What Each Patrol Needs To Know!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to assemble a team to compete against other teams in a variety of situations. Your team is called a patrol; you must work together to face different skill challenges at night. Teamwork. Communication. Preparation. All are Key to your success!

The Pre-Night Ops Information Brief is a compilation of all of the information you need for your patrol in a printable format.

You’ll find lots of other useful information on the website, but this Information Brief hold the essential information in a printer-friendly format.

Click here for: Pre-Night Ops Information Brief

Assemble Your Team

Your team (patrol) should consist of 4 – 7 youth. Everyone will need to work together to learn and practice skills that will be used throughout the event.

It’s worth noting that you should distribute your experienced and inexperienced youth evenly among your patrols. Having all of the experienced youth in one patrol and all of the inexperienced youth in another is a recipe for disaster. It’s also worth noting that, just like with tents, half-capacity is sometimes better.

We recommend delegating individuals to take the lead on different tasks. You can (and probably should) have some overlap in areas, so you aren’t in a tight spot if your medic gets sick before Night Ops. Here is a list of patrol member assignments that we recommend.

List of Suggested Roles


Throughout the mission, you will need certain gear in order to complete your goals. We have assembled a list of gear that should be carried as a group and as an individual. It is wisdom to bring “spares”.

List of Suggested Gear To Bring


An old saying goes: “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and accept whatever comes your way.” Rain or shine; we will be having this event… the only thing that will cause us to reschedule is a hurricane or similar circumstances. 

Throughout the event you will be given challenges that require you to demonstrate these skills:

  • Communication
  • Navigation by (a variety of) maps and compass and stars
  • Water safety
  • First Aid
  • Fire building and Fire safety
  • Knots and Lashings
  • Situational Awareness & Stealth

Trailmen – you should review any material covered in the Trail Badges: Aquatics, Fire Ranger, First Aid, Outdoor Cooking, Ropework, Trail Skills, and Wood Tools. You will also need some knowledge of Camping, Outdoor Cooking, and Our Flag for the rest of the campout.

AHG Girls – you should review any material covered in the Swimming, Camping, Fire Safety & Fire Building, Outdoor Cooking, Outdoor Skills, and Hiking badges. If possible, get a copy of the Trailman’s Handbook and review the requirements for their Trail Badges.

We highly recommend that you work on team work and communication, followed by navigation. Also, you will be doing a lot of walking and will be staying up late… be ready for that.


The Night Ops Skills Review has some information that may prove useful, including links to a map & compass exercise and morse code.

Throughout the weekend, all youth must abide by Trail Life USA’s buddy policy of groups of 3 (not 2).

Please charge your cell phones in preparation for the evening. Each patrol may take with them a cell phone for emergency contact. They will provide their phone number to the Staff before the event begins; they will be given the Staff’s cell phone numbers as well. We will also ask the Adults at each station to provide a cell phone number for us to contact them and vice versa.

Teamwork will be critical to your success and to your enjoyment of this event. Teams that had fun, even if they didn’t win anything, often enjoy the event more than the teams that squabbled but won.

If your team can not work together and communicate respectfully with each other, you are less likely to win. 

Navigation is important. We don’t allow patrols to cut through the woods because of the evil trees (thorns that can pierce a car tire) and other hazards.

You will do a lot of walking! Plan your route to reduce how much you may have to travel, but you should still expect to travel several miles during the night.

Did I mention that it will be night? In the past two years, the last patrol got in at around 3:00-4:00 AM (the first was in usually around 1 AM). Be prepared to stay up late.

Also, if you want to beat the other patrols, you are going to want to practice, practice, practice, and look at this event as the Olympics of Outdoor Skills.

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