These challenges provide Scouts with an opportunity to put a variety of lashing skills into action.
In accordance with their level of skill, patrols can stay intact while doing these activities. Pitting one patrol against another in a competition can also be lots of fun. If patrols are organized by age, dividing the troop into equally-skilled Scout teams can be a practical alternative.
Note: The size of the spars in many of these activities are the size needed to construct the standard sized Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge.
“wide” = large indoor or outdoor setting for those activities requiring a greater amount of space
“small” = small area for those activities that do not require as much space, or can be carried out in close quarters, or with a smaller number of Scouts
“in” = indoor activity
“out” = outdoor activity
Download PDF File of Lashing Skill Activities
A-FRAME TRANSPORT RACE (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: two 8-foot x 4-inch spars, one 6-foot x 3-inch spar, three 15-20-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for each patrol
– Method: On signal, patrols lash together an A-frame using a shear lashing at the tips of the 8-foot spars and square lashings at the butt ends for the 6-foot ledger. (Three square lashings can also be used.) When the A-frame is built, it is either dragged or carried around a pre-set course or to a turn-around-line and back. The course can be completed by more than one patrol member in accordance with whatever guidelines are decided beforehand.
– Scoring: The fastest patrol to complete the race wins.
– Note: Dragging the A-Frame can cause damage to indoor floors, carpeting, and outdoor grassy areas, and should only be done on durable surfaces.
CATCH THE SNAPPER (small, in or out) View Video
– Materials: four Scout staves, six 6-foot lashing ropes, one 3-foot cord, one fishing sinker and a mouse or rattrap for each patrol
– Method: Form a “river” by marking two parallel lines 15 feet apart. The patrols line up on one “riverbank.” On the opposite bank is a cocked mouse or rattrap. Patrol members use all their materials to build a long fishing pole which they use to catch the “snapper.”
– Scoring: The first patrol to lift the mouse or rattrap up by catching it on their fishing sinker wins.
CROSSING THE ALLIGATOR PIT (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: for each patrol, two 8-foot x 4-inch spars, and one sturdy 6-foot x 3-inch spar, three 15-foot lashing ropes, six 20-foot guylines, 1/4-inch in diameter, seven participating patrol members
– Method: Mark the “alligator pit” on the ground; it should be 15 feet across and as wide as necessary to accommodate your patrols. The patrols line up on one side of the pit. On signal, they lash together an A-Frame “walker,” using a Shear Lashing at the top and Square Lashings at the cross bar, or three square lashings. Near the top, they attach two guylines, and at each bottom corner they attach two more, using two half hitches. The patrol then stands the walker upright and one member climbs on the crossbar. One Scout controls each guyline and “walks” the walker across the pit by tipping it from side to side and moving it forward.
– Scoring: The first patrol to finish wins. This can be a timed contest if there aren’t enough materials for all patrols.
Note: Crossing the Alligator Pit indoors can cause damage to floors and carpeting, and should only be done on durable surfaces.
EVERYONE ON THE TRIPOD (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: for each patrol, three 8-foot x 4-inch spars, three sturdy 6-foot x 3-inch spars, six 15-foot lashing ropes, one 20-foot lashing rope
– Method: On signal, patrol members lash the three 8-foot spars into a tripod, using the 20-foot rope. When finished, they set up the tripod and using six square lashings, lash a 6-foot spar between each of the legs. When all lashings are completed and the tripod is strong and secure, all the patrol members stand on the 6-foot spars, making sure their weight is evenly distributed.
– Scoring: The first patrol with all its members off the ground wins.
(Everyone on the Tripod: Demonstration Video)
FLAGPOLE RACE (wide, out) View Video
– Materials: for each patrol, four Scout staves (or three Scout staves if their patrol flag is already secured to a pole), six 6-foot lashing ropes, three 15-foot cords, three stakes, one mallet, patrol flag, two short cords to attach the flag to the flagpole
– Method: On signal, each patrol flies their flag on their flagpole by: joining the staves together with round lashings, attaching the three guylines about 3/4 the way up from the bottom with round turns with two half hitches or rolling hitches, hammering in the three stakes forming an equilateral triangle, tying the guylines at the stakes with taut-line hitches, adjusting the tension on the lines to securely hold their flagpole in a tight, vertical position.
– Scoring: Patrols receive points for both speed and efficiency.
GET ‘IM UP (small, in or out)
– Materials: for each patrol, three 8-foot spars, one 20-foot lashing rope, and one, strong 10-foot rope for suspension
– Method: On signal, the patrol members lash the three spars into a sturdy tripod with the 20-foot lashing rope. When finished, they set up the tripod, tie a bowline in one end of the 10-foot rope, and place the bowline loop over the tripod’s center leg. Then they tie a bowline in the free end, high enough that the loop cannot touch the ground. One Scout steps up into the bowline’s loop and stands there, holding their balance by hanging onto the line coming down from the top of the tripod. As necessary, Scouts can steady the tripod’s legs so they don’t slip.
– Scoring: The first patrol with a Scout standing in the bowline loop with the tripod supporting their weight wins.
JOINING STAVES (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: plenty of 6-foot lashing ropes and a large supply of Scout staves
– Method: On signal, with two round lashings, Scouts join as many Scout staves together as they can, in the time allotted, into one long connected pole. When they are done, they lift the entire joined-together construction over their heads.
– Scoring: The longest, intact collection of staves wins.
– Variation: If the ceiling is high enough, or if the activity is held outdoors, patrols can attempt to hold their construction up vertically.
