Preparations

 

 

 

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CHAPTER V

PREPARATIONS

" The first essential for carrying out this training is to put

yourself in the boy's place, look at it from his point of view

present your subject to him as he would like to have it, and so

get him to teach himself without your having to hammer it into

him." Scouting for Boys, P. 3x8.

WHEN a Troop or Crew is accustomed to the enjoyment of Wide Games, it will not be necessary to work up much in the way of enthusiasm beforehand. They will have already experienced the fun of the game and will enter upon another in the right kind of spirit. When, however, Wide Games are unknown, or few and far between, there is need to work up some kind of an atmosphere as one of the important preparations for a game that is to be played in the near future.

The way in which a Scoutmaster can work up enthusiasm naturally differs according to his powers and circumstances, but it is best to adopt the Chief Scout's suggested method of approach and to make use of a Camp Fire Yarn--not necessarily in camp or out--of--doors appealing to the spirit of adventure and romance that lies in every boy. This method of approach is dealt with fully in the next chapter.

Maps and photographs of the country where the game is to take place can also be used with advantage. Each Patrol should be encouraged to study both in order to

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get some idea of the lay of the land. Each Patrol can also discuss various ways and means of progressing through the country marked, can measure up distance, study methods of approach to certain points, and even attempt models of salient features.

When making a start with Wide Games it will he found best to break new ground and not make use of country with which the Troop is already familiar. The unknown always adds interest. In the same way let a considerable amount of uncertainty exist as to the exact details of the game until shortly before the time it is to be played. If everything is cut and dried, and known, too long beforehand, the value of mystery is lost--

Proper preparations must, however, be made for every game of the normal kind, be it inter--Patrol or inter--Troop. When the Scoutmaster has a rough idea of what he intends to do, and the location he intends to use, he should talk it over with his Patrol Leaders. Their views as to the type of game chosen, ground to be used, methods of capture to be adopted, plot of the story, rules for the game, etc., should be asked for and given every consideration. They will probably suggest points which might not occur to the Scoutmaster, and will give the latter the boys' point of view. Later the planning of a game can be left entirely to them.

After this preliminary discussion the Scoutmaster can get on with more immediate preparations in the way of fixing the area, obtaining permission to make use of it, calculating distances and times, seeing that the necessary gear is available, and, possibly, giving some intensive training in Stalking or other subject to the Troop. It may also be necessary to arrange for transport of Scouts or gear, and all the other ioi details that fall to his lot. Again, as progress is made, these details----or the majority

 

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WIDE GAMES

--of them--can safely and wisely be left to the Patrol Leaders.

A day, or week, before the game is to be played the Scouters and Patrol Leaders should again meet to decide on any details that are left. Copies of the story and maps should then be handed to each Patrol Leader; the game should be explained in detail; methods of capture and other rules should be clearly stated; the time and place ,of assembly or departure should be given ; instructions in regard to the taking of gear, of the uniform to be worn, of the means of identification to be adopted, of the duration of the game, should be given out. Each Patrol Leader should then be given an opportunity to ask questions in ~order that he is quite clear as to what is to happen. Finally the composition of the sides is decided upon.

The Patrol Leaders may then be invited to discuss the game among themselves and decide on the points that are to be awarded to a side for the successful attainment of any of its objects, and the points that are to be deducted for capture. At first a little advice on this question may be given, but afterwards the decision as to points should be left to the Patrol Leaders or the Troop as a whole. Care has to be taken to see that too many points are not awarded for any one object, otherwise the final result of the game may be determined early on and interest be lost. Experience will gradually show what adjustments to make so that the result is in doubt up to the last moment. The points to be awarded or deducted should be communicated to all taking part before the game starts.

The Scoutmaster should also encourage the Patrol Leaders to talk the game over with their Patrols in order that they can plot out a plan of campaign. This is a very important point, and the more the Scouts can be encouraged to develop strategic plans beforehand, the better is

PREPARATIONS

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the game likely to be. When two or more Patrols are associated together on one side, there is all the more need for developing a plan of action. Time, distance, numbers, points, etc., will all enter into the plotting out of a scheme for attack or for defense. The value of the game from its character training point of view will largely depend on the amount of thought given to it beforehand by the Scouts themselves.

