Preparing for the Skills Showdown


The last two Troop meetings previous to the Skills Showdown were spent doing more preparation than hype (1, 2, 3): menus, tour permit, and ensuring that the activities were well-planned.

At 1-1/2 weeks away we mostly worked on menus. Patrols needed to plan simple meals for Saturday's lunch and Sunday's breakfast, and their buffet item for the dinner on Saturday. As expected, the lunch and breakfast menus were easy and typical. The dinner menus were fantastic, though, and inspired just the sort of creativity and effort I wanted. The rule was that they could not have ever made the item on a campout. One patrol was making nachos topped with cheese and refried beans, and tacos with all the toppings; another patrol would make some different kinds of cookies from scratch; another made Buffalo-meatloaf-in-an-onion; another would make a foil reflector oven to bake food; and another made ice cream and mashed potatoes. What a variety!

At this meeting I also passed a short list of items to each patrol leader. This was a list of things they would need to be sure they had to get the most out of the weekend, and only cited "special" items not necessarily brought on every campout: frying pan, spatula, first aid equipment relating to their patrol's experience, etc. It was a brief list just to ensure they were prepared.

This was also the last week to sign up for the Showdown. I didn't hype it, though--if they didn't know what the Showdown was by this point, they wouldn't have heard me say it again! We also had to try and find enough drivers to take all of our Scouts.

At the last Troop meeting before the Skills Showdown I made sure each patrol passed a gear list off to the quartermasters, we panicked over not having enough drivers then rejoiced over finding enough drivers, and similar last-minute details.

All the while--outside of Troop meetings--I was toiling away on the specifics of each activity (I wanted them to play well) and Sherree put together the activity ribbons for me. We spent quite a few hours preparing.

And we're ready. I hope.

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