Patrol Challenge Weekend and Campout
Camping, Patrol Challenges, Campfire, Scout's Own...
Camping is something Scouts do. Most of us Scouts and Scouters love it. Getting in the out-of-doors. Being a part of nature. Seeing the amzaing works of God's hand in the first person... Yet, how do we do camping as a unit during COVID-19 crisis? Here is how our troop did this together with 6 other troops in the our council.
For the past 8 years, our troop has hosted a Patrol Challenge weekend inspired by the the television show produced by the National Geographic titled 'Tougher than a Boy Scout'. During this patrol oriented weekend, the patrols are presented with a variety of challenges; many are old-school Scouting challenges that range from first-aid, team-work, fire starting, lashing relays, cooking, camp gadget building and more. For the afternoon challenges, the patrols are given a map with a dot on it. The dot identifies the location of their challenge. They must find the challenge using their navigation skills. When they do find it, they must successfully complete the challenge to get the next dot on the map. The more challenges they complete, the more points they score. The frist two years, this weekend was with our troop alone. Third year, we invited another troop to join us. Since then we've kept it 'small' with 6 troops participating.
When the COVID-19 crisis hit us all, this forced us to cancel the in-person challenge weekend and come up with a different way to run this challenge weekend.
So, the Virtual Tougher Scout Challenge Weekend was created.
We wanted something that would still challenge the Scouts with "old-school" Scouting skills... And still provide a means for patrols to compete against each other. This is what we came up with:
- A weekend event.
- Scouts would pitch tents and camp in their back yard.
- The schedule would follow a similar schedule to the live challenge weekend.
- It would still be Scout-led. A Scout was appointed as the camp chief and he was in charge of organizing the weekend and keeping it on schedule. The Scouts would run the orientation, the openning, the challenge kick-off, the campfire, the Scout's own Service and the closing.
- Adults would run break-out room hosted challenges and kahoot challenges so that all Scouts would be able to participate.
- There would be physical and skill challenges which would be performed in their back yards and with family members.
- There would be challenges that would be hosted through video conferencing.
- There would be challenges that would be hosted through services like Kahoot.com
- Scouts would be scored for their individual performance.
- Patrol member points would be added together and averaged to calculate the patrol's score.
- Troop member points would be added together and averaged to calcualte the troop's score.
- Awards would be presented to the individual Scout for challenges they performed and placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd.
- Awards would be presented to the patrols for the highest three average scores.
- Awards would be presented to troops for the highest three average scores.
- Patches were given to all participants: Scouts, Adults, and family members.
Technologies used to Host the Virtual Campout
We pulled together a number of different technologies for this challenge weekend. From physical challenges to digital photography to video conferencing to team collaboration software to educational gamification. I'll describe how we used each of these below.
- Digital Cameras/Cell phone
One of goals was to get the Scouts outside, off their video games, and to motivate them to do the best they can. So, all Scout Leaders involved encouraged their scouts to pitch tents in their back yards and to sleep in them over the weekend. We created a suite of challenges that would be best done outside and challenges that they would need to involve a second person to complete. This encouraged family members to join in on the fun.
With 85 Scouts form 7 troops participating, we needed a way for Scouts to submit proof that they completed a challenge and to provide a means for their completed challenges to be judged and awarded points. For many of the challenges, this meant that the Scout would need to take a picture of their completed challenge or video record themselves performing the challenge and submit the picture/video to the respective challenge channel. This naturally meant that Digital Photography was going to be a require tool.
Zoom - Video Conferencing
To get everyone together when participants were scattered over a 100 mile radius, we needed a way to have Scouts and Scouters come together. Since many of us had gained experience with video conferencing during this time, we choose Zoom.us as our tool to pull everyone into a virtual meeting for orientation, opening, closing, challenges, the campfire and the Scout's own service. Zoom has a break out room feature that allowed challenges to be run in break out rooms concurrently. Check out the post on Virtual Campfires to see how we ran a successful virtaul campfire with Songs, Jokes, stories and patrol skits.
Slack - Team Communication
Slack is a team collaboration tool used by many organizations. I was first introduced to Slack when I attended Wood Badge as a participant. It created an effective tool for my patrol, the Wood Badge staff and all the participants to communicate and bond. It proved effective well after the event too to keep connected.
The benefit of Slack for our challenge event is that Slack supports many device platforms: Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Droid. From there, it is easy to upload pictures, videos to a channel. The posts are historical in that at the free level, they keep the last 10,000 posts and provide the workspace with 5 GBs of space.
