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Two Brothers, different patrols sharing a tent? Good idea or bad? Why?

Our Troop recently enrolled two young boys (12 & 13). As a matter of practice, we assigned them to different patrols. They’re really new to Scouts, camping & the whole thing. Their first campout is coming up and I’m just thinking about what may work better, so I decided to seek the experience of others. They seem to get along pretty well by and large but there’s a slight tendency towards dependence by the younger to the older in some situations. Would it be better to separate them right off the bat, or let them become a bit adjusted to the program before separating at campouts? The younger boy is a cancer survivor (completely healed I’m happy to say) and is a robust energetic young man. I have my own thoughts, but I would like a “wall” to hang them up and compare others experiences before discussing this with the SM. Any ideas are welcome and appreciated even though the subject is broad and general. Thanks!

It all depends on the troop I think. Mine that I try to make very youth led, for the most part it is scout choice. Summer Camp SPL of camp assigns. Perhaps reading too much into your post I read it as you are assigning, or patrols tent together perhaps.

Anyway it is a tough call. 50% of all Scouts quit in first year. I would let them tent together or send a 4 man tent and throw a more experienced Scout in with them to make a new friend. I think that is the way to go. Right now the bothers are connected, get them connected with other Scouts, but allowing them to still be comfortable.

What about letting the youth leaders (SPL and PLS) figure out a solution? They can talk to the brothers and find out what their preferences are. Or maybe the Scout leaders want patrol mates to tent together (as long as the YPT age rules are followed).

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Patrols tent together. So, no, they should pick tent partners within their patrol. If at camp they have combined patrols? Then it is up to their patrol to sort out tent mates. As SM, other than the age rule and patrols tenting as patrols, I leave this up to the Scouts.

I would bring this to the SPL’s attention and ask him to decide. One thing the SPL should consider is, if they share the same tent, which PL is responsible for making sure it gets taken down and put away, when it’s time to go home?

According to the Guide to Safe Scouting, there is no rule that states that siblings can’t sleep in the same tent. However, make sure that youth sharing tents must be no more than two years apart in age.

Since it is their very first camp with the scouting program (probably their first camp without their parents) if they need to be in the same tent, then let them. You want their first camping experience with the troop to be memorable so that they continue with the program and continue to participate in more activities in the future. Once they become closer with the other scouts in their respective patrols, they will hopefully be okay enough to share a tent with their patrol mates.

I also agree with everyone else that you should talk with the troop’s SPL and ASPL to get their input as well. They should be part of the decision making process.

Siblings can be so different. Like everyone said talk to the SPL, the ASPL, and the Patrol leaders. They have been working with them and can give you some feedback. Also talk to the parents.

My kids don’t have this as an option because my 2 are a boy and a girl… but let me tell you my son wouldn’t go on any camping trips and was leaning towards dropping out. Summer camp came around and despite being in unlinked troops my daughter and my son ended up at the same summer camp (we have 2 in the Council…) at the same time. My son was thrilled and was the only reason he would go he knew his sister was there. My daughter was horrified and threatened not to go. Having his sister there was such a benefit to him even though they had separate lunches, were across the camp from each other and he only saw her at one class in the morning and as she was leaving swimming and he was arriving to swimming in the afternoon. Now this terrified kid who wouldn’t go on ANY camp outs attends everyone. He is going to Canada with the troop this summer in addition Summer camp. He had told me he wanted to drop out after Summer camp, and was only going because she would be there.

In the girl troop we had a sibling pair that honestly the younger girl dropped out and I really think if she could have tented with her sister the first camp out (she couldn’t because of the age difference) she might not have dropped out. She was very dependent on her sister but was getting better than after the first camp out dropped out.

So it can be beneficial, it can be a problem or it can make one sibling feel too responsible for the other. There is no one right answer to this question really.

I like the idea of letting them choose. They are both scouts after all, so why force them apart in the beginning if that is easier? In the two troops I’m part of, while we encourage scouts to tent by patrol, it’s not a hard and fast rule and as long as the scouts are fine and it complies with safe scouting, it’s never been a big deal.

I didn’t see a mention of what their parents’ opinion was. If they are only about a year apart in age, you could probably treat them as twins. Given that they are new to the program, I really think that the parents need to help with this decision. They can hopefully give some insight over how dependent they are on one another.

I think the best course of action is to have a SM to talk with the parents and brothers. Discuss what is in the best interest of the scouts and the unit, and develop a short and long term plan. Perhaps you can keep them together for a while, then split them as they develop friends. This would also give unit leaders an opportunity to evaluate the dynamic between the brothers.


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