First Aid Challenge


As I was submitting games from the Skills Showdown to the US Scouting Service Project Activity Database, I realized that I never finished writing about the games we played.

The First Aid Challenge was designed to give each Scout the opportunity to work on the first aid rank requirements they needed to complete. Fair warning: this game didn't work as smoothly or as fairly as I would have hoped. I think it's a good starting point and the Scouts enjoyed it, but it needs refinement.

How We Played

Prior to calling the Scouts to order, a few Scouts are pulled aside to be the "victims." Scouts are given a list of injuries that will need to be taken care of. Each list of injuries is different, to correspond with Tenderfoot or 2nd Class requirements, for example. An adult will make sure each Patrol correctly helps each victim. Victims are sent off to hide somewhere nearby, in an easy-to-find location: behind a tree, for example. Victims are sent off early so that other Scouts won't recognize what is happening. (Needing to run around and find an injured Scout is an important part to making the game fun.)

At the Skills Showdown we had Scouts who need to work on the 2nd and 1st Class first aid rank requirements, as well as quite a few older Scouts, but no Scouts who needed Tenderfoot, unfortunately. You can download Victim Injuries.pdf to see the injury lists I created, and to use at your own First Aid Challenge.

Patrols are called together and broken into small teams of 3-4. Teams are created based upon rank requirements and the Scouts that need them. Each team is told they need to find an injured Scout and give him first aid; the "injured" will have ailments relating to the rank they are working on. They must find their injured Scout, not just any injured Scout.

Teams need to have first aid equipment to deal with the injuries they may find, so they should grab whatever they think they might need. Teams have two minutes to prepare, then must return to the starting point. After they return with their gear and we are all ready, Teams start hunting for their victim!

Once they find and correctly fix the victim's injuries they can rush the victim back to the starting point. They can not bring the victim back to the starting point until the injuries are repaired. After the team finds their injured Scout, they receive a list of his ailments. As mentioned, an adult (with a checklist) will oversee each team to see that they complete the required tasks before heading back. The first patrol back to the starting point wins the ribbon!

How the Game Went

Scouts enjoyed the hustle that went with this game. First, after being divided into teams, the two minute prep time forced them to quickly review (with the Scout Handbook) what sort of injuries they might encounter, and they quickly ran off to get what equipment they thought they might need. Teams did a good job of working together to realize what they might need (simple first aid kit, blankets, splints, triangle bandages, for example) and collecting things. All teams grabbed a backpack to put gear into, which I was happy to see.

The hustle continued when we started: teams ran off in different directions to find their victim. The victims were all hiding in plain sight: behind a building, behind a tree, behind a stone wall. They were easy to spot if you looked, but none could be seen from the starting point.

Teams found their victim, who then handed a list of injuries to the team members. The team needed to assess the injuries and determine how to proceed, as adults looked on to be sure Scouts were doing the right things, and in the right order. Adults had more detailed lists than the teams did. For example, "Call 911/seek help" is not on the team list but is on the adult list, so they can make sure Scouts seek appropriate help.

There was a feeling of urgency as the Scouts performed first aid on their victims. I was happy to hear that most recognized not only what they needed to do based on the list of injuries, but also recognized at least a few of the unwritten things they needed to do, such as calling for help, treating for shock, or not moving the broken leg. Adults had to prod all of the teams about something, but overall I was happy to hear that they did a pretty good job.

I was with an experienced team doing "Older Scout" first aid. As they were working on their injured Scout I saw the 2nd Class team run back to the start, followed shortly by the 1st Class team, and we still had quite a bit to do. This was nice in that it gave the youngest Scouts an opportunity to earn a ribbon, however I was hoping it would have been more evenly matched.

I think the game needs to be revamped to make it a fairer competition. A few ideas:

  • Victims with lower-rank injuries need to hide better or further away.
  • Lower-rank teams need to have more injuries to contend with.
  • Higher-rank teams need to have fewer injuries to contend with.

Perhaps a combination of all three would be best. Regardless of the improvements that could benefit this activity, I feel like it was a success: Scouts showed (and learned and refreshed) their knowledge of first aid and had fun because of the variety of tasks involved.

Oh yeah, there was one more little problem: we sent the victims out about 10-15 minutes before the game started. By the time each team found them, they were cold. It was a nice day for mid-November, but when sitting on the the ground and not moving, it's easy for the cold to run through you!

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