A good deal of this advice would seem to presuppose an inter--Patrol game for one Troop, but, in point of fact, the same advice applies to games with larger numbers of Scouts on a District basis. The more the Troop itself, especially through its Patrol Leaders, enters into the question of strategy the better. In these larger games Scouters must be particularly careful to see that all their Scouts know what their objective is and are alive to what is going on. Primarily it is the job of Patrol Leaders to see that all the members of their Patrols understand all that is going to happen, but the Scouters can supervise that job tactfully. Nothing is more boring to a youngster than to be let loose in the countryside and told to lie in a ditch without having the vaguest idea why he should be lying in that ditch. One of the greatest difficulties in Wide Games for large numbers is to ensure that all the Scouts are occupied all the time and that all of them know what it is all about. One of the greatest dangers is that the Scouters keep everything in their hands and order their Patrols and Troops about without letting them know what the intention of these orders is. This danger must be avoided. at all costs; it is opposed to the Scout method.

The Scoutmaster must also be prepared for the finish of a Wide Game. The question of whether the Troop or Troops are to congregate together afterwards has to

 

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be decided. If more than one Troop is concerned, it is advisable that they should all meet together and fraternize as soon as the game is over. One of the best finishes to a Wide Game is a cup of tea and a bun for each Scout followed by a cheery Camp Fire. At the Camp Fire the result of the game can be given out, and a short talk given on points that have cropped up in connection with it.

The same kind of policy can also be adopted for the single Troop, but in this case it may be advisable for the Patrols to make their way independently back to camp or to some rallying point. The instructions to Patrol Leaders should, therefore, include what they are to do with their Patrols immediately the game is over, as well as including what they are to do with them before the game starts. If the Troop is sufficiently well trained so as to permit of Patrols moving independently to the starting--point under their Patrol Leaders, a good part of the object of Scouting has already been obtained.

Common sense will tell the Scoutmaster how to work out the detail of his preparations, and there is no need for me to go into questions of detail--the issue of gear to Patrols and so on.

The Chief Scout has, however, suggested that, after a certain experience of Wide Games has been obtained, it may be possible to introduce the element of surprise by suddenly springing a game on the Troop without any warning or previous preparation. When he commanded his regiment he arranged with other Commanding Officers that when their regiments were engaged in training and came in contact with each other, inside or outside cantonments, they were immediately to regard each other as enemies and act accordingly. It must certainly have enlivened proceedings and kept the men on the alert, as, for instance, when the Chief heading his Hussars back

WIDE GAMES

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to barracks after a long ride spotted an infantry battalion drilling on the barrack square and immediately gave the order to charge I

Wherever practical this suggestion should be adopted, for there is no doubt as to its value in the Scout method of training. An impromptu Wide Game developed on encountering a neighboring Troop might prove very exciting indeed. Discipline would have to prevail, and in camp all would have to remember that " Camp raiding is strictly prohibited " (Rule 340)--

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Peer- Level Topic Links:
!Quick Guide! ] Conquest Type ] Cordon-Breaking Type ] Man-Hunt Type ] Raid Type ] Seizure Type ] Treasure-Hunt Type ] Treasure Type (UK) ] Introduction ] Training ] Care of Countryside ] Playing the Game ] [ Preparations ] Cloak of Romance ] Night, Winter, Water ] Descriptions ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Baden-Powell's  Games ] B-P's Adult Military Games ] Dan Beard's Games ] A. Mackenzie's Games ] G. S. Ripley's Games ] Ernest Seton's Games ] J. Thurman's Games ] Smith's Advancement Games ] Wide Games ] Relay Games ] Special Needs Boys' Games ] Politically Incorrect Scout Games ] Game Leadership ] Compass Training Games ] Highland Games ]

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Last modified: October 15, 2016.