Patrol method on display as troops arrive at 2017 National Jamboree

No scrambling or shouting or stressing.

At the 2017 National Jamboree, troops that use the patrol method are setting up their camps like a well-oiled machine.

No matter that many of these Scouts and Venturers come from a range of troops and crews back home and are still learning each other’s names.

For exhibit A, just look at Jamboree Troop 3228 out of the Denver Area Council. Alastair Lewis is the 16-year-old Eagle Scout serving as senior patrol leader of Troop 3228.

“It’s up to the patrol leaders now,” Alastair says. “I tell the patrol leaders to tell their patrols what to do. This way I don’t have to tell each individual Scout.”

Each patrol has a job. The SWAT patrol is setting up tents. The Banana Republic patrol is on cots. And the Blackbirds and Peacekeepers are teaming up to assemble the dining flies.

All of this organization doesn’t mean Alastair gets to rest in the shade, of course.

He reminds red-faced Scouts to drink more water, strategizes with his assistant senior patrol leaders and helps out when necessary.

Servant leadership means being willing to chip in whenever necessary. At one point, a cot needs to be moved to the other side of camp. Alastair is standing right next to it. He could ask a patrol leader to ask a Scout to do it. Instead, he just moves it himself.

It’s good for the Scouts in Troop 3228 to see that Alastair isn’t just barking orders. He’s working right alongside them.

Where are the adults in all this? Alastair asks them to set up their own tents, so they do. Other than that?

“Adults are only for safety and to keep things in line,” Alastair says.

That suits Scoutmaster Nate Graf, a fan of youth-led troops, just fine.

“We see what level they’re struggling and sometimes will step in and make a suggestion,” he says. “If it’s a health and safety issue, we’ll step in.”

Like during a pre-Jamboree tour of New York and Washington, when Graf reminded Scouts to keep to the sidewalks as they were gawking at buildings and monuments.

“Other than that,” he says, “we’re silent.”

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