By Chey Jedd
Today on 16 July 2021, the Scouts learnt how to pack a rucksack and prepare for an inspection. Not only does it train their organisation and attention to detail, but it also trains their discipline and ability to work quickly without forgoing quality. After a long period of online activities, the Scouts are excited to be able to come down for physical training.
Due to COVID-19, the Scouts were split into three groups by level to reduce intermingling. The Scouts first learnt about the three types of rucksacks; frameless, internal-frame, and external-frame.
Choosing the right rucksacks is important as different scenarios require different bags. Frameless are preferable for short hikes as they are light while the lack of back support is tolerable due to the short distance. On the other hand, external-frame is the best for long and mountainous hikes as although it is the heaviest, the better support would be more advantageous.
Scouts also learnt the most efficient way to pack their rucksacks. In general, light items which are not used often should be placed at the bottom. The heaviest items should be placed in the middle as close to the back as possible to balance the load. Important essentials like jackknives and first aid kits should be placed at the top for easy access. For sloping terrains, the heaviest items should be packed more towards the bottom to lower the centre of gravity for better stability.
As there is a huge list of items and equipment used during camps, the rucksacks must be packed compactly to maximise the available space. Moreover, as we use the frameless rucksack, ensuring that everything is compact allows the bag to better keep its shape and prevent items inside from moving much, reducing wasted energy while moving.
The Ventures then taught the Scouts how to prepare an inspection during camp. There are two types of inspection, close and open inspection.
The purpose of an inspection is to account for logistics. An inspection should be prepared in such a way that one look can easily tell what is missing. This is imperative during camps as if any equipment is lost, there is no way to replace it. Therefore, Scouts must be responsible and be able to account for all their equipment. Inspections also instil discipline and attention to detail in Scouts.
Scouts must be able to prepare a neat and organised inspection that is standardised amongst the entire Troop. Moreover, as preparation time for an inspection could be as short as a minute, Scouts need the discipline to be able to work with a sense of urgency while still hitting the expected standard. This is even more so for Catholic High Scouts who are expected to go above and beyond just the expected standard.
As the Scouts must ensure that their inspection layouts are immaculate, they must have the attention to detail to spot any mistakes which must be corrected immediately. This does not extend only to their own inspection, but also their Patrol mates as the Patrol should be working together as a unit to overcome this challenge.
The Ventures also demonstrated to the Scouts how to fold their clothes for an inspection. At the same time, they also showed how to waterproof their clothes and rucksacks. With Ubin’s erratic weather during camps, it is crucial for the Scouts to waterproof their rucksacks and clothes properly unless they want to have a miserable experience.
Practise makes perfect
After learning all the knowledge on rucksack packing and inspection, the Scouts got to put what they have learnt into practice. They were made to practise folding their clothes until they could accomplish it in around a minute per set. Afterwards, the Scouts got the chance to try and waterproof their clothes.
The Scouts were then tasked to prepare a close inspection based on the example prepared by the Ventures beforehand.
At first, they were unable to finish within the stipulated time as they were not very familiar with the inspection layout yet and the timing given was short. However, after familiarising themselves with the layout while coordinating to help one another, they were able to achieve excellent inspection layouts expected of a Catholic High Scout.
After each inspection, the Scouts had to pack their equipment back into their rucksacks in under 2 minutes. Furthermore, the Ventures emphasised packing the rucksacks based on the proper method the Scouts were taught despite the time limit.
This is because they wanted to inculcate in the Scouts the ability to work quickly with quality. Moreover, the Scouts would not be working effectively nor efficiently if they do not make use of the knowledge learnt.
Without a doubt, the Scouts had put in their best efforts and had managed to achieve excellent results during practice, showing that they would settle for nothing but perfection. Although the chances of camping are slim this year, the knowledge learnt today is still invaluable as it can still be applied to the Scouts’ daily life. Catholic High Scout Group does not want Scouts to only train skills useful for CCA, but also skills that can be applied practically and widely in their daily lives so that they would continue to benefit after graduation.