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Games in Pathfinding

Follow the Map

A Patrol is taken in patrol formation into a strange town or into an intricate piece of strange country, with a map. Here sealed instructions are opened, telling where the Patrol is, and where it is to go to. Each Scout now in turn leads the Patrol, say, for seven minutes if cycling, fifteen minutes if walking. Each Scout is to find the way entirely by the map, and points are given for ability in reading.

On Trek

Make a "wilderness" trek, each Scout carrying his kit and food. Walk in single file, with a Scout 200 yards out in front to indicate the road to follow by Scout signs. Make a bridge over a stream or a raft over a lake; cross boggy ground on faggots.

Learn to pack your camp gear properly

Learn to pack your camp gear properly. In Africa ami North America, they often use a tump-line on the head to help support the load.

To teach your Scouts individually, ideas of direction and distance, send each out in a different direction on some such order as this: "Go two miles to the North-north-east. Write a report to show exactly where you are, with a sketch map to explain it. Bring in your report as quickly as possible". Then test by ordnance maps or otherwise to see how far he was out of the distance and direction ordered.

Send out Scouts in pairs, to compete each pair against the other. Each pair to be sent by a different route to gain the same spot, finding the way by map, and to reach the goal without being seen by the others on the way. This develops map-reading, eye for country, concealment, look-out, etc.

For judging time: send out Scouts in different directions, each with a slip of paper that tells him for how long he is to be away- say seven minutes for one, ten for another, and so on. Note down exact time of starting, and take it again on the return of the Scouts. They must be put on their honour not to consult watches or clocks.

Find the North

Scouts are posted thirty yards apart, and each lays his staff on the ground pointing to what he considers the exact north (or south), without using any instrument. He steps back three paces away from his staff. The umpire compares each stick with the compass. The one that is nearest, wins. This is a useful game to play at night, or on sunless days as well as sunny days.

Night Patrolling

Scouts can practise hearing and seeing at night by acting as "sentries", who stand or walk about, while other Scouts try to stalk up to them. If a sentry hears a sound he calls or whistles. The stalking Scouts must at once halt and lie still. The umpire comes to the sentry and asks which direction the sound came from. If he is right, the sentry wins. If the stalker can creep up within fifteen yards of the sentry without being seen, he deposits some article, such as a handkerchief, on the ground at that point, and creeps away again. Then he makes a noise to cause the sentry to sound an alarm, and when the umpire comes up, he explains what he has done. This game can also be practised by day, with the sentries blindfolded.

Compass Points

Eight staffs are arranged in star fashion on the ground, all radiating from the centre. One staff should point due north. One Scout takes up his position at the outer end of each staff, and represents one of the eight principal points of the compass.

The Scoutmaster now calls out any two points, such as S.E. and N., and the two Scouts concerned must immediately change places. To change, Scouts must not cross the staffs, but must go outside the circle of players. Anyone moving out of place without his point being named, or moving to a wrong place or even hesitating, should lose a mark. When three marks have been lost the Scout should fall out. As the game goes on blank spaces will occur. These will make it slightly harder for the remaining boys.

The Red Indians used to transport their teepees

The Red Indians used to transport their teepees and equipment on a carrier made by lashing sticks together. It was called a "travois".

To make the game more difficult sixteen points may be used instead of eight.

When played indoors the lines of the compass may be drawn in chalk on the floor.

Alarm: Catch the Thief

A red rag is hung up in the camp or troop room in the morning. The umpire goes round to each Scout in turn, while they are at work or play, and whispers to him, "There is a thief in the camp". But to one he whispers, "There is a thief in the camp, and you are he- Marble Arch!" or some other well-known spot about a mile away. That Scout then knows that he must steal the rag at any time within the next three hours, and bolt with it to the Marble Arch. Nobody else knows who is to be the thief, where he will run to, and when he will steal it. Directly anyone notices that the red rag is stolen, he gives the alarm, and all stop what they may be doing at the time, and dart off in pursuit of the thief. The Scout who gets the rag or a bit of it wins. If none succeeds in doing this, the thief wins. He must carry the rag tied round his neck, and not in his pocket, or hidden away.

Surveying the Country

As soon as a camp has been pitched, the first thing to be done is to find out about the country around the camp site, and this makes an excellent subject for a Patrol competition.

Each Patrol Leader is given a sheet of paper upon which to make a sketch map of the country for perhaps two miles around. He then sends out his Scouts in all directions to survey and bring back a report of every important feature-roads, railways, streams, etc.- choosing the best Scouts for the more difficult directions. Each Patrol Leader makes up his map entirely from the reports of his own Scouts.

The Patrol whose leader brings to the Scouter the best map in the shortest time, wins.

Note-Many of these games and practices can be carried out in town just as well as in the country.

Author

Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation

1908

Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Sea Scouting

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Patrol Practices in Finding the Way


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