First Timers Info

The Patrol Challenge is a most unique event!

The PC has 3 parts, Photo Safari, Activities & Scavenger Hunt.  Everything is done for points.  You choose what parts you want to do – all, some or a combination.  Most Patrols (a Patrol is 3-8 Scouts) do a combination of what they like from all 3 parts.

This is a Scout Activity – not a race.  At first all this may seem daunting but don't worry. Bottom line is it doesn’t matter who wins or how you score.  What matters is that your Scouts (and you) have fun, learn and take advantage of the hundreds of ‘teachable moments’ the PC offers.

Scouts are given clues to figure out locations using the internet or any other source of research.  Once they figure out the location they take their photo there as proof.

Activities are usual and unusual things to do. For example, baking cookies and delivering to Police or Fire stations, making a video of a skit or commercial they write, making a boat out of cardboard or bottles for an Adult Leader to row are some unusual activities.  Usual activities can be collecting food for the homeless, attending a Religious service, camping in your backyard or a random act of kindness.

Scouts figure out clues that lead to a Scavenger Hunt item then collect it.  Same premise as Activities, there are usual and unusual items to obtain.

After registering you get Early Bonus Clues at starting in April and every month through September; final clues mid-October. They consist of Photo Safari, Activities and Scavenger Hunt clues.  These are optional and you do them at your leisure and to fit your schedule.  You can do some, all or none. They’re like mini Patrol Challenges and will give your Patrol a chance to start earning points for the big weekend.

The Scouts pick their Patrol Name, it can be as fun, silly or serious as they like.  Then the Scouts make a handheld flag or banner decorated as they like to represent their Patrol.

You get a password to access several pages of final clues at  At this point, Scouts can research only.  Internet searches are the best way to solve most clues.  Older Scouts should be doing their own research.  Younger Scouts can, and should, be helped by adult leaders.  Scouts decide what Photo Safari locations, Activities and/or Scavenger Hunt items interest them.  The more you let Scouts research and plan – the more they will learn.

The absolute most difficult thing is to mind your own business.  The older the Scout the less you should be involved in everything from researching to making decisions. This event teaches your Scouts to make decisions and practice leadership.  Doesn’t matter if they’re right or wrong, they will learn.  Decision-making authority empowers and inspires them to learn the many skills the PC offers.


  • It is impossible to do everything – don’t try. Don’t dwell on what you can’t figure out. Move on - there are lots of clues to take their place. If it’s hard for you it’s hard for your competition.
  • Photo Safari locations cover a very large area. If you do them, decide how far you want to comfortably travel.  The younger the Scouts the shorter the travel time will keep them and you happier.  Map out your travel so you efficiently cover as much ground as possible.
  • Splitting your Patrol is an option where a Patrol of 4 or more Scouts split up into 2 vehicles to go in separate directions. It’s not suggested for younger Scouts.  Younger and Older First-Timers may want to save this strategy for next time.  Follow all GSUSA or Scouts BSA adult leadership and travel rules at all times.
  • Almost all Photo Safari locations and Activities are free. A few require an admission. Plan ahead and confirm opening & closing times.  Give your Scouts a budget ceiling if you like.  This serves to keep costs where you want them and teaches Scouts to make decisions on handling money.
  • If they want to, Scouts can camp out Friday and/or Saturday at a leader’s house. This earns them points and helps keep them together.
  • We know you honor and value your religious obligations. We respect that and attending a Religious Service is an Activity that earns them points.
  • Go over these planning notes with your Scouts.

On the Friday of PC weekend at 4:00 pm you can start going to Photo Safari locations, do Activities and collect Scavenger Hunt items.  Scouts and/or Adult Leaders can come in and/or out of the Patrol at any time during the weekend with no penalty.

On Sunday of PC weekend turn in all your Photo Safari Photos, Scavenger Hunt items and paperwork provided to a central CHECK-IN location TBA.  This is a fun time where Scouts can swap stories, show off what they’ve accomplished and see what others have done.  This is a very festive time with a carnival type atmosphere.

All awards, patches, ribbons and full statistical breakdown of how each Patrol scored are given out at our huge Patrol Challenge Awards Celebration in November.

PC Supporters Include: Supervisors Antonovich, Barger, Kuehl, and Yaroslavsky.  Councilmembers Blumenfield, Bonin, Cardenas, Englander, Greuel, Krekorian, LaBonge, O'Farrell, Rosendahl, Ryu, Smith, Weiss, and Zine. Galpin Ford, Forest Lawn, NMS Atlas, CSUN, Studio Drivers Local 399, Fuji Film, Occidental Petroleum, Geringer Capital, Talladium, Inc., Sylvan Learning, Cal. Sports Design, Sterling Constructions, and others.

We look forward to having you join the fun!

– Karen, Jessie, Tandy, Karla, Jack, and Jeff