one for each patrol, 15′ x 15′ square. Patrols line up on one side of their pits. On signal the patrols lash together an A-Frame “walker” using either three square lashings or two square lashings with a shear lashing at the top. At the top they attach two 20-foot lashing ropes, and attach two more ropes at each corner of the crossbar, using roundturns with two half hitches. These are the guylines. The patrol then stands the “walker” upright, and one member climbs on the crossbar. One Scout mans each guyline to help steady and to help propel the Scout on the crossbar as he tries to “walk” the A-Frame across the pit. Only the A-frame “walker” is allowed inside the pit. Note: This activity should only be held indoors if the floor is carpeted. Generally, tile or wood floors will be too slippery and hence minimize the likelihood of success.

Great Team Working Challenge! Each Scout handling a guyline needs to be vigilant!
Great Team Working Challenge! (Each Scout handling a guyline needs to be vigilant!)

SCOUT MEETING CHALLENGES MAIN PAGE Pioneering and Team Building

Scout Meeting Challenge: Everyone on the Tripod

Some years ago a newly-formed and very young troop, barely a year old, attended a Council-wide Camporee. One of the patrol competitions was an Everyone on the Tripod race. They entered three patrols. When the smoke cleared, and the judging was completed, out of over fifty patrols present at the camporee, they placed first, second and third. Why? Well, one reason was they were familiar with the activity having done it at a couple of troop meetings as an interpatrol competition. But, perhaps the main keys to their new-found success was they had an active pioneering program in place, and had been taught the Mark II Square Lashing and the tripod lashing found in an old edition of the BSA Fieldbook (Tripod Lashing with Plain Turns).

This is a WONDERFUL interpatrol challenge!

Lashing the tripod legs together
Lashing the Tripod Legs Together

Materials required for each patrol:

  • three 8-foot x 3 to 4-inch tripod leg spars
  • three 6-foot x 3-inch tripod support spars
  • six 15-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes
  • one 20-foot x 1/4-inch lashing rope

Here’s the Procedure:

On signal, patrol members lash the three 8-foot spars into a tripod, using the 20-foot rope.

Lashing on the Support Spars
Lashing on the Support Spars

When finished, they set up the tripod and using six square lashings, lash a 6-foot spar between each of the legs.

When all lashings are completed and the tripod is strong and secure, all the patrol members stand on the 6-foot spars, making sure their weight is evenly distributed.

Of course, this challenge lends itself equally, if not more so, to being presented outdoors.

SCOUT MEETING CHALLENGES MAIN PAGE

The tripod was actually formed in a way that puts all the stress on the ropes. Instead, the outside legs should cross under the middle leg.
Everybody is on!

Scout Meeting Challenge: Free-Standing Flagpole

This design idea was retrieved from John Thurman’s Pioneering for the Patrol.

Planning their attack, pooling their resources in tying round lashings, using teamwork in applying the square lashings, and ingenuity in adding the guylines.
Interpatrol Pioneering Challenge

When the patrols have learned their round lashing and square lashing, they’ll be ready for this indoor challenge which gives them an opportunity to use what they’ve learned in a new way. Additionally, they get to plan their “attack,” pool their resources, use their ingenuity, and put into practice the teamworking skills necessary to complete the task.

Materials needed for each patrol:

  • six 5-foot Scout Staves
  • seven 6 to 10-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes
  • four light guylines
  • one 15-foot light line (for halyard)
  • one 3-foot cord (to make top loop for halyard)
  • two pencil-sized sticks (if needed to secure patrol flag to halyard through existing grommets)
  • their patrol flag

The challenge. Ask the patrols to each build a self-standing flagpole capable of raising and lowering their patrol flag. Have the necessary materials on hand, and present them with the following design:

NOTE: This challenge can be presented without the design! If no design is provided, and just the challenge is given as stated above, the Scouts will be confronted with having to figure out their own approach that will work! However, the design is ingenious and sooner or later worthy of being shared.

Some thoughts:

1) This self-standing flagpole is ideal when a flagpole is desired indoors (or outdoors when there’s no way to drive stakes into the ground or dig a hole).

Set a time limit and make it a race.
Set a time limit and make it a race.

2) Depending on the ceiling’s height, the flagpole can be built higher merely by lashing on additional pole sections.

3) To shorten the pole if the ceiling is lower than 10 feet,  just round lash two staves together.

4) Naturally, following the design, the Patrol Leader can have members of his patrol divide the tasks so that the pole and the support frame are constructed simultaneously.

Got it up!
Got it up!

5) The method of placing two 5-foot staves end to end, and lashing a third joining stave in the middle where the two others touch can be seen as somewhat of a departure, but will yield a very stable 10-foot flagpole, provided the four Round Lashings are tight and well-spaced.

6) The 3′ cord for the halyard loop can be fastened to the top stave in a variety of ways: a bowline with a clove hitch, a bowline with two half hitches, a doubled over rolling hitch, etc., etc.

7) The guylines can also be attached in a variety of ways (and will be), though rolling hitches around both the pole and the support frame are recommended.

SCOUT MEETING CHALLENGES MAIN PAGE