We decided to create a workspace for the challenge weekend and invited scouts and adult leaders from all participating troops to join the work space.
We created channels in Slack for each of the challenge categories. These challenge channels were used for Scouts to submit pictures and videos of their challenge submissions for judging. Here is the list of channels that we created for the event:
- adult-leaders-only - private channel
G-Suite - Team Colaboration
Google has created a number of tools that are great for remote teams to work together. If you are used to working with Office Suites like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint, then you'll be comfortable working with Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. Google also has Google Drive which is a storage location for files that your remote team can access. Google Forms enable one to create a form for persons too complete. It captures the results submitted from the form, which can then be accessed through a Google Sheet. The great thing about the G-Suite of tools is that remote team members can be granted access to them in a view-only or with edit rights.
- Google Doc - Challenge Pre-list
- Google Doc - Challenge List
- Google Doc - Challenge Instructions for Staff
- Google Sheets - Roster
- Google Sheets - Challenge Score Sheet
- Google Forms - Submission forms for events
- Google Forms - Registration form for participants
Kahoot.com - Edicational Gamification
Kahoot is a really cool tool that is used by schools to gamify education. It provides the ability to create multi-question quizes and have students try to answer the questions fastest and most accurately. The faster one answers a question correctly, the more points they receive. At the end of the quize, the person with the most points 'wins' the game.
For our challenge weekend, we created 4 Kahoot challenges to be used during the weekend. We kept the quizes to ~10 questions, to keep the quizes relatively short. These kahoots were held on the hour, every hour as a means to bring the Scouts back togheter into a zoom meeting to re-energize them to continue compeeting. Read the article in ScoutShare.org on Kahoot.com and how to use it for your unit. Our kahoots for the weekend were:
- Acquatics - questions about safe swim defense and safety afloat
- Nature - questions about poisonous plants, leave no trace and tread lightly
- First Aid - questions about basic first aid skills
- First Aid Triage - questions about which condition to treat first.
6:00pm - Troop check-in & Camping Kick-off - ZOOM Meeting
7:00pm - PLC - ZOOM Meeting
8:00pm - Weeend Orientation & Virtual Cracker Barrel - ZOOM Meeting
9:00am - Openning Ceremony - ZOOM Meeting
9:10am - Camp Gadget Building - Physical, Digital Pictures, Slack
12:00pm - Gadget Submissions End
12:00pm - Release of Afternoon Challenge List - Slack and Email
12:00pm - Lunch
1:00pm - Afternoon Challenge Kick-off - ZOOM Meeting
1:00pm - 5pm - Challenges - Physical, Slack, ZOOM Break-out Rooms
1:05pm - Kahoot.it Challenge 1 - ZOOM Meeting
2:00pm - Kahoot.it Challenge 2 - ZOOM Meeting
3:00pm - Kahoot.it Challenge 3 - ZOOM Meeting
4:00pm - Kahoot.it Challenge 4 - ZOOM Meeting
5:00pm - Challenge submissions End - Digital Pictures and Videos, Slack
5:00pm - Dinner
7:00pm - Virtual Campfire - ZOOM Meeting
9:00am Scout's Own Service - ZOOM Meeting
9:15am Awards & Closing - ZOOM Meeting
To further encourage them, we awarded points to each individual who slept in them. Baden-Powell said Scouts is a game with purpose. So to motivate the Scouts to do some 'old School' Scouting, we created challenges that would pit patrols against each other.
- Fire Building
- First Aid
- Paracord Creations
- Personal Fitness
- Ropes & Lashings
- Target Shooting
Here is an exerpt from the attached Challenge List document to give you and idea of some of the challenges that we ran. Download the document to get the complete list:
G-1: Camp Gadget Building Competition - This competition takes place Saturday morning. Create a camp gadget using quality Scout lashings and sticks or poles. When completed, submit a picture of your completed camp gadget to the #challenges-camp-gadgets Slack channel. You will earn points for your submission, and points will be awarded for first, second, and third place gadgets.
TIP: Check with your Scoutmaster to see if this challenge would qualify for your First Class Camp Gadget requirement (3D).
TIP: Check with your Scoutmaster to see if these challenges would qualify for your Tenderfoot, Second class, or First Class cooking requirements. For those, you’ll need to make sure you complete the entire requirement as written in your handbook.
C-1: Cook for your family using your home’s stove or oven - During the Virtual Tougher weekend, cook 1, 2, or 3 meals for yourself and at least 1 other person. Take a picture of each meal and submit the pictures to the #challenges-cooking Slack channel with the hashtag #CookedInside. You’ll get points for each meal you cook.
