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28 August 2011

Last Friday, we had skills training as usual, after a long period without any. Many of us were really happy for this meeting as we could feel our skills level dropping without the constant practice together. All the patrols had patrol activity, most of them combining patrols. Below are the entries by the secretaries of Patrol 5 and Patrol 6 as they recount with us the different activities that they had. :D

From Patrol 5
On Friday’s , P5 Combined with P7 to construct a Kitchen Shelter cum Kitchen Table. We were following the design that our seniors used for PLTC, which was unfamiliar to us, but it minimizes the time and logistics required.

So firstly, we were given 10 minutes to collect our logistics from 团部, back store and frontier. Due to the confusion, we actually took an extra canvas sheet. We should have been more vigilant. However still, we made it in good time.

When we officially started the pioneering, we were very unsure of what to do, and the PLs wasted a lot of time asking about the design, resulting in the overall exceeding of time limit. When we knew the next steps, we were also very slow in our actions and lacked a sense of urgency.

The most notable difference between the normal kitchen shelter and the one we built is that there is the extra two spars (yellow) attached on to the centre spar (red) with tripod lash. They have to be stacked on top of each other, with the red spar in the middle, so that later the yellow spars can intersect under the kitchen shelter while the red spar (shorter) remains vertical.

After the whole structure is raised, and the yellow spars intersected, we started tying the kitchen table. However, the yellow spars were too long and the shelter too small, resulting in a slightly off balanced table. The table and chairs were also tilted. The whole structure took us around 2 hours, exceeding the time given by more than half an hour.

Actually, in spite of the confusion, we could have done much better if our lashes were tight so that we did not have to keep retying. We should also have moved much faster. Measurements of the table and seats should be taken perpendicularly from ground level to ensure a horizontal platform too. Manpower could have also been handled and allocated better to make full use of the time given.

After the evaluation of our structure, we had a short first aid quiz that takes about 15 minutes. And then Patrol Activity officially ended when we put back the logistics and back at General Science Lab.

From Patrol 6: 
For today's 集合, my patrol started off by combining with Patrol 9, Sparrow, and we were subsequently mixed into another 2 groups, both of which consisted of Year 1 and 2 members from both patrols.

Firstly, both groups were given a proposal of a clothesline which each group has to build one, and at the same time recognize the flaws and merits of our own clothesline.

In this activity, we learned that a clothesline does not always have to follow the standards, and that can apply to other structures as well.

As the logistics could be limited in some cases, we have to think out of the box and ensure that our clothesline is:
1)     Stable – This is so that it can stand, and support our clothes as well, so that the clothes, especially the uniform do not drop.
2)     Effective – This is so that we are can get our clothesline up in the shortest time possible; also that it suits the amount of clothes we have, as well as the manpower required to build it in each patrol.

Next, each group was given 10 minutes to tie a flagpole and we learnt that the 3 manila ropes used to stable the structure had to open out in an equilateral triangle, in order to even out the flagpole's weight amongst the 3 ropes.

After that, we were supposed to tie a storage tent, but started on our orienteering trek due to bad weather conditions. For this part of the PA, our Guide's scarf, and compass were required. We started off under a specified point, and using bearings given by our seniors, we went to various stations around the Year 3 and 4 block. There were stations like a gas room and an electrical fence, both which required some thought.

For example, at the electric fence, we had to think of how to get across while holding some gadget poles and at the same time not be electrocuted.
Overall, this part of PA was fun, as we not only learnt orienteering skills; we also got to brush up on our other skills, like trekking signs, as well as our physic.

One small part of today's PA was our attire check. Both patrols mass changed into our Guides' Uniform and had attire check, after which we mass changed back into our PE attire. We did not really perform well in this mass change as we lacked a sense of urgency and exceeded the time limit for both.

Lastly, we started on our storage tents, using logistics collected from the gas room at the previous activity. We did not do so well for this activity as we exceeded the time limit a number of times and we were also not really sure of how to start. However, we still managed to get them up, even though both storage tents were very unstable. From this, we learnt that our poncho can never be too taut when we hit in our pegs. This is because if we do so, our poncho will be much stretched when we put in our gadget poles and may even break under pressure.

Overall, for today, I think that my patrol could have done better to adhere to the time limits. I think the main reason for today's substandard performance may be due to the National Day holidays and Common Tests CCA stand downs and us not having practiced our skills for a long time.  However, with more practice, we will be able to do much better and hone our skills for future challenges.
clothesline, with our Guides Uniform on it! 

Patrol flag pole, the most sacred structure of a patrol:)

electric fence:D

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