LADDER BUILDING (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: for each patrol: two 8-foot x 4-inch spars, four 3 to 4-foot x 2-inch “rungs,” eight 15-foot lashing ropes
– Method: Each patrol will lash together a ladder with four rungs, spacing the rungs from the bottom, about 1-foot apart, using eight square lashings. (Note: it’s important that the rungs are spaced in this fashion so there’s plenty of room for Scouts to hold onto the legs when they stand on the top rung.) When sturdy, the whole patrol will stand the ladder up. While one patrol member at a time takes a turn climbing to the top rung, the rest of the entire parol carefully holds their ladder steady with both hands. Of course it’s vital the rest of the patrol pays strict attention to holding the ladder steady and secure!
– Scoring: Each patrol that successfully tests their ladder wins.
– Variation: Hang a bell about ten feet over where the ladder(s) will be built. Space the rungs evenly along the 8-foot spars, so that the fourth rung is lashed to the ladder’s legs halfway up. Using two additional lashing ropes, lash on a fifth rung at the top for Scouts to hold onto with one hand while they ring the bell with the other.
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LIFT SEAT PROCESSION (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: two 15-foot lashing ropes, two 6-foot x 3-inch spars, four to six 3-foot x 2-inch floor spars
– Method: Scouts will to construct a lift seat by lashing the floor spars to the 6-foot platform supports, using two floor lashings. When completed, four Scouts carry one Scout, seated and holding on, to a turning line and back. The process is repeated for a designated amount of times, carrying a different Scout each time.
Note: This is not a race.
– Scoring: Points are awarded in accordance with how efficiently the patrols use their lift seats to carry their members.
REACTOR TRANSPORTER (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: for each patrol, six Scout staves, six 6-foot lashing ropes, one 10-foot lashing rope, two 3-foot light cords, one No. 10 can with a bail attached, and a large washer or one nut from a 1⁄2-inch bolt
– Method: On signal, each patrol builds a transporter by lashing a three sided frame with three staves and then lashing on a tripod from the three corners of the frame. The tin can is suspended from the top of the tripod. The nut is also hung from the top of the tripod. It hangs down into the can but does not touch the bottom or the sides. When finished, three patrol members pick the transporter up by its three corners and carry it to a turn-around point and back. If the nut swings and hits the side of the can, the patrol must return to the starting line and start the carry again. The object is to transport the reactor so gently and evenly that it is not jarred.
– Scoring: The fastest time wins.
ROMAN CHARIOT RACE (wide, in or out)
– Materials: two 8-foot x 4-inch spars, two 6-foot x 3-inch spars, two 4-foot x 2-1/2-inch spars (or two more 6-foot spars), nine 15-foot lashing ropes, three 10-foot ropes per patrol
– Method: Each patrol lashes together a trestle, using the 8-foot spars as the legs, the 6-foot spars as the cross braces, and the 4-foot spars as the transom and ledger. The chariot is dragged to a turning line and back again with one patrol member on board. To imitate an actual chariot to the fullest extent, two Scouts act as “wheels” keeping the chariot upright, patrol members pull the chariot like horses using two hauling lines tied to the transom at each leg, and the rider grabs hold of a rope with each end tied to the top of a leg, serving as the “reins”
– Scoring: The first patrol all seated with chariot taken apart and ropes coiled, after dragging their rider back to the finish line, wins.
SCOUT STAVE LAUNCHER (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: six Scout staves, seven 6-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes, three short lengths of cord (to secure the shot holder to the structure), one pre-made “shot-holder” (fashioned from a canvas triangle or from a 12-1/2-ounce can used for potted meat, click here for instructions), large supply of newspaper and masking or scotch tape, (large supply of tennis balls if built outside), playing area large enough to spread out for each patrol, eye protection for the Scouts firing or holding the launcher, optional Scout stave launcher diagram.
– Method: An indoor or outdoor area is set up so there’s plenty of room to launch the “shots.” Each patrol is provided the necessary materials along with the design drawing. They are each assigned their own designated area (about 10 feet x 10 feet) in which they must stay. On signal, they race to build their Scout Stave Launcher. Using the newspaper and tape, they will also have to set to work and make a supply of “shots.” As soon as they are ready, they can proceed to launch tightly, taped-together newspaper “shots” at designated targets in the shooting area. They can also launch the “shots” for distance.
– Scoring: Points can be awarded when a shot hits a target and for the shots that went the farthest.
– Note: Supervision by an NCS trained shooting sports director is required for this activity.
SELF STANDING FLAGPOLE CHALLENGE (small, in or out) View Video
– Materials: six Scout staves, seven 6-foot x 1/4-inch lashing ropes, four light 10-foot guylines, one 15-foot light line for a halyard, one 3-foot cord to make top loop for halyard, two pencil-sized sticks (if needed to secure patrol flag to halyard through existing grommets), patrol flag for each patrol, optional self-standing flagpole diagram
– Method: With the above materials and some time to plan, patrols are challenged to build a self-standing flagpole capable of raising and lowering their patrol flag.
– Scoring: Points can be awarded to the patrols who can complete the challenge within the allotted time.
SNAKE RACE (wide, in or out) View Video
– Materials: For each patrol: 6 Scout staves, five 6-foot lashing ropes
– Method: Patrols line up in parallel formation at a starting line. On signal, the patrol lays out the 6 staves in one continuous line, and lashes them together with a tight shear lashing at each joint. Racking turns (figure of eights) are suggested! When complete, six patrol members straddle the staves facing the same direction, reach down and grab the chain of staves, then start moving them forward, between their legs. The Scout in front swings the first stave up overhead and passes it back to the Scout behind them. When the last Scout receives the stave passed overhead, they then swing it back down under their legs and start moving the chain back forward again until the staves are in their original position.
– Scoring: The first patrol finished with their “snake” still intact wins.
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