The Patrol Method


Most pre-camp preparation is organizational work. Before leaving for camp, your troop should be organized into patrols with a Senior Patrol Leader (SPL) and Assistant Senior Patrol Leader (ASPL) overseeing all patrols. Each patrol should consist of approximately six to eight boys and be led by a Patrol Leader (PL). To ensure success, it is generally best to establish these groupings early in the year so that the Scouts can participate in several outings together before coming to camp.

Another important element of preparation for camp is training. The menus and instructions for meal preparation are available online. Before summer camp, your unit may want to practice cooking menu items that you are not familiar with. Time spent earlier in the year sharpening cooking and camping skills during troop outings – especially for new Scouts – will pay huge dividends when summer camp rolls around. We strongly recommend using the patrol method on every campout in order to strengthen youth leadership skills and prepare for summer camp.


The staff will be looking to the youth leaders of the troop to know what they would like to experience at Camp Freeland Leslie. Please encourage a strong troop system which is led by the Scouts.

The Senior Patrol Leader should organize and lead the troop both before and during camp. The Assistant Senior Patrol Leader helps the SPL carry out his duties and often takes charge of other tasks that are delegated to him. One of the most important functions of the SPL at camp is to attend the Sunday afternoon camp wide SPL meeting, where he represents his troop. He is responsible for communicating important information to the troop when he returns. He needs to have a good idea of what activities and programs his troop wants to participate in so that he can represent them effectively.

Each Patrol Leader should lead his patrol operations, assigning tasks to the members of his patrol fairly and ensure that everyone contributes. A duty roster can be an effective way to assign a rotation of tasks to be completed throughout the week. Duty roster forms can be found in the CFL Meal Guide.

Patrol Cooking


By the time your troop arrives at camp, most of your adult leaders’ duties have been completed. From registration to training to transportation, leaders make it possible for the boys to come to camp.

Once at camp, adults are responsible for the health and safety of the Scouts, and for counseling the troop’s youth leadership. Adults should also assist with troop discipline when required. Aside from these duties, adults are encouraged to take advantage of the many program opportunities available to adults, and to follow Baden Powell’s motto: “Train them, trust them, let them lead.”


No formula works for every unit, and the ideas that work for larger troops don’t always apply to smaller troops. Stick with what works best for you. If you have ten Scouts, for example, you may elect to have the SPL and ASPL serve as Patrol Leader and Assistant Patrol Leader while at camp, rather than separating them from the rest of the troop. Or, with a dozen Scouts you may choose to have two patrols and no SPL, with the two Patrol Leaders sharing the SPL’s duties. Discuss your troop’s setup with your Campsite Host and other camp staff so that we can best adapt to your needs.