C-2: Cook outside using a grill - During the Virtual Tougher weekend, cook 1, 2, or 3 meals for yourself and at least 1 other person. Use an outdoor grill to prepare the meals. Take a picture of each meal and submit the pictures to the #challenges-cooking Slack channel with the hashtag #CookedOnGrill. You’ll get points for each meal you cook.
C-3: Cook outside using an open fire - During the Virtual Tougher weekend, cook 1, 2, or 3 meals for yourself and at least 1 other person. Make a fire using wood and a fire pit. Cook the meals over the fire. Take a picture of each meal and submit the pictures to the #challenges-cooking Slack channel with the hashtag #CookedOverFire. You’ll get points for each meal you cook.
C-4: Cooking: the most creative dish - During the Virtual Tougher weekend, cook the most creative dish. Submit pictures of the dish to the #challenges-cooking Slack channel with the hashtag #MostCreativeDish. You will earn points for your submission, and points will be awarded for first, second, and third place for the most creative dish.
C-5: Cook outside with a Dutch Oven - During the Virtual Tougher weekend, cook a meal using a dutch oven. Take a picture of each meal and submit the pictures to the #challenges-cooking Slack channel with the hashtag #CookedDutchOven.
Fire Building - Please get your parents’ permission before attempting any of the fire building challenges. Also, please make sure all fires are built in a fire safe area, and they are properly extinguished.
TIP: Check with your Scoutmaster to see if the fire building challenges would qualify for your Second Class requirement 2c. You'll need to make sure you complete the entire requirement as written in your handbook.
For each of the fire building challenges, build small fires using as many of the listed methods as you like. Record yourself lighting your fire, and submit the recording to the #challenges-fire-building Slack channel. Points will be awarded for your submission and for the first, second, and third best fires built with each method.
F-1: Title - Start a small fire using the least number of matches.
F-2: Title - Start a small fire using a magnifying glass.
F-3: Title - Start a small fire using steel wool and a battery.
F-4: Title - Start a small fire using flint and steel.
F-5: Title - Start a small fire using a bow drill.
- Sea Scouts
Documents to download
2020 Virtual Tougher Challenge - PRE RELEASE(.docx, 520.82 KB) - 156 download(s)
The Pre-Release document was sent out to the Scouts the Wednesday before the weekend so that would have opportunity to succeed at these challenges.
2020 Virtual Tougher Scout Challenge Weekend - Challenges(.docx, 527.31 KB) - 214 download(s)
The full list of challenges was posted on Saturday at 12:00 noon.
massawepie-map(.pdf, 814.65 KB) - 299 download(s)
Map used for the Navigation Challenge N-2
jwcutler property map-Tougher(.pdf, 112.36 KB) - 133 download(s)
Map used for challenge N-1
Challenge-M-1-Messaging-Semaphore(.pdf, 310.99 KB) - 136 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the M-1 Semaphore Code challenge
800px-Semaphore_Signals_A-Z(.jpg, 38.96 KB) - 169 download(s)
Semahore Symbols to help Scouts translate the message in the M-1 Semaphore challenge
Challenge-M-2-Messaging-Morse-Code(.pdf, 302.1 KB) - 137 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the M-2 Morse Code challenge
morsecodechart(.pdf, 68.91 KB) - 102 download(s)
Morse Code chart to help Scouts translate the message in M-2 Challenge
Challenge-N-1-Map-1-Identify-the-types-of-items-on-a-map(.pdf, 382.38 KB) - 139 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the N-1 Map 1 challenge
Challenge-N-1-Map-2-Identify-the-types-of-items-on-a-map(.pdf, 380.89 KB) - 113 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the N-1 Map 2 challenge
Challenge-N-2-Map-1-Navigate-using-a-map-and-compass(.pdf, 527.95 KB) - 221 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the N-2 Map 1 challenge
Challenge-N-2-Map-2-Navigate-using-a-map-and-compass(.pdf, 526.68 KB) - 108 download(s)
PDF of the Google Form that was created for Scouts to submit their answers for the N-2 Map 2 challenge
2020-Virtual-Challenge-Worksheets(.xlsx, 301.59 KB) - 183 download(s)
the spreadsheet template we used to collect information about the event. This was a Google Sheet that we saved as an excel file. Scout content has been removed.
Certificates Template(.pptx, 130.4 KB) - 105 download(s)
This can be used to create award certificates for challenge winners.