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Patrol Practices In Observation

In town: teach your boys first, in walking down a street, to notice the different kinds of shops they pass and to remember them in their proper order. Then to notice and remember the names on the shops. Then to notice and remember the contents of a shop window after two minutes' gaze. Finally to notice the contents of several shop windows in succession with half a minute at each.

Make the boys notice prominent buildings as landmarks, the number of turnings off the street they are using, names of other streets, details of cars passing by, and especially, details of people as to dress, features and way of walking. Take them out the first time to show them how to do it. After that send them out and question them on their return.

Make the Scouts learn for themselves to notice and remember the whereabouts of all fire alarms, police points, hospitals, etc.

In the country: take the Patrol out for a walk and teach the boys to notice distant prominent features as landmarks, such as hills, church steeples, and the like, and as nearer landmarks such things as peculiar buildings, trees, rocks, gates, etc. Also have them notice by-roads or paths, different kinds of trees, birds, animals, tracks, and also people and vehicles.

Send the boys out on a walk. On their return examine them one by one, or have them all in and let them write their answers to, say, six questions which you give them with reference to certain points which they should have noticed. It adds to the value of the practice if you make certain small marks on the ground beforehand, or leave buttons or matches, etc., for the boys to notice or to pick up and bring in, as a means of making them examine the ground close to them, as well as distant objects.

At Troop meeting, arrange for an "incident" to take place without warning, such as this: A man rushes in, "knocks down" the Scoutmaster, and escapes. Then each Patrol writes a report of what happened, a description of the man, etc.


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

Date of Creation


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